BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Rats are literally forcing several people out of their apartments on Buffalo’s east side, prompting the tenants to call the Erie County Health Department and Call 4 Action.
“The rats is–they’re walking up on you, running up on you,” said Tina Kincaid, a mother living with her mother and young children at the house on Eaton Street.
The mothers and grandmothers are fighting to get out of the dilapidated old two-story house on Eaton Street. They said they have killed dozens of the rats, which are literally chasing them out of their home.
Tina is frustrated and angry, “We can’t live like this, we have kids. It is just constantly a problem. We are killing rats every night.” How bad are the rats? Tina said “my aunt upstairs, she done killed 33.”
Jackie Rogers is Tina’s aunt and pointed out huge holes in her kitchen cabinets the rats have chewed through, forcing her to remove her food. When Rogers, who stays with her daughter and grandchildren, is not killing the oversized rodents, she says the rats are killing and eating each other, as evidenced by the skeletal remains of a dead rat in the basement.
“Yes, they eat each other, they are hungry.”
The landlord, America Real Estate Investment Group, with an office in Rochester is offering to move the families to temporary quarters, so they can solve the rat problem once and for all.
One place they showed Tina and her mom was a former rooming house the landlord owns on East Utica Street. The city and county closed it down earlier this year because the living conditions are arguably even worse than the rat-infested house on Eaton Street.
The tenants called the Erie County Health Department, and inspectors found a number of deficiencies, including the rats and a busted sewer pipe in the basement.
Peter Tripi who leads the Health Department’s Rabies, Disease, and Vector Control Program, said county officials have inspected the house twice, and the basement was full of garbage and debris.
“The basement is pretty clean, at this point, other than there were a few dead rats we found there.”
Tripi said moving the occupants would be the best thing all around–for the tenants and the owner, “If the occupants do move, we will issue a ‘do not rent’ notice so the next people who come in do not have to deal with this. If the owner goes ahead and rents it anyway, we will get it into the court immediately.”
The property owner is putting up all of the families in a hotel, and paying for their meals until the house passes inspection, which the property manager said should take a couple of days.
The county health department plans to re-inspect the house Friday, and if they don’t find sufficient progress, they could end up in court.