City combats mold in firehouse kitchen

The heavy rains from this past summer are gone and just a memory, but the city is still trying to repair the damage they left behind.

For more than a month, the fire department kitchen, restroom and shower facilities have been out of commission after a leak in the roof flooded the second floor of the firehouse at 301 Putnam St., causing a buildup of mold.

“There is some water damage,” said Marietta Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp. “There is mold that’s being mitigated.”

Crews from Janisource and First Colony Construction are closing in on having the fire department kitchen ready for use, Jarrod Schultheisz, project manager and engineering technician for the city, said Wednesday. The entire kitchen is empty of any finished material.

The firefighters returned from a call Aug. 13 to find the roof leaking from a rainstorm and the kitchen area flooded. The kitchen took the brunt of the damage, Schultheisz said. Water from the roof also damaged the bathroom/shower areas. Water also came through the ceiling and was found in the ventilation system.

Schultheisz said some mildew spots about the size of the end of a pencil were found behind a kitchen wall. The spots were sprayed, encapsulated and removed in sealed bags. Only two spots were found.

Some reports indicated black mold was found in the fire department, forcing the closure of those areas.

“It wasn’t determined if it was black mold,” Schultheisz said. “We did find some in the building materials removed from the building and those were disposed of properly. It’s speculation on whether it was a preexisting condition or it was solely because of (the leak).”

All the drains and seals were tested Wednesday to ensure all was water-tight.

Janisource, of 501 Virginia St., is working on the fire department cleanup and repairs. Once that is finished, the company will turn to completing repairs in City Hall at a cost of $29,000. The work in the fire department is estimated at $11,400.

Janisource has been running dehumidifiers in the building for a while to help dry out everything.

“That number is subject to change, depending on if anything is covered that wasn’t evident at inspection,” Schultheisz said.

He also added that Buxton Roofing’s insurance company should take care of all damages and repairs.

“Some might have to be paid directly by Buxton,” Schultheisz said. “We anticipate the general liability should cover all the repairs if there is any mold.”

Buxton returned Monday for two small repair items: an overflow scupper and one roof drain. He said Buxton used the existing drain assembly. The city has opted for a new drain assembly to make sure it’s up to specifications. The final inspection for the warranty coverage of the roofing membrane was tentatively set for Wednesday. The roofing work is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

A scupper allows water to drain off a roof rather than pond.

“We feel better to have a brand new one as opposed to one dating back to the 1930s,” Schultheisz said.

All those repairs must be done before interior renovations begin at City Hall. The city is awaiting final design by the architect, Pickering Associates. The rough estimate of the interior project is $1,392,766.

Because the building is three-fourths empty, the project will have to be done in phases and offices such as the mayor’s office and administration will have to be shuffled.

“The work will have to be split up until it’s all finished, and everybody can go back to their homes,” Schultheisz said.

As for the firefighters, they will have to enjoy takeout for a couple more weeks, Schultheisz said.

“We are anxiously awaiting (the kitchen repairs), so they can feel as much at home as possible while they are on duty,” he said.