Woman blames vacant day-care for bug infestations

Sep 17 2013 - 6:12pm

Images

A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A vacant day care building on Harrison Blvd. in Ogden. (ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- For two months, Shelly Anderson has been going crazy dealing with an infestation that just won't go away. She is constantly treating herself and her three cats for parasites, only for the bugs to keep coming back.

"I'm not an unclean person. It's humiliating," Anderson said.

She's not sure whether they're lice, bedbugs or fleas, but they keep coming back.

After trying to pinpoint the source of the problem, she now suspects the infestation is coming from the neighboring building, a former day-care center at 2421 Harrison Blvd.

The building has been vacant for nearly three years after being foreclosed. The current holder of the property is Salt Lake City-based WebBank.

In the front windows below a "for sale" banner, toys and toddler-size furniture can still be seen scattered about as though the business had never closed. Yet in another section, the ceiling has collapsed and debris covers the stuffed animals. Behind the building is a playground, where tall weeds and garbage have replaced playing children. Anderson said raccoons and rodents regularly congregate there as well. In an adjacent alleyway, garbage piles up, including a small trailer with old carpet.

Anderson said the condition in which the property is kept is appalling, even if it is vacant.

While some people she has talked to are skeptical that the empty building could be home to parasites, Anderson said she believes the high humidity and piles of garbage on the property incubate the bugs that are now using her and her pets to survive. She has no other explanation for the infestation other than the defunct day-care.

After spending hundreds of dollars on bug bombs, shampoos and other treatments, she said she's tired, and the chemicals are making her sick. She has even had to get rid of a brand new couch and several pieces of linen.

Anderson is on a fixed income and no longer has the time or money to take care of the problem herself, so she has filed complaints with both Ogden City Code Enforcement and the Weber-Morgan Health Department.

Both agencies have a pending investigation on the property and if a health hazard is found, then it will be up to the owner, WebBank, to fix the problem or face citations for health code violations.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Alene Evans said it's the city's responsibility to cite violations concerning property damage, trash and criminal activity, while the Department of Health investigates county health code violations, such as parasites.

Anderson said the entire ordeal has put her in a bad state of mind and that she would move out if she had the means.

WebBank Chief Credit Officer Todd Plumley said the bank wasn't aware of any major problems with the property, but will work with the agencies, and if a violation is indeed found, take care of it.

"We don't want any sort of hazard on our watch," he said.

Anderson said her daily meditation was to go outside and tend to her garden with her cats frolicking about, but now she's afraid to be outside with just an old, brick wall separating her and the vacant day-care. Every time her cats wander too far, she fears they've gone into the old playground and will return with more pests.

After spending so much on chemicals and getting rid of furniture, Anderson wishes to also pursue reimbursement from whoever is responsible, which city officials said would have to be through a civil court case.

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @SE_Andreas.

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