2009 Ice Storm and Toxic Mold

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An Arkansas couple has been living in a hotel since the ice storm of 2009. Toxic mold forced them to flee their home, and two years later their journey continues. The following story was reported this week by 40/29 News:

ROGERS, Ark. -- The ice storm of 2009 caused a variety of problems for a Rogers family, including mold that has now consumed most of their house. They've had to live in a motel for almost two years.

It's been a back-and-forth battle for the Churchman family, from finding out their home was full of toxic mold to dealing with insurance companies and banks.

Now, they've been told to remove all of their belongings from the house, but being inside the house for too long could be lethal.

At first glance, everything looks normal, but when you take a closer look you'll find mold covering just about everything in the house.

"It got so bad that I started putting my toothbrush in the refrigerator at night, because I'd get up the next morning and there'd be black mold in it. It just wouldn't go away," Elizabeth Churchman said.

The problem began in early 2009 and quickly forced Elizabeth and her husband John to move into a motel.

"I guess I'm better off than some people. I at least have a bed to sleep in, but after coming from a nice home and going to one room, how would you feel?" she said.

Elizabeth said that in March of 2010, their insurance company told them the house was safe to live in, but further testing still showed high levels of toxic mold.

"(Mold) is the number one killer, and any time you get that in your house, you can't get rid of it. That's the killer. The penicillium, the clotusporum and the aspergillus. The aspergillus is what got in our lungs. It's the reason we're on oxygen," she said.

It's also the reason why they're forced to wear masks every time they enter the home. After 30 years of living there, she says she hopes something can be salvaged.

"All my babies' pictures are there. There are a handful of things we can salvage, just a handful of things would mean a lot to me, more than losing everything," she said.

The Churchmans said they don't know where to go from here. They said the bank has given them 10 days to get out what they want, but every time they enter the house, it just makes them sicker.


(Reproduced with permission from 40/29 News and 4029tv.com.)

To view the news story and accompanying video, click here.