JEFFERSON, La. -- Fire Station 11 is a fixture on Jefferson Highway in Old Jefferson, but it's seen better days.
Friday, the JP East Bank Consolidated Fire Department had to shutter the station.
The fire union says firefighters may have been exposed to toxic mold in the building.
'We were informed that crews back there had tested for and found some mold, including some toxic mold in the building itself,' said JP Firefighters Union President Bob Burkett. 'We were informed that some of the mold caused some of them to suffer some respiratory problems and headaches and the like.'
The parish released a statement saying: 'The Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Fire Department was made aware of a possible air quality issue (mold) at Fire Station 11 (3525 Jefferson Highway at Shrewsbury) late Friday afternoon, June 7th. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our Firefighters, the EB Fire Director immediately ordered Fire Station 11 vacated and re-assigned the personnel, fire truck and ladder truck to other Stations.'
- Fire Station 11 personnel are temporarily reassigned to Fire Station 14 at 1714 Edinburgh Street, Old Metairie.
- Fire Station 11 Engine 118 is temporarily reassigned to Fire Station 12 at 968 Jefferson Highway.
- Fire station 11 Ladder 117 is temporarily reassigned to Fire Station 14 at 1714 Edinburgh Street, Old Metairie.
Old Jefferson neighbors such as Charles Tisbury now worry about response time.
'I'm not real happy about it,' he said. 'I mean that's the fire station for this whole area. They need to clean it up and keep it up and running.'
The fire department says the move should not affect response to emergencies in the area.
But, Tisbury doubts firefighters will be able to get to his business nearly as fast. He owns the Mitey Automotive Center across street from Station 11.
'A couple of months ago we had a lady driving in a jeep and all underneath the car, it was on fire and people kept telling her, you're on fire and all that,' said Tisbury. 'She parked right there and they were here in like two minutes.'
According to the firefighters union, the roof of the fire house was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
'Previous administrators had neglected to do the proper repairs on the building,' said Burkett. 'They temporarily patched it and it's never been properly tended to.'
No word yet as to when the fire house will reopen.