Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Mold Mess
What would you do if your house made you so sick you couldn't live in it? That's the problem facing one Miramar couple, and investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- Beth Crespo has been spending much of her time in the hospital. She says her dream home put her here.
Beth Crespo: "I was always sick. It got to the point I was always laying down."
Beth has physical problems, which she believes were caused by mold found in her Miramar home. The mold was discovered after years of leaks that either went unnoticed or were painted over by the builder.
Beth Crespo: "I have a 4,000-square-foot-home, but I'm homeless. That's the worst part."
Jose Crespo says, before all this, his wife was never sick.
Jose Crespo: "She starts to cry because people think that she's crazy. She's not."
Mold needs water to grow. The family found several water leaks in their home. The worst came from a waterline in a kitchen wall. A drywall screw went through it. When the screw rusted out, the water started to trickle out.
Jose Crespo: "It's like my wife's doctor says, we didn't buy a house, we bought a very expensive coffin."
The family looked into moving, but now that Beth is so sensitive to mold, every house has caused a reaction.
Beth Crespo: "We went to see three houses, and immediately I got an asthma attack just from walking into those homes."
Asthma is just one of the problems that exposure to mold can trigger in sensitive people. There have been attempts to get the mold out of the Crespo home, but they haven't worked.
Carmel Cafiero: "Where did they find it?"
Jose Crespo: "Where didn't they find it."
Scott Gelfand: "I've seen houses torn down."
Scott Gelfand is a leading mold attorney. He successfully sued the Broward County School System forcing it to clean up several schools with significant mold problems.
Scott Gelfand: "There have been studies recently showing that a tremendous percentage of asthma cases in the United States are attributable to allergy to mold."
Gelfand represents the Crespos, who are suing their builder. Beth is out of the hospital now and spending most of her time in the couple's RV.
Jose Crespo: "Until you actually experience this you don't believe it."
Carmel Cafiero: "The day after we interviewed Jose at the house and took pictures of the RV, someone egged both the house and the camper. Jose is convinced it was a message from neighbors unhappy a story might damage the value of their homes."
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