Dripping Springs family claims apartment infested with mold from flood

Austin

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — All the rain we had earlier this month is still causing problems for many families. 

On May 3, Dripping Springs took in several inches of rain in just a few short hours. Twenty-seven units at the Springs Apartments flooded.  

One family said their home is now covered in mold, and they aren’t getting the help they need from apartment managers — and it’s taking a toll on their family’s health. 

“He’s been wheezing, he’s been coughing,” said Heather Navarro of her two-year-old son Hunter. “There’s times where he can’t catch his breath because the drainage is so bad in his throat that he just gasps for air.”

Navarro said the boy’s symptoms come from the mold in the walls. She claims apartment managers didn’t act quickly enough to keep it from setting in.

Mold exposure can cause respiratory problems like asthma attacks and sinus congestion. Symptoms can also include eye irritation, rashes or hives, headaches and memory loss.  

“You can see how high the water was and all the mold that’s growing on it. We’ve bleached it three times.” 

According to the Austin Tenants Council, a tenant is entitled to have a landlord repair anything that threatens their health or safety. That includes plumbing stoppages, a lack of hot water and leaking roofs or ceilings. 

After flooding, FEMA reports mildew and mold can develop within 24 to 48 hours. It will continue to grow unless something is done to eliminate the source.  

The Navarro family said it took over a week for management to come and cut out a foot of dry wall to inspect the mold damage. Now, management told them they will need to come back and cut out an additional four feet within the next few days. 

“We had crews on site as soon as it was safe to enter the area,” said Justin MacDonald, the president of MacDonald Companies, who owns the complex. 

MacDonald said he’s received several inspection reports which show no signs of mold in the units. The company is working with contractors, insurance carriers and city engineers to help clean up. 

“I think we’ve been doing everything humanly possible to get the damaged sheet rock and wet materials out of those units as fast as we could to stop the growth of mold.”  

Three weeks after the flood, Navarro fears for the future. 

“How much is it going to rain? Is it going to be fixed before it rains like this again?” Navarro asked. “Are they going to fix it in the future so it doesn’t flood again?”

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