Knoxville, Tenn. -- A warning to those looking for places to live: renting and buying could be as risky as Russian roulette. What makes it so dicey? A dangerous drug spreading like wildfire.
An elderly woman paid a high price for someone elses' crime, and she spoke with Local 8 News.
Sometimes a home hides its secrets well. But this one, tucked away in West Knoxville? It doesn't even come close.
Neil Whiticar owns a meth lab mitigation company. He said, It's hard not to miss the big yellow sticker and the big red sticker."
Like an announcement over a loudspeaker, the bright colored signs practically shout to the world, "Meth was cooking here!"
Whiticar said, "95 percent of these in my experience is a tenant that comes in the house, starts cooking meth and the cops come in and shut it down."
This home happens to be the 95 percent. Renters ruined a home at the owner's expense.
Neil Whiticar was hired to test the home for toxins and clean the place up.
His work can cost thousands of dollars, but this time he did the job for free.
And 82 year old Sandy learned that if you're lucky, when one person does you wrong, there's always another waiting to do you right.
Sandy said, "At first I kept saying I want to punch them in the nose and then I thought maybe I should pray for them."
Whiticar had a soft spot for the elderly owner, stuck paying for her renters mistakes.
Whiticar said, "She's on a small fixed income and there's no way she could come up with the money."
The home was Sandy's investment, the income she lived on.
She said, "It almost destroyed my life this is going to be very expensive and I don't know if I can make it because right now I'm just barely eeking by... I worry about it constantly I really do I wake up at night and worry about it I worry about it allday."
Whiticar said Sandy's not alone. "Tennessee has been number one or number two for the highest meth use in the entire country so I'd say yeah we have a meth problem."
This problem, he hoped to solve. And just like the home couldn't hide its secrets, Neil Whiticar couldn't shut the door on Sandy.
"Very sad situation you didn't create the problem but you inherited the problem."
Neil Whiticar pledged to do the job free of charge along with SLS Construction and Henry Crawford Construction.
But the materials they need aren't cheap. If you're interested in helping Sandy, contact Amanda Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org