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Air quality tested at police station

Independent environmental testing of the air quality inside the Northwest District Police Station began Tuesday, after the police union succeeded in getting a court order to force the city to open the building for the tests.

The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association prevailed before State Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek to get permission to conduct its own tests, refusing to accept that tests conducted by a city-hired company were accurate.

Earlier this month, the city released testing results from the Leader Group in Clarence that determined air quality inside the structure at 669 Hertel Ave. was not a threat to the health of police and other staff members working in the building.

Four types of fungi, including black mold, were found in the building, but all were within acceptable air quality limits, according to the test results.

Scoffing at the city's findings, PBA President Lt. Robert P. Meegan Jr. said Great Lakes, the union-hired company, will spend four days in the building testing for hazards and review the Leader Group's report.

The PBA membership, he said, will pay several thousand dollars for the new tests.

"Look no further than Love Canal and Hickory Woods if you think government doesn't lie," Meegan said in citing two housing developments that turned into environmental problems. "We just want to do what is best for our officers."

The Northwest Station was closed Feb. 12, the same day city and police officials learned that an officer had filed a complaint that the building had mold growing in it.

Since then, district operations have moved to the former All Saints School on Esser Avenue, near Chadduck Avenue. Mayor Byron W. Brown has described coverup claims by the PBA as "absolutely ridiculous."

Police officials have repeatedly said they took positive steps immediately after learning of the complaint.

Meegan, however, questioned why the city was spending substantial funds to clean the building, if nothing is wrong with it.

"They say there is nothing to be concerned about. Is that why they are spending $300,000 to clean up nothing?" he asked.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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