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“Mold can start to grow:” Residents clean up after recent storms — starting in the basement

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Many people across southeastern Wisconsin are dealing with damage left in the wake of recent storms. However, for some property owners the damage goes beyond water in their home.

It's a property owner's worst nightmare: standing water in a basement.

"It's been sitting for at least a week from what we know," said Todd Szada, SERVPRO Fire and Water - Cleanup and Restoration.

In Waukesha, a home's basement sits flooded. A week-and-a-half of heavy rain and owner neglect is the recipe for it.

"Mold can start to grow between 48 and 72 hours. The other thing we need to be concerned about is issues with items that have asbestos containing material in them," said Szada.

Todd Szada

A team from SERVPRO has been working on the site for a few days n ow, getting behind walls, ceilings and even the floor looking for mold.

"Mold cannot be addressed with just bleach and water, that's a common myth," said Szada.

Whenever there's a big flood like this, the damage is more than just service level.

"If you smell that mustiness there's definitely some type of issue," Szada said.

The crew is gutting the basement, removing insulation -- a mold filter removing toxins from the air. To prevent this from happening to you, the key is to move quickly.

"You are getting contents like furniture off of carpet, off the pad, as quickly as possible," said Szada.

A little water isn't a problem but ignored over time. It can create a big problem.

The crew from SERVPRO says one of the best things you can do to protect yourself if you're dealing with flooding in your own home is to report it immediately. Often times you can get it covered under insurance if it's a water issue. However, as soon as it becomes a mold problem, an insurance provider may not cover it -- meaning you may have to foot the bill for cleaning up.