- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
Bedbugs in firehouse have staff sleeping in trucks
Report also cites problems with leaks, rodents and heat
A bedbug infestation at a Northwest Washington fire station left firefighters sleeping in their personal vehicles or in the firetrucks to avoid being bitten by the bugs in their bunkrooms, a report on the conditions at D.C. firehouses found.
The 180-page report by the Office of the Inspector General details a wide swath of problematic conditions at D.C. fire stations across the city, including a lack of working smoke detectors, leaking roofs, flooded basements, rodent infestations and inoperable heating or cooling systems. Among the findings, 19 stations had significant rodent problems with one reporting that dead mice had been found in a refrigerator, seven did not have functional heating systems in living quarters, 27 did not have fire extinguishers, and 22 reported that the monitor that displays call information either was not working or was unreliable.
Complicating matters is the fact that the department has no formal policy for reporting and overseeing repairs.
The report says the inspection team “is concerned that this lack of policies and procedures specific to the needs” of the department may delay repairs to the buildings.
At Engine Company 31 at 4930 Connecticut Ave. NW, employees told inspectors that bedbugs had festered in the wooden floors of the bunkrooms for six months. The report, which was issued to D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe on Nov. 29, recommends the department invest in regular deep cleaning of facilities to decrease bedbug and other pest problems. The inspector general's office estimates that the cost of the deep cleaning would be $100,000 annually.
A fire department spokesman was not familiar with the report and unable to comment Thursday on its findings.
Problems detailed in the report were noted during inspections of 32 fire stations and the department’s fireboat facility. Since the four months of inspections ended in January, the department has taken action to abate some of the problems, the report notes. A new pest control company has taken responsibility for rodent extermination in firehouses. A $4.8 million renovation of Engine Company 29 on MacArthur Boulevard Northwest, meant to address issues with leaks in the building’s foundation that have left serious water damage in the basement, began in October.
To prevent serious damage to fire stations in the future, the report recommends a regular inspection schedule to look for things such as leaking windows and roofs.
In response to questions about inspection schedules, department officials wrote in October that several areas of maintenance, including roofs and bay doors for the trucks and ambulances, are now undergoing preventative maintenance and the department is working on prioritizing repairs.
The report notes that several of the serious problems have been ongoing for years. Leaks in the roof of Engine Company 21 at 1763 Lanier Place NW have forced firefighters to use trash cans to collect dripping water in their bunkroom for more than two years, according to one complaint cited in the report.
The Department of General Services has taken over repairs and procurement requests for the fire department. Fire officials wrote that the two agencies communicate daily about repair requests. However, the report notes that obtaining approval for requests can take several weeks to several months.
“Because of this delay, needed repairs to [department] facilities are not completed in a timely manner,” the report states.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Snow, ice leave thousands without power in D.C. area
- D.C. police officer linked to prostitution ring
- Wal-Mart greets first customers in D.C.
- No money sought for new D.C. firetrucks deemed 'oversight'
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Broncos-Chargers game ends with several stabbings
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- American missing in Iran was CIA operative who went rogue
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow