Local paramedic claims city building made her sick

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

METROPOLIS, Ill. - An attorney for paramedic Rhonda Riley filed suit against the city of Metropolis and now is asking a Massac County judge to rule on an injunction.

The injunction would require the city or Massac Memorial Hospital to stop any cleanup of mold that may be in the ambulance service building. Riley's attorney wants experts to come in and perform tests on any contaminants.

Pictures provided to Local 6 show a black substance on pipes as well as a black substance on a portion of a ceiling.

The lawsuit says the city of Metropolis failed to maintain the property on North Avenue and allowed mold, mildew, water, and other contaminants to collect over time.

"The purpose is just to get it cleaned up," said Linda Cantrell, attorney for Rhonda Riley.

Cantrell said Riley's filed a workman's comp claim because of illness from the mold. The goal of the civil action is to get the city to clean up the place.

"Since I've filed the civil suit, there have been numerous, numerous paramedics contact me saying it's become a hostile work environment," she said.

Cantrell said of the 17 paramedics on staff, more than half have expressed interest to her in filing their own civil suits against the city.

She claims last week either the city or the hospital tried to vacuum air ducts or paint over mold while paramedics were inside.

"It's just stirring up more mold, and when they leave they're requiring paramedics to clean up the building," she said.

Local 6 reached out to Massac Memorial Hospital on Wednesday. An administrative assistant told us the CEO was not in, and the hospital had no comment on the lawsuit.

The attorney for the city of Metropolis can't work the case because of a conflict of interest.

As of news time Wednesday evening, Local 6 had not heard back from the attorney the city has hired.

A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for Monday, September 30th at 11 a.m.

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