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Health concerns close Geneva Town Hall

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Kevin Hoffman
February 9, 2011
— An unknown odor at Geneva Town Hall forced the building partially closed this week after staff members complained they were feeling ill.

About five clerks and secretarial workers were given the rest of the week off as officials investigate the cause of an odor, which surfaced Tuesday morning.


A Geneva police squad car caught fire in the parking lot at 5:30 a.m. Feb. 2, spreading flames to the town hall and causing significant damage, Town Board Chairman Dan Lauderdale said. There is not yet an estimate on the cost of repairs, but crews Tuesday removed a charred portion of the building, he said.


Elkhorn Fire Chief Rod Smith tested the building Tuesday for carbon monoxide, but nothing was found. He'll continue to test in the building for the rest of the week, Lauderdale said, and state officials will conduct air quality tests.


The town hall houses both town staff and the police department, which is located on the second floor. The building is still open for anyone to check messages, but it's recommended they don't spend a lot of time there, Lauderdale said.


ServiceMaster, a Green Bay-based company that cleans up after fire and water damage, completed its duties on Thursday, but the odor resurfaced over the weekend, he said.


Cleanup crews this week are expected to replace ceiling tiles and use exhaust fans to clear the area, and town hall staff might return to work next week.


Lauderdale said the town hall easily could have been a total loss.


The fire started during last week's blizzard, but Elkhorn and Lake Geneva fire departments still managed to respond within nine minutes to contain the blaze, he said.


RELOCATED EVENTS

The following events have been moved from the Geneva Town Hall, which has been closed pending repairs:


-- Town board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight will be held at Lake Como Sanitary District, N3420 Dell Place, Lake Geneva.


-- Polling station for the Tuesday, Feb. 15, primary election has been moved to Como Community Church, W3901 Palmer Road, Lake Geneva.



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