A mysterious substance that erodes clothing and furniture has forced a family to flee their home and has baffled hazardous-materials investigators, officials said Friday.

"Yesterday, the furniture started falling apart, and their clothing started falling off their body," said Ray Hughes, chief of the Dayton Fire Department's suppression bureau. "The clothing - you could run your fingers through it.""We're worrying about long-term health effects," said Lt. Thomas Whipp of the city's hazardous materials team.

Hughes said firefighters spent about five hours at the home of Ethel Back on Thursday. He believes the problem is caused by an acid or a caustic, but that's about all investigators know.