Gresham, OR – Fire District 10 will tear off and replace the leaky roof at the Gresham Fire Department’s Station 76, which was shut down last month because of health concerns caused by potentially dangerous mold.
Gresham and district officials met Wednesday night to address the situation, which forced firefighters to work out of a Multnomah County Emergency Management mobile command trailer in the parking lot and sleep in travel trailers.
Multnomah County Fire District 10, which provides fire service to about 8,000 residents in unincorporated areas of the county, owns the building. Gresham is under contract to run the station for Fire District 10.
The station, at Southeast 302nd Avenue and Dodge Park Boulevard, was shut down Feb. 20 after firefighters in January, complaining of upper respiratory problems and sinus pain, discovered large sections of interior walls covered with black mold.
An independent testing company, Succeed Safety and Health Services of Wilsonville, found elevated levels of mold in the 40-year old building, in some cases three to 17 times the levels found in outside air.
But the company stopped short of declaring them a health risk, saying the results “cannot be used to predict adverse health effects. Medical opinion is always necessary to determine if adverse health effects are present and are caused by exposure to microorganisms.”
Mike McKeel, past chairman and current board member for Fire District 10, said in addition to replacing a leak-prone flat roof — perhaps with a peaked roof — the district will pay for temporary living quarters, employee overtime and meals related to the station closure, and medical expenses caused by the mold.
McKeel said the district will pay to remove all mold inside the station and replace under-slab ducting with ceiling-level ducting to improve ventilation. The city is offering to arrange contractors for repairs to make the building inhabitable, said Gresham spokeswoman Laura Bridges-Shephard.