‘This could happen to anyone:’ Dangerous black mold plagues Temple homeowners

Home reportedly suffered flood damage in the wake of February 2021 freeze
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 4:19 PM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The 2021 freeze affected many Central Texans, but the effects from the freeze are still lingering for two new Temple residents.

Experts said that when pipes burst in homes, there’s a likelihood for dangerous mold to grow. That’s exactly what a Temple family who moved to Central Texas from North Carolina about a year ago is dealing with today.

“We were due diligent. We had an inspection done. We worked with a realtor. We asked all the questions, and nothing was found,” said Lindsey Starr, who bought a home from Open-Door in Temple. “Now, all of this burden is now on me and my family when we did nothing. I had nothing to do with this.”

After six months of living in what she called her dream home, Starr’s daughter got seriously ill. The mother said local doctors could not explain the case, until one recommended a dust test be conducted inside the home.

Starr said the dust test revealed extremely dangerous black mold had infested her home, essentially making it unlivable. Her family even had to leave all of their belongings behind because toxins had seeped in.

“Our daughter’s bedroom was very high when we did the dust test for the mold, and , obviously, she was the sickest out of everyone,” Starr said.

Starr said they soon learned the home suffered flooding during the freeze of February 2021 and the previous owner left it untouched. She claims they missed the mold because the construction companies covered it up.

“If you have a musty smell, the chances are you might have mold growth. One is if something is still wet, if you have not dried it properly, the chances of having mold growth are pretty high,” said Lance Neidigk, the owner of Lone Star Mold Testing and Environmental.

“A lot of times, what people think is they dry the exterior of a wall and they say, ‘oh, it feels dry,’ but normally, it’s the inside or it’s the insulation that got wet that we can’t dry. If we don’t open that wall up and dry that wall cavity out, the chances of growing mold there are very high.”

Neidigk said mold is most likely in every home, but the black mold that plagued the Starr Family’s home could form if wet things are not removed from the home.

Starr’s daughter is doing much better now in a rental home. The family, however, is now stuck with a rent, mortgage, and a clean slate of possessions. They are waiting to hear from their insurance and Open Door, the company that provided the home.

If there’s anything they learned from the experience, is they now encourage Central Texans to get their homes tested for mold.

KWTX called Open Door for its side of the story. We did not receive a response.