Boynton Beach closes fire station to make air quality repairs as - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Boynton Beach closes fire station to make air quality repairs as firefighters file workers' comp


BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - The city of Boynton Beach closed a fire station to test its air quality and make repairs to the ventilation system.

This comes as the city received two worker's compensation claims from firefighters stationed at the fire house.

The claims say firefighters showed higher sensitivity to pneumonitis, usually caused by breathing in allergens.

Tim McPherson, the city's director of human resources and risk management, says it's too soon to link the health issues from the workers' compensation claims to the air quality fixes at the station.

McPherson says firefighters noticed a smell in one of the women's restrooms at Fire Station 3, located on Congress Avenue and Miner Road, in October.

Inspectors found five dead mice in the air ducts. The city brought in two outside firms to test the ventilation system and air quality.

The city completed recommendations like replacing ceiling tiles, drywall, cleaning the air ducts and fixing a ventilation fan.

A follow-up air quality test was completed and the city expects the results to come back Monday. At that point, it hopes to reopen Station 3.

The renovations and tests will cost between $7,000 and $10,000, according to McPherson.

Meanwhile, the city is offering to cover the costs of blood work and chest X-rays for any firefighter who worked at the station and wants to test for allergens. McPherson says that's about 35 to 40 people. Those tests could cost the city up to $15,000.

While Station 3 is closed, firefighters have been working out of Station 5, near Interstate 95 and Gateway Boulevard, about two miles away.

McPherson said there has been no significant drop in response times with firefighters working at a different station. He said it takes about 30 seconds longer to get to an emergency.

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