Firefighters in Catoosa County were getting sick because of conditions inside one station.
Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton told us the first air quality complaint happened about the 10th of this month.
And they thought they had the problem pinpointed and fixed, but then more employees come forward with health problems.
They suspect mold as the culprit.
Late this morning, firefighters to remove firefighting equipment from Station 3.
The Highway 41 station has environmental problems on the inside.
County Manager Mike Helton said in mid month, high carbon monoxide levels had been detected.
Helton said it was a cracked bay heater, which was replaced.
But more firefighters complained of health issues after the fix.
They suspected mold.
In an email last night, Helton wrote "We also directed any employees that may need to be examined to do so for their well being and for us to be able to obtain any medical details available to try and determine why the employees weren't feeling well."
Crews and equipment rolled out of Station 3 and will work out of Station 7.That's in Lakeview.
So where does that leave communities closest to Station 3, communities like Graysville? Another crew has also been added to Station 1 in downtown Ringgold, and that's about six miles away.
It's the solution for now.
Helton told us, "We will keep the staffing at this level until we reestablish temporary housing back at Station 3."
At this point, what we don't know is the extent of illness suffered by firefighters. But Helton said firefighters will soon return to Station 3.
He wrote, "We are hoping to be back operating from the Station 3 site in less than a week utilizing temporary housing."
NewsChannel 9 filed an Open Records request with Catoosa County to determine exactly how many employees were affected and the nature of their complaints.
The county attorney rejected our request citing state privacy laws pertaining to Worker's Compensation.
Meanwhile, the county manager said remediation has started and mold "seems as though mold is being eliminated as an issue of concern at the station."
by John Madewell