More than 1,000 Fort Bragg soldiers need a new home thanks to mold [Updated]
As many as 12 barracks must be evacuated so the Army can renovate or replace the damaged housing.
More than 1,000 soldiers have to leave their barracks at Fort Bragg after an inspection found the conditions ripe for mold and other issues that makes them not fit for living in.
The decision was announced on Thursday, Aug. 4 and follows an inspection by Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston. The audit found that 10-12 barracks in the Smoke Bomb Hill section of Fort Bragg did not meet modern HVAC standards. Military Times first reported the news. Problems with the barracks include moisture levels above what is recommended, which could lead to mold growth. Approximately 1,200 soldiers stationed at the base have to be relocated. The Army intends to complete that process over the next 30 days, in a phased approach, according to a statement given to Military Times. Currently the base commanders are working to identify places to move the affected troops to.
It’s the latest problem to plague the base, and also not even the first time mold or mold-like conditions forced soldiers to be relocated. In 2020 approximately 200 soldiers from 1st Special Forces Command were temporarily moved after mold was found in their living quarters. However, that only occurred after an anonymous complaint was filed, not because of an inspection. That same year three families living on the base filed a class action lawsuit against the base’s housing partner for several issues with their on-post homes, including mold.
Among other issues, mold can lead to respiratory problems with prolonged exposure.
The Army base in North Carolina is home to approximately 53,700 soldiers and is the headquarters of the Army’s Airborne Corps and Special Operations Command. The relocation impacted multiple units, including at least one falling under Special Operations Command. The troop relocations will impact operations, according to the base.
The Army intends to demolish most of the barracks, which were built in the 1970s during the transition to the military being all-voluntary, and build new ones, but also renovate a portion of the affected area. The Army has not said how long the process of demolition and replacement will take, nor how long the affected units will be stuck in temporary living conditions.
The Fort Bragg news is not the first military-related housing issue of the year. In May, roughly 60 sailors stationed at Naval Base Key West, Florida were forced to move out of their barracks due to renovations, and had to choose between off-base apartments or costly trailers.
UPDATE: Since this story was first published, Fort Bragg gave a statement to Task & Purpose. The statement, unsigned but from the Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs Office, confirmed that 10-12 barracks are affected, and it will be a phased relocation. Operations at the base will not be impacted. This piece has been updated with those confirmations.
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