The city received a judge’s approval Thursday to clean up a Kaimuki home that’s been neglected for years.
The city filed a court order against Laura Matsuzaki, the owner of the house on 2nd Avenue, which has been determined to be a health and fire hazard. Piles of trash overflow from inside the house and into the yard. Officials fear that that the house is also infested with rats and cockroaches.
The city is already accepting bids from companies to do the clean-up, but basically, there’s no easy way of doing the job. KHON2 spoke with an expert who said it will take up to four days of hard work from those who aren’t squeamish.
For the folks at Pacific Junk Removal, handling anything and everything that people want to throw away is just another day on the job. In many cases, it’s books and housewares that have been gathering dust in the house. But manager Ray Peralta said they tackle houses nearly as bad as the one in lower Kaimuki almost every week.
Peralta said that occupants are able to live in such houses. “A lot of them do in fact. They just work around it. There’s little trails in the house and they sleep on the piles of things they make.”
The city filed a court order against Matsuzaki after she racked up nearly $200,000 in fines. No one has been able to locate her, but once the judge gives approval, the city can go in the property within the next 20 business days to clear it out.
Pacific Junk Removal is one of four companies that has submitted a bid, a job Peralta estimates will cost more than $10,000. He said it would take about 15 truckloads to empty all the trash out of the house, so it will take about three to four days to get the job done.
“My guys have a lot of experience doing these things, so we know how to handle the things that usually gross people out like the filth, the rats, the rodents,” he said.
And there are also bedbugs and fleas to worry about, so Peralta said they will likely put on protective suits and masks when they enter the house.
But that’s not the worst of it. “Refrigerators are the worst,” he said. “People unplug them, they sit there for a couple of months, it’s now toxic. The gases that come out, it’s really bad.”
For neighbors of the house, the cleanup couldn’t come any sooner. It’s not just the eyesore and health problems that worry them.
Ariel Brown said “I just ran a homeless guy out of there the other night that was doing something in the yard and I said ‘hey ,what are you doing? What are you doing here?’ He said ‘I stashed something and I’m coming back for it.’ So if we can get that kind of traffic out of there, that’s great.”