JBSA leadership did not know extent of dorm mold problems until 'social media blast'

500 people now moved as precautionary measure

SAN ANTONIO – Leadership at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland conceded Thursday they did not know the full extent of mold problems inside dorm rooms on base until pictures of the problems appeared on social media sites, such as Facebook, last week.

"We are committed to this issue. We are committed to eradicating the mold in our dorms, so that all of our residents have a safe and healthy place to live and work," said Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing & JBSA Commander.

Officials gave area media a tour of some of the dorm rooms, showing the mold removal process, which included carpet and its padding being ripped off the floor.

Five hundred people have been moved out of rooms so far as a precautionary measure.

Maj. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing Commander, said officials have seen up to 10 cases of minor allergic-like symptoms, likely associated with the presence of mold in rooms.

DeGoes said no asthma flares have been reported, however.

Since base leadership first publicly acknowledged the presence of mold last week, criticism has mounted over how they have handled the health hazard.

Facebook posts first exposing the fungus stated that airmen were instructed to provided evidence of mold in rooms, only to have leadership fail to fix the issue.

The director of the 502nd Civil Engineer Group said Thursday that a cleanup effort, albeit on a smaller scale, is also underway at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis.

"Please come forward. Let us know what they are seeing, how we can help. We don't know what we need to fix unless we know," said Lenderman.

JBSA-Lackland has the largest dormitory program in the U.S. Air Force.

The 502nd Air Base Wing has activated a website to address mold concerns.

Officials have blamed the development of mold in dorms, in part, on HVAC systems not working properly.

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