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Mother worries about daughter's health in Bragg housing

Posted August 30, 2010
Updated August 31, 2010

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— A woman who lives on Fort Bragg said Monday that she worries that military housing has contributed to chronic health problems from which her young daughter suffers.

Army investigators and Fort Bragg agencies plan to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the deaths of several infants on post in recent years.

Officials said there has been at least eight unexplained infant deaths in Fort Bragg housing over the past four years. All of the deaths appear to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and there were no signs of foul play, officials said.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology are assisting Fort Bragg officials in their investigation of possible environmental, structural or hazardous materials links in the deaths, officials said.

Amber Roberson said Monday that she found mold in her duplex in the Ardennes neighborhood on post and wonders if that could be involved in the infant deaths.

Roberson said she and her husband, Spc. Michael Roberson, moved into military housing with their infant daughter, Lacey, in January 2009. By last fall, she said, she noticed Lacy was getting sick a lot.

"It was like a constant cold all the time," Amber Roberson said. "It would go straight from like a cold to pneumonia within a couple of days."

Lacey, now 2, has endured four bouts of pneumonia since then and now has asthma.

Amber Roberson Woman believes mold could be culprit in Bragg infant deaths

In April, Amber Roberson called Picerne Military Housing in search of answers to what might be sickening her daughter, but an inspector told her the home had no mold.

She and her daughter went to Virginia to visit family for several weeks in June and July, and she said Lacey became sick within three days of returning to Fort Bragg.

So, Amber Roberson removed an air-intake vent herself and found what appeared to be an outbreak of the fungus. A lab test confirmed it was Stachybotrys – toxic black mold.

"There's no way for us to say the mold caused the asthma, but it is, however, a trigger. Any person who has asthma, it's a trigger," Amber Roberson said.

Picerne then provided the family another place to live. Company officials couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

Fort Bragg officials declined to comment before Tuesday's meeting.

Amber Roberson said she was alarmed to learn of the unexplained infant deaths.

"I wonder how many other people are living in houses – not even on base – that have mold or have some kind of environmental factor that's making their kids sick or causing them to die," she said.


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  • cw7790 Sep 2, 2010

    Mold can cause serious health problems. For accurate information about the health effects of mold, go to http://truthaboutmold.info and http://achemmic.com.

  • rjernigan6 Sep 1, 2010

    When we sign a lease for housing it is the same on base as it is out in town, we are obligated. I choose to live of base in Jacksonville because I plan to retire there. As for the thought that a 1065 BAH covers a mortgage and household bills I think you might get a home comparable to the homes we are talking about. Housing at Camp Lejeune is expensive. A small 3 bedroom 1200 SQFT home here runs around 160K. That in itself would eat up all of the 1065 and then some. For you wives out there that have put up with the lifestyle of being a militar spouse I salute you. God knows it is a hard life for you and the children just as it is for us. My wife has been a champ to deal with this for nearly 20 years. I do hope that they get the quarters in a condition fit for residency for you and your families. I know I have stayed in some deplorable conditions as well as many of our military and we should have decent quarters to come home to.

  • rjernigan6 Sep 1, 2010

    I'm a Marine MSgt with 24 years of service and some of you just don't get it. An allowance although not called pay is still paid in the paycheck every month. It is there because it is the responsibility of the govt to furnish us with housing and chow. There are not enough base quarters to house everyone on most bases so we can get the allowance to move out. I have lived on base at MCAS New River and NAS Whiting Field and both were adequate. When I lived on New River housing was still run b the military and they did a good job. When I lived on Whiting Field it was military then became privatized. The privatized folks there did a great job with the homes. Right after they took over the first month they had a company come out and clean all vents and inspect for mold. So it is not all privatized companies just some. Remember they are in this to make money so they take the cheapest route possible.

  • ProudOfMySoldier Aug 31, 2010

    Yeah cause if you just went by Base Pay then in reality our soldiers are making way below minimum wage, our soldiers do not work just a normal 9 to 5 job. My husband and many other soldiers work 14 hr days and the fact that they are on call 24/7 in which my husband gets called into work all hours of the night and days off as well. So sorry but it is not free housing at all. These privatized housing people really need to start caring about our soldiers and their families more, instead of them just wanting to get by on substandard houses to where many look nice on the outside but inside those walls you never know what is lurking. These privatized people are just looking out to take the money. Most of the houses are not even worth what BAH people get, certainly not worth risking lives.

  • gandalla Aug 31, 2010

    Maybe you guys should get on waiting list for the Normandy housing area. I been through there and seen a few houses in that area on the inside very nice.

  • uncw05 Aug 31, 2010

    wa4mjf - i think the point is that it is part of the negotiated money you receive for the job. No one would do the job for the actual pay without that extra allowance. It's not like they make tons of money and get free housing on top of it. It's just that housing is worked into their total compensation in a very different way than it is for people in other careers.

  • freedomrings Aug 31, 2010

    NavySrChiefswife: I could not agree more. Well said.

  • RonnieR Aug 31, 2010

    Actually not. Wait until they figger your hubby's retainer (AKA retirement)pay and see what is pay and what is not. You can call BAH, BAS, etc, pay, but it isn't, that is why there are no taxes on it.

  • NavySrChiefswife Aug 31, 2010

    wa4mjf, the allowance is PART OF THE SERVICE MEMBERS PAY.

    so low--I was gonna comment on section 8 also. but didnt want to "open" that can of worms:)

  • RonnieR Aug 31, 2010

    BAH is an allowance, not pay.