Mold problems growing for tornado-ravaged homeowners


OKLAHOMA CITY – Gary Jones’ home on S. Pennsylvania Ave. was heavily damaged in the May 20th tornado.

More than 100 days later, it’s still sitting there, while Jones fights with his insurance company.

He says AAA has not paid him a dime, other than the $2,500 he asked for in the immediate days after the storm.

“We were on our own and we’ve kind of been on our own since then,” he said. “Nobody’s ever said, ‘You guys need any money? Do you need anything?’ It’s been far from any commercial.”

As the empty house languishes in this humid Oklahoma summer, another problem is growing, mold.

“The smell in that house is like a crime scene,” Jeff Marr said, the attorney Jones hired.

Jones hired Marr after AAA told him his house could be fixed. Jones thinks it needs to be bulldozed.

Last week, they filed a lawsuit against AAA.

“If I go to sell this home, I have to say it’s been full of mold,” Jones said. “It’s had some 13-odd inches of rain in it. It’s been hit by an F5 tornado. What would you give me for it?”

Marr said many insurance companies will try to skirt that issue by saying mold is not covered in the policy.

“They tell everybody that ‘Oh, mold’s not covered.’ But if molds, you know, if a tornado causes this damage to your house, and water comes in and it causes mold, it’s covered,” Marr said.

“We want our house back,” Jones said. “We want our life back.”

Jones and his wife built the house themselves and it was supposed to be their “forever dream home.”

A spokesperson with AAA said they thought they’d come to a settlement with the Jones family and were unaware a lawsuit had been filed.

That spokesperson said the company sent the family a sizable check last Friday but wouldn’t tell us the amount.

Jones said he has yet to receive that check.