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News / Nation & World

Cleanup begins at Los Angeles ‘trash house’ where entire property is filled with garbage and junk

By Associated Press
Published: April 4, 2024, 8:13am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass vowed that cleanup would happen at a home where mounds of garbage and debris had piled up several feet high across the entire property’s fenced-in yard and driveway.

The mayor said Wednesday she only learned this week about the Spanish-style bungalow in the Fairfax district that residents have dubbed the “trash house.” Neighbors say they have repeatedly complained about the stench coming from hundreds of white garbage bags that have accumulated along with broken down vehicles, piles of newspapers, cigarette cartons and other junk.

Standing in front of the house, Bass said she would instruct officials to bypass red tape to make sure the place gets cleaned up immediately.

“I don’t want to hear about any process or whatever, this to me is a public health emergency,” Bass said Wednesday. “This is a fire hazard and I worry about the individual there, this place catching fire, him losing his life.”

Hours later, sanitation workers wearing coveralls and masks arrived and began loading the trash into trucks.

Since last July, the Department of Building and Safety has fielded more than a dozen complaints related to trash and improper storage at the property, according to city records obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The complaints remain under investigation, but the city issued an order to comply in November.

With no compliance happening and piles of trash growing, the complaints ratcheted up this week, triggered in part by a post on the social media app Nextdoor and a report Monday from KTLA-TV.

“It’s filthy,” said Miriam Kosberg, whose family has owned the property directly behind the house for decades. “There’s garbage all the way up to the back fence.”

Kosberg told the Times she and her family hear the sounds of animals in the backyard and believe the swarm of mosquitoes in their yard is due to standing water and other detritus next door.

Another neighbor, Jonathan Fromen, said the problem has persisted for at least a decade. The yard was cleaned up a bit in 2018 and 2019, but since then the garbage began piling up again, Fromen told the Times.