Brooklyn Park firefighters relocate during asbestos work


Brooklyn Park's fire station on Ritchie Highway closed Friday and will remain shuttered indefinitely while contractors remove asbestos tiling discovered in the building's floor and stairway.

Firefighters and other rescue employees moved about 1 1/2 miles away, to the northern county police station on Hammonds Lane, said Battalion Chief Gary Sheckells, spokesman for Anne Arundel County EMS Fire-Rescue.

They have left their trucks parked at the station and will use surplus fire vehicles based at the police station. This might give the appearance that the station is occupied, Sheckells warned.

"No one should go up and knock on the door expecting to have a firefighter answer the door," Sheckells said. "In an emergency, the firefighters can be reached the usual way, by dialing 911."

Service to some Brooklyn Park addresses could take 30 seconds to a minute longer than before, he said.

The asbestos tiling was discovered by contractors who are repairing electrical and heating systems and modernizing the fire station, built in the 1930s, Sheckells said.

They found it while removing flooring in the station's alarm room, which holds the firefighters' maps and radio equipment.

Eight firefighters normally staff each shift and had planned to work through the construction. They moved out late Friday after asbestos specialists hired by the county tested the flooring and confirmed the hazard existed.

Now they'll sleep on cots set up in a conference room so they can continue to provide 24-hour service.

"It may be uncomfortable through this, but it's better than having them exposed to the asbestos," Sheckells said.

Cleanup crews began removing the asbestos yesterday, he said.

Pub Date: 4/13/97

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