, Salem, MA

Local News

February 23, 2013

Families moved from Danvers motel rooms

Days Inn residents complain of mold, dampness, sickness

DANVERS — Eighteen homeless families have been moved out of rooms at the Days Inn, following complaints to the Board of Health about “chronic dampness.”

Health Director Peter Mirandi said the complaints started in the fall, a time when windows and doors are kept closed with the cool weather. Residents complained about mold and dampness in the rooms and children suffering upper respiratory infections, Mirandi said.

The Board of Health cited the motel for providing inadequate ventilation. The problem arose, he said, as a result of people showering, bathing, cooking and doing laundry “in a room that is designed for overnight guests,” not long-term stays.

Many homeless families wind up stuck in one room for months. The rooms have one small ventilator in the bathroom, Mirandi said.

Eventually, the Board of Health took the motel to court. The property owner, Dilip Realty, disputed the allegations, but agreed to hire a professional to study what could be done. The town agreed to reinspect the motel by Dec. 12. If the inspection was unsatisfactory, the court ordered, a consultant would be hired to figure out how to resolve the problem.

Both sides are due back in court Wednesday.

State sanitary code says rooms must be kept free of “chronic dampness,” which is defined as “the regular and/or periodic appearance of moisture, water, mold or fungi.”

Mirandi showed a reporter pictures of water beading on the inside of windows, including one with a curtain matted up against a window. He also showed condensation dripping from what appeared to be a hinge or a fixture. Mirandi said he saw black mold spots around windows and heating units.

The board identified 18 rooms scattered throughout the motel where homeless families were living and dampness appeared to be a problem. The problem was resolved, Mirandi said, when families living in those rooms were moved out. He credited state Rep. Ted Speliotis with helping to resolve the issue.

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