Mayor Bass says cleanup of Los Angeles’ ‘trash house’ begins ‘today’

Standing in front of a Fairfax neighborhood home now known as “trash house,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on Tuesday said city crews would begin clearing the debris “today.”

“I don’t want to hear about any process or whatever, this to me is a public health emergency,” the mayor said. 

Neighbors have told KTLA they’ve been complaining about the odorous plastic trash bags piled high in front of the home in the 600 block of North Martel Avenue for months but officials had not taken action.

  • A Sky5 image shows piles of trash in the front yard of a Fairfax home on April 2, 2024.
  • Trash is seen in the front yard of a Fairfax home on April 2, 2024.
  • Trash is seen in the front yard of a Fairfax home on April 2, 2024.
  • A Sky5 image shows piles of trash in the yard of a Fairfax home on April 2, 2024.

However, one day after KTLA brought attention to the issue, local Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky said her team would work “with urgency” to resolve the issue.

“I am aware of the situation at the home near Martel and Melrose Ave, and have directed my team to work with the appropriate City Departments to resolve the issue with urgency. Private property owners have a responsibility to maintain public health standards, and we will make sure those laws are upheld,” Yaroslavsky’s statement read.

Mayor Bass told reporters that she just found out about the situation Tuesday night and that the councilwoman was also relatively new to the issue.

“Let me just tell you something. Both of us, as you know, are new. I am tracking this from last night to find out where complaints were lodged and what happened in the process,” the mayor said.

But in the meantime, Bass said she would not waste any time in getting the trash picked up.

“This is a fire hazard and I worry about the individual there, this place catching fire, him losing his life … This is just outrageous and it will end today,” Mayor Bass said.

Aerial views of the property showed mountains of trash surrounding the home and partially covering dilapidated vehicles that were left in the yard.

Residents have expressed concerns about possible health risks the trash bags pose.

“I don’t really know what’s in that so it could be anything. Probably stuff rotting, you know, attracting rats and all sorts of things. And then also maybe a fire hazard,” one neighbor said. “And if something happens to his house or him inside no one can get in.”

The homeowner was described as a “nice man” but this isn’t the first time the city has been called about the home.

In December 2014, officials stepped in after the property owner failed to comply when asked to remove “rubbish, garbage, trash and debris from the premises,” a notice from the city obtained by KTLA stated.

The owner was also ordered to “maintain the premises in a clean and sanitary condition” and keep the driveway accessible.

The city eventually did the cleanup and billed the homeowner in that instance.

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