Smell of tobacco smoke closes local children's museum - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Smell of tobacco smoke closes local children's museum

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MISSOULA -

A popular children's museum is closed after air quality concerns in the building.

The Families First Children’s Museum in downtown Missoula posted the announcement on its website, saying the building is experiencing tobacco smoke and smell from an adjacent and private cigar club.

The "Fool's End Cigar Club" is currently involved in a lawsuit with the Missoula City-County Health Board, which alleges the club is violating the state's clean indoor air act.

It was filed last year; the attorney for the health board said no trial date is set as pre-trial court proceedings continue.

While the museum has already done some air quality tests, staff are now testing specifically for tobacco smoke.

In the meantime, it'll remain closed.

"We as staff walk into our facility and smell tobacco almost every day and our guest have had the same experience,” said Roberts.

It's that experience that's forced the Families First Children’s Museum to close.

Nick Roberts, the museum's Executive Director, said the Fools End private cigar club moved in below the museum in 2016.

The smoke and smell has always been concerning, but in recent months Roberts said it’s gotten worse.

"No one wants to come in and be a paid guest and be confronted by the smell of tobacco,” said Roberts.

Museum staff don’t know how the smell is getting through.

"We don't know if it's the infrastructure is what's causing the breech, if the tobacco odor is coming from the cigar club…We don’t understand if it's the ventilation system, the foundation, walls or a leak,” said Roberts.

Another problem: the air quality. Roberts said an air quality specialist came in to do some tests. For several days, four monitors in the building were testing the air levels.

Results came back saying the air inside the museum was unhealthy.  

For now staff members are working in different work spaces away from the unhealthy air.

Activities normally held in the museum are taking place elsewhere.

"Now we feel paralyzed. Our museum has been closed for several weeks,” Roberts said.

In the coming days the museum will be testing specifically for tobacco smoke to see if that is in fact what's causing the unhealthy air quality. 

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