Posted: 6:08 p.m. Friday, March 7, 2014

Treasure Island fire station closed by mold issues

closed Treasure Island fire station
closed Treasure Island fire station

By John Sasaki

KTVU.com

TREASURE ISLAND, Calif. —

Firefighters moved out of San Francisco Fire Station 48 on Treasure Island Friday to get away from a serious mold problem.

"We're closing Station 48 on Treasure Island and we're moving roughly 4 blocks away," said Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Ken Lombardi.

Mold has taken hold and put crews who live there at risk.

"We got a construction report that we got some mold in the building, and so they don't know what the extent is until they go in and open up the walls," Lombardi explained. "But they recommend not having people here while they are doing that construction."

Where firefighters and the department differ is how long this has been a problem. Department officials said action was taken quickly.

"We called in a mold consultant, they came in and we finally got the report yesterday. So, the department acted immediately. It's been less than 24 hours since we got the actual report," emphasized Lombardi.

Through the firefighters union, KTVU learned that some members have been complaining about mold for years.

"Over the years, there have been statements and comments, and call them rumors if you want to for that matter. There have been mold issues in that building," said Union Secretary Floyd Rollins II.

The department would not let KTVU see the damage, but reporter John Sasaki obtained photos taken by firefighters that show the problem, including mold under a sink and in some carpet.

"Maintenance has been deferred for a number of years. And I guess the best way to categorize it is that the maintenance bill is coming due, and it's pretty large," said Rollins.

Firefighters said the conditions have caused them such health issues as nausea, short-term memory loss, even signs of early menopause. But Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Lombardi told KTVU he has heard of no health problems.

"To my knowledge, no one here has gone off on any of those injuries from here," said Lombardi.

Rollins noted that firefighters take enough risks on the job without having to be concerned about the stations they operate out of.

"The working conditions in facilities in which our members work are paramount and extremely important. Especially with the recent spike in cancer cases," said Union Secretary Rollins.

Station 48 will operate out of a nearby training facility for the time being. How long will depend on how extensive the mold damage at the station turns out to be.

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