Rochester, NY – A Hamlin man, injured by mold that grew in his house after a plumbing mishap, will get more than $8,000 in aid from Monroe County for demolishing the structure. The money – $8,425 from the county’s home investment partnerships program – will go directly to a contractor, a county spokeswoman said today. Further details will be announced at a 1:30 p.m. news conference, with remarks by county executive Maggie Brooks.
James Lamparella, 34, discovered a broken pipe had flooded his house two years ago after a 15-day family vacation. “It can happen to anyone,” he said of the mold that soon appeared. “It can ruin anyone.” The $150,000 Hamlin house, complete with its unfinished addition, will be torn down Friday.
Within three weeks of the flooding, Lamparella, a technician at Highland Hospital, was hospitalized for an asthma-like condition caused by mold spores that lodged in his lungs. In the last year, he has been hospitalized 10 times for severe respiratory distress, and is now dependent on portable oxygen.
Some molds are hazardous and toxic to people with respiratory conditions. For six years before the incident, Lamparella had been a controlled asthmatic.
Since the exposure to toxic mold in 2003, the father of two and one-time volunteer firefighter has lost 50 percent of his lung capacity and has gone on disability. Therapeutic steroids, Lamparella added, have made him a diabetic.
“We fought the fight, and we lost,” he said of his insurance battle, which netted a small settlement. Lamparella estimates he has lost $360,000 in clothing, furnishings, lost wages and medical expenses, in addition to the cost of the house.
The Lamparella family moved out of the house the day they got back from vacation, and have lived since then with family or in temporary apartments.
James Lamparella, his wife Dawn (a restaurant manager) and their two children, 5-year-old Alexander and 4-year-old Katie Lynne, now live in the home of Dawn’s mother, who is hospitalized with cancer. “It’s been a two-year nightmare,” said Cheryl Lamparella of Chili, James’s mother. “I give them a lot of credit for their love and for sticking together.” “A fire (instead) would have been a blessing,” she said. “I never thought I’d say that. But (with a fire), you pick up your life and move on.”
Both children and Dawn Lamparella also have suffered respiratory ailments, said the elder Mrs. Lamparella, with the children regularly needing inhalers and medicated-spray nebulizing treatments to ease their breathing. The Lamparella family, eager to get back on its feet financially, is this week setting up a fund at at local bank for donations.
County grants $8,425 to aid toxic mold victims.