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Still no solution for Ridgeway Rescue Squad mold issue

Monday, May 13, 2013

Discussions about the best way to address the mold issue in the Ridgeway Rescue Squad are ongoing.

“Right now, we are kind of in a holding pattern, so to speak,” said Darren Lockridge, who is president of the squad and the Martinsville-Henry County Rescue Squad Association.

He explained that soon after an article about the mold problem appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin in March, “we got in touch with a couple of contractors, and now we’ve got multiple opinions” on how to correct the issue.

“But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I want to tear it down and rebuild because we are not going to be guaranteed that this will not happen again,” Lockridge said of the mold.

The mold problem was found last summer as the squad worked on a kitchen project. By then, sheetrock, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation and other areas of the building were affected.

In February, the squad said an Environmental Hazards Services firm identified 13 types of mold spores in the basement of the two-story building, which houses offices, a living room, bunk rooms (bedrooms), communication facilities, rest rooms, kitchen, meeting/training area and some storage.

The squad’s garage is a separate building and is unaffected by the mold, Lockridge has said.

The two-story steel building has a brick and cinderblock exterior, he said. At least 3 feet of the brick is below grade, and there is no moisture barrier between the exterior and interior walls. The aluminum studs are rusted, and support trays for the studs crumble to the touch.

The building was constructed in 1996 at a cost of $250,000, Lockridge said.

Fixing the “water problem alone has been estimated in excess of $225,000 or $250,000,” he said. Mold abatement is estimated to cost more than $35,000. That total of $260,000 to $285,000 does not including renovations such as replacing all the ceiling, steps, sheetrock and the like, he said.

Initially, Lockridge said he thought the squad would have an engineer in Greensboro, N.C., “handle the entire project.” But members later learned “that was going to cost us more money than we could afford. That’s why we started working with contractors.”

Unfortunately, each contractor has proposed a different way to address the issue, he said.

“Each one of them has had a different opinion on the best way to go,” Lockridge said.

Removing the mold, correcting the moisture issues and renovating the affected areas is estimated at $400,000 to $500,000, “based on rough guesses the engineer had told us,” Lockridge said.

The squad also needs money for the project, and it plans to soon begin fundraising in earnest, he said.

“What we requested from the county was $95,000, which is what they normally give to one squad every year,” Lockridge said.

That funding has been approved but the Henry County Board of Supervisors has not appropriated the money yet, he said.

Other than those funds, “we’ve collected a minimal amount so far, with three or four checks at the most” for $50 to $100, he said. “We haven’t even deposited the checks yet” because the squad plans to open a special account for the building fund.

But the squad first must decide how to proceed, Lockridge said.

“We are going to lay it all out” during a meeting of the squad’s board of directors, he said. The meeting will be today.

Then, the board can “hash (it) out and decide where to go from here,” Lockridge said. “Right now, I’m at a total loss as which way to go.”

 

 
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