LOS ANGELES (CBS2) — From the front, Judy and Walter Moore have the picture-perfect looking house. Tree-lined street, idyllic Carthay Circle neighborhood, a dream.
|Safeco insurance refuses to pay for damage caused by fungus which destroyed home
The back of the house tells an entirely different story.
It’s like something out of a horror movie. And they have been living the nightmare for two years.
CBS2′s Kristine Lazar reports the Moore’s beautiful home is under attack from what can best be described as a house-eating fungus and mold.
“It’s a wreck,” says Judy Moore, “There is no stucco in the back. The windows are gone. There’s particle board and torn plastic. It looks like someone who is in the middle of tearing the house down.”
The culprit? A little-known fungus called poria incrassata, or poria, for short.
The fungus literally grew overnight. It came through floorboards. It was like nothing the Moores had ever seen.
“It came through 3/4 inch wood,” says Judy. “It looked like French baguettes.” Adds Walter, “It was all around my shoes. It was creepy.”
Initially, the Moores thought the fungus was confined to a bathroom closet where a pipe came uncapped.
When a mold removal team came out to visit, they let the Moores know the problem was much more severe.
Poria can eat through as much as an inch of wood per day and the Moores say their insurance company — Safeco — waited 57 days to dispatch an inspector.
Crews dressed in hazmat suits broke the bad news. “They told us ‘We’ve got to stop work because the fungus has spread up into the walls supporting the roof,’” said Walter
. “And they had to bring in other contractors to put up a false wall to keep the roof from collapsing.”
Luis De La Criz is an expert on poria. Through his career, he has visited thousands of affected home in Long Beach, Newport Beach and Thousand Oaks. “It can destroy an entire house in six to eight months,” he says.
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Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.