The Lingering Impact of Sandy: Mold problem found at Sea Bright police/first aid building

March 21, 2014
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SBPD1-IMG_7258By John Burton

SEA BRIGHT – Last week, it was the borough’s firehouse that was found to be in dire condition from Super Storm Sandy; this week, it’s the police department and first aid headquarters.

“We got a serious mold problem in there,” said Councilman C. Read Murphy, who is the director of the borough’s Office of Emergency Management.

“We found mold in the floor and in the walls,” Police Chief John Sorrentino said.

The mold in the 1099 Ocean Ave. building was caused by flooding when Sandy devastated the area 17 months ago.

“Every wall in this building had water in it from Sandy. The roof leaked from Sandy. The water came in the doors from Sandy,” Sorrentino said.

“We never had water in that building before,” Murphy said.

The mold has created “a pretty perilous situation” that will require moving operations out of the building until remediation work can be done. “We can’t leave people in a mold situation,” he said.

But, Sorrentino said, testing on the site has determined the mold is not airborne. “So, we are completely safe to do our daily operations here.”

No mold remediation work was done on the structure after the storm.

Borough officials, who are now looking at companies to do the mold remediation work, have been in discussions with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about securing funds to cover the cost of the work, Murphy said.

FEMA representatives already have drafted a worksheet, authorizing the remediation, according to an email from FEMA spokesman Alberto Pillot.

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In the short-term, officials are considering installing trailers in the area as one possible option, similar to what Highlands police have been doing since Sandy hit.

Trailers, however, can pose their own logistical issues, especially for holding prisoners, Sorrentino said. Locking up someone requires police to adhere to strict requirements from the state Department of Corrections. Using trailers may mean finding other locations for prisoners. Highlands police have been using Sea Bright’s lockup since Sandy; so, if trailers were the answer both departments, police in both boroughs would have to find alternatives, Sorrentino said.

“Nothing is etched in stone as to what we’re doing, or where we’re going,” the chief stressed.

Sorrentino has been reaching out to departments along the Jersey Shore impacted by Sandy, seeking advice.

The main portion of the police and first aid building is about 100 years old and has additions that are about 80 years old, Sorrentino said.

The site had served as a fish processing plant, according to Murphy.

“They used to bring the boats up on the beach, drag all the fish in the backdoor, process them and out through the front door to the railroad station,” that had been in Sea Bright, the councilman said,

This is the second time in two weeks that Sea Bright officials have found significant problems with a borough building. Last week, building officials condemned the firehouse, deeming it unsafe to occupy because of structural issues.

Officials are seeking alternatives to house that department’s emergency services.

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