Mass. firefighters raise concerns about sewage backup, mold

Mold and a surprise backup of raw sewage in the Cohasset Fire Station has the town's firefighters concerned

Michael Caliri
Wicked Local South/Mariner, Marshfield, Mass.

COHASSET, Mass. — Mold and a surprise backup of raw sewage in the Cohasset Fire Station has the town's firefighters concerned, according to the union. But remediation for the issues is already completed, according to the town's fire chief.

Sewage in the basement

The state's Office of Emergency Medical Services issued a notice of serious deficiencies in late March in regard to the Cohasset Fire House's stock of EMS supplies. The supplies are currently stored in a basement that has flooded multiple times in the past and sits adjacent to a crawl space that flooded with sewage in March.

The notice of serious deficiencies stated that the supplies needed to be moved out of the basement. According to Fire Chief Robert Silvia, an upstairs space has been dedicated to storing the supplies, but first shelving units need to be installed.

Silvia said the shelving units will be installed in the coming weeks after repairs to walls and ceilings in the upstairs in the building that have been found to have mold for reasons unrelated to the basement flooding. Upstairs, mold is linked to not only a leaky roof, but also an improperly installed air conditioner.

Silvia said that the supplies in the basement never got wet and that they have been stored there for the entire 40 years that he has been with the department.

"They (OEMS) have been here many times before to inspect the EMS supplies and they never asked us to move them before this time," Silvia said.

The sewage leak was cleaned up and the basement was cleaned by firefighter Tim Collins. Collins, who also serves as the union president, now says mold has formed on the shelving units that store the EMS supplies.

He said that the mold was irritating to many of the firefighters, causing allergic reaction-type symptoms which have even forced some of them to take sick days.

Collins said that he has been reaching out to the Fire Chief Robert Silvia since Nov. 1 and that it took the sewage leak to finally get things going in terms of fixing the issues in the building. Collins again reached out to Silvia and Town Manager Chris Senior about these issues on April 24 and received a response from Silvia on April 30 addressing all of his questions and concerns.

Silvia told the Board of Selectman on Tuesday, May 7, that the mold that was found was not considered toxic.

According to Collins, many of the town's firefighters did not want to go into the basement and feel that they wouldn't want these supplies being used on their family members.

Upstairs mold

Mold isn't just a problem in the basement. There are multiple rooms upstairs that contain a high mold count, according to a mold report by ASAP Environmental Inc.

Multiple rooms, including a dorm room, a bathroom and janitor's closet were contaminated to the point that they were locked with masking tape covering the perimeter of the door. As late as two weeks ago, these rooms had signs on them stating that there is mold inside and the date that the room was sealed.

Remediation work began on Friday, May 3, and was completed, effectively removing the problem areas affected by mold, according to Silvia.

The source of some of the leaks has been the flat roof that covers a portion of the building. Silvia said that the cause of the leaks was snow and ice buildup that would cause water to leak behind the flashing.

Plans to replace the flat roof with a slanted one are in place and work will begin on that project in the near future.


©2019 Wicked Local South/Mariner, Marshfield, Mass.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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