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DALLAS (Reuters) - A man who decorated his Dallas home for Halloween to resemble an Ebola hot spot has found that charities he wanted to benefit by showing it off are refusing donations from an exhibit many find to be in poor taste.
James Faulk, 48, transformed his townhouse in an affluent Dallas neighborhood by adorning it with blue plastic barrels affixed with orange bio-hazard stickers, yellow caution tape and the word "QUARANTINE" stenciled in red letters on the outside of a boarded up door.
"I just put them out for the kids to have fun," Faulk said on Wednesday. But critics in Dallas, where a person was diagnosed with Ebola died less than a month ago and two nurses who were treating him were infected with the deadly virus, have said now is not the time to make light of the outbreak that has left almost 5,000 dead in West Africa and many on edge in the United States.
"I am appalled that there are people living in our country who could be so insensitive to the suffering of others that they would use a deadly virus as a Halloween theme," area resident Doris Taylor wrote in a letter to the Dallas Morning News.
Reactions from neighbors have been mixed. Police showed up shortly after the decorations went on display after a resident was concerned the quarantine scenario was real, Faulk said.
Others have posed with him dressed in costume as a "CDC Trainee."
After about 100 people a day have visited the "Ebola House" since it went up on Oct. 18, Faulk decided to use the attention to gather money for non-profit organizations working to fight the virus.
But he has been rebuffed, Faulk said, adding groups do not want to be affiliated with his effort.
"I'm not going to give up. Friday night is going to be a platform to do something good. This a horrible disease," he said.
Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler