Residents of Bronx housing project plagued by infestation of rats

CLAREMONT, Bronx (WABC) -- Residents at a Bronx public housing project are being plagued by an infestation of rats, and at least one child has been bitten.

The rats have practically taken over the Claremont Houses.

They are turning up at all hours, as five were seen in a kitchen at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, in a home where children live. But it's worse at night.

"I was lying in bed, and I woke up to scratching noises in the walls and it became very loud," said one resident of the complex.

Just about everyone in the project has pictures and stories of the rat infestation.

Asia Clemente's 12-month-old son was bitten by a rat and she says NYCHA did nothing.

"They did not come out and do nothing to my apartment until hospital doctors told them about the condition and threatened to help sue them for the condition that my son is living in," she said.

The rat problem started in the courtyard where children play and adults gather. Residents didn't want to be there at night. However, they thought they were safe at home. But not anymore.

"We shouldn't have to live like this in these types of conditions," said one of the building's residents.

Workers did show up Monday to close holes in the walls and spray chemicals where it was safe.

"What's that, four people for 60 apartments, what are you gonna fix?", said another resident.

In a statement Monday, NYCHA admitted the problem, saying "Our residents shouldn't have to live in these conditions. We apologize to our residents and will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation."

The Department of Health released a statement Tuesday: "As part of the State's monitoring of ongoing NYCHA health and public safety crises and at the invitation of the tenant's association, DOH staff are on site today conducting a review of the situation."

The parent whose boy was bitten has been offered a transfer to another NYCHA complex.

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