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Mushroom-like mold sprouts in little girl's bedroom, mother wants answers

Mushroom-like mold sprouts in little girl's bedroom, mother wants answers (Photo Courtesy of Sinta Owens)

NORTH POTOMAC, Md. (ABC7) — A field of mushrooms sprouted from the beige carpet of a seven-year-old girl's bedroom, with no explanation as to what caused the unsightly growth.

“It’s disgusting, like it gives you chills to look at it," tenant Sinta Owens remarked.

Owens, her daughter Chloe, and their puppy Solstice live in a one-bedroom apartment at the Avalon at Traville community off Shady Grove Road in North Potomac. They moved into the family-oriented community in March of 2015, and pay around $1,800 per month in rent.

This week, Chloe returned from spending the summer with her father in Florida. Owens had also been out of town, traveling in Asia for work. That time away allowed the mold to take shape without detection.

“She was like, 'Mom, there are mushrooms growing out of the carpet,'" Owens stated. “And it looked like a little farm, like I had literally planted mushrooms in the floor.”

Upon making the discovery Tuesday, Owens says she immediately contacted management. She also opened nearly every window in the third story apartment to improve airflow.

On Thursday, a cleaning crew clipped the mushrooms and cleaned the dirty carpet. Owens, however, says black stains remain on the white molding. The apartment complex has also been unwilling to pay for an air quality test or simply say it’s sorry, Owens adds.

“I did not receive an apology at all," Owens stated. “I can’t even believe the way they’re treating me and the way they’re reacting to it."

ABC7 entered the community leasing office to get perspective from management. During that visit, a female employee rolled her eyes and referred to Owens' claims as, "ridiculous." A spokesman for the complex's Arlington-based parent company, AvalonBay Communities, later emailed ABC7 stating:

"Our policy is to respond to moisture issues or any type of service request promptly and thoroughly. In this case, we were first notified by the resident of an issue on the afternoon of August 29 and as of this morning the issue was addressed."

According to Owens, mold has been a re-occurring issue, with a flare up last summer in her unit, and again this July in her ground level garage. In both prior cases, Owens says she contacted management and had the problem addressed. Now, she questions the quality of the remediation used.

“I truly think there’s a health hazard in this apartment and it’s not a good place to live," Owens opined. “I’m very concerned about what we’ve all been inhaling.”

Owens has scheduled a doctor's appointment for her daughter and herself, plus booked a meeting with a veterinarian for their puppy Solstice. Work is also underway to find a new place to call home.


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