Jimmy Purcell, chief of the White Oak Volunteer Fire Department, said all 24 firefighters recently tested negative for the new coronavirus.
However, Purcell said he sought to take precautionary measures to prevent anyone from being infected by COVID-19 — or anything else. He’s a part of many businesses that are focusing now on helping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he ruled out purchasing a defogging machine that disinfects because the price tag at $19,000 was too high.
Instead, Purcell said he turned to someone he has known for at least 15 years to protect people from exposure to the virus: Jay Stone, part owner of Microblok Solutions in Longview.
Stone, who formerly worked in the oilfields and managed a car dealership, said he started Microblok two years ago, with an initial emphasis on spraying oilfields.
“Why this business?” Stone asked rhetorically. “I thought of something to keep everybody safe.”
Stone said his work did not require extra training. He said he visited a factory in Florida that makes a water-based disinfectant that is applied twice to surfaces to protect them from COVID-19, other germs, viruses, allergens and bacteria.
Stone said he first wipes down a surface, then uses a fogging machine to apply the solution. After the solution dries in three minutes, he applies the second layer, or shield.
The shield will provide protection for seven years and will stay intact unless someone uses a wire brush or another abrasive, Stone said.
Stone did not use a face mask when he used the fogging machine on fire department vehicles. However, he said he wears a mask, and sometimes a hazmat suit, if he works in a building.
It takes a few hours to apply the solution in a building such as a fire station, Stone said.
He stressed that Microblok Solutions is not a janitorial service.
“We are a sanitation service,” Stone said. He said customers are responsible for their own janitorial work.
Stone said since the pandemic he has reached out to first responders. He also does work for nursing homes and restaurants.
He offers first responders a reduced rate, Purcell said. Stone is scheduled to sanitize the White Oak city jail this week and work with other nearby police departments.
Purcell said he will continue to take precautions, such as allowing only one emergency medical technician to enter a building at a time where Christus EMS crews are responding to a medical call.
The News-Journal reached out to two other area companies that provide services to protect people in buildings from COVID-19. One company declined to be interviewed and the other did not return phone calls.