AVON PARK — The mold cleanup of the city-owned Brickell Building started Tuesday after the two-story structure incurred significant water intrusion from Hurricane Irma.

The building on Main Street got a new roof soon after the hurricane, but there had been little progress since then to remove the mold.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager David Flowers said he and a mold specialist/contractor spent two hours in the building last week. The upstairs area is not bad because there is no drywall there. There is some truss damage that can easily be shored up.

The problem is the drywall on the first floor, which contains the mold, he said. The humidity in the building was in the high 70s, which shouldn’t be that high in January. The higher the humidity, the faster the mold grows.

The specialist recommended immediate removal of the drywall and the ventilation of the building.

There is an agreement for five or six inmates from Avon Park Correctional Institution to do the work. They will be checked by a doctor before and after the work. They will be using respirators and special suits. Four floor fans have been purchased to circulate the air.

A 20-yard dumpster is sitting there and the crew will start swinging hammers and taking drywall out.

Hopefully the work will be done in a couple of weeks. Flowers hopes to be able to report there is no contamination.

Deputy Mayor Jim Barnard asked about the work that needed to be done upstairs.

Flowers said it is basic carpentry work that will be figured out after the mold is removed from the building.

“My primary concern is to get the safety aspect of it done first and then the air quality issues,” he said. “Once that is done then we can start looking at the repair work that needs to be done.”

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