PEORIA, Ariz. — Body camera video released by the Peoria Police Department showed the inside of a home that caught the attention of an entire neighborhood when it began overflowing with rats.
Police said the woman who lived there died, but she was a known hoarder.
Clean-up in progress
Fences surround the home now with red notices saying the house is ‘unsafe to occupy’ as the City of Peoria is working to get it cleaned up.
“It’s better,” Megan Lorts said.
Lorts lives next door to where dozens upon dozens of rats came out into the street and into neighbors' yards.
“I’ve only seen about one or two (rats), where before I was seeing about 50 at my front door,” Lorts said.
A large vine has been taken down off the front face of the house and the open doors and windows have now been boarded up.
“They’ve taken down a lot, they cleaned out so much, they’ve cleaned out the backyard,” Lorts said.
Inside the home
Peoria police body cameras showed members of Peoria Police Department’s Special Assignment Unit going into the home in hazmat-style gear with items piled in all directions of the home.
Peoria police said the woman was found dead inside.
“It was way worse than the last time I checked in there. Last time you could at least travel to the kitchen but now basically you just can’t,” neighbor Jeremy Baughn said.
The City of Peoria said they’ll begin cleaning the inside of the house next week.
Hoarding is a mental health disorder
“This does appear to be a more extreme situation,” Melissa Elliott, the Senior Vice President of Programs and Services at the Area Agency on Aging.
The Area Agency on Aging runs a hoarding therapy group in the Valley to help people who self-identify as hoarders to help change their behaviors.
“Really when we’re talking about true hoarding we are talking about a disorder,” Elliott said.
Elliott said people who find themselves in hoarding situations usually never intended to be there.
“It usually stems from an emotional place, it never really is about the stuff,” Elliott said.
Neighbors said help was offered to their now-dead neighbor.
“She just refused and you can’t help somebody that refuses,” Lorts said.
Elliott said the process of helping in a hoarding situation can take time.
“It’s really about trying to understand where they’re coming from, what steps they might be willing to take, how much can you help them to take those first steps,” Elliott said.
If you or someone who know needs help with a hoarding situation some resources to help include:
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