October 03, 2019
Inhofe, leaders discuss plan to address mold problems at Tinker AFB
Sen. Jim Inhofe and other leaders were at Tinker Air Force Base on Tuesday to discuss their plan to tackle a mold outbreak.
Several people have reported getting sick because of the mold, and multiple families have been displaced because of the outbreak. Inhofe said he and others are taking steps to fix a problem that some said should have already been addressed.
"We've found out that a lot of things that were supposed to be improved weren't," Inhofe said. "One of the contractors has been a problem for us. They have made several visits, made several commitments and didn't really work."
Inhofe has given Balfour Beatty Management, which is in charge of housing at Tinker Air Force Base, 90 days to come up with a comprehensive plan to fix all of the problems.
Inhofe, Air Force brass take action in Tinker housing situation
Some residents of Tinker Air Force Base housing have been speaking out for years about deplorable housing conditions that aren't being fixed. On Tuesday, officials spoke out on the issue publicly.
Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe (R) is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. When allegations of deplorable living conditions at Tinker base housing started surfacing years ago, Inhofe took the lead looking into Balfour Beatty, the private contractor and management company that built and operates the homes.
"Quite frankly I thought this was a problem that was unique to Tinker. I didn't know, and I chair the committee. So we had a hearing and we talked about it, then I concluded that, no, this something that is all over Oklahoma. Then we find out it’s all over America," Inhofe said.
Air Force gives contractor 90 days for plan to fix housing problems
Sen. Jim Inhofe visited Tinker Air Force Base on Tuesday to talk to leaders about ongoing problems with the base's housing.
After dealing with health and safety problems at 243 homes on base, Tinker officials say reports of mold are still piling up.
“The demand has risen," said Col. Paul Filcek. "There are more reported cases of mold than there ever have been. That’s because residents are more aware that they’re unsafe in the presence of mold. So, that has driven a demand pattern that Balfour Beatty has been unable to respond to .”
Col. Filcek says right now, they're dealing with mold at between 73 and 85 homes.
He says mold remediation is taking too long.
Sen. Inhofe, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says in the past couple of weeks he found out about 77 homes that lacked proper firewalls.
"I said, what else could be out there that we don't know about today," Inhofe said.
Inhofe has sought more funding for more staff to oversee housing.
Senator Inhofe Addresses Mold, Housing Issues At Tinker AFB
In a press conference Tuesday, Senator Jim Inhofe told media he recently learned that 77 homes on base lack firewalls.
“We knew about all of the other problems we thought, but we didn't know about that,” said Sen. Inhofe. “How many other problems are out there?”
In a letter sent to Balfour Beatty LCC Monday, the United States Air Force is giving the privatized company 90 days to come up with a comprehensive plan in addressing toxic mold, maintenance issues and flaws in construction.
“Week after week and month after month, it just not has improved at the pace that we want it to,” said Col. Paul Filcek, the 72nd Air Base Wing Commander.
U.S. Military Intensifies Scrutiny on Housing, Issues Ultimatum on Health Hazards
Three branches of the U.S. military have increased scrutiny of housing landlord Balfour Beatty Communities, with the Air Force demanding the company address health hazards and the Army and Navy announcing new inquiries of its maintenance practices.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an Oklahoma Republican, said he was deeply troubled by the Tinker housing conditions and questioned why it took the Air Force so long to act.
"These problems need to be fixed now and forever," Inhofe said in a statement. "If the current set of housing contractors won't do it, the Air Force and the other services need to find someone who will."