A scabies scare at a Flushing firehouse forced the FDNY to close down the station for disinfection.
According to the FDNY, one of the firefighters from Engine Company 320, located with Ladder Company 167 at 36-18 Francis Lewis Blvd., was diagnosed with scabies, a lice-like infection that causes a mite to burrow into a person’s skin and lay eggs, leading to severe itchiness and a pimple-like skin rash.
The firefighter has since been treated by a doctor for the infection, which can be spread from skin-to-skin contact, the Fire Department said. The New York Post first reported the story.
On Jan. 3, in compliance to the Health Department codes, the FDNY took an “aggressive, proactive approach” and began to deep-clean and disinfect Engine 320 and all of the equipment inside, sources say.
So far, no other firefighters have been diagnosed with the infection. The entire staff and others who had been in contact with the company over the past six weeks have been given a topical cream to disinfect themselves from scabies.
Located in the Auburndale section of Flushing, Engine 320/Ladder 167 serves the surrounding area and is one of the first fire companies due to respond to emergencies in the nearby northeast Queens neighborhoods of Bayside, Bay Terrace, Murray Hill and Whitestone.
The FDNY stated that the companies within Engine 320 are still in service and responding to emergencies in their area, however they are temporarily working out of other locations while Engine 320 undergoes cleaning.
At this time, the FDNY reported, it is unknown when the Engine 320 firehouse will reopen. Other nearby firehouses that can be contacted in case of emergency in the area include Engine Company 274 in Flushing and Engine Company 306 in Bayside.
Robert Pozarycki contributed to this report.