Fort Worth

Elevated levels of mold, mildew found in air at east Fort Worth police station

Elevated levels of mold and mildew have been detected in the air in two areas of an east Fort Worth police station that was recently evacuated by police employees over environmental concerns, a city spokeswoman said.

Diane Covey said the elevated levels were noted in the building's basement and near an air vent in an area with offices.

"Is the mold in the areas dangerous to people? Generally, no," Covey said. "There isn't that high a level."

She said the elevated levels will be addressed with detailed cleaning inside of the air handler.

Fort Worth police officials had "voluntarily relocated" personnel from the building on June 11 over what a police official described as "environmental concerns." A source told the Star-Telegram that employees had arrived to work on June 10 to find a black substance in parts of the building, including under at least one air vent.

On Monday, police spokesman Bradley Perez said two police department units are occupying the building.

"However, the decision was made to keep personnel out of the areas still under construction to expedite the renovation," Perez said in an email.

In a memo sent to Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa on June 12, Property Management Director Steve Cooke described the black substance that concerned police staff as "dust that resulted from cleaning the HVAC duct work."

He said a microscopy test performed on a sample of the substance showed the "presence of hair, dust particles, lint and similar items commonly associated with indoor HVAC return air."

"Safety of all of our employees is of the utmost importance," Cooke wrote to Chapa in the memo. "No data or visual observations have suggested a need to vacate the building. If molds — even black mold — are identified in homes or offices, industry standards do not call for evacuation — the mold is simply abated."

The additional tests were done that same week to look for the presence of molds and other biological elements. The city received the results on Friday, Covey said.

Covey said no visible black mold has been found in the building.

The building at 3900 Barnett St., constructed in 1947, had been traded to the city by television station KXAS as part of an incentive agreement on a new complex the station built in the CentrePort Business Park near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Officers and police civilians have been housed there while renovations have been underway, including adding a new elevator and renovating the HVAC system.

Covey has said that since 2014, the city’s environmental quality department has repeatedly checked the building for possible asbestos fibers in the air, including after the black substance was found.

All those tests have come back negative, she has said.

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Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd