• Hickory Social Security office closed after foul odor in building

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    HICKORY, N.C. - A Hickory Social Security office is closed because of a foul odor.
    The union representing the employees at the office on Southgate Corp Park SW filed a grievance in August about the odor, but it took six months before the building was closed and employees were relocated to other offices.
    “I just can't imagine what it would be, why they couldn't get it cleaned up by now,” Jackie Rowell said.
    Eyewitness News obtained the grievance, which lists the symptoms employees say they developed, including headaches, sore throats, burning eyes, and numbness in the face and mouth.

    Eyewitness News called the owners of the building. They said they're working with the General Services Administration, which leases the building, to determine the cause of the odor. The union wants a new facility built.

    “I'm concerned also with the health and safety of the public who may have come into the Hickory office,” Union President Marva Peace said.
    And people are still trying to come. An Eyewitness News crew watched car after car pull up Thursday.
    “I was given this on Monday,” Stephanie Abernathy said holding a court sheet with the address of the office located on it. “It has the times, the directions to the place, but they're not open.”
    Court documents, the Social Security website and even its 1-800 number all say the building is open.
    On Monday the Social Security Administration told Eyewitness News they'd look into the 1-800 number issue, but three days later the number is still directing people to the Hickory office. 
    OSHA’s response is below:
    “OSHA worked with the General Services Administration (GSA) to conduct air quality monitoring and find the source of the fumes. The tests determined that there was nothing that exceeded permissible exposure limits and since nothing was found, OSHA referred the matter back to the GSA and SSA.”

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