County acts on moldy building

“The musty smell of mold almost knocked me over when I opened the crawlspace,” wrote Ward County building inspector Mike Larson in a memorandum requesting that an apartment building in the county be inspected for mold.

He and county State’s Attorney Rozanna Larson appeared before county commissioners Tuesday morning with concerns, according to the memo, “about the health and welfare of the residents of this structure.”

A bid not to exceed $2,998 from Western Plains Consulting, Inc., of Bismarck, was approved by the commissioners to provide the formal inspection of the the building. The tests will “check temperature, humidity, moisture levels, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxidem and evaluation of potential concerns, including mold growth or other contamination problems,” according to the quote issued by the company.

The complaint filed by Larson details his history with the building in question.

In February, Larson conducted an initial inspection and claims that several violations were noted, including a pull-string electric light in a crawlspace under the building located about 10 feet from the opening, a system, Larson wrote, that would have never been approved by an electrical inspector. Larson noted the various violations and gave the building’s owner time to correct them.

In August, Larson again returned to the building and wrote that he “noticed very little corrections and dangerous placement of dehumidifiers and sump pump electrical connections,” before noting the mold smell in the crawl space.

The area was drier, but “with no vapor barrier installed and a shortage of ventilation to remove the stale musty air.”

Photographs of the apartment building were passed to the commissioners for review, with the exception of John Fjeldahl who was out of the area and joined the meeting by way of conference call. Commissioner Jerome Gruenberg noted, when Fjeldahl raised a question about the probable basis of mold, that the mold in the building was visibly apparent.


gains ground

Commissioners voted to “cede joint zoning and subdivision jurisdiction within the second half-mile outside city limits,” a request from the City of Berthold, so that the city could take over exclusive zoning and subdivision jurisdiction within the full one-mile extra territorial of the city.

The request for the measure was introduced in a letter to Rozanna Larson from McGee, Hankla, Backes & Dobrovolny, a Minot law firm, which was quoted above.