Nuisance Home: Mosquito Breeding Ground?

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Many communities in our area have neighborhoods struggling with nuisance houses – rotting, abandoned shells of buildings people once called homes.

A few of these eyesores have swimming pools in their yards, and that brings another level of concern.

Neighbors say a home on Bloom Avenue has sat vacant for three years. In addition to its ugly-looking front, people believe the property is responsible for an increase in mosquitos.

Look closely at this house at 1735 Bloom Avenue in north Scranton and you will see a condemned notice on the front window. No one is allowed to live here.

But neighbor Colin Tugend points to a broken side window that he says squatters used to get in and out of the house.

"That used to be all boarded up but then they keep taking it down, so the city has to keep coming up here to inspect the house because there's usually people living in there," Tugend said.

That's not the only problem. There are feral cats, and snakes around the building.

But people here like Michael Mills also point to the standing water in the above-ground pool.

"Drain that pool, so that we don't have any kind of bugs," Mills said.

"It stinks because we're always outside and we're always getting bitten. It's always a concern getting West Nile (virus). It's around this area so you have to be careful," Tugend said.

People here want the city to force its owner to fix it up or tear it down.

One city official told us he hopes its demolished. It's a process that he says could take three to six months.

Neighbors fear any plans to tear the home down might be fought in court by the owner of the house.

The home belongs to the heirs of an elderly woman who died last year. Some neighbors say her relatives tried to sell the property but could not find a buyer.

Mills thinks it would be a hard sell. It caught fire twice in the last four years. Scavengers ripped scrap metal from the rear and standing water in the dilapidated pool brings the threat from mosquitos.

"It's a health hazard," Mills said.

"It's pretty dangerous," added Tugend.


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