Galveston: Now Plagued by "Horrendous Mold"
GALVESTON'S long-suffering inhabitants have now been visited by a plague of moisture loving MOULD.
GALVESTON — It's black, white, green, blue, even calico. It feasts, floats and climbs. It can show itself, or not. It's toxic, or not. It can resemble a rash, pocket lint, a puff of smoke.
It can make your throat cough, eyes itch, head pound, or leave you alone.
The menace is mold, and it's ravaging water-damaged homes and buildings all over Galveston in the island's latest battle wrought by Hurricane Ike.
Residents and business owners who were finally allowed last week to inspect their properties may have been relieved to find that the structures survived floodwaters and high winds. But many discovered the damage done by various species of mold left to breed wildly in the nurturing environs of damp, hot buildings whose doors and windows were sealed for nearly two weeks.
At Maya's Grocery and Food Products on Avenue L, the grown children of 80-year-old Enrique Ochoa and his wife, 78-year-old Alicia, donned respirator masks, rubber boots and gloves and plastic jumpsuits several days last week to combat the mold, mildew, flies and fumes that have overtaken the flooded Mexican food store their parents had operated for half a century.
"None of us have training what to do with mold," said daughter Elizabeth Ochoa, a 52-year-old San Antonio nurse. "We just know it's nasty and you need masks."
The battle has become personal with her sister, Oralia Guererro, a 46-year-old speech pathologist in Austin. She's confounded by one particular species resembling a hairball that continues to grow on a pillar despite attempts to kill it with Clorox.
"See those balls?" Guererro asked, pointing. "I don't know what it is, but it comes back."