Residents of one Staten Island community say they still don't know who's responsible for cleaning up abandoned houses they believe are making them sick, and now, they add running water to the list of concerns. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Step inside one Hurricane Sandy-damaged home in Midland Beach, and it feels like the hurricane happened yesterday. Garbage and debris litter the tiny bungalow, abandoned years ago, and while our camera couldn't capture the smell, it could capture the sound of water that residents said has been running for months.
"We made a lot of calls, not just for this house, for a lot of them, and to turn off the water and all that, and nothing's been done," said Aiman Youssef of Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief.
The Department of Environmental Protection said it will send an inspector to the house to turn off the water.
Meanwhile, the Department of Buildings visited the homes just once after the storm, to tag them restricted. Their owners have never returned, departures that Mike Dauphney said aren't surprising because the homes were used primarily for storage before the hurricane struck.
Dauphney's house is sandwiched in between both 562 A and 562 C. He said his calls to various city agencies about the homes have been met by the same reply every time.
"You can't do nothing about it because it's not my house," he said. "And I ain't the one. It's got to be the owner complaining, but there is no owner. Nobody showed up."
Residents have long been complaining about mold and rodents coming from the abandoned homes. They said they expect those concerns will only grow as the weather gets warmer.
"So many bugs, so many everything," Youssef said. "I've seen so many houses, and this is one of the worst. And there's neighbors here. They're living right next door to it."
The Department of Health said homeowners are responsible for mold removal, but it would not say whether it planned to send an inspector to the houses to check on complaints about rodents.
Despite NY1's many calls, the station were unable to answer the one question that's been plaguing these Midland Beach residents: who is responsible for cleaning up mold in an abandoned house?