Seminole County firefighters dealing with foul sewage odor plaguing fire station

A Seminole County firefighter says a sewage odor has gotten so bad at Fire Station 16 that he simply can’t take it anymore.

"It smelled like somebody had overflowed their toilet in the in the station," said firefighter and EMT Josh Baker.

The Seminole County Fire Department told FOX35 that May 11th – the day before Mother’s Day – a faulty part caused a lift station to send foul odors through Fire Station 16.

They worked to deodorize the smell, but Baker says it keeps coming back.

"Yesterday was kind of the straw that broke my back," he said. "I pulled in and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was extremely strong again."

The thing is, this isn’t actually a new problem.

The lift station has had issues in years past, Station 16 has gone through three bathroom remodels.

Back in 2018, FOX 35 reported on sewage bubbling out of the drains. At that time, we reported it had been a problem for 3 years already.

"Eventually you get tired of it, you're tired of living like that," Baker said.

So, each time things get fixed, but only temporarily.

"It's always just like a Band-Aid," said Baker. That’s the same thing we heard back in 2018.

The Seminole County Fire Department says their facilities manager and a third-party vendor both confirmed, this is not a threat to the firefighters’ health and safety. Although the Department admits the odor is onerous, the firefighters aren’t actually exposed to sewage.

Baker disagrees about whether this is a safety risk.

His argument is, the firefighters work 24-hour shifts. They come back to the fire station as their home base, they eat their meals there, they sleep there.

So if the bad smell keeps them awake, or stresses them out, he feels that’s a threat to their safety, and that of the community.

"Every citizen of Seminole County relies on us to be on our A-game when we show up, no matter what the call is, and that's what they deserve. But if I've been laying in this and I'm exhausted, I can't focus or I can't function, am I really serving the citizen the way I should be?"

The Seminole County Fire Department said in a statement:

"We understand the inconvenience of this issue on our firefighters who reside at the station and are working diligently to determine and resolve [it]."

Baker says he wants a permanent fix.

"We as firemen serving the community, we deserve to at least have somewhere to be for 24 hours that's semi livable. I mean, we're not asking for Taj Mahal by any means."

The Fire Department says they’ve already ordered the new part for the lift station, they’re just waiting on it to get here.