High levels of black mold shut down Dearborn fire’s Melvindale station, forcing crew to sleep in trucks

City believes firefighters will be able to return to station Friday evening

MELVINDALE, Mich. – Dearborn firefighters who work inside Firehouse No. 5 in Melvindale had to sleep in their trucks last night after testing inside the firehouse revealed high levels of black mold, making it unsafe to breathe inside.

UPDATE: Dearborn firefighters will move back into Fire Station No. 5 after mold cleanup

A sewage back up a few weeks ago has revealed mold in some of the walls of the firehouse. The remediation crew said they like to see a room with about a 50 point mold level, but in one area of the firehouse a reading of 236 came back. The crew said the air is unsafe to breathe and the station house was shut down.

The department still needs fire protection for the area so the crews were told to stay in their trucks overnight from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 8 a.m. Wednesday. The day shift had to do the same thing. One firefighter packed a pillow. The truck is their temporary station house and they said it’s cold and uncomfortable.

Dearborn Firefighter’s Union head Jeffrey Lentz said the firefighter could not get rest in a truck all night, creating a safety hazard for them.

“If they had to use the bathroom they had to drive around and utilize one in the city at White Castle or McDonald’s,” Lentz said.

Thursday evening the city of Dearborn released an update to the situation. Officials indicated that on Friday contractors will be removing and replacing drywall affected by mold. If that solves the mold problem firefighters should be able to enter the building by Friday evening.

Read the full statement below:

"Fire Station No. 5 should be clear for firefighters to return to the building by the evening of Friday, Jan. 24. Contractors hired by the City of Melvindale will be removing and replacing dry wall affected by mold on Friday morning. Once the repairs are complete, additional environmental testing will take place to confirm that the mold has been addressed. If that is the case, firefighters will resume their normal assignments in the building on Friday evening.

In the meantime, firefighters at the Melvindale station will be housed at the Melvindale Recreation Center."

The city of Dearborn shared an update on Friday:

"Unfortunately, the City of Melvindale’s repairs at Fire Station No. 5 in Melvindale are taking longer than expected.

It is anticipated that the Dearborn firefighters assigned to No. 5 will need to be housed at the Melvindale Recreation Center until Monday, Jan. 27. This will allow time for the City of Melvindale and the Dearborn Fire Department to review the results of another round of environmental testing after the repairs are completed.

Initial environmental tests on Jan. 23 showed a range from trace amounts to very low spores of mold inside the building. It is expected that the ongoing repairs will reduce those amounts even further. In the meantime, it is with an abundance of caution that the firefighters are being housed at another location.

The City of Dearborn appreciates the patience of the firefighters assigned to Station No. 5 as the issue continues to be addressed in a timely and efficient way."

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