Neighborhood Deals With Infestation Of Rats From Home Of Deceased Hoarder

By Bill Galluccio

September 28, 2021

black rats
Photo: Getty Images

A neighborhood in Arizona is dealing with a massive rat infestation linked to the home of a deceased hoarder. The problems started last week when neighbors noticed a disgusting smell coming from the house.

"It's still a really, really bad smell," Megan Lortes told KPHO. "It's enough to hold your nose when you walk by."

When police officers went to investigate, they were shocked by the horrific conditions inside the house.

Justin Grubb, who lives in the neighborhood, told KSAZ that an officer described the situation as "one of the worst things he's ever seen in 30 years on the service."

When officers entered the house, there were so many rats it looked like the floor was moving. Firefighters were called to the scene and had to wear safety gear to get inside. They found the decomposing body of the woman, who was in her 60s, inside the home and said she likely died of natural causes.

Neighbors said they knew the woman was a hoarder but didn't realize it had gotten so bad. They said that in the days since her body was discovered, the rats have taken over the neighborhood.

"I have 50 of them in our yard at least. I have video and pictures of them by my front door," Lortes told KSAZ. "I have to carry my kids out when we leave the house, which isn't often because we're scared to leave."

City of Peoria officials are working to exterminate the rats, which are considered a serious health issue. 

"It's sickening, actually. I mean, it's a health hazard. They start attacking pets and stuff, and next thing you know, they're going to start spreading diseases," Gary Kvintus told KPHO.

A hazmat team was called in to board up the house. They also set up numerous traps and laid out poison but said it could take at least a week to get the situation under control.

Other people in the neighborhood are taking matters into their own hands, setting up traps of their own in an effort to quell the rodent population. 

"The rats climb up there. There's a pole with a sprite can that had peanut butter [laid across the trash can's opening] so they eat that, and then they fall into the trash can, and they can't get out," Lortes explained.

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