Yashamirah Sanders has insisted that mold in her Atlantic City home was the cause of her youngest child’s health issues.
But when her cabinets were removed this week, even she was shocked at what they found.
“I didn’t have any idea,” she said, standing in the kitchen of her Magellan Avenue home. “All I knew was that it was a problem and all I could tell them was that it keeps leaking into all my food, into my stove.”
She wanted to have a party when her youngest, Rahbiyah Higgs, turned 1 this week. But sewage seeping into the kitchen ended any ideas of celebration inside her home on Magellan Avenue.
Magellan Manor sent over someone to take out the cabinets. That’s when she saw the mold that she had been told was rectified.
The next day, the baby wound up back in the hospital.
“In February 2019, a letter was sent to the Health Department on behalf of this baby, who has severe persistent asthma,” a pediatric nurse practitioner from AtlantiCare wrote in an April 17 letter. “Today, the baby is here again for a sick visit for her lungs with wheezing and difficulty breathing. Mother reports that there has been no improvements made to her situation.”
The nurse also wrote that she had received a call from a Health Department the next day: “He described torrid, bysmal surroundings that were compounded by mold and sewage leaking from the toilet that did not have a seal ring in place.”
The same Health Department worker came after the cabinets were removed this week, and repeated many of those concerns.
On Thursday, Sanders and her seven children were given two rooms at the nearby Super 8 while work was done.
Extermination and mold remediation was expected to be completed by 3 p.m. Friday, Licensing and Inspections Director Dale Finch told BreakingAC.
That isn’t long enough to fix the mold issue, said Mark-Anthony Rassman, owner of Levi Construction.
“It’s not like 24- or 48-hour process,” he said.
He said the walls need to be gutted and the wood replaced. Just painting over it won’t work.
“Not at that high level of toxicity,” he said.
Sanders isn’t the only one at Magellan Manor that has a child with health issues.
Tenisah Grate says her 3-year-old son’s asthma has gotten so severe he sees a lung specialist and is on a steroid pills.
Her infant daughter often has “a smoker’s cough.”
She said she went to code enforcement about the black mold, and the management sent someone to paint over it.
“It was back three months later,” she said.
“Sometimes they put oil-based paint on it and there’s topical mold treatment,” Rassman said. “That seals it but it doesn’t kill it.”
It will come back, he said.
Sanders was brought to tears at the hospital when she met a father with a child suffering from black mold. He told her he lives in Stanley Holmes Village.
Sanders is now at a hotel in Absecon, after code officials came to the home Friday and deemed it still unfit.
The whole kitchen was torn out and a machine was left running to help with the toxic air. Workers wore masks inside the home, Sanders said.
A code official said management would have to find them another place until Wednesday. With nothing left in the city, they were sent to Absecon.
Sanders said the property manager paid for their rooms out of her own pocket.