Store ordered open after complaints sewer smell is making people sick

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Customers are complaining about a smell that is making them feel lightheaded at the Ashley Stewart woman's clothing store on Harvard.

A sewer back up after the recent heavy rains soaked store carpeting, it has been cleaned but the smell remains. After 10 minutes or so inside the store reporter Paul Orlousky says he felt lightheaded as well.

As he was led into the store Manager Marie Brown commented, "You can smell the smell coming through the door. It's horrible in here, the air quality
is not good."

After opening the store Maria knew it wouldn't be right to subject customers or workers to the acrid smell left after a bathroom drain backed up on Saturday.

Crews cleaned the tile floor in the back, but the carpet in the store is clearly the source of the smell.

"When the water came in basically it was two inches of stagnant water," said Brown.

Blowers have been on for two days now and have done nothing to help with the smell, one that sickened worker Adriana Price Doss.

"When I came in this morning I felt lightheaded and it didn't take me but 2 or 3 minutes and I just started feeling sick, like I was gonna gag," Doss said.

A corporate person returned Maria's call and told her her fears about mold were unfounded and the blowers would do the trick.

"I'm sending a technician to deal with the stinky smell, there is no condition above a stinky smell at your store," said a person from corporate.

Maria countered, "It hasn't done anything to eradicate the smell."

She was told, "That's what happens, we have old carpet throughout the chain that will be musty, mildewy until it dries the humidifier is going to help dry that."

Then there is the inventory. Adriana is already getting calls from customers who took merchandise home Sunday.

"I just got a complaint call not too long ago, she wanted to bring her clothes back in and exchange them," said Doss. "I'm trying to let her know all the clothes are starting to smell like mildew."

Maria feared she would be retaliated against if she aired her observations. She understood the implications. Later in the day corporate told her they'd fire her if this story aired.

Ashley Stewart may be well advised to fix the problem not the person pointing it out.

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