Some Cedar Rapids area residents who lost their homes in the June flooding are now losing their temporary homes, too. FEMA crews are hauling away dozens of trailers due to a mold problem around the water heater compartment.
Jeri Spalding and her family went without a home for a month before moving into the FEMA trailer. “Up until a week ago, it was hell and then it was great having a week to call a place home, get the place situated, get the kids into a routine and now we’re going to a hotel, so we’re back in hell,” Spaulding says.
Her government-issued mobile home -may- have mold growing behind the water heater panel, but she didn’t take it off, because she worries about the health hazards to her eight-year-old.
“Well, with my daughter, she has asthma,” Spalding says. “It gets into her lungs and she can’t breathe, so she has to have an inhaler.” FEMA spokesman Vincent Clark says more than 200 mobile homes, the ones with outside water heaters, are at risk of having a mold problem.
Clark says, “We’re going to actually move them out. If they deem we should move them out, we’re going to move them out and replace them with different units.” For now, the twice-displaced people are being put up in a Cedar Rapids hotel, the Crowne Plaza downtown, which just re-opened a few days ago.
FEMA hopes to have replacement trailers in place within a week, but Spalding says after this experience, she’ll question the safety of anything FEMA provides.