Troy family of 10 living in RV after toxic fumes entered home

Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-11 15:39:36-04

TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — A family is left looking for answers after toxic fumes entered their home in Troy forcing them to move out.

The fumes are causing all sorts of health problems for the family and now they have to wait until the state figures out where the toxins are coming from.

The Rende family has been living in the RV for the last four weeks. It’s tight quarters for the family of 10. Now they’re left wondering what to do next and will they ever be able to live in their home again.

"They came through with radar," Jonathan Rende said. "They did the whole thing they said the entire backyard looks like a garbage dump."

Jonathan and his wife Katrina say when they purchased the home in 2008 on Shallowdale Dr. in Troy, they were told about a contamination issue in the backyard. However, they were assured it was cleaned up and taken care of.

"We get the rest of the documents and it shows that it wasn’t possibly cleaned up properly and what should have been on the sump pump was not there," Katrina said.

Now, 11 years later, the problems are back and it's caused the family to move out.

"What’s to say if they come and clean up the contaminated area but the rest of it looks like a garbage dump still, that there isn’t another source hiding back there someplace," Jonathan said.

Neighboring properties were scanned but they aren't experiencing any problems or smell. The problem is isolated just to the Rende's home.

The Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy sent out inspectors to see what the problem is.

They sent Action News a statement that reads in part, “We dug in the area looking for a buried object that may have been the source. We did find what could be contaminated soil, the plan is to go in and dig out the contaminated soil. We are making progress but they are not out of the woods yet.”

"You can’t test back there for all we know the drum is back there leaking this way we do t know and until they start digging we don’t know," Katrina said.

The family says they start feeling sick if they spend more than 40 minutes inside the home.

Indoor air samples were collected in the home and are below action levels. However, Jonathan is a cancer survivor and any type of odor affects him, causing him to feel ill. The family says the cost to clean and fix everything is unimaginable.

"We’re looking at the possibility of a full gut job and how long is that going to take," Jonathan said. "So very long term very expensive, no coverage from insurance."

The family says for now, the RV is their only option. How long they’ll stay in here is unknown.