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Family says mold causing illness

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - There are strong suspicions that a mold problem is impacting the health of a nine month-old Little Rock girl.

We met with her frustrated parents at their apartment complex Thursday.

The view outside Johnathon and Angela Clark's Chapel Ridge apartment is desirable (24800 Chenal Parkway).

But the family says inside it's another story.

In January about a month after moving in, they complained to management about a "smelly mold odor."

Then their nine-month-old daughter developed an unexplained rash, was coughing and had a constant runny nose, and after contracting meningitis, spent six days in the hospital.

"She started doing better being at the hospital," recalls father Johnathon Clark. "She did a lot better. The rash started going away. Shortly after coming home she still...the rash is there again."

The Clarks believe the problem is a mold-ridden HVAC unit that they say pumps mold spores through the air vents to every room.

They say this fan needs to be cleaned weekly.

They have collected samples that will soon be examined by their daughter's doctor and hopefully the Arkansas Department of Health.

A city code enforcement officer visited on Thursday. She recommended that professionals be brought in to do some tests.

Until then, mold cannot be definitively blamed for any health problems.

"Definitively...not at the moment," says Clark. "We're working on it. The doctors have said that it is not a good situation."

Upset over the situation, the Clarks refused to pay rent in May and are now being evicted.

They have this advice for anyone considering renting apartment #438.

"I wouldn't do it at all," says Clark. "It's not worth putting yourself or your family at risk."

Chapel Ridge on Chenal is managed by Pinnacle Properties out of Dallas, Texas. In a statement received late Thursday afternoon, the company says it only became aware of a possible mold problem this week, and Little Rock Code Enforcement only told management that it needs to clean the apartment's air conditioning system within the next 30 days.

Air date: June 12th, 2014