A Lindenhurst firehouse has been declared to be in a state of emergency by the village board of trustees after members discovered a mold problem.
The Lane Street firehouse is one of the village’s four firehouses and is home to Hook, Ladder & Engine Co. No. 2, with about 40 members. The volunteers had noticed some mold in the area of the firehouse that has offices and a meeting room, and recently saw the problem get worse, said Lindenhurst Village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane.
A village inspector took a look behind the walls and discovered a full mold infestation, he said. The area was then cordoned off.
The emergency declaration, which was made at a board meeting on Thursday, allows officials to bypass the bidding process to more quickly hire a remediation company.
“It’s a health hazard and we need to take immediate action,”Deputy Mayor Michael Lavorata said. He said no one has reported health problems from the mold.
The firehouse serves several thousand homes, officials said, but service will not be affected as the truck area does not show signs of mold and remains open with a separate entrance for members.
The firehouse was built in 1953, but according to an online department history, the area with the mold infestation appears to be part of an addition to the building that was constructed in 1989.
The cause of the mold is unclear, Cullinane said. The building did take on some water during superstorm Sandy, he said, but also had leaks due to an aging roof which was recently replaced.
“There was always that basement kind of smell in there, but it was never that pungent till now,” Lavorata said. “You can see the wainscoting bulging off the walls and it became obvious there were more issues.”
The remediation alone could cost about $16,000, officials said, and the building also may need significant repairs and reconstruction.
Cullinane said a possible financial quandary for the village has been avoided, however, because all work was submitted in an insurance claim and recently accepted. He said he expects the remediation to begin within a week.