Recent rains raise mold concerns

Professionals seeing uptick in recent weeks

Recent rains raise mold concerns

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - Good neighbors who regularly check on the elderly in their Desert Hot Springs mobile home park recently discovered that 80-year-old Lee Holcumb had a serious mold issue in his home, hidden in a spare bedroom.

"I never go in that bedroom, so I didn't know there was a leak in there," Holcomb told CBS Local 2 and KESQ News Channel 3 on Tuesday morning. "When I walked in there and saw the mold, I was just flabbergasted."

He is living on a limited income, so the neighbors decided to help out by contacting local companies to ask if they would do the work free of charge.

"It's amazing, everybody is coming together," Holcomb added.

J Anthony Plumbing agreed to handle roughly $10,000 worth of repairs to piping, while another company, Flood Response, is drying out of the home and doing the mold remediation.

"It is very, very extensive mold damage. Especially in the closet," said Todd Trask, vice president of mitigation for Flood Response. "The humidity has raised to get mold on the walls, apart from the area that was mainly affected."

While the mold did not spread throughout the home, the exterior walls were saturated. Trask attributed it partly to the heavy rains from this past Winter season.

"The extensive amount of rain we've gotten has caused leaks to really be seen to where a minor leak may have happened and nothing was noticed and now a minor leak comes through and we do the dry wall and low and behold we find mold behind the dry wall," Trask explained.

Some types of mold can create respiratory infections, especially in the elderly and the young. Experts suggested that to prevent mold, homeowners quickly repair any leaks when they appear. They also said not to place fans, or create any air movement, in an area where mold is present.  That could  the spores to quickly and easily become airborne.

They also said that mold removal needs to be "controlled" and the environment should be "contained". They said it is best to be handled by trained professionals.

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