Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District voted to award Coit Restoration the bid for removing the toxic mold that has shut down the Valley Home fire station since November.
Board members received three bids, but only Coit Restoration included reconstruction along with the mold removal as part of their cost break-down.
The cost came in at $10,078.44.
Although the remaining two bids were lower in cost, the cost of individually contracting out the reconstruction following the mold removal would’ve been cost prohibitive and time-consuming, so the directors felt it prudent to award the bid to Coit.
“We feel there’s a sense of urgency to get the station reopened,” said Stephen Mayotte, Fire Chief By Contract.
The expected time frame of completion is two to three weeks.
Coit Restoration will strip the entire south wall of the fire station, including the cabinets and flooring, remove the insulation, scrub every board and vacuum the mess with a HEPA vacuum, then wash everything with an antimicrobial solution to help prevent further spore accumulation, then restore everything the way they found it.
The entire process must be conducted with safety precautions, complete with specialized gear that was jokingly referred to as the “Spaceman look” due to the white suits and breathing apparatus Coit employees will wear during the clean up.
When Coit Restoration opens up the walls, it will enable interim administrative chief Jerry McDaniels and the builder to see where the moisture occurred as the staining on the wood will provide a clear trail as to the location and drip pattern of the water that caused the problem in the first place.
It was first believed that the water was coming from the windows and a stop-gap measure was employed by the firefighters by caulking the area around the windows. The measure may have worked to prevent further water damage but the existing water that had gained access to the walls, had already created an issue.
But seeing as the district’s insurance deductible was $5,000 and the silicone caulking seemed to have solved the problem, it was forgotten until a firefighter began suffering a breathing reaction due to the spores in the station.
The issue was exacerbated by the fact that the station is cold and dark more often than it is open and warm due to the brown out schedule, which alternates staffing between Valley Home and Knights Ferry.
“The cold enabled the mold to grow,” admitted Mayotte.
There is an ongoing discussion with the builder and the district about who is ultimately responsible for the water gaining access and who shall shoulder the burden of restoration. Discussions with the builder, to this point, have been peaceable and directors expect an acceptable resolution to the situation soon.