Disabled couple calls 12 for help with 'overwhelming' mold in home

Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Published: Mar. 21, 2018 at 6:11 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2018 at 11:22 PM EDT
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MINERAL, VA (WWBT) - A couple is suffering in their own home, and they don't know what to do about it. A mold issue is making their already poor health worse, and the frustrating problem just keeps coming back.

Ethel Bright and Bruce Collins moved into their home in Mineral in 2016.

"This was a beautiful little house," Ethel said.

That is, until unsightly mold and mildew started to invade it.

"We're talking about heavy duty black mold, I mean it was just so thick on the walls," Ethel said.

They're both on disability. He's had two heart attacks. She suffers from COPD and glaucoma. Yet Ethel cleans constantly to get rid of the mold - which keeps coming back.

"And it's just gotten to be overwhelming," Ethel said. "I'm constantly cleaning. I don't eat, I don't sleep some days. I'm just constantly staying on top of it. Wake up in the middle of the night, I cannot breathe."

It would cost the couple as much as $7,000 to have the mold professionally removed - money they don't have.

The couple says the problem stems from their saturated foundation, the result of water ponding in their yard around parts of the house.

"Most of it is right in here, you can see with your camera how wet it is, it's coming from over there, over here," Bruce said.

Bruce and Ethel believed the problem stemmed from runoff that had been flowing from a neighbor's washing machine.

"The water was coming over here on us," Collins said.

The Virginia Department of Health says poor drainage on their property is the biggest reason why Bruce and Ethel are having this mold problem. It recommends hiring a professional to get rid of it.

"It's very serious. It's very dangerous," Ethel said.

A health inspector also suggested that the couple build a drainage ditch along the property line and install a drain pipe that would take the water to rear of their property. Again, that would cost money they don't have.

So Ethel does the only thing she can do: she keeps cleaning.

"The worst part is watching my beautiful little house get ugly," Ethel said. "I like a really clean house. I like it to look pretty, and when I see the mold and mildew on my walls, it's heartbreaking."

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