The toxic conditions inside an East Dallas home where a man identified as a hoarder was found dead Thursday have become a health concern for his neighbors – particularly when it comes to vermin.
The home in the 6200 block of Martell Avenue may have to be demolished once the floor to ceiling debris is removed. The body of 67-year-old homeowner Skip Bynum was found dead inside.
Friday, cleanup crews stood atop four feet of trash to rake hundreds of pounds of debris the home. Piles of personal items littered the lawn -- old pictures, unopened boxes of model plane kits, antiques, and a Bible.
Neighbors say it's not just the smell from the home that concerns them.
The city says it will take days before all of the trash is cleared out, and what has neighbors worried is what happens if and when the house comes down. They're afraid that a demolition may unleash an army of rats that will search out new shelters in neighboring homes.
The trash, along with rats and other vermin living it, scares neighbor Jessica Zacek. She's set three rat traps already and worries she'll need more.
"They're above you're ceiling, and then you're thinking of…they're going to the bathroom in your attic and it's, you know, seeping into your insulation and contaminating your house, it's just gross," said Zacek.
Other neighbors are considering taking steps to prevent potential problems, too.
"I'll probably have to call somebody to crawl up into the attic and seal up any kind of holes," said neighbor Virginia Cleaves.
The city says it normally takes a minimum of three months to demolish a home, to make its way through the legal process.
But it's unclear whether the house will be torn down at all. The city says it will know for sure in two to three days.
"It doesn't appear to be demolition worthy, but until we actually pull the debris from the house to see whether or not the roof, the walls or the foundation's been compromised, we cannot really comment on that," said James Martin with Dallas Code Compliance.
A Chihuahua that was rescued from the home is now staying with Bynum's church friends.
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