Kendall's Fire Station 9 closed due to mold; freakin' pussies, says resident

If there's one thing Riptide likes better than a juicy news tip, it's quotably irate citizenry. So today, Christmas came early: Sabal Chase resident Mike Grant gave us both.

Construction foreman Grant has noticed his local firehouse, Miami-Dade Station 9, one of the busiest in the county, has had its doors closed for a couple of weeks. The rumor going around: It closed due to mold spore contamination, which caused a firefighter to get sick.

Grant, who points out mold-killing spray is available at Walgreen's for $1.99 a can, is unimpressed. "I don't think anybody's going to die from mold spores," he booms, drawing out those last vowels in mock horror. "Maybe if you lick the floor for 15 years, you can get mold poisoning. Look at the fireman's job: you're dealing with a guy that just got stabbed and is gushing blood, and might have AIDS, and you're worried about moooooold spooores in the shower? Come on."

Actually, this is probably one of the few cities where mortal municipal mold probably isn't a concept to scoff at.

But Grant has a pretty good point on another count: What's up with

Miami-Dade's secrecy in the unreported closing? Shouldn't residents be

informed when their local firehouse suddenly goes Andromeda Strain on

the neighborhood's ass?

"If it is the case that a very, very active fire station will be shut down because of mold spores," Grant says, "how long is it going to be shut down for? We just want and answer from somebody with a brain. Either Jose Gimenez or Katy Sorenson, or another of these freakin' people we've elected."

We picked up his brain-seeking gauntlet and called Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, where we spoke with Lt. Elkin Sierra, who confirmed the station was "undergoing remodeling because of the mold" (how's that for some elegant spin?), but would not confirm a firefighter had gotten sick. He said it had been closed for a "couple of weeks" but couldn't tell us when they expected it to be back open and running.

We've been promised more information, and will keep you updated. In the meantime, Grant has some company. A firefighter who hadn't heard about the closing and declined to be identified, blanched when we informed him. "Closed because of mold?" he said in disbelief. "We can't close. No fire station can close because of mold."

--Gus Garcia-Roberts

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