Petersburg Fire called to investigate safety violations at stations

The chief has until Wednesday to address the violations
The Petersburg Fire Department is being accused of serious safety violations at all four of its fire stations.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Petersburg Fire Department is being accused of serious safety violations at all four of its fire stations.

According to a letter obtained by NBC12, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry received a report about issues with the exhaust ventilation systems at fire stations 2,3,4 and 5.

A former firefighter with the department says the system is known as the Plymo Vent Exhaust System. The system is supposed to pump the exhaust from the diesel engines of these fire trucks using a series of hoses and piping and expel it to the highest point outside of the station so that dangerous fumes can’t build up in the building.

But according to the letter, those systems have been down for some time. This is potentially exposing firefighters and their gear to dangerous fumes. It is not clear how long they have been down.

While it is stated in the letter that Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) has not determined whether the safety hazards exist in the buildings at the department, VOSH did instruct the Fire chief to investigate whether or not these violations exist.

If there is no proof, the chief must notify authorities accordingly. However, if the violations are credible, the letter says the chief must take care of the violations immediately.

Chief Tina Watkins declined to speak on camera at this time. Still, she responded with a brief statement that the department is investigating the alleged violation but that it also can’t comment any further.

The chief has until Wednesday to notify Virginia Occupational Safety and Health about these violations. If they fail to do so, the departments could face more investigations and inspections.

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