Dudley, MA – A family who had to abandon their home because of a severe toxic mold infestation is experiencing another unexpected growth – the kindness of strangers. Professionals and friends are uniting behind the family, which is losing all of its personal possessions.
Town Hall employees and the Mason Road Elementary School, the children’s school, plan to set up an account for them at a local bank, said Board of Health clerk Maryann Gagner. Richard Power, from Commonwealth Environmental Services, is contacting contractors and building suppliers to help the family rebuild inside the shell that remains after demolition.
After mold samples came up as ‘TNTC (too numerous to count), Jason and Jennifer Jakubowski bundled up their three young children, Jacob, 9, Clair, 6, and a 5-month-old daughter, Lily, and moved in with family members. They bought the house in September 2005. A month after they moved in, they developed ongoing flu-like symptoms, Mr. Jakubowski said. When the family’s homeowner’s insurance wouldn’t cover the testing or demolition, both Commonwealth Environmental Services, which did the original home inspection, and Pro-Science Services, which did the testing, decided not to charge the family for their services.
Mr. Power explained how a family could live in a home with toxic mold and shrug off the side effects as merely the sniffles or a sore throat. “If you have a wet dog in your house, about 15 minutes later, you can’t smell that dog anymore. But someone comes to visit, they can smell the wet dog,” Mr. Power said. “They were living in this environment for the last 12 months, where it was getting progressively worse, but when you’re in it every single day, you don’t realize how bad it is.”