Live 5 Investigates: Mold complaint in public housing

Live 5 Investigates: Mold complaint in public housing

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Cedric Harley was 46 years old. He loved music, and playing classic tunes for his neighbors on Johnson Street downtown Charleston.

His family says he had severe diabetes and was blind.

He died in his public housing apartment last weekend, and his family has been working to clear out his belongings this week.

They were shocked at what they found, especially behind furniture in the apartment.

Furry, black growths were all over the walls.

"We discovered mold," said Harley's niece Cindy. "I just yelled out,'Oh my God, what is that?'"

They found what appeared to be mold and mildew covering the walls of the public housing unit.

It is behind the dresser and growing on the windows.

"The wall on the side of the bed… It's just covered," said Cindy.

Harley's family said the coroner found he had an enlarged heart, but they're still waiting to learn more about why he died.

Neighbors said they have not noticed major mold problems in their units.

Cindy said, "I just feel so sorry for him that he had to stay in here and breathe this in. He didn't go out much, only when we took him to the doctor or he had to come spend the day to our house."

She believes her uncle complained to the Housing Authority about the mold.

Don Cameron, President & CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority, said they have no record of Harley calling in a work order specifically for mold or smell of mold.

Cameron did see about 15 work orders for other issues such as appliances, water heater, knobs and lights.

He said they are investigating whether any of the maintenance workers noticed the mold. He reached out the manager of that community who said no one remembers Harley complaining of mold.

Cameron said maintenance workers and managers have the capability to file a work order if they notice other issues in a unit while doing repairs.

Cameron also confirmed the woman who lived in the unit before Harley moved out because of mold problems.

Harley moved in this past June.

"Why did y'all move him in here if you knew there was mold issues in this apartment?" questioned Harley's sister, Annette Gr ant.

Cameron said if someone complains of mold, the protocol is to inspect and treat an apartment and repaint it before someone else moves in.

He said it's essential for anyone with mold problems to file a work order as soon as possible.

The Housing Authority takes mold seriously not only because of potential health issues, said Cameron, but also because mold can indicate a problem in a unit with air flow or moisture.

The Harley family is now working with attorney John Hayes.

Hayes said they plan to perform a forensic evaluation to investigate the air quality and test the mold in the apartment.

Reflecting on her brother, Gr ant said, "I'm going to miss him, but he's in a better place now."

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