‘Trash House’: Hazmat crew remove 7 tonnes of garbage from squalid Los Angeles home

Los Angeles Mayor called the situation a ‘tragedy’ after seven tons of debris had to be removed from a Fairfax yard

Amelia Neath
Friday 05 April 2024 21:57 BST
Los Angeles residents react to seven tonnes of rubbish being removed from one squalid house

Los Angeles cleaning crews in hazmat suits have cleaned out a 7-tonne mountain of rubbish at a city home known as the “Trash House.”

Sanitation workers started to shift huge piles of debris and garbage bags spilling out from a home in the Fairfax neighbourhood on Wednesday.

The move to haul all the trash away from the property, which can be seen entirely covering every inch of the yards outside it, came after fed-up neighbours demanded officials take action.

Neighbours told ABC7 that the smell has been getting increasingly worse, with one resident, Rebecca Yale, saying they’ve noticed more flies and insects.

While neighbours have described the person who resides in the “Trash House” as a “nice man,” they are hoping the city can step in and give him some help, saying that the debris encasing his house could also pose a risk to the man, as it may be hard to access in an emergency, KTLA reported.

Officials said they would be offering support to the homeowner
Officials said they would be offering support to the homeowner (KTLA 5)

Aside from the concerns of their neighbour, residents also told the outlet of the possible health risks lurking in the trash bags.

“I don’t really know what’s in that so it could be anything. Probably stuff rotting, you know, attracting rats and all sorts of things. And then also maybe a fire hazard,” one man told KTLA.

Local Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky responded to the neighbours’ pleas for authorities to step in and told the outlet her team would work “with urgency” to resolve the issue.

“Private property owners have a responsibility to maintain public health standards, and we will make sure those laws are upheld,” Ms Yaroslavsky told KTLA.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety declared the property an "imminent public safety and health risk," giving city crews the authority to move the trash, ABC7 reported.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass toured the ‘trash house’ on Wednesday
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass toured the ‘trash house’ on Wednesday (KTLA 5)

The effort to shift the giant haul of trash spilt over into Thursday and the crew estimated that around seven tonnes were removed at the end of the second day.

The objects included broken glass bottles, odorous food waste and even an old Toyota Celica car.

The homeowner spoke to KTLA, telling them he did not understand what was wrong with his home, and reportedly seemed confused and even upset whilst speaking to the city workers.

However, neighbours are finally relieved that the house’s trash issue has been properly taken care of.

“It’s sad that it’s gotten this bad and it’s taken this long,” Charlie Topial, a neighbour, told the outlet. “I think it should have been taken care of years ago.”

The home has been cited nearly two dozen times in the last 10 years over the bundles of stockpiled garbage bags, according to KTLA, adding that the house has been previously been cleared before in similar operations.

An old Toyota was even recovered among the moutains of trash bags
An old Toyota was even recovered among the moutains of trash bags (ABC7)

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass described the ordeal to the outlet as a “tragedy” after she learned about what was happening at this property in Fairfax.

“This is awful and obviously, this has been developing for months,” she said, with the Mayor also visiting the property herself on Wednesday morning as crews began their work.

Ms Bass added to ABC7 that she was “So concerned about the gentleman that lived in this situation.”

"I’m horrified to think of what is happening inside that house."

Ms Yaroslavsky says the county is attempting to offer mental health services to the homeowner, according to the outlet.

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