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Mushrooms sprout in Bridgeville apartment in rain's aftermath

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:29 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Mushrooms and mold spring forth from a damp carpet in the Hickman House apartment building in Bridgeville, Tuesday, July 16, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Mushrooms and mold spring forth from a damp carpet in the Hickman House apartment building in Bridgeville, Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

Maurice Lucas likes his mushrooms fried, not growing out of his carpet.

Lucas, who lives in Hickman Apartments on Hickman Street in Bridgeville, said fungi sprouted in the hall outside his basement-level apartment after last week's heavy rain washed into the building. He noticed them Sunday morning when he left for work, he said.

“When I came back later in the day, they were still pretty small,” Lucas said. “The next day, they got bigger.” He tried to treat them with baking soda.

Damp conditions and warm weather created ideal conditions for the 'shrooms, said Dick Dogall, past president of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club.

“Mushrooms are composters,” Dogall said. “Anything they can compost is a possibility, so it's not surprising. You have to get the right temperature and moisture conditions.”

Lucas said he contacted the building management, Lobos Management, three times about dampness since Wednesday's rain.

Lobos did not return calls from the Tribune-Review.

Dogall said the mushrooms are relatively harmless — only 10 to 15 percent of mushrooms in the wild are harmful.

“It's highly unlikely something like that would be something in a house,” he said. “The spores are around and conditions are right and they just fruited.”

Lucas isn't taking chances. He said the mold and dampness prompted him to contact the Allegheny County Health Department, and he made an appointment with an inspector Friday.

He said wet conditions have affected the apartment building before.

“It's just getting really frustrating,” he said.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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