Local News

Mother worries about daughter's health in Bragg housing

Posted August 30, 2010 3:57 p.m. EDT
Updated August 31, 2010 9:51 a.m. EDT

— 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.

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.