Ridge homeowners sue Quadrant

SNOQUALMIE - A group of seven Snoqualmie homeowners have filed lawsuits against Quadrant Homes, claiming that their homes had fiberglass in the air ducts that may have caused health problems as far back as 2000.

The lawsuits, the first of which were filed last fall, claim that the Bellevue-based home builder left behind large amounts of fiberglass in the ducts of some homes located in the Snoqualmie Ridge neighborhood. The fiberglass was first noticed last summer and word spread to other homeowners that their homes may have the same problem.

When Snoqualmie found out about the problem, City Administrator Bob Larson issued a letter to all Quadrant homeowners on Oct. 29 warning them of the problem and encouraged them to contact Quadrant if they had insulation in their ducts.

Quadrant followed about a week later with a letter of its own saying that it would remove any fiberglass insulation found in the air ducts of its homes and offered to replace the furnace filter of those homes, as well.

Quadrant did not wish to comment on the suits but issued a press release saying that there were "a few homes at Snoqualmie Ridge [that] had insulation in certain places where it did not belong" and that Quadrant began to work with families to remove it. The press release said that some chose to get the work done by Quadrant while others didn't and added that there is no known health risk to airborne fiberglass.

"According to the best information available to us, airborne fiberglass may be an irritant under certain circumstances, but does not pose a health risk," said Quadrant Homes Vice President of Communications Bill Boucher in the press release.

Becky McLaughlin, a member of one of the families filing a suit, said that what Quadrant offered to do was not enough to completely decontaminate her home. She said her family was offered little more than having their furnace ducts cleaned out and filter replaced. After hearing that one of the first families to report fiberglass in their ducts was moved out of their home for an extensive cleanup and restoration, McLaughlin said she couldn't accept the offer as a solution.

McLaughlin said she and the other families have tried to work with Quadrant to get the proper clean up work done, but have lost faith in the company doing the work they believe their homes need.

Some families moved out for extended periods of time to avoid health issues and several have already spent thousands of dollars in clean up and restoration work on their homes.

The lawsuits ask for unspecified damages related to restoration and medical costs.

Lory Lybeck, the attorney representing the seven families, said the first lawsuit is set to go to trial in May 2006, but he is looking into consolidating the cases into one lawsuit.

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