ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WJBK) - Who sounds the alarm when a firehouse is in trouble? One of the firehouses in St. Clair Shores is currently unmanned because conditions have deteriorated.
The problem started with a leaky roof, which led to mold. Now, the city has temporarily closed the firehouse on the city's north end until further notice - which is not sitting well with the people who live in the neighborhood.
"It's a be double-edged sword. We can't have people in here with mold; at the same time we've got to make sure that we cover the north end," says St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby.
Walby says firefighters that respond to calls from the north station are now making those runs from the central firehouse, which is about two miles away. The closed station is at 13 Mile Road and Greater Mack Avenue, and the firefighters have temporarily relocated to 11 Mile Road and Harper Avenue.
The St. Clair Shores fire chief says the temporary relocation could slow down response times by two minutes on the north end of the city.
"Two minutes can cost somebody their life, unfortunately," says neighbor Robert Ransom.
Mayor Walby says the firefighters recognize the greater distance and believes they'll be even quicker to respond because of it.
He says the plan is to have the mold removed and the north station reopened by the end of the week.
"If not, we'll have other ways to get maybe something mobile out here so we are can get our fire truck back out here," he says.
The long-term fix for the building is about a month out. The city approved a bid to repair the leaky roof a few months ago but the RFP did not include the right amount of insulation, thus not meeting code and taking the city back to square one.
"It actually had to be rebid, and then we've been evaluating whether we wanted to do the typical rule for maybe a metal roof," says Walby.
The St. Clair Shores City Coundil will revisit all of that at the next council meeting. The mayor hopes to have the roof replaced or fixed by early November.