NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A home in the Bronx is a smelly mess, and neighbors say their cries for help have fallen on deaf ears.
Monday, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner took the problem to Mayor Bill de Blasio to demand answers.
The home on Balcom Avenue in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx is like a growing jungle, and neighbors say it’s becoming a growing problem.
Sunday, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported on bottles of urine in the driveway, mosquitoes, flies, and even a bucket of dead fish.
“He had it outside for two days, three days rotting,” neighbor Rayme Torres said. “You can smell it. You can smell it .. There’s a lot of raccoons around here and I know they feed off of this stuff.”
“I mean, you can’t get worse than this. There’s mosquitoes. It’s disgusting,” neighbor Katherin Wolf said.
Monday was no different, except surveillance video shows the bucket of fish was taken inside.
“As far as I know, he sleeps in the kitchen because the house is hoarded top to bottom with wood,” neighbor Lauren Torres said.
“We just want him to get the help that he needs to fix his house and if he needs mental health [help], if he could get that as well,” neighbor Franchi Pena-Carty said.
Rozner spoke with the homeowner, 72-year-old Richard Kehrle, who says mosquitoes have historically been in the area and excuses his urination.
“I make my own fertilizer, alright? I don’t use the kind of fertilizer that the farmers use because they will poison you eventually, alright? So I make my own fertilizer, OK? And I’ve been doing that since I lived here, 50 years,” he said.
Neighbors say they’ve tried to reason with Kehrle, but at times, those conversations have gotten too tense.
They’ve asked multiple city agencies to help, but only a few violations have been issued and there’s been no change.
So, Rozner demanded answers from the mayor.
Rozner: “The stench is horrible. The neighbors there say they’ve called many city agencies, sanitation, health department, police, fire. They are not getting anywhere. I’m wondering, would you be able to live next to this kind of house?”
De Blasio: “I’m sure we can address this today. I’m glad you’re bringing it to my attention … We will get out there immediately and see what we can do to address that. I’m glad you’re raising it.”
After CBS2 again followed up with multiple agencies, the fire department visited and so did a rep from the Department of Health.
A spokesperson for the DOH said Kehrle denied the agency access Monday, so now he may be ordered by the city to actually clean up the mess, but whether that will get everyone the help they’ve been asking for remains to be seen.
A spokesperson for the NYC Human Resources Administration said, “The City is evaluating this individual and their situation to determine what services they may need.”
The Department of Buildings says it also issued a violation last week for failing to keep the property up to code. A hearing is scheduled for October.