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Fire crews return to Catonsville station, but source of a petroleum leak still unknown

Fire personnel moved back into the fire station on Frederick Road in Catonsville on April 19. A maintenance issue had forced personnel and vehicles to temporarily relocate to nearby stations.
Fire personnel moved back into the fire station on Frederick Road in Catonsville on April 19. A maintenance issue had forced personnel and vehicles to temporarily relocate to nearby stations.(Jeffrey F. Bill)

Catonsville fire station personnel returned to their home station on Frederick Road on Sunday, after being relocated from the fire station in early March due to the leak of a “petroleum-like substance” in the basement, fire officials said.

A source of the petroleum leak is still unknown, said Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost. The Maryland Department of the Environment and the county’s industrial hygienist oversaw repairs to the building, investigated the leak and determined that crews could return, she said.

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The return of fire personnel had been delayed while Baltimore County Property Management finished maintenance and repair work at the fire station.

Baltimore County Property Management installed a new drainage system and equipment to allow for ongoing monitoring to prevent another leak, Armacost said.

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The basement, where investigators initially found what fire officials calls an “unidentified, petroleum-like substance” coming up through the floor of the mechanical room, has been closed due to the repairs, Armacost said.

Fire Chief Joanne Rund had authorized the relocation of station personnel and apparatus in March after employees started to notice stains on the concrete and the smell of gas. Meters did not detect unsafe conditions.

Between 40 and 60 crew members have been operating out of the Catonsville Senior Center in the 500 block of Rolling Road since March 19.

“There was no interruption in service from the time the problems at the station arose,” Armacost said.

Two fire engines, a brush unit, a medic unit and all station personnel were previously relocated to nearby stations. One of the engines was relocated to the Halethorpe station, while the other engine and the medic unit were moved to the Westview station.

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