Investigators look at home where babies died

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)
September 9, 2010 4:45:59 PM PDT
An investigator from the Consumer Product Safety Commission visited the home at Fort Bragg Thursday where three families were staying when their infants mysteriously died.Army officials confirmed at a press briefing Tuesday that they are currently investigating whether their houses had anything to do with the 10 deaths, which have been classified as SIDS deaths.

The Army says right now, they have more questions than answers.

"We have found what we think is an issue and we're looking into it," said Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett.

The CPSC is the lead federal agency investigating thousands of claims in 38 states that toxic Chinese drywall was widely used in the building boom following hurricanes Katrina and Rita - a time when American distributors were running short.

Krystyna and Nathanael Duke were the ones who called the CPSC and asked it to investigate the possibility of Chinese drywall being used in military housing.

They say shortly after their son Gabriel died, an Army investigator told them their house tested positive for toxic Chinese drywall.

While the Army has said additional tests were negative, the Dukes are waiting on results from the CPSC.

Melissa Pollard can't help but wonder if the drywall was an issue in her home. It's still hard for her to deal with the death of her son Jayvair and the death of her niece Kamya that happened just 3-months later in the same home on Fort Bragg.

It's also the home where another family was living in 2007 when their baby died off post.

"I miss him every day, more and more every day. Now that there are some things being done about it, it kind of gives me some relief," said Pollard.

In all, the Army is looking into the deaths of 10 infants at Fort Bragg.

Pollard and the Dukes say everyone in their families were always sick living in the homes.

"We would think that it was either allergies, cold, or flu, or something, because we weren't aware of anything else. We just took it as a cold," said Pollard.

The Army is working with Picerne - the builder - and other agencies to determine what caused the deaths on post over the last four years. They want to know if there is an environmental link.

In the meantime, officials say anyone living on post who believes their health issues may be related to their housing should call for an inspection.

Melissa Pollard advises families who may have any doubts and similar symptoms to move out right away and not wait for answers.

"It's not worth your health. It's not worth your children's health. It's not worth a life," she offered.

The army has said that it has ruled out Chinese drywall. So far, the only thing they have said about the CPSC investigation is that the agencies are working together.

There's more information about drywall issues at the CPSC website.

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