Residents in a Philadelphia neighborhood are keeping their bug spray on hand after they say thousands of cockroaches crawled out of a manhole and began invading their street.
"When I tell you thousands of them, there were thousands of them," Pat Wall told NBC10 Monday.
Wall and other neighbors say the roaches began crawling out of a manhole at the intersection of Salmon and Plum streets in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia Sunday night and haven't stopped since. At one point, according to Wall, there were so many that she couldn't see the ground.
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"When I tell you all the neighbors down this end were out here spraying and stomping, it was a horror story that I couldn't believe I was living," she said. "And they were flying all over. Never had to duck a flying roach."
Wall said it's the worst roach infestation she's ever seen.
"Everybody is out here with spray cans spraying bugs," said Paul Basfort, another resident. "They were stomping them and they were running right out of there."
Three residents called the Philadelphia Water Department asking for help with the issue, spokesman John DiGiulio said.
A crew was dispatched to the street Tuesday morning. They opened the manhole and used a mobile vacuum truck — known as a VACTOR — to clear any debris, trash or discarded food that may have been stuck in the sewer.
DiGiulio said the crew didn't spot any roaches, but inspectors from the Philadelphia Department of Health left bait for the insects.
Why the hoard of roaches swarmed that particular sewer remains a mystery. Heavy rain could have forced the bugs out of the pipe and infestations are more common in hot and humid summer months.
DiGiulio offered a more pragmatic view of the invasion: "Unfortunately, roaches live in sewers."