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Toxic Mold Blamed For Health Problems
Apartment Building Condemned Because Of Flooding

POSTED: 6:33 p.m. EST January 13, 2003

WAREHAM, Mass. -- At least four former tenants of a low-income housing complex in Wareham said mold in the basement has made them and their children sick.

NewsCenter 5's Jim Boyd reported that the building at the Dept Crossing apartment complex has been condemned because the building inspector has determined it is in danger if collapse from chronic flooding.

All the tenants have been moved out, but previous tenants said that toxic mold has also been a problem in the building, causing health problems. Former tenant Julie Florindo said that she complained for nearly four years before leaving in December.

"I said there was mold in the rugs and there's mold and water in the basement, causing us illness," she said.

Florindo said that she paid to have tests done in the building, which came back positive for several types of toxic mold.

Florindo's former neighbor, Jessica Johnson, said that she believes it was mold in the building that severely compromised her 2-year-old son's health.

"I knew something wasn't right," Johnson said. "Before I moved in there, he was fine. He was just constantly sick."

Johnson said that she constantly complained but never got satisfaction from building management.

"It was nice and clean when I moved in, and then I started seeing this black stuff coming in through my window sill," she said. "They told me to put plastic coverings on the windows."

Officials at the South Shore Housing Development Corporation, which operates the complex, declined an interview, saying their attorneys had advised against talking about the mold problem, but they did issue a written statement.

"Depot Crossing Apartments is actively working to correct any problems," said the statement. "We are hopeful to have the apartments back on line in a very short period. We regret any difficulties that have occurred for the tenants."

Florindo and Johnson have each contacted lawyers.

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