What’s worse than having your roof leak and collapse? How about a maintenance worker cutting into the damage only to reveal and then expose stachybotrys chartarum — toxic, black mold?
Heavy-hitting rains swept through Chandler, Arizona last week, which caused roof leaks all over the valley. Jessica Ford’s roof was especially damaged, allowing water to gush into her apartment.
“I woke up in the morning and my ceiling was gaping open,” said the single mother.
Ford immediately called her apartment’s management office. Laguna Village sent over maintenance crews, who brought an industrial fan. However, Ford’s walls were still leaking, which rendered the effort ineffective and counterproductive. Once things had settled, her daughter’s room was obvious water damaged, with water pockets bulging from the ceiling. In an effort to drain the water, a maintenance worker cut into the ceiling, revealing something far more sinister than just rain water.
“Mold,” said Ford. “Tons of black mold.”
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as toxic black mold, is easily identifiable by its greenish-black color. More severe than other types of mold, studies on stachybotrys have revealed that it can produce extremely potent poisons, depress people’s immune responses, and even hemorrhage target organs.
After failing to reach the Laguna Village’s management office, Ford received a voicemail addressing her concerns. According to a woman from Laguna Village’s corporate office who identified herself only as Andrea, “That drywall has a colored backing on the back of it and that is what the discolored spots are.” All the maintenance office did, according to Ford, was patch her ceiling. They didn’t replace any insulation, treat any wood beams, or test for mold.
With the health of her 6-year-old daughter potentially being at risk, Ford provided a sample of the mold to a friend, who just so happened to be a professor of biology. Upon examination, he found that it contained very high concentrations of stachybotrys chartarum.
CBS 5 News also took a sample from Ford’s apartment and gave it to Southeast Environmental Microbiology Laboratories, who confirmed the presence of toxic black mold, and not a “colored backing.”
Is this any way such an issue should be handled? How should this situation have been dealt with?
“I’m feeling even more scared than I was before, to know that it was confirmed,” said Ford, adding that the management company’s response is “a complete joke. It’s negligence.”