Rat infestation of Arizona neighborhood linked to hoarder house owner’s death

PEORIA, Ariz. — A hazardous materials crew has been ordered to board up an Arizona home after its hoarder occupant died recently sending a swarm of rats scurrying across the Peoria neighborhood.

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Crews estimated that besides the at least 300 rats inside the house, there are hundreds more outside, KSAZ-TV reported.

Neighbors told KTVK that they knew hoarding was going on in the house and that a woman there owned at least one python. Her next-door neighbor, Megan Lorts, alerted authorities Thursday when the stench surrounding the property became unbearable and rats began spilling into her yard, making their way to her front porch.

Indeed, the hoarding conditions inside the home were so severe that responding officers were forced to defer to firefighters “dressed head-to-toe in safety gear,” the TV station reported.

Meanwhile, police confirmed to KSAZ-TV that the decomposed body of a woman in her 60s was discovered in the home.

According to police, a next of kin would typically be responsible for addressing the rat situation, but the woman who died lived there alone, and city officials told the TV station that it has taken them nearly a week to find a contractor willing to accept the job.

“About 12 different contractors who, before showing up on-site or otherwise, were not willing to do it,” Chris Hallett, the city’s human services director, told KSAZ-TV, estimating it will take roughly 10 days to contain and exterminate the rats, as well as clean up and clear out the items in the hoarder house.

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