Jan. 5, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A firehouse in Flushing has been forced to close temporarily due to a firefighter being diagnosed with scabies.
Engine House 320, located on Francis Lewis Boulevard near 37th Avenue, was closed Thursday evening in order for authorities to disinfect the station and prevent the spread of the parasite, FDNY said.
Scabies, burrowing mites that lay eggs in the skin and cause an itchy rash, can be spread through skin on skin contact or through the use of contaminated items like towels or clothes.
The FDNY told the Flushing Post that while only one firefighter contracted the parasite, an outside contractor has been hired to disinfect not only the firehouse but all of the firefighters’ protective gear as well.
Firefighters who have been in contact with the station house over the past six weeks have been given a special cream to proactively apply. This represents about 100 FDNY workers, according to reports.
Over the next few days, firefighters will not be responding from the engine house that is located in the Auburndale section of Flushing. They have been relocated to nearby firehouses and will be responding from there, FDNY says.
The infected firefighter has been evaluated and is currently being treated with topical medication.
The FDNY aims to reopen the firehouse early next week. However, the FDNY said it does not want to rush the decontamination process.
“We want to be proactive and get the job done right and not worry about a timeline,” an FDNY spokesperson said.
Currently, there have been no other confirmed cases of the infection.
A second fire house in eastern Queens has closed for scabies decontamination.
Engine House 251, located on Union Turnpike near 255th Street in Glen Oaks, was closed Friday afternoon to make way for cleaning crews, the department said. There are no details as to when it will reopen.