Ike Returnees Battle Chronic Mold Outbreak
Earlier return may have curbed fungus on Galveston Island
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 30, 2008 3:37 PM CDT
Residents say they may have been able to contain the mold had they been allowed to return earlier.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Initial relief that their Texas property survived Hurricane Ike quickly dissipated for many returning to Galveston Island who discovered colorful mold breeding wildly on virtually everything left standing. Damp, hot buildings were left sealed for two weeks when residents evacuated, giving the fungus plenty of time to nestle into the foundations and create a health nightmare, the Houston Chronicle reports.

After weeks of scrubbing and bleaching to no avail, one store owners plans to sell the building and leave the island, charging that more could have been salvaged had the city allowed residents back earlier. Battling the mold requires removing anything porous—carpets, shelves, furniture, toys—before bleaching to kill. "We're fighting against time right now," says a resident.