NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON -- A room located on a dementia wing at the Vermont Veterans home underwent air quality assessment tests on Monday after a musty smell returned following a "thorough" cleaning.
Administrator Melissa Jackson said a common room known as "The Club," located on the Freedom Village dementia wing, has been closed off to residents and staff until air testing can take place. Home air sampling tests indicated mold could be present, she said.
"A couple weeks ago we noticed a musty smell," Jackson said. "We did a thorough cleaning of the room and the smell went away. Š Then we noticed that the smell had come back. Based on that we got some home air testers and those came back indicating that there may or may not be mold in the building."
Jackson said she then contacted Crother’s Environmental Group in Morrisville to perform professional air quality tests. That was expected to take place Monday afternoon, with results available on Friday, she said.
"We’re doing an investigation and to err on the side of safety we closed the room down. There’s no visible signs of mold," Jackson said.
Some of the family members of residents on the wing have been told of the testing. A more detailed update will be offered when testing is complete, according to Jackson. Employees have also been made aware, she said.
"I was very honest with them that we’re not sure what it was," Jackson said.
Although a state building, it is not overseen by the state Department of Buildings and General Services. Jackson said the home has its own housekeeping staff, as well as its own electricians and cooling and heating service people.
Peter Hack, who has overseen several state building projects in the area for BGS, said Monday that the department had minimal knowledge of the problem.
"They called me and asked me who we use for consultants. I gave them the name. It was just a phone call. I don’t know the extent of it," he said.
Meanwhile, the Vermont State Employees Association said Monday it had concerns about possible mold.
"VSEA is very concerned about the reported mold issue at the Vets’ Home, especially with respect to what the potential health impact might be to residents and employees, if any. VSEA and its Vets’ Home employees are anxiously awaiting the results of the testing currently being conducted at the facility," spokesman Doug Gibson said.