Costly mold invades Fort Meade’s municipal buildings after Irma

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Hurricane Irma is long gone, but her effects are still being felt, at least in Fort Meade. Mold is growing in three of the city’s most important buildings: City Hall, the fire department, and the old police station, now being rented by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Mold can cause you to get nauseated, your eyes to water, and even lead to asthma.

City officials first got a hint something was up when they saw something black growing on a large picture that hangs in the city commission chambers. It turned out to be mold.

“We had it tested, and it did test positive,” city finance director Breyeanna Smith told FOX 13.

Commissioners now meet in the recreation center of a mobile home park nearby.

 The volunteer firefighters at the Fort Meade Fire Department got booted out of the station because mold is growing there as well.

“I don’t want any of my firefighters to be sick,” Chief Harrison Eiland said. So they are meeting in the bays where they garage the trucks.  There is a sign on the station door to keep out.

Just down the street, the receptionist at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office substation no longer sits at her desk. That’s because mold was found there and in a sergeant’s office.

To get rid of the mold and fix other damage caused by Irma, the city is looking at $700,000 or more. City officials are hoping that insurance and FEMA picks up the brunt of that.

However, they suspect that they may still get stuck with a bill for several hundred thousand dollars which could take more than a decade to pay off.

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