LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Liberty Township has only one fire station in operation after health officials discovered rodents living in the 38-year-old fire station.
Liberty Fire Chief Gus Birch said he is hopeful that the station will be reopened in the next few weeks, but for now, firefighters are working with limited resources.
“One of the firefighters came to me and said they thought there might be a mold issue, so that’s when I got the Health Department because I don’t want anyone to become ill from working here,” he said.
The Health Department didn’t find any visible mold during its inspection. Instead, Birch said officials found an infestation of mice, birds and other animals.
“There are a lot of feces and urine and stuff like that, so it all has to be cleaned and disinfected,” Birch said.
The cleanup comes with a nearly $10,000 price tag.
“A $10,000 hit is pretty serious for us. We’re already having money issues, but it’s something that has to be done in order to keep the fire station open,” Birch said.
Liberty Township Administrator Pat Ungaro said the township is looking into whether insurance will cover some of the costs.
“If not, you still have to get it done, and that’s pretty much my attitude. I try to make it go as fast as we can so we can open it up,” Ungaro said.
Birch said the challenge is handling fires or emergencies on the north side of the township. He said it will take longer because firefighters would be coming from the south side station,resulting in an increased response time of five to six minutes.
“You know, when you’re talking people’s lives, you’re talking fire, even EMS calls, five or six minutes makes a tremendous difference,” he said