Mold drives single mother, 2 children out of Coral Springs apartment
Landlord didn't hire state-licensed mold assessor to clean
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – It started with a stronger scent in the house -- like a wet, moldy smell.
"My 14-year-old woke up with a migraine and her throat was hurting. She could hardly talk," Stacy Williams said. "My 3-year-old woke up. She was wheezing."
That's when Williams decided to look up at the vent and discovered mold.
"The air is blowing and I'm, like, itching all over," she said. "I was red all over."
Williams looked inside all the vents in her house. It was in all of them.
"I started crying and freaking out, because I said, 'How can this be possible?'" she said.
Williams ran to the office of her apartment building to complain.
"I said, 'This is what you guys have me living in, and this is why me and my children are sick,'" she said.
Williams rents a $1,700-a-month apartment at Club Mira Lago in Coral Springs.
Her landlord did hire a company to clean the ducts, but she said the breathing issues didn't stop.
"I told him, 'I can't sleep in my apartment,' and he said, 'Well, that's not my problem,'" Williams said.
Williams then hired David Siegelman, a state-licensed mold assessor.
The result? Extremely elevated levels of mold.
About 1.4 million spores per centimeter were found in the living room air-conditioning duct. Anything more than 1,000 is considered high.
Siegelman said the disturbed mold spores went flying once the air was turned on.
"The people who were there prior to me, alright, they made it worse, because they put it up into the air," he said. "They sprayed. They scrubbed. They did stuff. It wasn't the right way to do it."
Deco Dry Restoration, the company Williams' landlord hired, is not licensed for mold remediation. The company's website mentions nothing about mold. It touts carpet cleaning and air-conditioning duct cleaning to remove mites.
Woody Lear, the regional property manager for Olen Living, which manages Club Mira Lago, didn't answer several messages from Local 10 News.
When Local 10 met up with him in person and asked about the mold, he also declined to answer.
"I'm not gonna talk with you about that," he said.
While Lear is willing to let Williams out of her lease, the contaminants could remain in the apartment if they're not cleaned properly.
"It's an intensive, expensive process to prove this," attorney Matt Weissing said.
A legal case may not be clear cut in this case, Weissing told Local 10.
"It is a doctor who is going to come in there with scientific data and information and testing and analysis to determine whether or not her problems or children's problems are related to this mold," Weissing said.
Williams has moved out and is now temporarily living with family.
"We just want to get better," Williams said. "I want my daughter to breathe right, I want my other daughter to feel well and I want to feel well."
Williams said she hopes Club Mira Lago does the right thing.
"They need to do what's right and find out where the mold's coming from," she said.
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