New Amazon Fulfillment Center in Republic temporarily closed for non-COVID-19 related clean-up issue

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Less than three months after it opened, Amazon’s Fulfillment Center in Republic has been closed down temporarily for what a text to employees called a “mold issue.”

Longer than 22 football fields, the huge Amazon Fulfillment Center, a warehouse shipping site for one of the world’s top companies, opened in Republic on August 1, 2021. In late September, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visited for a welcoming ceremony to tout Amazon’s importance to the local economy with 2,000 employees expected to be hired by the holidays.

“Cutting-edge technology is right here in Republic, Missouri,” Parson said at the time. “The future is pretty bright right here.”

But on Friday, the Amazon employee parking lot was empty, trucks were backed up at the gate and only a few people were seen entering the facility.

When contacted by KY3 for details on what was going on and requesting an interview on the subject, the company issued a written statement instead that said:

“We are currently closed for cleaning, unrelated to COVID-19, and will reopen upon completion. At this time, we are not expecting any impact to our customers and all employees will still be paid while we complete the cleaning process.”

Some employees passed along this text they received Thursday night from Amazon with more details:

“Due to mold issues and out of an abundance of caution, we will be temporarily closing the site to assess the situation and ensure any mold is removed. Your health and safety is our number one priority. You will be paid in full while we work to treat the site. We will update you as soon as we know we can open up again.”

It was certainly surprising news considering the building had been opened less than three months but it is important to keep in mind that mold can form quickly.

“Mold growth can occur within 24-to-48 hours,” said James Stevens, owner of Dog Gone Mold in Springfield, who visited with us about mold in general on Friday, not specifically about Amazon.

After all mold is something we encounter every day and most of the time we don’t even think about it.

“Mold is natural in the environment so we’re going to have mold in our homes no matter what,” Stevens explained. “Especially when you have a leak of some kind like a roof leak or HVAC leak. It’s how much mold there is that results in whether or not treatment is needed. Generally it’s caused by high humidity or some kind of water issue. Every time we open a window or come through a door from the outside we have mold spores that come in with us. If there’s no moisture issue in the home those fall to the floor and you vacuum them up and it’s no big deal. The majority of the mold you’re around is not going to cause you any problems.”

There are more than 100,000 different types of molds and not only are most of them not a threat to your health, but some of them are actually helpful. Antibodies developed from Penicillin molds, for instance, are used to treat infections.

But other types of molds can affect your health in a negative way.

“The majority of molds cause allergies no different than pollen would cause allergies,” Stevens said. “But toxic mold is what a lot of people here call ‘black mold’ and you do want to have that professionally treated. The sheet rock needs to be removed so no one is breathing that because that can cause much bigger health issues than most of the allergenic molds.”

And since moisture is important to mold growth, Stevens advises to watch the level of humidity in your house.

“The humidity in your house should be between 35-50 percent generally,” he said. “If your HVAC is turned off for the week you’re on vacation and your humidity goes up you can get mold growth on your wood furniture, walls and things like that. And it can happen pretty fast. The first thing we do is stop the moisture problem first because otherwise it’s just going to keep going. Even if you clean it up it’s going to just come right back if you don’t stop the source.”

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