Dumped debris angers residents

January 14, 2008 4:14:36 PM PST
Trenton residents say abandoned properties have been turned into illegal dumping grounds.The block Tina Hobbs lives on Fountain Avenue in Trenton has as many as 20 abandoned houses, and behind them are yards filled with garbage, furniture and discarded building material dumped by people.

She says she feels like she's living in a junkyard.

"It's outside illegal dumping. You have logs, you have tires, [and] you have asphalt. It's unsanitary and it's a fire hazard," Hobbs said.

Neighbors say this problem has been going on for years, but it's now at the point where they can't take it anymore. They think the situation in their neighborhood has become a health and safety hazard.

"I live right next door to an abandoned house. If it goes up in flames- who knows? Me, my children, my loved ones, we could be in trouble," Kenny Jackson, Fountain Avenue resident, said.

"They got to either do something with this house or tear it down. What's happening is the water's running down in between the walls. The water's going into my kitchen; it's going into my front room," Leon Thomas, another Fountain Avenue resident, said.

A city work crew began cleaning up some of the debris Monday morning and hopes to finish by the end of the week.

"The first I heard about this problem was on Friday. We went out, we surveyed, we have a plan, we're going to implement the plan and it'll be cleaned up," Licenses and Inspections Director Len Pucciatti said.

Pucciatti says Fountain Avenue is targeted for redevelopment and abandoned buildings will be demolished or rehabbed. He also says Trenton spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year cleaning properties like this one.

"The real solution is to work together, interact so we can stop this because I will tell you, within 48 hours of us cleaning that site, it'll be a mess again," Pucciatti said.

Pucciatti urges citizens who see someone dumping illegally to call police immediately.