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More mold tests for Lawton PD building approved

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - At Lawton City Council on Tuesday night, the plan to allow a company to do more testing on the Lawton Police Department's building was approved. Last week we told you mold was found on a ceiling tile in the basement along with water stains on the walls and a high humidity levels.

The Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists are ready to get started on Wednesday morning.
And the city manager along with the Lawton Police Chief says the sooner the better.

Finding the mold in the Lawton Police Department's building started with an employee who filed a complaint about medical issues. Lawton Police Chief James Smith said that employee works in the northwest part of the basement.

The air quality test results that were taken in mid-June came back last Thursday, and according to the Assistant City Manager Bart Hadley they didn't come back clean.

"There was one ceiling tile in a store room right behind an office that had a spot of black mold,” Hadley said. “And that was the area of primary concern. The area that had some potential danger by staying around that."

He said about nine people were moved to other offices in the basement later in the day, and the area was sealed off. Plans to clean up the mold in that spot have also been approved.

Now that city council has approved allowing the company to do more tests on the entire basement and the H-VAC system in the building, city officials are looking at what could happen next.

"Then we have plans that we're working on if the entire basement needs to be [evacuated], and we're also looking at plans that if we need to move all the folks in the entire building,” Lawton City Manager Jerry Ihler said. “We're looking at how do we address that. There are the issues of what are we going to do with the prisoners."

Chief Smith said he realizes there were some problems in the past like the sewage backup or the basement flooding, but the 4 issues that were reported in the past 10 years have all been taken care of.

"The health of our employees is always a concern,” Chief Smith said. “We don't want anyone to get hurt, get sick, get injured. And that's the reason why when we identify an issue. We try to mitigate it right away. We're always looking out for their health."

The testing for environmental hazards in the basement costs the department about $2,000, and to clean out the affected areas it's a dollar per square foot. The basement is about 10,000 square feet, but so far the affected area is only a fraction of that space.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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