Where once there was a multifamily home riddled with mold, by Saturday evening there were piles of rubble.
A contractor hired by Wellington began Friday to demolish a property the village had determined was unsafe after inspectors found high levels of mold, including Stachybotrys, better known as toxic black mold.
The mold was visible under sinks and behind kitchen cabinets in the White Pine Drive property’s four units, but a mold remediation specialist hired by Wellington found evidence of moisture in the exterior walls — a sign of larger structural issues, officials said. The village made the decision to demolish in January.
BG Group started its work Friday evening and continued through Saturday, Wellington building official Jacek Tomasik said. He visited the site Monday morning as crews loaded chunks of concrete, steel, drywall and other debris into trucks.
Two pieces of wall still were standing. “You could clearly see how much mold-like material was on the exterior walls,” he said. “There was at least half an inch of mold-like debris.”
Tomasik was in the pair of attached buildings several times before they were demolished and said he had trouble breathing while walking through the units. He was concerned when he saw children in the homes.
“I didn’t feel good about them living there,” he said. “I think we did the right thing.”
This is the third private-property demolition for Wellington. The most recent, “the blue tarp house,” a multi-family home formerly at 13932 Folkstone Circle known for the blue tarps that covered parts of its roof for years after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, was demolished in 2014.
Tomasik expects the total cost of the demolition to go a little above $30,000, which will be placed as a lien on the property. Once the concrete is removed, crews will make sure the land is level before adding sod or grass seed to complete the project, Tomasik said.
The property is owned by West Palm Beach-based AIG Enterprise Corp., but Wells Fargo Bank began foreclosure proceedings last year, court records show.
Since February, village attorney Laurie Cohen has been working through the courts to notify both the bank and AIG of the plans to demolish. A Palm Beach County judge approved an April 6 deadline for the bank to provide Wellington with plans to completely clean up the mold, but the bank missed the deadline.
Cohen said the property owner also had that amount of time to submit plans. AIG corporate officer and property manager Isaac Antoine submitted a permit application and payment before the April 6 deadline, but there were no plans with the permit and the check bounced, Wellington building officials said last week.
Antoine then submitted plans to redo tile in the kitchens and bathrooms, but those plans were not sufficient to deal with the extent of the mold, officials said.
“Both the bank and the property owner had more than ample opportunity to come in with some plans, and neither did,” Cohen said.