Bustleton home unfit for habitation, likely will be torn down

A Bustleton home that in Ju­ly was found filled with ver­min, trash and an­im­al waste as well as sev­er­al dead cats likely will be torn down.

And since that will re­quire a court or­der, it will take a while.

On Ju­ly 7, the 74-year-old own­er was res­cued from the home on the 9100 block of Bickley, a small street near Welsh Road and the Boulevard.

The man had called for help after fall­ing in his long­time home, but fam­ily mem­bers couldn’t get in and called au­thor­it­ies. It is when res­cuers entered the home that dead and live an­im­als were found as well as an­im­al waste, trash, fleas, mice, rats, spiders and bats. The Pennsylvania So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cruelty to An­im­als was called in to find and shel­ter any live an­im­als.

In Ju­ly, the PSPCA re­por­ted that there was not one place in­side the house that wasn’t covered with fe­ces.

PSPCA spokes­wo­man Linda Torelli said the own­er was hos­pit­al­ized since he was taken from his house and was only re­cently re­leased. She said in­vest­ig­at­ors con­tin­ue to look at the case.

Be­sides the filth, the house had struc­tur­al prob­lems. The city re­por­ted part of the roof was col­lapsing as were some walls. The De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions pos­ted the build­ing as “un­fit for hab­it­a­tion.”

Since Ju­ly, city work­ers have cleaned up the ex­ter­i­or of the prop­erty and sealed the build­ing.

L&I’s Emer­gency Ser­vice Unit eval­u­ated the prop­erty, said spokes­wo­man Re­becca Swan­son, and de­term­ined an out­side ser­vice that spe­cial­izes in haz­ard­ous ma­ter­i­al cleanups must be re­tained. 

“This will re­quire a court or­der grant­ing per­mis­sion to enter the prop­erty, which L&I will work with the Law De­part­ment to ob­tain,” Swan­son stated in a Nov. 21 email to the North­east Times.

Be­cause of the level of con­tam­in­a­tion, Swan­son said, the cleanup is ex­pec­ted to take some time and re­quire dis­pos­ing of what is re­moved at haz­ard­ous waste sites.

“Fol­low­ing the cleanup, L&I will bid the prop­erty out for de­moli­tion,” Swan­son ad­ded. “The Emer­gency Ser­vices Unit de­term­ined that the prop­erty is not sal­vage­able for fu­ture hab­it­a­tion due to the level of haz-mat con­tam­in­a­tion and that, as such, de­moli­tion is the only rem­edy. Again, this will re­quire leg­al pro­ceed­ings in or­der to ob­tain a court or­der to de­mol­ish.”

She said L&I sent vi­ol­a­tion no­tices to the own­er and has re­ceived no re­sponse. The own­er will be billed for all abate­ment work, in­clud­ing the cleanup and the de­moli­tion, and if the bills are not paid, the total amount owed will be entered as a li­en against the prop­erty.  

In Ju­ly, Swan­son said city work-ers have been to the prop-erty at least four times since 2005 to clean up trash and whack down weeds and grass. 

The city has about $2,000 in li-ens on the prop-erty for this work, she said, al-though a $618.48 bill for work done in Decem-ber 2012 had been paid. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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