Rats take over Manville, NJ neighborhood after Hurricane Ida and residents are fed up
MANVILLE — A once pleasant street in a New Jersey suburb has new, furry neighbors living in homes abandoned after Hurricane Ida.
Ken Gorman told New Jersey 101.5 that rats are loose on Griggs Place in Manville. Gorman, a local pastor, said the rodents have been spotted coming in and out of empty houses, in people's yards, and crossing the street looking for food.
One neighbor was in his driveway when a rat scurried by just 10 feet away from him, according to Gorman. Rats have even been seen coming out of a home that is still occupied.
"It's a problem," Gorman said.
A quiet dead-end street, Griggs Place is shorter than a football field and located in the Lost Valley neighborhood along the confluence of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers and separated from the borough by train tracks. Like much of Manville, homes here were hit hard by Hurricane Ida on Sept. 1, 2021, and a few were left "unlivable," Gorman said.
The residents in the neighborhood have tried to control the situation; one household has killed 20 rats so far. But an exterminator told another neighbor that they won't be able to make a dent until the nest is found, according to Gorman.
"We feel we can do nothing," Gorman added.
The three of the vacant homes have been bought by Blue Acres. The state Department of Environmental Protection program conducts voluntary buyouts of flooded properties. Once the properties are bought out, it's up to the state to demolish them.
An inquiry from New Jersey 101.5 to the state DEP regarding when Blue Acres planned to demolish the homes was pending at the time of publishing.
Mayor Richard Onderko is pressuring the state to demolish the homes and calling on a county health inspector to investigate, News 12 New Jersey reported.
Onderko did not respond to a request for comment from New Jersey 101.5.