Family Learns Mold Lesson the Hard Way

For four years now, the Traynor family has been waiting to go home. Before they can walk in, though, $75,000 worth of work needs to be done to a house that was recently assessed as being worth $100.

The problems started with a 2001 water pipe break. Within days mold started to grow in the basement of their Green Township home. Paige Traynor-Welsh says her insurance company, Farmer's Insurance, hired crews to clean the mold two separate times, but both times missed it.

She says the mold got into the duct system and soon, her entire home was covered black spots of mold. Her children had trouble breathing; she got rashes and lost her hearing. An environmental test run on the house showed it had dangerous levels of Toxic Mold, or mold that releases toxic spores. The house and everything in it was contaminated.

"I received a call and [the doctors said] get out of the house," Traynor-Welsh says.

But that was only the beginning of the nightmare. She says Farmer's failed to pay off her policy or contribute to the $75,000 it will take to clean the mold out. She says the insurance company did nothing, while she lived in her car because she couldn't afford to pay for a new place to live.

Farmer's declined an interview for this story, saying it has no comment due to a pending lawsuit. Traynor-Welsh is currently suing the company.

She's telling her story in hopes others will learn from her ordeal. She says she wishes she would've checked with the Ohio Department of Insurance before she bought the policy on her house, because there are other complaints against Farmer's. She also says, if you have mold damage, be sure the company that comes to clean it is licensed. The company that worked in her home twice, was not. And Ohio has no disclosure law, so people selling a home do not have to tell potential buyers there's mold in the house. She says that's why she's worked two jobs for the last four years to pay for the house she can't live in, just so nobody goes through what her family has.

"If I'm out there and I can stop this from happening to another family, then it's worth it."