Hurricane Florence: Health officials warn hurricane victims to quickly dry out flooded homes

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Tens of thousands of North Carolina victims of Hurricane Florence are in a race against time - and mold.

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With waters receding in hard-hit areas in the Sandhills, health officials in Cumberland County are urging residents to throw out any item that came in contact with flood waters, including furniture, flooring, drywall and insulation.

"Right down to the wood frame of the home," Tom Turturro, a Specialist at Cumberland County Department of Environmental Health, told ABC11. "You have to get everything dry before you can rebuild."

Turturro confirmed that about 740 homes in Fayetteville sustained significant damage from Hurricane Florence, plus a dozen or so businesses.

He also said there are two major issues with cleaning: the floodwaters could have contained unknown contaminants, and leftover moisture could enable mold and mildew.

"There could be sewage in there, chemicals, everything. That's why anything saturated needs to be removed," Turturro said. "You get a high mildew count, the person can be lethargic, lose energy, have flu-like symptoms."

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