A leaky roof at the North Palm Beach public safety building has spurred the growth of a stubborn and dangerous mold.
Since Thursday, the building’s records division has been closed and its two full-time employees moved elsewhere in the building because of what Police Chief Rick Jenkins called an imminent health issue.
Jenkins said no respiratory issues or other health problems have been reported because of the mold, but the department is taking all safety precautions in ensuring the safety of its employees.
“We’ve moved everybody out of that section of the building at the experts’ recommendations,” Jenkins said. “This has been quite persistent.”
Jenkins, who has dealt with mold in his own home, likens the fungus to the Energizer Bunny. It’s that relentless.
The village has hired contractors to clear the mold from the building, Jenkins said, but it keeps coming back.
“It’s really common that the mold remediation people will think they’ve got it,” he said. “You’ll get initial tests that say they got it. The air is clear. And then you have another rain, or you see signs of other issues. They come back in and test again, and now it tests positive. That’s kind of where we’re at.
“I would say it’s well on its way to being remediated, but I don’t want to say it’s safe because I’m not an expert.”
Mold requires moisture to grow, and ongoing leaks in the building’s aging roof have provided a hospitable environment. A blue tarp has covered the roof for several months.
Jenkins said it’s not unreasonable to expect a building would have roof problems after 19 years, but he also was surprised at the scope of the damage caused by leaks.
“It’s clearly more extensive than any of us realized,” he said.
Help is on the way, though.
Thursday night, the village council will consider a resolution approving a $563,000 contract with West Palm Beach-based Therma Seal Roof Systems for the removal and replacement of the public safety building’s roof.
Until then, work will continue as usual. Anyone needing records is asked to come to the front lobby and use the phone there to call a police officer, Jenkins said.
“Nothing is impeding our ability to work out of the building,” he said.