Boynton Beach (FL) Closes Fire Station to Make Air Quality Repairs

The city of Boynton Beach closed a fire station to test its air quality and make repairs to the ventilation system.

This comes just before the city received two worker’s compensation claims from firefighters stationed at the firehouse. The claims say firefighters showed higher sensitivity to pneumonitis, usually caused by breathing in allergens.

Tim McPherson, the city’s director of human resources and risk management, says it’s too soon to link the health issues from the worker’s compensation claims to the air quality fixes at the station.

“Everything is concerning, they are our employees, our resource, we take everything seriously every time something comes forward,” McPherson says.

He explains firefighters noticed a smell in one of the women’s restrooms at fire station 3, located on Congress Avenue and Miner Road, in October.

Inspectors found five dead mice in the air ducts. The city brought in two outside firms to test the ventilation system and air quality. The test results gave the city some recommendations which it implemented.

“We’ve replaced ceiling tile in the whole station. We replaced drywall in areas that were compromised. We cleaned the vents, even though the vent system was relatively new,” McPherson says. He points out most of the problems were in a women’s restroom and the laundry room. 

A follow-up test was completed last week and the city expects the results to come back Monday. At that point, it hopes to reopen station 3.

The renovations and tests will cost between $7,000 and $10,000, according to McPherson.

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