By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some Staten Island residents say they’re haunted by hundreds of rats plaguing their neighbor’s home.

They’ve tried to help, but now they want the city to step in.

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Jack Murphy cares a lot about his West Brighton neighbor who lives across the street on Silver Lake Road.

“I hope the city can help him … He needs it,” Murphy told CBS2’s Cory James.

Murphy and other neighbors say the elderly man has a home infested with rats.

“I can come out in the morning and see them on his roof, I see them in the yard, and the smell is something I cannot even explain to you,” Murphy said. “It takes your breath away. It burns.”

He says it’s been a problem impacting quality of life in their community for years. It’s so bad that he has called 311 on several occasions, hoping to get it resolved.

“They closed it because they said it passed,” Murphy said.

According to New York City’s rat information portal, run by the Department of Health, there have been nine inspections at the home since 2015. The last one was done nearly two months ago, on Aug. 9.

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“Their inspector didn’t see nothing when they came here,” one neighbor said. “All they have to do is smell it. That’s rat.”

In a statement, the Department of Health says it has been to the property four times this year, adding, “pest control teams found no evidence of pest issues around the exterior of the property and were denied entry into the property at the first three.”

The statement goes on to say at the “most recent inspection, we observed conditions inside the residence and confirmed an odor. We have been informed that the residence would be cleaned and will continue to monitor.”

Neighbors say it is not just about the rats taking over the home that are spreading to their properties and jeopardizing the health of their children and pets. It is also about the man living at the home alone who desperately needs assistance.

They say they help out by carrying his groceries, taking out his trash and even bringing fresh meals to his door multiple times a week.

“He needs more than our help. He needs the city to come in,” Murphy said.

CBS2 also asked the Department of Health for dates of visits and are waiting to hear back.

Meanwhile, the homeowner says he’s aware of the complaints and is awaiting a visit from the Department of Health.

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CBS2 will follow up.

Cory James