Firefighters in Volusia County say they've been forced to live with deplorable conditions at a county fire station between Orange City and DeLand.
"Firefighters have caught several snakes -- they caught a juvenile water moccasin -- and they've caught several rats," said Carl Cusumano, with the union that represents Volusia County firefighters.
Cusumano shared several disturbing photos showing one such water moccasin and a rather large rat, both caught at Spring Lakes Fire Station 32, off U.S. Highway 17-92 near State Road 472.
Firefighters said the rat actually gnawed his way out of the trap, eventually chewing off its own leg to escape.
Cusumano said firefighters have been complaining about the poor conditions to county leaders for some time, but their complaints appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Volusia County’s public information officer, Dave Byron, said he just learned of the rodent and snake problem Wednesday.
"So now that it's been called to my attention by you, we'll see what we can do to try to address their concerns," said Byron.
Firefighters said the only reason they haven't caught more rats is because they've run out of rat traps.
"I wouldn't want to live like that," said Cusumano. "It's a shame that our county administration forces our fighters to live like that."
When asked what the biggest scare was for firefighters when they're off to fight a fire, Cusumano said, "Well, nobody wants to come down the steps at 2 o'clock in the morning for a fire or a medical call and trip over a rat, get bitten by a rat or find one in their turnout gear."
Every fire station is supposed to be a safe place for someone to come to in an emergency, or leave a child in distress. But Cusumano said people may not want to leave anyone at Fire Station 32.
This is just the latest in an ongoing battle between county firefighters and county leaders.
Both sides are in the middle of contract negotiations, but Cusumano said it has more to do with a safe and decent work environment.