TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gary Elbon moved into a home on MacDill Air Force Base in April 2016.
It’s a large four-bedroom home with two and a half bathrooms.
When he first moved in, Elbon was very happy.
“From the outside it’s nice, it looks nice,” he said.
It took a while, but he eventually learned that it was what he couldn’t see that was causing problems for his family.
“So we didn’t necessarily first notice it. I would say we started experiencing health problems to the point we were like – what is going on, why are so many of us experiencing these problems?” said Elbon.
The health problems he and his family experienced grew worse the longer he stayed in the home.
“I started getting ulcers in my mouth, stomach ulcers, headaches, migraines. I was experiencing fatigue, my kids got rashes. So we all went to the doctor,” Elbon said. “My kids missed school a couple of days, and had to go to urgent care and there was no real explanation as to why we were experiencing these medical problems.”
He eventually learned other people on base were having similar problems. They all had mold in their homes.
“I’ve called maintenance out multiple times to inspect our house because we had a massive water leak from our A.C,” said Elbon.
The water leaked into the flooring and onto his carpet. That made the mold problem grow faster.
Elbon called the property managers and when they finally sent a work crew, the news was not good.
“The first thing they said was, you got to go to a hotel,” said Elbon.
They spent 38 days in a hotel. Elbon went by his home on base every day to check the progress.
The work crews took up flooring and discovered more than they planned on.
“It was just absolutely, it was horrifying – the smell. It smelled like an old abandoned home. They would work on it a little bit and then they would just find more and they would have to work on it some more,” said Elbon.
He documented it all with photos.
Attorney Natalie Khawam is now representing Elbon and other families with mold issues.
There have been congressional hearings on the subject. There have also been visits by Congressional Representatives to the base, but Khawam says the problems are still not being fixed.
“Nothing has happened. The only thing that’s happened is a bunch of talk,” said Khawam.
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