SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of lawyers suing to have the Springfield courthouse closed released their own report Monday on the mold inside the building. This announcement comes days after the state trial court determined it would not rebuild this court house.
Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, the Hampden County Register of Deeds, said, “We were not going back into that building, it is not safe and people are dying.”
More calls to shut down the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield, as new information was released about the toxicity of the mold within the building. The Register of Deeds removing the remainder of her staff.
“If you worked in that building and you saw smoke you would all leave,” Coakley-Rivera said. “You wouldn’t wait to see where the smoke is coming from. Well this is similar, this is like carbon monoxide. You can’t see it but it’s there.”
Lawyers suing to close down the courthouse said the testing included air and vacuum sampling, as well as a swab and ‘behind the wall’ testing.
Laura Mangini, a lawyer from Alekman Ditusa, said, “As we have said since September, just knowing that there is mold in the courthouse is not enough. We needed to learn the species of mold found to determine if it’s dangerous.”
The State Trial Court recently determined that the building is safe. However, the report finds that there are “dangerous levels of several species of toxic and carcinogenic mold throughout the building”. The mold was most notably found in the office used by Judges Robert Kumor and William Boyle. Both died from ALS.
“We pulled up the rugs, we went behind the walls, we got the answers,” said lawyer Jeffery Morneau. “And it’s unequivocal: that courthouse is littered with dangerous levels of toxic cancer causing mold.”
The trial court said they will not be building a new courthouse and instead will be moving forward with a comprehensive rehabilitation and renovation plan that includes new windows, a new roof, and a new HVAC system.
22News did reach out to a representative with the trial court about these latest mold findings, they said that “the trial court declines to comment at this time due to the ongoing litigation.” The lawyers added that they will have additional testing done on the court house to look for toxic chemicals called PCB’s.