1. Military

Health and financial woes continue for MacDill families dealing with mold in base housing

Traci Lenz said this is what her kitchen vent looked like even after mold remediation at her MacDill Air Force Base home.
Traci Lenz said this is what her kitchen vent looked like even after mold remediation at her MacDill Air Force Base home.
Published Mar. 22, 2019

TAMPA — Months after families began going public with complaints about mold-related health problems at their MacDill Air Force Base housing, they still worry about what the future may hold.

Some families who left their homes after finding mold are waiting on compensation for moving expenses and damaged belongings. They also worry about lingering illnesses and how to pay for them.

"We're still in limbo with nothing done or paid for from the insurance company or housing management," said Traci Lenz, a military spouse and mother of three whose family has been treated for health problems after moving out of their mold-infested base housing Jan. 15.

Lenz, 34, said her family is seeking $20,000 for moving expenses, damaged items and the cost of a hotel stay before they were able to move into a new rental property Jan. 30.

Lenz is also reluctant to sign a waiver precluding her from seeking health care cost reimbursement in the future.

"I ended up with pneumonia and it is questionable if there is fungus on my lungs," she said. "Our son will continue to have long-term health issues and my husband ended up on an inhaler with breathing problems."

Amie Norquist, 31, a military spouse and mother of four, is also waiting for about $40,000 in compensation for moving expenses and damaged household items. Like Lenz, she said her family also has lingering health issues. Her oldest daughter, she said, needs a medical airway vest to help her breathe and she does not know whether the Tricare military health-care system will pick up the cost.

Jenny Genrich, 37, said her husband Jason Genrich, 36, an Army chief warrant officer working at U.S. Special Operations Command, began experiencing a series of health problems they blame on mold in the base housing they first occupied in August. The housing management firm worked quickly to deal with their problems, Jenny Genrich said, but she still worries about children playing nearby who were exposed to moldy sub-flooring, removed from her home and left on her back porch.

Housing-related health problems have plagued military families nationwide, prompting Congressional hearings and visits to MacDill and other bases by senior military leaders.

The Pentagon is collecting data while looking for gaps in policies and procedures and considering a broader risk assessment for children in the military health care system.

Since 2007, MacDill's 572 homes have been run by Harbor Bay at MacDill, a partnership between Clarke Realty Builders and Michaels Management Services.

There may be some help on the way.

Mold Zero, a Clearwater remediation company, recently used its so-called dry fog mold removal technique to treat the Norquist's rental home in Riverview for free.

The company has other work lined up on base is looking into creating a non-profit to help base families treat mold problems, said owner Brandon Faust.

"These men and women protect us," Faust said. "We want to find a way to give back."

Contact Howard Altman at or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.


  1. It started 40 years ago with a task force of 261 men and evolved into U.S. Central Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base. Some 3,000 people work there now. [Times (2011)]
  2. Suzi Goodhope of Havana, Fla., and Shiraz, an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, are helping in the search for an African American cemetery forgotten somewhere on the grounds of MacDill Air Force Base. Goodhope trains human-remains detection dogs in Havana, Fla. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
  3. Like the rest of Florida, and Tampa in particular, MacDill Air Force Base treated African Americans as second class citizens in its early days during World War II. The history is surfacing again as archaeologists prepare to search for graves that might have been left behind in a black cemetery when the base was developed. [Times (2000)]
  4. Communication is the goal as a blindfolded Robert Simison, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class, navigates an obstacle course under the direction of fiancee Jamie Boate. The two are taking part in couples therapy for Special Operations Forces families. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.  |  Special to the Times]
  5. New Air Force dress guidelines released Feb. 7, 2020 set standards allowing personnel to wear turbans, hijabs and beards. [US Air Force]
  6. Concerns about the boom pod on a KC-135 Stratonker, like the one pictured here, prompted an emergency landing at MacDill Air Force Base while the jet was being used as a flying classroom. [Times (2011)]
  7. FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2019, file photo, a man waves an Afghan flag during Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan. An Afghan official Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, said multiple U.S. military deaths have been reported in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province after an insider attack by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File) [RAFIQ MAQBOOL  |  AP]
  8. National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) [SUSAN WALSH  |  AP]
  9. Sam Flores admires a new statue of his late brother, William Flores, Monday at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector, St. Petersburg. The statue honors William Flores, who helped save fellow crew members on the US Coast Guard vessel Blackthorn when it sank on January 28, 1980. Twenty three crew members died. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  10. Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  11. This undated file photo provided by the FBI shows Mohammed Alshamrani. The United States is preparing to remove more than a dozen Saudi military students from a training program and return them to their home country after an investigation into a deadly shooting by Saudi aviation student Alshamrani at a Florida navy base in December 2019, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. [AP]
  12. MacDill Air Force Base now requires all visitors looking to enter the base to show either Department of Defense ID or valid photo ID with a base pass. [Air Force photo] [HANDOUT  |  Air Force]