Black mold forces Ardmore woman out of apartment

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ARDMORE, Okla. ― A toxin that can grow in any home has forced an Ardmore woman from her apartment. Earlier in the week we told you about one woman's battle with mold, and how she claims her apartment complex refuses to help. Shelby Levins has the newest developments in the story.

Mold lives in most buildings and homes, and while some of it is harmless, doctors say certain strands can be very dangerous. Now one Ardmore woman says she now has proof she's fighting toxic mold that has forced her completely out of her apartment and left her with nowhere to turn.

“When you can't breathe and you can't get your air, it’s scary. Your hand, your legs, everything starts going numb.”

Brenda O’Neal first talked to First News on Monday outside her Ashbrooke Apartment. An environmental specialist she called in advised us not to go inside.

O’Neal took pictures of the mold infesting her home. She says it is what’s to blame for her health problems.

“Several times I’ve been in the emergency room, been in the hospital with pneumonia, double pneumonia, and breathing problems before I moved here,” she says.

But O’Neal is not the only one. Neighbor Jim Cavner lives just a around the corner in an adjacent apartment. He says his wife's health hasn’t been the same since they moved into their Ashbrooke Apartment.

“The doctors have run test after test on everything. They do know her lungs are bad but that should be affecting some of the other things going on with her,” Cavner says.

Cavner says he doesn't no for sure what's causing his wife's health to spiral down hill, but he thinks mold could be to blame and believes it's underneath his carpet.

“There’s something underneath it that make it come to the top. There’s something there because it comes up,” he says.

O’Neal says she knows what’s to blame because the lab results are back. Her apartment tested positive for stachybotrys, or black mold. A Dallas doctor specializing in chemical sensitivity says that can be one of the worst types.

“Mold, especially mold with micro toxins, can be very detrimental to multiple to multiple organ systems. Usually by the time people are diagnosed they have several symptoms involved.”

But state health officials and city leaders declined to comment, saying not much can be done because the state of Oklahoma has no regulations against mold.

As for Jim Cavner and his wife, their minds are already made up.

“If they find mold is here, I’m gone. Period.”

The Ashbrooke Apartment Complex declined to talk to us again, but they did call out their own environmental specialist to test Ms. O'Neal's apartment.

From Monday...

ARDMORE, Okla. ― One Ardmore woman says her home has been overtaken by mold. She says she doesn't know where to turn, but she knows she can't go back to the apartment she once called home.

“When you can't breathe and you can't get your air, it’s scary. Your hand, your legs, everything starts going numb.”

Brenda O’Neal used to live in the Ashbrooke Place Apartments, but now she can't even step foot inside her home.

“He [the apartment manager] wouldn't let none of us go back in there until he figures out what we're dealing with,” she says.

O’Neal and her son, Curtis Peoples, called a state licensed inspector in last week. O’Neal took pictures of the mold infesting her home.

Terry Bloodworth, a state licensed inspector and cleanup specialist from Davis, Oklahoma, confirmed he collected mold sampling from the apartment.

Bloodworth said he couldn't speculate on the type of mold until the lab results are back, but told us “no one should be allowed in that apartment.”

O’Neal says other apartment tenants have already moved out because of the mold. She believes it's the reason for her severe health problems.

“Several times I’ve been in the emergency room, been in the hospital with pneumonia, double pneumonia, and breathing problems before I moved here.”

O’Neal says she lived in Apartment 105 for more than 5 years, but for the last 3 years she says she’s been battling the harmful mold and wants something done about it.

“I had to be referred to a neurologist. They said I have neuropathy. That can't be reversed or cured.”

O’Neal says the infestation broke out after her place flooded about over 3 years ago, and she's been trying to get help from apartment management ever since. But managers have refused to help her and denied any problems.

“I’ve done everything but get on my hands to try and get me some help and fix things over here.”

We tried to talk to the apartment management about the issue, but the area manager refused an interview.

“I just wish more people would look at the smaller people like me. When they have a request they would look into it before something else happens.”



 
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