28 de mar. de 2015

Firefighters evacuated from station due to discovery of Legionnaire's disease bacteria

Firefighters and paramedics have been evacuated from their own station because it is over-run with Legionnaire's disease.
Emergency crews fled the base after it was discovered that the water system was teeming with the legionella bacteria.
The fire station, which is shared with ambulance 999 crews, is owned by Thames Water, which leases it to Surrey County Council.
A fire brigade source said that experts had been trying to eradicate the legionella bug from the Staines Fire Station for two weeks but had so far failed.
Portable toilets and showers were taken to the building in Staines-on-Thames, Surrey, to try to protect the crews from contracting the potentially-deadly Legionnaire's disease but on Friday the decision was made to evacuate the ambulance and fire crews to other bases until the bug was flushed out.
None of the emergency crews based at the station have so far fallen ill from the bug but experts said it was too dangerous for them to remain in the building and a decision was made to evacuate the paramedics to another ambulance base and re-locate the fire crews to another fire station.
A spokesman for Surrey County Council, which runs the fire service and has a long lease on Staines Fire Station, said: "We can confirm that traces of legionella have been found in the water system at Staines Fire Station following a routine inspection and it is believed to be contained to this building.
"It is not unusual for legionella to be found in large buildings with no effect on human health in most cases.
"Work is underway to flush out the bacteria as quickly as possible"
The spokesman confirmed that fire crews had been moved to Sunbury Fire Station as a short-term precaution.
Thames Water denied it was in any way to blame for the outbreak of legionella, despite owning the building.
A spokesman for the utility said: "It is our land but the building is on a long lease to Surrey County Council. The actual water supplier for that area is Affinity Water, not Thames, but this would be nothing to do with water quality."
The fire brigade source said: "Everyone was a bit taken aback when they found legionnaire's disease in the fire and ambulance station.
"Experts have spent two weeks trying to get rid of the bug but it is very persistent and there is talk that they may have to replace all the plumbing to get rid of it."
No-one was available for comment from the South East Coast Ambulance Service which rents a room in the fire station for its 999 crews.

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