NEW YORK — Esther Tauscher stood outside her Staten Island home, leafing through boxes of family photos that had been steeped in storm water. She paused to point out life events — her honeymoon, holding her baby boy in a hospital bed.
The photos are just about all she has left. Behind her, the home where she and her family lived for 14 years was being dismantled by a masked volunteer crew that tossed out her possessions and ripped out floorboards and walls.
It was Tauscher’s only option. Her house and nearly everything in it was consumed by mold.
Three months after Hurricane Sandy, mold lurks in once-waterlogged buildings, hiding below subflooring, along foundations, and in door and window frames. Sometimes it mottles walls in plain sight. And it can make dwellers sick, another blow to people still recovering from the October storm that sent the Atlantic surging into homes in New Jersey and New York.
Mold remediation can cost as much as $15,000 and require people to leave their homes for days.