Air quality testing under way at SPD after bat infestation discovery
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
Shreveport police hired a company to test the air quality at their headquarters on Friday to determine whether employees have been exposed to anything dangerous in the air because of a bat infestation.
After the story got out about the bats, several employees called saying bats aren't a new problem for SPD.
Shreveport police confirm that bats have been seen there before, but never raised as much concern as it has now. "There have been bats in the building before, but this issue is more of a larger scale issue because of the number of bats we believe we are maybe dealing with and the odor associated with these bats, and again it's all in an effort to ensure that there's no health risk associated with these bats," said Cpl. Marcus Hines.
Bill Bretherton owns the extermination company, Vexcon. He says bats can be dangerous to humans. "You can hear them and you can smell them, it's a very, I call it sickening, sweet smell. Once you can smell it in a building like that, it's probably pretty bad." He says bats can carry diseases, which can be deadly.
"It has dangerous diseases in the guano which is the droppings and on top of that, they excrete a gas that can become explosive," Bretherton says.
Bretherton says it is rare to hear of someone getting sick from bats in Louisiana, but not unheard of. "Once the guano is disturbed, and it gets into the air, you know it can spread through air-conditioning vents if the attic is a return air or if there's leaks in the system that will let the things in the air in the attic leak into the return air in the vents."
He says for a big building like the Shreveport Police Department, it could cost around $10,000 to clear the bats out. "In the meantime, there have been some people on certain floors, third floor especially, second and third floor of police headquarters that have been reassigned temporarily until the situation is remedied," Hines says.
The mayor's office says the money to pay for the extermination will come from a reserve fund. That is paid for by taxpayer dollars and saved for unforeseen situations like this.