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Community members looking for ways to reopen Fire Station 4

Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 18:42:11-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Fire Station 4 closed in Petersburg earlier this month, now several community members are looking for ways that they can help bring firefighters back to the station.

Five decades, that's how long Bryant Palmore has been in business. During those 50 years, Petersburg Fire Station 4 has been right next door.

"I never in my wildest imagination would think the city would take a station of that magnitude and close it," said Palmore.

The doors at the fire station on South Sycamore Street shut on April 9.

Firefighters and equipment moved to Fire Station 5 on Johnson Road.

It’s a decision that now has a "grassroots effort" underway to get the firefighters back to Fire Station 4.

On Friday April 20, Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides told CBS 6 the reasons behind closing the doors for health, safety and financial reasons.

CBS 6 obtained emails concerning mold at Fire Station 4. The emails, sent in January and April of this year, were from firefighters to city leaders and fire officers. CBS 6 also has obtained documents from a 2018 mold assessment which found mold inside the building.

CBS 6 Cameras were invited inside Fire Station 4 Monday afternoon while city officials were inspecting the building.

Terrell Turner, who lives in Petersburg, met with city officials and is working to get volunteers to help him clean up the fire station, at no cost to the City.

“I live here. I have family in the general area. I have friends in the general area and for whatever reason, if certain situations took longer to respond to, it could be life threatening for others,” said Turner.

While mold is an issue, some in Petersburg would like to see budget cuts at City Hall versus public safety.

"There's always ways to squeeze a little bit of money out of something, but Public Safety? I don't think that's the place they should be squeezing the last drop out of it," said Palmore.

Turner says he has a half dozen volunteers and is looking for more. He says he's just waiting on the city's decision to allow him to do the work, at no cost to the taxpayer.