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Dealing With Mold Two Months After Irma

Quincy J Walters
The dining room in this Estero home is cordoned off with tarp, as a water damage repair company removes moldy bamboo flooring.

It’s been over two months since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, but Floridians are still dealing with mold and many are just now discovering they have it.

Earlier this week, a crew from Rytech - a water damage restoration company - started the removal of bamboo flooring from an Estero home.

John Lavender, owner of the restoration company's Collier and Lee County branches, walked around to assess the situation.  

"We try to find the mold in a lot of circumstances like this," said Lavender, explaining that storm water came through the window. "We pull the baseboard off and in between the dry wall and the baseboards where we can see visible mold. That's our first appearance once we see that then we have to remediate that."

He said Irma caused water damage to homes and the prolonged power loss left few ways to prevent it from spreading. 

Since Irma hit, Lavender’s company and others like it in the area, have been busy. 

"Typically we do around 50 projects a month," he said. "[Now] we're ranging around 700 at this point and still climbing. So there's just not enough remediation companies in Lee and Collier to handle it. So we just manage it."

He said homeowners are paying nearly $6,000 on average to deal with the mold. 

Lavender said snowbirds are now coming to Florida’s humid subtropical climate, discovering mold in their winter homes. 

According to Florida’s Department of Health, mold is tied to some health issues. It can trigger asthma attacks allergic reactions for those who are allergic to mold.

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.