Mold means ambulance station will be demolished

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GAINESVILLE, Mo. Medics in Ozark County said they are relieved a fix is imminent after investigators found nine different types of mold inside the ambulance station.

The Ozark County Ambulance District covers 9,000 people in a 750 square mile area.

Officials said it is cheaper to demolish the building than repair it.

Medics said they knew something was wrong after several of them repeatedly got sick. That is when they reached out to a hazmat specialist.

Instead of calling in sick to work, medics like Susan Howard at ambulance station in Ozark County said they have been getting sick at work for years.

"We work 48-hour shifts and, when I wake up, I have a nose bleed. I pretty much set my alarm at 2 a.m. I have a nose bleed -- every shift,” said Howard. “I don't get nose bleeds at home. By the time we leave, your eyes are running, your nose is running, it's awful."

“This is one of the first areas where people started noticing when they were cleaning back here. There had been a washer and dryer blocking the view of this," said Ozark County Ambulance District Administrator Eddie Delp.

The mold got so bad:

“This is where they're mostly staying now. The primary areas where the most mold was found was the sleeping rooms which were in the back part of the building," Delp said.

Officials said the inspector even found mold in the paneling outside.

"A high content of spores, mold spores, were around the air conditioning unit and you can see all the drainage and moss," said Delp. “The inspector found the moisture content of the panel walls out there was 18 percent in some places. He said it should be 3 percent."

Officials said even the building's design contributed to the mold build up.

"We're estimating it was built in the '40s. It's old and wasn't taken care of or designed well," Delp said. "It was bad from the beginning."

Even after nine types of mold were discovered at this ambulance station, ten year veteran Howard said she is not going anywhere.

"We're like a family here," Howard said.

Howard said she and her coworkers will continue taking care of the 9,000 people in their district.

"We just do what we need to do," Howard said.

The 14-foot by 70-foot temporary mobile home will go behind the current building that will be demolished. The mobile home will house two medics who stay overnight.

No word yet when the new permanent building will be built. The permanent building’s layout will be almost a carbon copy of the previous mold-ridden building. However, it will have better drainage, landscaping, and a HVAC system will be installed.