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After the Storm

2011 September 26

By Denise Owens

After the departure of Hurricane Irene, I was left with tons of damage and cleanup. My basement was my first concern. I couldn’t believe the amount of water I was seeing, but with the electricity off, I had to wait until the morning to actually see what was damaged.

I knew my first priority was to get the water out as quickly as possible because of the danger of mold . The electricity being out for a week made it harder, but I just had to get it done.

With the water gone, the next step was to remove the carpet to get the basement dry. Then I realized the walls were damaged. Since my home is older, I had paneling instead of drywall; it also had to be removed. Proper clean-up was necessary to avoid mold showing up later.

After I cleaned the basement, I just didn’t feel safe or comfortable with my results, so I hired a professional company to come out and do a thorough cleaning. After the company cleaned for hours, they assured me that I wouldn’t have any further problems and my basement was mold-free.

I didn’t realize it would take me so long to get things back to normal, but I’m so happy that my basement is mold free!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency for over 20 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    September 26, 2011

    Natural Selection : Disasters phobia….

    I have been feeling and seeing my neighborhoods and the people of the countries are sadness and sufferance. The storming, flooding, landsliding, famine, earthquake, recession, revolution, regional/ethnic conflict and all the people say those are disasters. Really, we scare to our disasters. We have infected disasters phobia…….!

  2. EMMANUEL LLOYD HALL permalink
    September 26, 2011

    WE ARE STILL IN THE CALM….. BEFORE THE STORM.

  3. DIANE ASHTON-CAUCCI permalink
    September 27, 2011

    DO TO POOR GRADE PLUMBING SUPPLIES AND EXCESSIVE LEVELS OF CHEMICALS IN MY WELL WATER, I’VE HAD 17 BUSTED PIPES OVER THE PAST 23 YRS. IN 1989 I WAS DIAGNOSISED WITH ASTHMA. IN 2006 I WAS HOSPITALIZED VIA 911 SINCE I COULD NOT BREATH AFTER TWO WEEKS OF BEING TREATED FOR PNEUMONIA. HOWEVER, IN THE ER THEY IMMEDIATELY SAW DARK CLOUDS IN BOTH LUNGS AND SUSPECTED LEGIONAIRES DISEASE. WITH ADDITIONAL TESTS AND BROCHIALE LAVAGE, THEY FOUND THAT MY LUNGS WERE FILLED WITH MOLD. SINCE I HAD A COMPROMISED RESPIRATORY SYSTEM DUE TO ASTHMA, MY LUNGS WERE NOT ABLE TO EXPELL THE MOLD I BREATHED IN AT MY HOME. WHILE HOSPITALIZED, FRIENDS CAME TO MY HOME AND FOUND MOLD, CLEANED WHAT THEY FOUND AND I CAME HOME ON LARGE DOSES OF STEROIDS TO HEAL. I WAS WEANED DOWN TO 5MG A DAY AND STAYED THERE TIL THIS PAST DEC 10TH WHEN MY PULMONARY SPEC. DECIDED TO TAKE ME OFF STEROIDS TOTALLY DUE TO MY OSTEOPOROSIS. BY DEC 26TH, I HAD THE SAME BREATHING PROBLEMS. BY MARCH, I WAS IN UNIV OF PENN WITH THE SAME MOLD PROBLEM GROWING IN MY LUNGS. AFTER A LUNG BIOPSY IT IS DETERMINED THAT I HAVE EOSIPHILIC PNEUMONIA, A CONDITION THAT IS LIKELY TO PROGRESS TO CHURGG STRAUSS SYNDROME. I’M ONLY THE REPORTED CASE AT HUP AND AM BEING MONITORED CLOSELY. HOWEVER, MY HOME STILL HAS HIDDEN POCKETS OF MOLD. I PAID A CO TO REMOVE WHAT IS EXPOSED, BUT BELIEVE THERE IS MORE HIDING IN PLACES NOT YET CLEANED. I WHERE A MASK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE IN MY HOME, EVEN IN THE SHOWER. IF I DON’T MOVE, I’M LIKELY TO LIMIT MY LIFE TO ONLY ANOTHER 5 YRS. I’M A DISABLED WIDOW, CURRENTLY IN A METAL BODY BRACE DUE TO RECENT FRACTURES FROM A FALL DURING HURRICANE IRENE AND HAVE A VERY LIMITED INCOME.
    IS THERE ANY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY THAT CAN PROVIDE ASSISTANCE AND SEEING THAT ‘ALL’ MOLD IS GONE FROM MY HOME BY PROVIDING AN EXTENSIVE AND COMPLETE MOLD REMEDIATION CLEAN UP? PLEASE HELP ME FIND SOME HELP IN TRYING TO GET SOME MUCH NEEDED HELP.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ADVISE.
    DIANE ASHTON-CAUCCI

  4. Terry permalink
    September 27, 2011

    Denise…your blog brought the personal hassle of dealing with the hurricane into focus. I hope that all you have done pays off with a mold free home.

  5. Dan permalink
    February 27, 2012

    Hi Denise, I’m glad you were able to cleanup after the storm. I’m sure both yourself and the “professional cleaners” were able to get the job done right. Did you consider having an independent mold tester perform an air sample mold test to ensure the cleanup was adequate?

  6. dowens permalink*
    February 28, 2012

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for asking about the air and the mold at my house. Actually I did have my place tested for air and mold. The air is OK and I’m mold free!!

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