City of Springfield demolishes house infested with fleas and cockroaches

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Springfield, Mo. -- A dream come true for a Springfield neighborhood today.

It was demolition day for a house, infested with fleas and cockroaches.

Anxious neighbors watched as the demolition crew finally arrived.

It's been their nightmare next door for a long time.

"This structure had a severe, one of the worst I've ever seen infestation problems," Joe Curless, the Land Use Inspector for the City of Springfield, said.

"It's completely infested with cockroaches," neighbor Heidi Hart said. "There's fecal matter probably half a foot deep in there, the last tenants basically used it as a barn for several animals."

Neighbors said when the tenants moved out the house stood vacantly, cockroaches started spilling out into the neighborhood.

"I had a baby one run across my foot as I was on my laptop," neighbor Dale Milam said. "I picked up my drink from here, and I had one run down my arm that was a full grown one."

Now sounds of progress are giving this neighborhood a new start.

"There's a lot of hope in the neighborhood, right now that we might actually be able to get back to normal lives and stop living this nightmare that we've been living for the past few months," Hart said.

The city said it gave the owner of this house time to clean it up.

"The attempts from the property owner were unsuccessful we have documented the migration of pests to the other neighbors on several occasions," Curless said.

So Springfield took matters into its own hands.

"Our mission, our goal is to be here for the citizens of the city of Springfield to provide them a safe environment and comfortable environment to live in," Curless said.

It was a mission accomplished for this neighborhood. Now minus one house, but with a brand new lease on a more normal life on their block.

"We're relieved, we're all relieved," Hart said.

Hart said she's spent about $1,000 to get eradicate the cockroaches before demolition.

"We know from the city and also from our exterminators that problem is going to get worse before it gets better," Hart said. "The bugs will fly out, but from what Orkin told us is that the nest is [in the house.] So when they're killing the bugs that are coming over to our area there [are] just more bugs [flying] out and that's just evident every night. They're in the streets, they're on the side walks, this whole thing will be covered."

Neighbors have talked about hiring someone to come clean up the pests around the neighborhood.

We called the owner of the property and left a message but so far have not heard back.

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