Mold detected inside a west suburban morgue has prompted the coroner to temporarily transfer all autopsy work to another county.
Kane County Coroner Rob Russell initiated the closure after maintenance workers found mold late last week in the cooler portion of the morgue at 719 S. Batavia Ave. in Geneva.
An air specialist took swabs of the black-colored mold and sent samples to a lab for testing, Russell said.
The morgue has its own exhaust system, so administrative employees will still be able to come to work, Russell said.
But no one is allowed back in the morgue area unless “absolutely necessary,” and employees must wear masks if they step in, he said.
Even though the mold type is not yet known, Russell said he deemed a closure necessary for precautionary measures.
It was not known how the mold developed, but Russell cited it as part of a list of issues with the building, recalling how the freezer broke around Thanksgiving last year.
“This is a symptom of another problem,” Russell said. “Every time I turn a corner, something breaks.”
It could take at least a couple of weeks for the lab to determine what kind of mold has been growing and how to get rid of it, Russell said.
Autopsies and related investigations will continue under the supervision of the Kane County coroner’s office, but will take place at the DuPage County coroner’s facility at 414 N. County Farm Rd. in Wheaton.
Families of the deceased and funeral directors will be notified to go to the Wheaton facility until further notice.