Some residents living in Midland Beach are wondering who's responsible for cleaning up two nearby houses as their concerns about mold continue to grow. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
In the nearly six weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit, residents of a tiny cul-de-sac in Midland Beach said no one has come to check on two homes.
With their gates locked and "No Trespassing" signs posted, there has been little activity, except what residents described as the distinct smell of mold and mildew coming from a window broken in the wake of the storm.
"It smells like old, musty basement," said resident Nicholas Mogavero. "It smells like old basements smells. Damp. Dank.
"I definitely think we're gonna have problems all around," said resident Michael Daupheny.
Daupheny's house is sandwiched in between the two homes, which he said have been abandoned for much of the last 10 years and used primarily for storage. He said his own home, and the homes of all his neighbors, were flooded by close to five feet of water in the storm surge, and covered in mold when they finally dried out.
His neighbor, Cheryl Bradley, removed mold-covered sheet rock earlier this week. She said she can only imagine what's growing inside the houses that no one has bothered to check.
"Somebody's got to do something with these houses," she said. "They're a hazard. They're not good for the health over here, and we're living here right now."
In addition to their concerns about the mold, residents said they're also worried about rodents. They said they've already started seeing possums and even rats coming from the abandoned houses at night.
"There's no bread, no food out here for anything to eat, but they're coming in and out of this house and it's not good," Bradley said.
The Department of Buildings did visit the homes, but only to tag them restricted. Daupheny said he's been calling 311 as well as a host of elected officials to ask the one question no one seems able to answer: who is responsible for mold removal in an abandoned or vacant house?
The Department of Buildings told NY1 the New York City Department of Health handles mold, and the Health Department directed our calls to the Department of Buildings.
Meanwhile, residents fear the mold continues to grow.