‘Swamp’ is being addressed

Repairs continue at Niles Fire Department

032218...R NILES FIRE 1...Niles...03-22-18...Mitch Chasser of Howland, employee of SERVPRO of Southern Trumbull Co., removes ceiling tiles from the downtown Niles Fire Station as the work continues Thursday at the station...by R. Michael Semple

NILES — Niles firefighters are still displaced from station living quarters, but crews have started cleaning up the mess caused by leaks in a roof exacerbated by roofing construction.

Decaying roof decking discovered after roof construction began at the Safety Service building has caused a number of problems and closings at the building in the past several months.

Twinsburg-based Campopiano Roofing in September was awarded a $341,000 roofing bid to replace roofs on the Niles fire substation, Safety Service Building, which includes Niles Municipal Court, and structures at Waddell and Stevens parks.

In December, Niles Municipal Court was closed for a couple days and city council meetings were moved after water poured into the building and caused damage. Firefighter living quarters, which fire officials said have been substandard and leaking for a long time, were moved out of the department March 5 and into the Niles SCOPE Center after water, rust and construction debris started falling in.

Firefighters said the conditions of the living quarters have caused low morale in the department and some have taken to calling it “the swamp.”

Although some members of city council have expressed frustration with Campopiano Roofing and have called for them to be pulled off the job, law director Terry Swauger said they have honored their contract so far. Kevin Campopiano, operations manager, said when the old roof was torn off, it was discovered that much of the roof decking had deteriorated from existing leaks and neglect, and this, coupled with cold weather, has hampered construction progress.

Crews from Boardman-based Servpro have been in the fire department all week cleaning, tearing out ceiling tiles, replacing ceiling tile grids, ripping out carpet, painting and cleaning, Public Works Director Ed Stredney said.

The SERVPRO job is estimated to cost around $14,000 but it is unclear as to how the bill will be paid or whether it will be covered by the bond, Stredney said. Auditor Giovanne Merlo couldn’t be reached for specifics on cost because he is out of town.

City officials said previously the firefighters would be back in the department Monday, but Stredney said that is now dependent on when repairs inside are completed.

“We’re rolling the dice right now and it all depends on how long it takes to get all the work done,” Stredney said.