NILES Despite loss of home to mold, mom says dreams come true
The family hopes to move into their new home soon.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Even after watching their house be demolished and living in a camper, with family and in a hotel room, Tammy Pavolillo still believes in the American dream.
The family's new home was delivered Monday and will be anchored to a foundation on the same lot where their dream home was torn down more than two months ago.
Pavolillo stood by her car Monday afternoon, waiting for the work to start.
"This, to me, is the American dream, even more than the first house," she said. "This dream is a little better because of all we've had to go through."
What happened: Tammy and Michael Pavolillo and their two daughters, Krista, 8, and Ashley, 7, suffered from fatigue, coughing, rashes, headaches and congestion from the time they moved into their Fifth Avenue home in June 2000.
The house they bought was demolished in September after toxic mold was found throughout. All their furniture, clothes and possessions had to be destroyed.
The family of four, two dogs and a hamster have been living the past several months in an Austintown hotel.
The new house has to be attached to the foundation and utilities connected. They hope to move in by Dec. 14.
Two months after moving into the former house, they noticed a leak in the kitchen.
In March 2001, they were awakened by a stream of water pouring into their bedroom. When they tried to repair the leak, they found the insulation and deck paneling saturated with water and mold, Tammy Pavolillo said.
Their insurance company hired a forensic engineer and an industrial hygienist to inspect the home. The experts found four types of mold and 10 different toxins.
"The insurance company got the industrial hygienist's report back and told us to get out now," Mrs. Pavolillo said. "They said everything was contaminated and we needed to leave."
Where they lived: They moved out in early April, living for two months in a pop-up camper on the lot.
They stayed with Mrs. Pavolillo's dad for three weeks until the end of May, when the insurance company said it would pay for a hotel.
The family moved into two adjoining rooms, where they've been since.
The insurance company paid for most of the costs of demolition and the new house, but the family has to do some of the work themselves and paid some expenses not covered by insurance.
The insurance policy didn't cover any of the house's contents.
"We lost everything -- wedding pictures, baby pictures, things the kids made in preschool," Tammy Pavolillo said. "Those are things that can't be replaced."
A fund has been established for the family at Farmers National Bank branches in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Pavolillo is a truck driver for a Richfield transportation company and Mrs. Pavolillo is a stay-at-home mom.
Mrs. Pavolillo urges people interested in buying a home to hire a certified home inspector who uses a moisture detector before closing on a home. Water damage and moisture in a home lead to the mold, she said.
How kids adapted: Since moving out of the contaminated house, the family's health problems have subsided, she said. The children also have adapted to their new surroundings.
The couple didn't allow their children to watch as their clothes and toys were hauled out into the yard and their home demolished.
"I think they would have had a hard time if they'd been here to see it," Tammy Pavolillo said.
The couple hopes to replace some of their daughters' favorite toys for Christmas.
"I really want to have beds for them in here when we move in," she said. "I'll sleep on the floor, but I want to have beds for the girls."