Repairs Begin on Chico (CA) Fire Station

Nine months after firefighters moved out of Fire Station 5 due to mold-related health concerns, repairs to prevent water intrusion began Monday.

City Facilities Manager Kirby White said the demolition work is expected to take place through Friday, and the new sheet metal and flashing will start next week. Contractor Garland DBS is working with local subcontractors to execute the project, which is expected to cost about $220,000.

The goal is to have the exterior finished by October and then start interior work, which should take about two weeks. The project might have started earlier were it not for city staffing issues, White said.

The crew at Station 5 is excited to have a firm timeline and by the prospect of returning to the building, said Capt. John Kelso, president of the Chico firefighters union.

In early December, firefighters were relocated to a trailer on the station grounds, in an arrangement organized by and paid for by the Fire Department at a cost of $700 per month to ensure there would be no lapse in service. Fire Station 5 firefighters respond to about 2,000 calls a year and have met all their response times since relocation to the trailer, Kelso said.

The repairs are intended to ensure the envelope of the building is water-tight to prevent any kind of opportunity for future mold and has a 15-year warranty. The project will restore the roof, restore the interior and restore critical brick veneer to prevent further water intrusion.

Fire Station 5 has experienced water infiltration since the $1.8 million facility was built in 1997. The construction design included a freestanding brick veneer that needed to drain moisture buildup away from its surface to weep holes, causing recurring water leaks.

Last year, addressing initial issues made it clear more significant repairs were necessary and the city expended slightly beyond its $25,000 repair allocation. The City Council said at the time that it could not know about the presence of mold and take no action, even if spore counts were higher outside than inside the station.

For more information, view www.chicoer.com

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