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Air Conditioning Failure at Chicopee Police & Fire Creates Hot Conditions, Forces Some Employees Home

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s a been a miserable week for folks working at the Chicopee Police and Fire stations.

The intense heat, along with past storms, knocked out both departments air conditioning units.

Temperatures inside the public safety complex on Church Street got so hot that non-essential staff were sent home.

If you thought it was hot outside, inside the Chicopee’s public safety complex isn’t much better.

“It is almost impossible to work in there. You can’t ask anybody to work in those conditions. If it wasn’t a matter of public safety, we would have shut the building down,” says Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette.

Intense heat and recent thunderstorms knocked out the old compressors on two air conditioning units. That means the station’s temperature has been hitting 90 degrees.

Bissonnette adds, “Remember, for whatever reason, there is no other ventilation. These windows do not open in this building. It’s frankly a bad design left over from the ’50s and ’60s.”

That’s why non-essential staffers were sent home this week, as crews frantically worked to fix the roof units for the third straight day Friday, but it’s no easy task.

The temperature on the roof soared to over 130 degrees.

“It’s really tough. You can only do so much. You can see I’m sweating to death out here and it’s really hot. You can only do so much. You have to stop and take breaks,” says Rick Maciaszek of BG Mechanical Service.

Crews say that to get these compressors to start working, so the air conditioning can start flowing, is a slow process that simply cannot be rushed.

Maciaszek notes, “To evacuate these units, it takes a long time to evacuate, pressure-check, a lot of wiring, a lot of work to do inside these units.”

Mayor Bissonette says it’s taking time to fix the units because the parts are hard to find. About $360,000 is already allocated to install brand new heating and cooling units this September.

These temporary repairs are expected to wrap up Friday night.

Public safety operations are not being delayed. Officers are being allowed to complete reports in their air conditioned cruisers until air conditioning is back on.

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