Bunnell, FL – Nearly three years after moving into new headquarters in Bunnell, the Flagler County Sheriff has ordered all Sheriff’s Office personnel out of what he calls a “sick” building.
Sheriff Rick Staly and his executive staff were the final ones to leave the Operations Center at 901 East Moody Boulevard Friday afternoon, completing a week-long process which started the prior Monday.
68 employees who were working in the building have moved to other locations in the county while a second round of environmental testing takes place in the hopes of finding what is causing employees to get sick.
“This profession is dangerous enough from criminals,” Staly added. “My employees should not have to live in fear of their workplace causing them illnesses.”
At least 27 employees have filed worker’s compensation claims since FCSO moved to the facility in September 2015. According to Staly, those claims feature symptoms which are potentially related to the building and some of the employees who have returned to work since filing a claim have seen their symptoms return or get worse.
“We are hopeful for a swift resolution to this issue,” Staly noted.
The county has hired a Fort Myers-based company – Engineering Systems Inc. – to do the new tests after the first round of tests discovered trace amounts of mold which were then removed. That testing started last Thursday.
Florida Department of Health officials are also looking into the matter, as is a doctor hired by FCSO to find any potential links between the claims.
The FCSO Operations Center used to be the county’s only hospital and was abandoned for some time before it was bought by the county and refurbished for FCSO’s use.
Most of the employees who were at the Operations Center have moved to the Flagler County Courthouse at 1769 East Moody Boulevard or at the Flagler County Jail at 1002 Justice Lane, both in Bunnell.
All email and phone numbers related to FCSO remain the same despite the move.
There’s no clear timeline for testing to be complete or for FCSO to occupy the building again, assuming that it’s deemed safe for employees to return.
Photos above and below of employees evacuating are courtesy of FCSO.