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Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Alachua County Fire Rescue reopened Fire Station 19 on Friday after remedying a mold issue.

The building was closed temporarily on Oct. 7 to “remediate mold that was discovered in the station,” according to a Gainesville Fire Rescue news release.

Mark Sexton, the Alachua County communications coordinator, confirmed that the station at 1800 SW 43rd St. is now “fully operational.”

Sexton said the black mold that plagued the station has now been cleared up.

Bill Northcutt, deputy chief of Alachua County Fire Rescue, said even though some of the construction is continuing, the staff has moved back into the station permanently.

“Some of the construction is still going on in the bunk room, so we moved the living arrangements to the front (of the station),” he said. “They’re living there full-time.”

Northcutt said he was glad the process didn’t take long because the firefighters initially didn’t plan on leaving the station.

But while dealing with the root of the problem — the air conditioning vents — they saw the issue was more extensive than they’d realized.

“We thought it was isolated to a small area,” he said. “But once they started … we realized it was a much bigger problem, and we had to evacuate last minute.”

ACFR relocated Rescue 19 to Alachua County Fire Station 15 at Southwest 88th Street and relocated Engine 19 to Alachua County Fire Station 16 on Ft. Clarke Boulevard, according to the release.

Because the relocation caused a gap in coverage, according to the release, Gainesville Fire Rescue relocated Engine 2 to the Station 19 service area.

City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins said the response to the situation was unusual, but local government did its best to keep safety up and costs down.

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“Our goal is to make sure both Gainesville residents and Alachua County residents are safe. That’s our first and most important goal,” he said. “We wanted to do it in a way that’s affordable and will equitably distribute the cost between Gainesville taxpayers and Alachua County taxpayers.”

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/15/2013 under the headline "Fire station reopens after mold cleanup"

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