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Mold alarm raised
Group to seek county funds
Monday, February 25, 2013
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The president of the Henry County-Martinsville Rescue Squad Association will ask the Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to consider allowing the county’s annual allocation of funds to be used for a crisis.
In a letter to the supervisors, Darren Lockridge explained that a recent study of fire and emergency medical services facilities found that the Ridgeway District Volunteer Rescue Squad building was “in excess contamination with mold.”
That occurred through “no fault of their own,” he said, and offered to give the board additional “details of this crisis situation.”
When mold spores are present in abnormally high quantities, they can present health risks such as allergic reactions, asthma episodes, irritations of the eye, nose and throat, sinus congestion and other respiratory problems, according to online information.
Reviews with engineers and hazardous materials cleanup crews have resulted in an estimated $400,000 cost to make the repairs, Lockridge said in the Feb. 8 letter.
The letter did not state how the crew would make up the remainder or what other funds may be available to pay for the repairs.
However, Lockridge noted that the study conducted by the Department of Fire Programs also recommended awarding the county's annual allocation to the local squads on a need basis rather than rotating it as has been done in the past.
If it is not possible to use the funds to remove the mold from the Ridgeway building, the letter does not state a funding alternative for the clean-up.
But Lockridge requested the allocation be awarded to the Horsepasture Rescue Squad for a new ambulance to replace one that is 10 years old and is becoming “a burden on their budget” to repair.
Budget requests outlined by Lockridge include $37,000 to replace computers in ambulances; $4,000 for Advanced Life Support (ALS) volunteers to attend an annual symposium in Norfolk; and $7,500 to each of the county’s six squads to replace radios.
The county’s annual allocation for the last several years has been $95,000.
Last year, the county also provided $23,500 to match a grant for a new ambulance.