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Mold takes over New Harbour home, forces family out

Andy Williams, his wife, and youngest son, had to leave their new home of eight years after discovering excess amounts of black and white mold throughout the building’s four walls.
Andy Williams, his wife, and youngest son, had to leave their new home of eight years after discovering excess amounts of black and white mold throughout the building’s four walls. - Chris Lewis

Family hoping to demolish remains of eight-year-old home, rebuild on property

NEW HARBOUR, N.L. — Massive amounts of mold found in the wood of a New Harbour family’s home has forced them to move out and pursue a fresh start.

Andy Williams and his family moved into their home in New Harbour in the fall of 2010. Seven years later, in July of 2017, Williams was preparing to add on to their beloved home with some kitchen renovations that required him to remove part of the exterior siding, with hopes of building onto it and expanding the room.

However, it was this small step that led to the discovery of copious amounts of black and white mold that had invaded and taken over every wall of the house. Almost immediately, Williams and his family moved out of the home, salvaging what they could, and have not spent a night there since. Now, the home sits on the property, stripped of all its siding and furnishings, waiting to be demolished.

“I put so much hard work into this home, and now it’s gone. When I pulled back that siding and saw all the mold, I was shocked,” Williams told The Compass while standing outside the home. “When I pulled off the whole wall and saw it was basically covering the entire house, I sat on the patio and I cried.

“We didn’t even get a full 10 years here.”

Williams explained that the excess mold formed throughout the house due to an exposure to water. Although he is unsure of where exactly the water damage started, he’s been told that black and white mold that’s grown to such quantities should be treated with the same reaction as there would be to a house fire, meaning he and his family needed to get out of there as quickly as possible, and to consider the house a lost cause.

Now, Williams, his wife, and his youngest son Brandon have been living down the road with Andy’s mother and father. He is forever grateful to have loving friends and family in his life, and has seen nothing short of support from them, as well as the rest of the community since the initial discovery.

Health

Through the entire ordeal, however, Williams added that there has been one silver lining – his son’s health, which was rapidly declining while living in the home due to his allergy to mold, has improved.

“His entire body was covered in hives some days, and he was always in pain. No father, no parent, wants to see their child suffering like that, and we had no idea why it was happening, because we had no idea the mold was ever there,” he said, noting that once the outbreak of mold was discovered Brandon was moved into his grandparents’ home the same night. Since then, Brandon has yet to have any allergic reactions to the same extent.

Brandon’s allergy to mold was causing hive outbreaks on an almost daily basis, and although he was taking prescription medications for it, it still cost him over 50 combined days of missed school.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to know that something we did – building this house – was the source of his suffering. We thought maybe there was mold at school or something, but it was all here at home, and that’s something that will eat away at me for the rest of my life, I’d say,” Williams said. “But he’s healthy now. Hasn’t had any issues since, and to me, my son’s health is the silver lining here. It’s the one thing that puts a smile on my face throughout all this.”

Insurance

Now, Williams says he is dealing with insurance issues with his home insurance company. The home in question was once a mobile home, but was renovated and built upon to become a solid, stationary house. Williams explained that he did this in order to get the insurance policy he was looking for – a comprehensive homeowner’s policy.

However, after reaching out to the company back in July of 2017, the only progress he says he’s had up to this point is finding out that the company is under the impression that he’s had a mobile home policy this entire time. He says efforts to remedy the issue, or make any further progress with the situation as a whole, has seen little to no response.

“I’m at a loss, really. I have no idea what my next step is, to be totally honest. I have to go try and get a second mortgage, which is ultimately going to be bigger than the one I had, and even then I don’t even know if I’ll get it. If I don’t, then I’ve got rent and this current mortgage hanging over my head all the time,” he said. “It’s a really difficult situation for us, and we’re just doing what we can.”

Williams told The Compass he plans to have the home demolished within the next few weeks, as he fears it might pose health risks to those nearby the structure. After that, he hopes to start on a new home on the property, as the family tries their best to put the situation behind them.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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