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Fire complex needs air-quality repairs

The cost could hit $150,000 to eliminate problems that caused Madeira Beach employees to cough and itch.

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 28, 2002

MADEIRA BEACH -- Air quality inspectors have concluded that work is needed at the city's Fire Department complex, which includes City Hall.

Just how extensive and expensive the repairs will be remains to be seen.

City Manager Jim Madden told city commissioners Tuesday that some air-handling ducts could possibly be cleaned and might not have to be replaced. But if officials decide replacement is inevitable, the preliminary cost estimate is $150,000, Madden said.

The problem surfaced last year when employees complained of coughing and itching. That prompted inspections by the county health department. An inspection by Indoor Air Solutions, a Tampa company, followed in June.

The company's inspectors measured dust concentrations, moisture and humidity, and examined the inside and outside of the building at 300 Municipal Drive. Those inspections revealed "numerous signs of water infiltration and material degradation," according to a report by the company filed with the city July 12.

Samples taken from the site showed mold in the air conditioning system, water leaks in the roof and bacteria growth on the Fire Department dayroom carpet.

Among other things, the report recommended that the city replace its duct work, which is at least 20 years old; find and repair all window and roof leaks; remove and repair or replace water-damaged materials; and upgrade filters in the air-handling units in the attic.

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