Leafy East Germantown block is under assault by rodents

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Vicki Mines (center) says she's called the city numerous times about the roach- and rodent-infested house next to hers, but that little has been done to keep the pests from filling her own home.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Vicki Mines (center) says she's called the city numerous times about the roach- and rodent-infested house next to hers, but that little has been done to keep the pests from filling her own home.
Posted: July 26, 2013

VICKI MINES spent last Saturday cleaning her kitchen: "I cleaned out the refrigerator. I washed everything with bleach."

Then she decided to make a cup of coffee.

"I poured water in the coffeemaker, and the roaches just floated up to the top."

Her husband went out for coffee instead. Mines is tired of buying takeout food for dinner, but she's afraid to cook in her kitchen. "This is getting too expensive," she said.

Mines said she is one of 12 neighbors on 19th Street near Chew Avenue in East Germantown who also have spent a fortune exterminating mice and roaches that have infested their otherwise tidy block of stone rowhouses in recent months.

They say the rodents are coming from the house next to Mines', which is owned by a woman who hasn't lived in it since May 13.

That was the day a friend of the woman called 9-1-1 because of the odor emanating from the house. Rescue workers who went in through a back window to check on her found garbage throughout the house but not the woman, Mines said.

Now, Mines said, "when we walk in the front door, the roaches try to come in the door with us.

"I'm just tired and frustrated because I can't enjoy the comforts of my home, not when I'm sitting on my couch and a roach is crawling on me. That's disgusting. It sends me into a fit of anger."

Roaches have fallen from the skylight in Mines' bathroom. She and her husband have found roaches in their cars, so they park across the street.

Mines, 46, moved to her house when she was in the eighth grade. "I'm a clean person," she said. We've never had a problem like this."

She started calling 3-1-1 about the house in January because of the smell. But someone told her, "They don't come out for odors."

Mines, a receptionist for a medical group, then started noticing roaches everywhere, in her house and outside. And mice.

An inspector from the Department of Licenses and Inspections went to the house next door in April, but didn't see any vermin, said L&I spokeswoman Rebecca Corcoran Swanson.

City records show the cited house is owned by Roxann Yvette Burton. The Daily News tried to contact the representative for the owner, but neither he nor the owner returned phone calls.

"We have talked to the property owner and a representative for the owner, and they say there will be a vector control person out there," Swanson said.

But the city can't speed up the process, she added. By law, there must be three inspections before any legal action is taken. A third inspection is set for Wednesday.

If the house isn't cleaned, the city will take the owner to Equity Court, where a judge could order the owner to exterminate, Swanson said. Also, L&I can ask the judge to allow the city to clean the house and bill the owner.

"We still have to follow the rule of law," Swanson said. "We can't go into someone's property without giving them the opportunity to correct the problem."


On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|