ELYRIA — For the past few months, 12th Street resident Wendy White has a daily routine since her home became infested with roaches.
She, as well as residents on 14th Street facing their own infestation, said little has changed in the last three weeks when the city sprayed the sources of the infestations.
Elyria City Safety Service Assistant Director Kevin Brubaker said there’s not much the city can do for the homes of residents affected, only for the homes, the sources of the infestation.
“I can only tell you what (the property owners) are telling me a they’re doing, and they both have been advised they cannot rent either one of those houses until the property maintenance violations on the safety side are dealt with as well as until they can prove there are no longer roaches in those houses,” he said.
But residents say that’s not enough.
In the morning, White checks the home for roaches, in every room, under every piece of furniture, as well as on her three children, their clothes and the food. When showing how bad it was, she opened her back door, and about a dozen roaches scurried on the white door and walls. She hurried to stomp them all with her shoe, while one of her sons ate dinner in the dining room.
“They’re there; they hide, but they’re there,” she said.
White said she spent $600 trying to get rid of the roaches, but all attempts have failed. She also feared bringing her children to school Thursday, because she worried about spreading the roaches into the school system. Frustration and anxiety plagues White, who has had roaches in her home for six weeks.
The city determined the 12th Street infestation was started by a family of two adults, two children, four cats and two dogs who were living in conditions that supported infestation of the home at 325 12th St. The environment was deemed unsanitary, and it had no electricity for weeks. The family was evicted three weeks ago, and their belongings were left on the porch. The home was boarded up and baited for cockroaches, then sprayed.
The 12th Street home is owned by JB Patriot Properties VIII LLC, a company owned by Jerrod Biebrick. Brubaker said Biebrick told him the home has been sprayed twice internally and externally once. Brubaker added Beibrick said it will take another two applications to change that.
Biebrick could not be reached for comment, but court records show he has been cited by the city in the past in connection with properties he owns. From 2014 to 2017, Biebrick received 12 property violation citations from the city, according to Elyria Municipal Court records. Due to the multiple violations, Brubaker said, the city can hold him to fix those problems in a time frame or he could face criminal charges.
On 14th Street, resident Dan Horton said he was still finding cockroaches outside and occasionally inside his home. He recently found one crawling on his chest that he swatted off and then had to hunt down.
Jim Brunner, owner of Brunner Real Estate Co. which owns the home at 435 14th St., said the tenants he had were the culprits of the infestation and left the home a mess when they departed. The renters signed a lease last year and stopped paying rent in the last few months, so he evicted them. The tenants left the house five weeks ago, leaving an estimated $10,000 in damage to the property.
When his company started to clean the home, Brunner said, cockroaches were found. He said they sprayed in the home and moved the garbage and broken furniture outside to be picked up, which he said was sprayed again. But residents discovered the roaches began to infest multiple nearby houses.
Three weeks ago, Brunner used his other company, Brunner Landscape, to cut and spray his property’s lawn. Allied Exterminating Inc., a professional exterminating company sent by the city, sprayed the property too.
Since then, Brunner said he has cut and sprayed his lawn at least once every three weeks. During that time, he said he also kept his promise to help other neighbors infested by cutting and spraying the lawns of five to six properties adjacent to his.
Brubaker said after talking to him, Brunner agreed to cut and spray Horton’s lawn as well.
The best advice Brubaker could give to residents with roaches in their home would be to get a home spray or a professional exterminator.