Detroit firefighters: Unsafe conditions in firehouse making them sick

Image 1 of 8

Firefighters often encounter hazards on the job, but one group says their own firehouse is making them sick.

Old firehouses create new problems all the time in the city of Detroit but one warning sign sticks out: "Do not enter - Black Mold." The sign is taped to the basement door of Ladder 14 on Crane.

According to internal emails FOX 2 obtained, it got so bad a couple of the medics got sick.

FOX 2  found out the guys at Ladder 14 have been requesting repairs and felt they were being ignored.

It got so bad the medics moved out, but the firefighters were forced to live in what they believe were hazardous conditions.

FOX 2: "Would you want to live with mold like this in your house?"

"No I wouldn't," said Lajuan Wilks, General Services Department. "We acted as quickly as we could."

Some of the firefighters would disagree with that, but first the backstory.

An email went out on May 7th requesting repairs to Ladder 14, pointing out the pictures and fears of black mold that had apparently infested the basement.

Detroit Safety Officer Chuck Wood didn't make it out there for two months. That day he sent an email to Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins.

In it, he was also concerned about the potential black mold and was worried the same filter to clean the air was actually contaminating it, drawing the air and moving the mold spores.

"On the 15th we received a notification about black mold at Ladder 14," Wilks said. "On the 16th we sent our contractors out along with the abatement contractor and the testing company for them to inspect the location and tell us what the recommendation was."

Wilks, from the general services department which now directly handles firehouse problems, claims the company out of Farmington Hills determined the mold was not an immediate threat. But the city still treated it as one.

FOX 2: "It was tested so what is it?"

"It's mold but it's not black mold," Wilks said.

"What kind is it?"

"I can't speak to the actual  test," Wilks said. "I don't have the actual test reports."

"Is it dangerous?"

"It's not a hazard, no," Wilks said.

Firefighters can't talk to FOX 2 after a mandate from the city went out threatening their jobs if they spoke to the media.

But the city assures us they won't have to, now the highest ranking officer at each fire station can report problems directly to the general services department, and they will respond within 48 hours to fix it. FOX 2 will be watching.

"Is that because of how many problems are going on?"

"It became a point when they wanted (General Services Department) to handle that situation for the fire fighters," Wilks said. "They wanted firefighters worry about fighting fires and GSD worry about the facilities."

The city says the remediation process for the mold begins Thursday, but according to the reports they also found asbestos and lead in the paint.