Ontario fire hall closed after asbestos discovery
Jeremy Becker would rather be opening fire halls, not closing them, but that’s what he had to last week after asbestos was found in Huron Park’s fire station.
“Definitely not something that myself or anyone wanted to do, but it’s our responsibility to protect the health and safety of our firefighters. That’s why we had to make that decision to close it as quickly as we did,” says Becker, South Huron’s fire chief.
The asbestos was found in pipe insulation, along with ceiling and floor tiles, during a routine inspection, says Becker. The fire hall will be closed indefinitely, as South Huron council figures out what to do next.
“For right now, this is a temporary measure, and hopefully we can get this resolved, sooner rather than later,” says Becker.
South Huron’s fire chief say the volunteer firefighters stationed out of Huron Park will now work out of Dashwood and Exeter. Huron Park’s two fire trucks have been redeployed to Dashwood and Exeter fire halls, as well.
Becker says while the closure of Huron Park’s fire hall is less than ideal, it shouldn’t affect response times.
“We were already responding with two-station response into the Huron Park area due to our staffing shortages that we’ve been experiencing, so response times won’t be affected,” he says.
Whether the asbestos can be quickly and safely removed, or it’s time for a new home for the Huron Park fire station, has yet to be decided, and will be up to South Huron council to decide in the coming months.
“We’re completing a fire master plan right now. We retained a consultant earlier this year and that report will be coming to council in September. That will give council a wholesome look at what we’ve got and what we’ve got to look at for the next 10 years in our fire service,” says Becker.
For more information about the dangers of asbestos exposure you can click here.