Mold problem at storage facility a remnant of Sandy
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 28, 2012 | 1413 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Workers pile memories and destroyed items into dumpsters. Roughly 500 units were flooded at Access Storage in Long Island City during Hurricane Sandy.
Workers pile memories and destroyed items into dumpsters. Roughly 500 units were flooded at Access Storage in Long Island City during Hurricane Sandy.
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With Newtown Creek in its backyard, it didn't take much time for Hurricane Sandy to push flood waters into the basement of Access Storage in Long Island City. Over 500 units were damaged, and many are now at the root of a growing mold problem.

After the hurricane hit, it took employees a week to return to work because of a lack of electricity. As of Monday, 70 lockers in the basement, many of which contained pictures and family heirlooms, have yet to be cleaned out.

Michele Cavaliere, director of operations at the site, said that she is afraid mold will grow inside of the lockers and will cause future damage for the entire facility.

“Our first priority was to contact tenants,” said Cavaliere. “It's up to the tenant to determine what to dispose of or what they are going to keep.”

In order to deal with the damage, Access hired Servpro, a company that specializes in fire and water damage. Some of the workers were wearing haz-mat suits, but Cavaliere said that the facility is not contaminated from the water from Newtown Creek, which is a federal Superfund site due to its extreme pollution.

“It's strictly a precaution,” she said.

Cavaliere said the area is cold and wet, and Servpro employees are wearing the protective gear because of the mole. She said that Access has been told that the water from Newtown Creek has not left behind any contamination that could cause a health problem.

“That's just their standard operating procedure,” she said.

Without access to a computer system and with over 500 storage units, Cavaliere said that confusion did occur and a number of locks were cut that shouldn't have been. However, she said that the staff corrected these issues by putting a lock back on the unit.

“We have mad a couple of miscues,” she admitted.

If tenants don't clean out their units soon, Cavaliere said that Access will have to clean them out. She said that the staff has been making phone calls to the tenants and updating the company's website, but the overall welfare of the facility is a priority.

“We are letting them know that we are going to have to get into their unit and give them a time frame, we don't want to do that,” Cavaliere said, adding that 90 percent of what is in the units cannot be saved. “It's just too dangerous to leave it.”

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