Two firehouses in Queens are closed after firefighters assigned to each station were confirmed to have scabies.
Both firefighters are being treated for the skin infection, and both firehouses are being disinfected. One firefighter with the infection had reportedly worked in both firehouses.
The scare started Thursday around 6:00 p.m. when a firefighter at Engine Company 320/Ladder Company 167 on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Auburndale was detected to have contracted scabies.
Out of a precaution, the FDNY closed the firehouse, cleaned all the equipment gear, hired an outside contractor to decontaminate and disinfect the building, and evaluated and treated all firefighters assigned there.
The firefighters were relocated to a neighboring firehouse and are continuing to respond to 911 calls in their coverage area.
Then Friday afternoon, a firefighter assigned to Engine 251 on 254-20 Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks also tested positive for the infection. The fire department closed that firehouse and took all the same precautions.
The firefighter assigned to Engine 251 had also worked at Engine 320.
The FDNY expects the firehouses to be closed for at three days each while all the firefighters are tested. Test results usually take a couple days, and during that time the firehouses will be disinfected.
Scabies is a skin infection caused by tiny bugs that burrow into a person’s skin and lay eggs beneath the surface. It causes irritation and itchiness and can spread from person to person through crowded living conditions and direct skin contact with an infected person. It can cause splotchy, pink rashes on the skin.