NBC10 - Matt DeLucia
Fleas and mosquitoes have taken over the 2100 block of Stella Street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Residents have contacted L&I and the Department of Health, but nothing has changed. NBC10's Matt DeLucia reports.
It’s a creepy, crawly nightmare for residents in a Kensington community. Those who live on the 2100 block of Stella Street say their community is overrun by insects and that the city hasn't done anything about it.
Valerie Rodriguez says fleas, ticks and mosquitoes have infested her street to the point in which she and her neighbors don’t even want to go outside.
“You can’t even sit on your porch and drink a cup of coffee without fleas jumping on you,” she said.
Rodriguez’s two-year-old daughter is covered with insect bites.
“It’s really, really terrible,” Rodriguez said. “My daughter at two-years-old shouldn’t have marks like this all over her body.”
“As soon as I step out the door, I had five on my one leg,” John Russell said. “I turn around and I had five or six on the other leg.”
Neighbors say the problem stems from four vacant homes on their block overrun with the bloodsucking insects. They claim they’ve called the Health Department and Licenses and Inspections but haven’t heard back from them.
“Everybody’s called the city,” said Russell. “We had ten, eleven people calling constantly.”
A spokesperson for the Health Department says that Pennsylvania State Law prohibits them from treating neighborhood properties and that the owners are responsible. However, at least two of the vacant properties believed to be the center of the infestation are now deceased. Residents say relatives of the owners have stopped by but have done nothing about the insects.
With no answers from the city, the residents have taken matters into their own hands, placing pesticides on the doors and windows of their homes as well as the four vacant properties, spraying everywhere they can.
“This is all we can really do,” Othet Smith said. “We’ve been trying to get the city and they don’t do nothing. If I don’t help out, who’s going to help out?”
Shortly before 6 p.m., an L&I spokeswoman responded to NBC10. She says L&I officials will open an investigation on three of the four properties, located on 2139, 2136 and 2140 Stella Street.
Anyone who has a complaint about a property should call 311 first. They can track the request on the L&I website. L&I officials also insist that it's not their responsiblity or the city's to mantain a home but rather the owner of the property.