MAUMELLE, Ark. — Mold has forced Maumelle firefighters to evacuate one of their busiest stations since September.
According to the department, firefighters began getting sick back to back.
After taking a look in the living quarters they found mold growing in the bathroom and attic.
"The station was completely closed for 26 days,” said Michael Cossey. "You know you have a number of illnesses that people were complaining about, we knew we had to get people back down here as quickly as we could."
About 60% of the department’s calls comes from station two. When unmanned, the response time doubles for some parts of the city.
"So those three weeks and change were spent making a plan to get people back down here,” said Cossey.
The team came up with an innovative way to be on the grounds. They set up a camper in the station's bay, free from mold, replacing one fire engine, and leaving one.
It’s a tight living space inside and an improvised social area outside, but crucial.
"Having this camper, it's a little funny, it's a little weird, but for the people who call us, it's essential,” said Cossey.
The city-ran department is renting the camper temporarily until the mold is removed, but until then, the firefighters said crammed camping is better than a slower response time when seconds count.
"We are talking seven to eight minute response times without this station," said Cossey.
The department's working closely with many companies to determine the cause of the mold and to get it removed as quickly as possible.