PLYMOUTH, Mass. - There is a big mess inside the Plymouth Fire Department's headquarters.
On Monday, as workers were repairing a leaky roof, sections of the ceiling collapsed underneath, scattering debris throughout the station -- including the living quarters.
The chief says the headquarters currently isn't safe for anyone to work out of and the town manager agrees.
"It’s years of debris, mold and some type of insulation," Chief Ed Bradley explained. "The cabinets, the computers, the telephones. I have copy machines and printers that are damaged...this always seemed like a safe place to us. Today, it’s not."
The department is testing air quality and has relocated firefighters and staff for at least 10 days.
The headquarters is 41 years old and the aging public safety infrastructure is not unique to Plymouth.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 67 percent of Massachusetts firehouses are more than 40 years old and 24 percent of them don't have exhaust emission control.
But it's an issue each city and town needs to find a way to address.
"It affects morale," Chief Bradley said of the situation. "They feel like the town isn't taking care of them, yet it's their sworn duty to take care of the town."
Town Manager Melissa Arrighi toured the facility Tuesday and says she is working with the chief and the Firefighters Association to see the best move forward.
"It's very clear that nobody can work out of this building right now," Arrighi said. "We think we’ll be able to make sure these premises are both safe and secure so that they can return to work."
But Chief Bradley wants more.
"My opinion is this building is not worth fixing," he said. "The millions of dollars it will cost to fix this building will only get it back to where it was the day it was built."
Arrighi says a contractor is working on the roof to repair those issues.
Plymouth is currently constructing a new firehouse.
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