MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As people are able to assess the damage in their homes left from Hurricane Florence, mold is a huge concern and homeowners need to be aware of how and when they can safely move back in.
The After Florence: Road to Recovery series looks at one homeowner whose Socastee home was flooded. With the help of a mold expert, they are taking the appropriate precautions.
“What do you do? You can’t stop the water,” said Danny Allen, overlooking his Waccamaw River-front home.
More than three feet of water filled Allen’s home and he said now it’s time to gut the entire home and rebuild.
“It was over the countertops, over the plugs, so now when we start tearing out, typically you go two feet above so you can stop any mold that’s going to come into the house, so we’re starting stripping now and then by the end of the week hopefully it’ll be stripped. Then we’ll spray with hot pressure washers to kill any mold and then spray it with mold treatment,” Allen said.
It’s hard to visualize what Allen’s property looked like before Hurricane Florence.
“Typically there’s a 12-foot back porch, then a concrete walkway that goes to the dock and then there’s a floating dock, but me and my neighbor we tied ours together to keep from messing up the stationary dock and then it’s all grass,” he said.
Even though he prepared and barricaded the outside of the home, it was out of Allen’s control.
“We came in, took out all the appliances, 90 percent of the cabinets, all the furniture. There was couches here, a game room there. We kept it out to 30 inches and then it came over the boards and it came in. All of the wood is buckling here and in here. It’s all hard pine wood. Mold is more of a concern than anything right now,” explained Allen.
“That is the most crucial step in the recovery process, is to try to get everything dry and out,” said Dawn Schoolcraft, owner of Asbestos Inspections, LLC. "You have 24 to 48 hours until the mold really starts to take over. With the warm temperatures and the moisture contact, it doesn’t take long for it to start. The houses that don’t get gutted and dry out, this is what they will look like. It’ll start getting mold on all the walls, and it’ll be black, and most of the time it’s worse on the back side and it’s inside your wall cavities where you can’t see it.”
After chemical spraying, Schoolcraft advises to let dehumidifiers sit for at least a week and then have the area checked again to make sure no mold is left behind.
“We would come and take mold samples and ship to the lab and we can have lab results as quickly as the next day so it doesn’t hold up progress," Schoolcraft said. "If they are all clear, then they will start putting the building materials back, the drywall, the floorings, your furnishings.”
Allen tried to do what he could during Florence.
“You can stop it at a certain point. It stopped at Matthew but this is a way different storm," he said. "It’s bad but I’m in a lot better shape than a lot of people, I mean fortunately I can live in my top floor. A lot of people aren’t going to have a home to go to. For me it’s just the aggravation of coming back, all the cleaning and the work.”