The Mobile County Commission voted Wednesday to declare the Saturday, May 3 fire at Government Plaza an emergency and lease air purification systems to aid in the cleanup.

During an emergency meeting, commissioners Jerry Carl and Merceria Ludgood voted to approve the lease of 23 air purification units from Service Master for thirty days at a cost of $250 each, for a total of $5,750. Commission President Connie Hudson was absent.

On a request by Ludgood, County Administrator John Paffenback said the county would lease up to 23 units and would remove them as needed in order to cut down on costs.

“We contacted three vendors to get informal bids,” Paffenback said. “This is what we have right now.”

Paffenback said the county should be reimbursed by insurance for the cost related to control smoke in the building’s north tower.

“I’ve been up on the fifth and seventh floors and it smells like burnt plastic,” Carl said. “Whatever we do let’s make sure we do it and do it right.”

Mobile firefighters responded to an alarm at the 10-story building at approximately 3:21 a.m. According to a fire department statement, firefighters discovered smoke inside the atrium of the building and discovered fire on the roof of the eighth floor level of the north tower. The fire had breached two windows, but firefighters were able to contain the fire to the roof area and prevented its spread to the interior of the building.

A preliminary investigation determined the fire was caused by a heating process contractors are using to weatherproof the new roof of the building.