Mold detected in the Hubbard Police Department, including the chief's office, was sent out for analysis.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Trumbull County Health Department is recommending the basement of the police headquarters be sealed off or the aged building be abandoned.
"It's in pretty bad shape," Frank Migliozzi, the county's director of environmental health, said Friday. "The basement is literally under water."
The county's inspection conducted Tuesday is one of three completed since July.
Acting Police Chief Kenneth Oyler said results are pending from inspections conducted by the Public Employment Risk Reduction Program of the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Division of Safety and Hygiene of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
Industrial hygienists who conducted the inspections for the state agencies said their results will be released later.
"This is one of the worst buildings they've seen, if not the worst," Oyler said the inspectors told him.
The county health department recommended that all sources of water intrusion into the basement be sealed and the basement sealed off from the rest of the building. If not, abandoning the building is an alternative.
How bad it is
Oyler and Robert Paterniti, city safety director, said the basement can't be sealed because of the utility lines and alarm system to commercial buildings in it.
Migliozzi said various colors of mold were found not only in the basement, but in the building's upper two floors as well. That included the police chief's office.
The health department has sent mold samples for analysis to determine their species to find out if the airborne spores from them are a health hazard.
The city has had lengthy discussions about replacing the police building, constructed in 1870, or remodeling it. The city has received a $1.1 million federal low-interest loan and $20,000 grant.
City lawmakers have decided the economic recession has reduced revenue from investments and the city can't afford to pay the interest on the loan.
"The problem with the building didn't occur overnight," Paterniti said. "The problem is not going to go away and they [city administration and council] will have to come up with a solution."
Oyler said that members of the police department have complained of health issues, although he noted that it's not known if they are associated with the mold.
Some are experiencing rashes, burning eyes, watery noses and fatigue, he explained.
"These are classic symptoms of mold spores," Oyler said one of the inspectors told him.
Oyler called attention to two dispatchers who have left the department on disability, one with a life-threatening problem.
Another health issue is asbestos, Oyler explained. He noted that asbestos must be removed or encapsulated if it reaches a level of 1 percent.
The level in the basement, an inspector told him, is 15 percent, and 20 percent in other areas of the building.
Oyler said he is no longer allowing staff in the basement because of the mold and odor.
"It's horrible," the acting chief said of the raw sewage that backed up into the basement about a month ago.