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Why Are Termite Infestations A Major Issue In America’s Fire Stations?


For some reason or another, the rate of termite infestations within fire stations is unusually high. Some experts believe that the disproportionate amount of termite damage inflicted to fire stations may result from firefighters inadvertently transporting termites back to the station after returning from termite infested homes where fires were reported. However, this explanation has a few problems. While termites, especially drywood termites, can spread from location to location by means of infested furniture transport, termites are not known for nesting within clothing where they can be unknowingly transported from place to place. Of course, this is how bed bugs are spread, and this explains why bed bugs are an issue within fire stations, ambulances and hospitals. But this does not explain why termites are a problem within fire stations.

Nearly four years ago, the Delray Beach Fire Station in Florida had to close for fumigations after inspectors discovered an extensive drywood termite infestation within the building. The decision was made to fumigate the whole building after the termites were discovered infesting government offices located on the second story of the building. Almost three years ago, firefighters in Hermosa Beach, Florida were forced to relocate to temporary trailers after inspectors found that a long-running termite infestation within the fire station and the neighboring civic center had weakened the structures to the point of near collapse. In this particular case, fumigations were not sufficient, as a 100 million dollar renovation was required to build a new station as well as a civic center and government offices. Back in 2010, a long-running termite infestation nearly destroyed a fire station in None, Georgia. The cost of building a new station cost taxpayers between 2 and 4 million dollars. A 2006 termite infestation in a Lompoc, California fire station required a fumigation and voters in Halfmoon and Waterford, New York recently rejected a plan to build a new fire station for 13 million dollars, as the existing fire station is no longer safe to occupy due to an extensive termite infestation. Termite infestations in fire stations are also problematic within the country of India, as a recent termite attack on a fire station in Danapith resulted in several important government documents being destroyed by termites as well as the structure itself.

Do you believe that a particular factor makes fire stations particularly vulnerable to termite attacks?

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