RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Richland County fire station is partially closed after workers found what appears to be mold growing behind the walls.
Concerns over the safety of the environment inside this fire station on Farrow Road surfaced most recently after crews repairing a water heater leak found "discoloration" in the walls and under the sheet rock.
"When it gets darker, that is a sign that it could be mold," Certified Mold Inspector Larry Harris said.
Harris examined pictures from inside the station that were sent to WIS from firefighters who wished to remain anonymous.
WIS was not allowed to go into the fire station, which is owned and maintained by Richland County, as it was being tested for contaminants.
"That's been there a while. I see some contamination on the concrete floor, particularly in the air louvers...the air supply. That possibly could be a fungal growth," Harris said.
Fire chief Aubrey Jenkins says some firefighters have complained of feeling ill or having sinus problems. For a man 30 years in the mold business, it all sounds familiar.
The cleanup is expected to take up to two weeks. In the meantime, Chief Jenkins says three of the four firefighters who stay at this station have been displaced to a trailer in the area.
Jenkins says response times should not suffer, because crews are still in the area.
"Firemen put their life on the line, and it's up to us to make sure they're living and dwelling in a safe environment," Jenkins said.