In an e-mail to Portsmouth Chief of Police Charles Horner, Murray wrote — “I mentioned this to (Portsmouth Fire Chief) Bill Raison on Friday. Maybe the departments can secure enough FEMA trailers from those thousands and thousands stocked around the country as temporary quarters. Please check this out and let me know if it is an option.”
That e-mail comes on the heels of an order Murray gave Horner last week mandating that the Portsmouth Police Department move immediately to the location of the Central Station of Portsmouth Fire Department, after an outbreak of Black Mold began to cause a large number of illnesses.
The plan is to move the Police Department out while a crew rips out the walls and cleans up the mold.
Tuesday, Murray told WSAZ TV’s Randy Yohe, “All we need is some bleach and water.”
Horner says the move to the Central Fire Station is logistically impossible, and he said FEMA trailers are not an option either.
Horner cited the fact that the Centers for Disease Control has been investigating the health hazards associated with those trailers.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided either mobile homes or travel trailers to displaced Gulf Coast residents who had lost their homes in the hurricane. Residents of these trailers and mobile homes have raised concerns about air quality in the trailers and the occurrence of respiratory and other symptoms resulting from exposure to formaldehyde or other respiratory irritants among residents of the mobile homes. CDC has been working with FEMA to investigate the health concerns of those living in the trailers and mobile homes and to take action to protect residents’ health.
The study was done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Horner said he is interested in moving into the former Scioto County Juvenile Detention Center. That facility was closed last year due to funding issues.
“Yes, they had problems with the ones used after Katrina, but they will have corrected that problem by now,” Murray told the Times Wednesday. “And that was the question, to see if they have anything that we can use.”
Murray says expediency is her reason for looking into the use of the FEMA trailers.
“Our Police and Fire have to be responsive to Homeland Security. And given the fact that we have an issue, we need to have them operational, but not in that (city) building for a time,” Murray said. “So what are our options, and I thought, ‘well, what about a FEMA trailer. But then, of course, we couldn’t access any of the trailers that had the problems.”
What is the status of the attempt to purchase the Scioto County Juvenile Detention Center?
“We’re in the process of a discussion with the (Scioto County) Commissioners basically to find out if they are willing to sell the building and what the price would be,” Horner said. “I think it is best for the county and the city and everyone concerned.”
Horner was asked what work would have to be done on the facility to adapt it to the needs of the Police Department.
“If the Mayor would approve the federal grant for $88,000 for the computer network, that would take care of the computers,” Horner said. “And we could take baby steps, get moved in, work out of common areas, and then progress and re-do the others as time went. I would say we could be in in about three or four weeks. That would be my expectation, and to be able to function out of there.”
Murray says the reason she is not okaying the grant is that the city has already spent over $100,000 on a new server and a backbone.
“In talking to technical people I knew that we could make sure that the Police Department and Fire Department systems could work within that network, and they could be secured, because I talked to the engineers about it,” Murray said. “So that’s what I’m trying to do. Why would we spend money duplicating something?”
Horner said the grant would not cost city taxpayers any money at all. Horner said he would use the Law Enforcement Fund to pay for the system up front, and the grant would reimburse the city for $66,000, meaning $22,000 would come from the fund which comes from drug arrests.
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232 or email@example.com