As soon as the Austin family saw the house in Ontario’s cottage country, they knew that it was the perfect fit for them. They picture their two young children playing outside in the oversized yard that was bursting with nature. To say they were excited was an understatement.
What they never imagined was that both of their daughters would fall ill soon after the family moved into their new home as a result of a widespread infestation of toxic black mold.
“It’s devastating,” said Bridget Austin when she spoke to a reporter during a phone interview. “You think you’re doing the right thing in life and moving forward and paying off debts, then everything goes up in smoke.”
The family, who used to live in Grimsby, Ontario, were so looking forward to the future in their new ranch-style bungalow that sat on 17 acres of land in Port Sydney, a small, close-knit community, just south of Huntsville.
Austin said that their realtor told the family the house was built in 2016 and that it no one ever lived in it before. Not only was the house perfect for the family, but the fact that they would be the first people to live their made that much better.
However, within a week of getting settled in their new home, both of Austin’s daughters, who were three and one at the time, developed high fevers. Her eldest daughter’s fever was so high that she was admitted to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with strep throat.
Though the girls took medications, the continued to develop fevers on a regular basis.
“The whole time we were in the home, they both were running about moderate fevers to high fevers,” Austin said. “We had no idea why.”
Then, a month later, they discovered the source of the problem. Austin’s husband and her father-in-law started tearing up vinyl flooring in the kitchen, and what they found was horrifying.
“We discovered black mold. It was growing up in behind the baseboards and the entire kitchen floor was black,” Austin said.
They found even more black mold underneath the floorboards in the living room, which had been painted white. Mold was growing in the cold air return, too, as well as the ceiling of the unfinished basement, and under the white paint that covered the exposed floor joists.
The family hired a mold specialist to test their home. The results determined there were extreme levels of stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, and aspergillus, throughout the property. Both types of mold have been linked to serious health problems.
“They basically deemed our house a tear-down”, said Austin. “They said that there is no amount of remediation that can be done to fix this home.”
Mold Inspection & Testing Toronto has years of experience performing testing in the city and throughout Ontario. We urge house hunters to arrange for mold testing before they decide to purchase a home. If the Austin’s had mold testing done, they may have never experienced the issues they did. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 855.600.6653.