Family recounts horrifying rat encounters, calls for change at Bronx building

BRONX, New York (WABC) -- A man recently died from an infection linked to rat urine in the Bronx, and that news sparked panic at another building.

Residents say they have been dealing with an infestation for years and they are demanding action.

"When I put my hand into the bag, the rat jumped up and snapped onto my hand, and I said, 'Let me pull my hand out,' and there was actually a rat hanging onto my hand. I had to squeeze the rat so his teeth would let go, and I just started pouring down blood," said Carl Bouton, tenant.

That's what happened to Carl Thursday night, as he was trying to clean up his kids room, which is now littered with rat feces after the rodents chewed their way through the walls.

Carl, his wife Christina and their six kids are now all sleeping in the living room.

"I can show you the clothing that has feces and urine all over it, all over it. Why? Because the rat was living in the clothes," Christina said.

Christina and other residents say rats have been running rampant for years at 2730 Sedgewick, with the landlord and super doing little to help.

Friday, though, Christina got action after calling her city councilman, who got inspectors and exterminators to the scene for work inside and outside the section 8 building.

"Since 2014, they have not passed rat infestation inspection in this building, and so something needs to be done," NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera said.

"Because we're low income, why should we have to live with rats, rats, not mice, rats," Christina said.

All of this comes on the heels of three people contracting leptospirosis along a single block in another part of the Bronx in the last two months. It's a rare bacterial infection linked to animal urine, and in this case, rats.

One man in his 30s died from it in December. That has residents understandably on edge.

"I don't want that to happen to my family, so I'm asking New York City, help me!" Christina said.
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