FORT STORY, Va (WAVY) – A military base in Virginia Beach has relocated a small number of personnel and will make renovations to its fire station after finding mold in one of its buildings.
Captain Frank Hughlett, commander of the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story, says the mold was discovered in August in Building 700. Hewlett then ordered environmental testing.
“There was a significant amount of mold in the air, not black mold, but common household mold, if there is such a thing, was evident,” Hughlett told 10 On Your Side.
About 3,000 people live and work on the base. The complex has firetrucks and ambulances in its center section, with offices, sleeping quarters, a kitchen and dispatch operations in the side sections. About five people work on a shift at the center, and they have been relocated to cottages about a hundred yards away from the building.
Hughlett says the temporary relocation will not affect response time for the first responders.
“Reaction times are not compromised at all, none of the emergency services, given the precautions that we’ve taken,” he said.
The high levels of mold included cladosporium and pencillium-aspergillus. The Centers for Disease Control lists both as commonly occurring in indoor environments. Hughlett says he has discussed worker safety with Navy medical personnel.
“There’s nothing that’s gonna cause respiratory problems, it will aggravate existing ones though,” he said.
The only section of Building 700 that remains open is the vehicle bays, where firetrucks and ambulances are parked. The rest of the complex is closed while the base removes and replaces the air conditioning system and the duct work. The base commander says the renovations will begin this month and last into the first quarter of next year.
Hughlett says protocol for a situation involving mold such as this would be to clean up the mold, but he wanted to replace the equipment that was spreading the mold.
“Otherwise, we’d be having this conversation again in about a year,” Hughlett said.