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Dangerous mold forces family from Becker County home

Mold in the Coalwell home

BECKER COUNTY, Minn. - A rural Becker County family is out of their home after mold left them physically ill to the point of hospitalization.

The Coalwell family of four are now living in a Detroit Lakes apartment. After thousands of dollars spent on mold treatment and inspections, the family is now watching as a bank prepares to foreclose on the home because of missed payments.

The moldy problem plaguing the home has turned the lives of the family upside down.

Driving up to the rural Becker County home surrounded by pine and noisy frogs, you would never know the house is uninhabitable. The house was built in 2003 and that may be at the heart of the problem.

Jerod Coalwell, the homeowner, built it himself.


In the last five years, Jerrod's wife and children have been in and out of the hospital with multiple severe respiratory issues. In fact, the Coalwells think the loss of twins may be connected to the mold.

"Westin is right up the road at the cemetery," Jerod Coalwell said.

The Coalwells have paid for professional cleaners and mold inspectors. One inspector became ill minutes after the mold test. The family has been out of the home for more than a year, renting an apartment and now U.S. Bank is foreclosing on the home and property.

"You try to tell the bank, 'How can I keep paying for a house that I cannot even live in?'" Coalwell said.

Coalwell has contacted the state of Minnesota, Becker County and even the EPA in Chicago and the President of U.S Bank in the Twin Cities.

"The state says talk to the county, the county doesn't know. You get numb because everywhere you go, there are no answers. They look at you like you are nuts. What do you do? You don't get answers," Coalwell said.

But Becker County, along with the state Health Department say they have no jurisdiction to condemn the home. Most agree it is up to the bank to disclose the mold issue to potential buyers.

"That is what makes it hard. This place will sell in a heartbeat, we know it will, but the family that gets it will be in for a nightmare. This needs to be destroyed. There is no way to fix it," Coalwell said.


The home is on property north of Detroit Lakes that's been part of Coalwell's wife's family for more than a century.

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