Pa. fire station closed by mold

York is left with three stations in service and potentially slower response times until the situation is resolved


By Erin James
The York Dispatch

YORK, Pa. — The floods have receded and the ground hasn't shaken for weeks, but natural disasters continue to wreak havoc on the York City Fire Department. Mold has been discovered growing in one city fire station, while a recent earthquake is thought to have compromised the structural integrity of another station.

Fire Chief Steven Buffington decided late Monday to temporarily close the Lincoln station on Roosevelt Avenue after mold was found in at least two rooms — leaving the city with three stations in service and potentially slower response times until the situation is resolved.

More than 3 feet of water invaded the building's basement during last month's flooding, Buffington said. Air samples also indicated mold growing in a first-floor bedroom, he said.

The station remains closed as fire officials wait for an industrial cleaning company's environmental report and clean-up plan. In the meantime, Lincoln-based firefighters and equipment will respond to incidents from the Rex/Laurel station on South Duke Street.

Buffington said he is concerned about slower responses to areas served primarily by the Lincoln station, but added that he must also consider employee safety. If the building is determined to be uninhabitable for an extended period of time, Buffington said, the department will consider alternative locations near the station for its crew and engine.

Preliminary estimates put the clean-up cost around $100,000.

"That's going to be based on how bad the problem turns out to be," Buffington said.

Meanwhile, the fire chief is addressing a structural problem at the Vigilant fire station on West Market Street, where old cracks in an exterior wall appear to have expanded. Buffington said the change is likely the result of the Aug. 23 earthquake.

There is no imminent danger of collapse, he said, but "it is to the point where something needs to be done with it."

An engineer is currently evaluating the issue but has not yet recommended solutions or estimated a cost.

"We just don't have any idea how expensive that's going to be," Buffington said.

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