BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Fire and Rescue confirmed Tuesday that they’ve had issues with bed bugs at one of their stations, but said they were doing everything possible to fix the problem quickly.
2020 was a rough year for West End Fire Station 15. In June, the building was struck by bullets in a shootout and a couple of months later, infestations of bed bugs were discovered.
A viewer submitted pictures from inside Station 15 that showed mattresses tossed about and a boarded-up window.
Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo said there was an infestation in August.
“They found several mattresses that had bed bugs on them,” Carrillo explained.
He said crews tossed the mattresses, replaced some and had the place professionally cleaned.
Then, a few months later in September after a follow-up check, Carrillo said a single bed bug was found on a mattress at Station 15.
“It was determined that it came from a call that they made at a person’s home,” said Carrillo.
Carrillo said often first responders enter homes only concerned about helping people whether they have pests that could attach to their clothing or equipment.
Station 15 was professionally cleaned again, according to Carrillo. The department also worked to get ahead of the issue to prevent any spread.
“The Fire Chief had already put in motion after the first one [incident] to make sure that we have mattress covers, the zip-up type, for every bed in every fire station across the city,” said Carrillo.
As for a boarded-up window at the front of the building, Carrillo said that was from a shooting in June where bullets pierced the building, shattering a large front window. According to Carrillo, BFRS did not have the money in the current budget to fix the window but planned to get it done when Birmingham’s new operating budget was approved.
“It may not be the best-looking thing in the world, but our personnel is safe inside,” Carrillo said.
According to Carrillo, crews were moved to other stations while Station 15 was being cleaned. He said the health and safety of their crews are of the utmost importance.