PHOENIX - Residents at the Santa Fe Springs Apartment Complex in Phoenix say they’re disgusted by the noises they hear in their walls.
“You can hear them having parties,” exclaimed Kebrina Kinkade.
“It (sounds) like vrrrrrrmmmmm,” said Charles Marsh, pattering his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “I honestly thought that there was a beaver trying to get in under my sink. It was scratching and scraping.”
The two tenants, and a group of other people living at the apartment complex near 19th Avenue and Glendale in Phoenix, said rats and mice have been pestering them for months.
Records from Maricopa County Environmental Services show the apartment complex has been battling the problem for at least nine months, but Marsh said the rats are still causing problems.
His neighbor, Ruth Borbor, told ABC15 the vermin bore holes through her cupboards and come out when she has been cooking.
Many of the residents are convinced the rats caused an electrical fire that burned a vacant apartment in February.
Fire crews who investigated the fire made no indication rats were involved.
The ABC15 Investigators went looking for answers for the residents and determined the property is owned by a non-profit organization, PRIDE.
According to Kim Dorney, Director of Housing for the City of Phoenix, the non-profit is staffed by the City of Phoenix. The group purchased the distressed property in 2010, using federal grant money.
“We need more done,” said Dorney as she acknowledged what she called a challenging property. “We need to completely eradicate pests….it’s getting better, and it’s going to be even better,” she said, explaining that a new pest control company has been hired to help the problem.
When the property was purchased in 2010, a City of Phoenix press release touted “comprehensive rehab…planned for the interior and exterior,” over the next twelve months.
Nearly two years later, operating funds have been spent to make some repairs and changes at the property, but most of the federal grant money has yet to be used on the promised rehabilitation.
“Initially it looked like some of the things might be more cosmetic,” she said of the property when it was purchased. "As we got into it, and got into the project, there were some other things that needed repairs,” she explained.
“I would say we have an A to Z project and we’re probably on M or N or somewhere in the middle,” she said.
Dorney said a major, unexpected repair has pushed back progress on the complex.
A consultant, Omnicron Engineering, found failing piping, and the entire water distribution system needs to be replaced. She said the process of getting estimates and permits is causing lengthy delays.
The same engineer pointed out a potential hazard with the breaker panels in each apartment. The type of breaker panels currently in the apartment complex have been known to be faulty, he said, recommending that all of the breaker panels in the entire complex be replaced.
Dorney expects major work to start on the property by September.
“We have purchased a very complicated property, and we are moving forward,” said Dorney.
Kinkade says she’s not sticking around for the promised progress. She said she plans to move out when her lease is done.
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