Cooling tower undergoes emergency cleaning

Officials are awaiting results of a Legionella test after crews were called in for an emergency cleaning at a cooling tower in the South Bronx.

The tower is located at a building that houses multiple businesses.

The tower is located at a building that houses multiple businesses. (8/12/15)

THE BRONX - Officials are awaiting results of a Legionella test after crews were called in for an emergency cleaning at a cooling tower in the South Bronx. 

The Office of Emergency Management ordered the cleaning at 903 Sheridan Ave. Tuesday night. The commercial building houses multiple businesses, including a deli and pharmacy, but they all remain open. Some employees say they are upset because they were never informed. 

The tower is in close proximity to Concourse Plaza and the Bronx Hall of Justice, both of which have cooling towers that previously tested positive for the Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires' disease when inhaled. 

One local property manager says the city should have known about the possibility for contamination before this outbreak began.

"I'm just shell-shocked that this didn't start 30 years ago," says Ricardo Domenech, the property manager. "Cooling towers have been going back that far...They check sprinkler systems, they check everything else."

The Sheridan Avenue cooling tower was cleaned by Metro Group Inc., a company that has cleaned other towers in the borough, including the Opera House Hotel. One of the workers tells News 12 that the tower in question looked similar to the ones that have been connected to the Legionnaires' outbreak. 

There have been 115 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported in the Bronx since July, including 12 deaths. 

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