Rapid Repair Program Focuses On Heat, Power But Not Mold
As the the city's Rapid Repair program ramps up, residents have found the one thing they won't fix quickly is mold. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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As a team of contractors tore down the water logged walls of Diane McEvaddy's basement they found a sea of mold overhead, and it was creeping upstairs into her living room.
"The fact is people can't be living in an environment where there is a mold issue," McEvaddy said. "My first floor, there is a mold issue. My basement? No one will ever live down there again."
The Rapid Repair contractors wear masks to keep out toxins and the putrid stench of the spreading spores.
There main goal of the program is to work on getting power, heat and hot water back into homes. Getting rid of mold is not a top priority.
"For rapid response, we will spray once we get everything stripped down," one Rapid Response contractor said. "We'll spray the mold with a moldicide."
But they won't remediate it permanently.
At a press conference Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the rapid repairmen wouldn't take much time on mold issues.
"It is your responsibility to clear out the mold and it's our responsibility to explain to you about the dangers of having it there," Bloomberg said.
McEvaddy said she is torn on the issue.
"It is a concern," she said. "But right now we are just happy we are getting help. There were a lot of days there was no help here."
When some homeowners found out Rapid Repairs did not cover mold remediation, they decided to do it on their own.
"I've been down here and I've gotten, what do you call it, the Rockaway cough," said Lenny Brecken, whose home was damaged during Sandy.
Going at it alone has raised concerns for some officials.
"There has got to be a comprehensive program of informing people so we don't repeat the mistake after 9/11 of having people poisoned by contaminates in their own homes without even realizing it," Rep. Jerrold Nadler said.
FEMA and the Environmental Protection Agency said they are currently providing guidance to homeowners attempting to remove the mold on their own.