Black Mold Found in ‘Green’ Fire Station in Arkansas

August 17, 2010

The newest fire station in Fayetteville, Ark., touted as the “greenest” ever built in the city when it was opened in 2008, has been shut down while officials decide what to do about an infestation of mold.

Fire Chief David Dayringer said that firefighters at Station 3 had been moved to Station 1 downtown. Dayringer said Station 3 had been staffed by a captain, a driver and a firefighter per shift.

“We moved a total of six individuals and one ladder truck,” he said. “We started checking for mold after the guys over there noticed moisture on the walls.”

He said the firefighters will stay at Station 1 until the mold problem is taken care of, which he estimated would take about a week.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan said officials are investigating the cause of the mold.

The 6,500-square-foot Station 3 was completed in June 2008. Designed by Don Spann, the two-bay station features various sustainable aspects, including automatic overhead lighting, recycled wood countertops, reprocessed rubber flooring, low-flow shower heads, recycled building material, waterless urinals and automatic setback controls for mechanical systems.

Dayringer said two different kinds of mold were found in the station’s attic — stachybotrys and aspergillus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aspergillus is a common fungus found in soil, on plants and in decaying plant matter. It’s also found in household dust, building material and in some food items.

The CDC describes stachybotrys as a greenish-black mold that can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint.

The CDC says fungus growth occurs when there is constant moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration or flooding.

Allergic reactions, such as sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat and stuffy nose are the most common types of health problems related to mold. But Dayringer said he hadn’t received any reports of illness attributed to mold exposure as of press time.

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