Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mystery illness solved when family discovers new home was a meth lab

The foreclosed house for sale on the up-and-coming street pined for fresh paint and other fixes, but the Hankins family saw its potential.

Plus, at $36,000, the price was perfect for a young family trying to make ends meet in small-town Klamath Falls, Ore.

"We said, 'It needs a little bit of love, but it's got good bones,'" Jonathan Hankins recalled. "We just had no idea that those bones were poisonous."

Within days of moving in this past summer, Beth Hankins, an ER nurse, started experiencing breathing problems. Then Jonathan got migraine-like headaches and nosebleeds. By the third week, their 2-year-old son, Ezra, developed mouth sores.

"He couldn't even drink water without being in pain," said Jonathan, 32.

They were about to schedule doctor visits when a neighbor shared the bad news: 2427 Radcliffe was a former meth house.

The family ordered a $50 testing kit and had the lab expedite the results, which revealed a contamination level nearly 80 times above Oregon Heath Authority limits.

"Our walls were poisoning us," said Jonathan, who quickly moved his family to a rental home.

Buying a foreclosed house from government-sponsored Freddie Mac meant the family was informed about being responsible for detecting hazards like lead paint and asbestos, but there was no warning from real estate agents or Freddie Mac about drug activity. Read More