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Fire Station 45 in West Sac Affected by Toxic Mold

WEST SACRAMENTO -- Toxic mold where fire fighters sleep. It’s a danger the West Sacramento fire department says it found out about a few months back.

Now the union that represents those fire fighters says it should have been dealt with a long time ago.

FOX40 was able to speak to both sides about this issue.

"Our first priority is the safety of our people," said West Sacramento Fire Chief, John Heilman.

Heilman says it was about a year ago that toxic mold was discovered in the office area of fire station 45.

They thought it was an isolated issue but in March, more toxic mold was found - this time in the stations dorm area where about 15 fire fighters a week sleep.

"So, we've taken the measures of moving them all off what we know to be the affected area and into a dorm room across the hall,” said Heilman.

‘Too little too late’ says the union that represents the fire fighters.

"The fact that it is now just being mitigated is frustrating," said Roberto Padilla, spokesperson for Local 522.

Padilla tells FOX40 they tested the mold and the results came back for fungal contaminants that could post a health risk.

"’Why did we have to get to this point?’ is something that we can discuss at a later time but right now my priority is the safety of our members, the safety of the public and mitigating this issue," said Padilla.

Heilman says the department and city were unaware the union did its own testing - but says city workers were tasked with taking care of the mold.

However, he says the job was too grand for city employees and they needed about $250,000 before outsiders could be brought in to eliminate the mold.

"We secured funding through the city to take care of the issues and we were actively working through it but there's a process that we need to go through to get to the point where we actually have a contractor come in and take care of the issues," said Heilman.

With the money obtained from the city, contractors have come in and tested the mold themselves to see if it verifies the same outcome of danger the union says they found. The West Sacramento fire department says to expect those tests to come back soon.