The discovery of asbestos from a wall sample has permanently shut down a fire station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, town officials said Wednesday.
It's the second Plymouth firehouse to be closed down in as many months.
Lab results showed 2% asbestos in the plaster at the North Plymouth Fire Station on Spooner Street on Tuesday evening, so town and fire officials said the building would be closed "effective immediately."
"This particular wall is an enclosure of a chimney that goes up through this building, up through the roof and, due to its age, the brick is absorbing water and causing that water to come inside and it broke down the plaster and put the asbestos in the air — airborne, which is that's when it's a problem," Fire Chief Ed Bradley said.
Wearing hazmat suits Wednesday afternoon, Bradley and Deputy Fire Chief Neil Foley entered the building, also known as Station 7, to remove all the firefighters' turnout gear so it could be cleaned under the direction of the Board of Health.
Firefighters and anyone else who worked in the building in the last 10 years will be notified so that they can be tested, officials said.
"Management and the union's united concern and focus at this point is providing notification and medical testing to any employee who may have had any exposure," Plymouth Town Manager Melissa G. Arrighi said.
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Last month, roof repairs at the department's headquarters on Sandwich Street caused debris to fall — making that building uninhabitable. The building is also plagued mold and broken floors.
"Obviously it's affecting response time, but we've minimized that as much as we can by changing the responses of the other stations to make up for it," Bradley said.
Town officials are working to come up with a funding request plan to make the necessary repairs at three other stations with similar issues and possibly a debt exclusion override for a new fire headquarters.
"We have to go back to town meeting and ask for more funding for other stations," Arrighi said.
In the meantime, a new Station 7 is already being built but it's not slated to be completed until June or July of next year.