Unsafe living conditions cause fire house evacuation - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Unsafe living conditions cause fire house evacuation

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Crews are working all weekend to fix a serious safety hazard. Richmond Fire Station 14 on Brookland Parkway and Hawthorne Avenue is dealing with mold, a leaking roof, and air conditioning problems.

Richmond Fire Chief Robert Creecy says the safety of his firefighters is his primary concern.

A viewer sent NBC12 pictures of the conditions inside the fire house. One shows insulation damage in the bunk room – causing the ceiling tiles to fall off.   

A spokesperson for Richmond Fire and EMS says the city was aware of the problems and planned to fix them. On Friday, a contractor repaired the leaking roof temporarily, and a mold specialist took samples Thursday. Chief Creecy says it does not appear to be black mold. 

"Our first priority is the safety of the firefighters in the building so that they don't have any ill effects," said Chief Creecy. "We have not had any reported respiratory problems in the building that I'm aware of." 

An e-mail complaint to NBC12 showed firefighters' growing concern for safety in a profession that already deals with major heat and respiratory dangers. 

Friday evening, firefighters evacuated station 14 and moved about a mile and a half away from Station 15 on 1st Avenue where they will remain until it's safe to go back. 

Chief Creecy says the move may affect response times depending on the location of the emergency. Clarence lives in the neighborhood around Station 14. 

"It's really bad because there needs to be a fire station nearby where they can get to a fire or a car accident that happens," said Clarence.

That's why crews are working fast - hoping to get the firefighters back into a safe building in less than 10 days. 

"We're trying to make some really informed decisions for the long term," Chief Creecy added. "The citizens of Richmond can't afford to keep paying for stuff over and over again. We try to make it right the first time." 

There's no word on how much the repairs will cost the city. NBC12 should have a better idea Monday. The fire department says three stations have been re-roofed within the last year. Repairs cost between $425,000 - $450,000.

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