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Bed bug infestation in two Jersey City apartments

May 9, 2011 2:32:06 PM PDT
Bed bugs are back and they have infested two apartment buildings in Jersey City.

The buildings are right next door to each other on West Side Avenue.

Tenants complained to inspectors at the Jersey City Health Department that their buildings were overrun with bed bugs.

The building owner was going to wait until Wednesday to have the exterminator come.

But after Eyewitness News told him how bad the problem was, he changed his mind and sent the exterminator right away.

"I went in the hallway, I just scooped them up, they're falling from the ceiling," said Chi Chi Phillips, a tenant.

Phillips opened up a white envelope to show Eyewitness News about a dozen bed bugs she scraped up off the hallway floor of her apartment building at 596 West Side Avenue in Jersey City.

Eyewitness News' camera caught two more on the ceiling.

She says this morning her 6-year-old son woke up with them on his skin and his blanket.

"I'm not letting my son sleep like that, it's impossible. It's nasty, it's infested," Phillips said.

Jassmick Younger's 6-year-old daughter was sent home from school Monday when bed bugs went running out of her backpack.

"She itches, she has little bite marks on her arms and legs, it's sick," Younger said.

A bedbug landed on Sylvia Marcado's shirt as she walked through the hallway.

"I've lived here for 37 years, we've never had anything like this, not even a mouse," Marcado said.

Tenants on West Side Avenue have complained repeatedly about bed bugs to the building owner and the Jersey City Health Department.

Exterminators sprayed for the nasty pests in March and April and Monday, owner Chris Cerullo hired them to spray again, saying, quote, "We have every intention of fixing it immediately. These people are important to us and I realize it's a major problem."

"I have spent hundreds of dollars on space bags, bed bug spray, doing the laundry over and over again," said Nancy Bialobrzeski, a tenant.

Nancy hopes that after this round of spraying, she'll be able to take her and her son's clothes out of plastic bags she bought to prevent further infestation.

"My son is going to school and he has bugs on him, I bought him all new clothes," Bialobrzeski said.

Jersey City has one of the toughest bed bug laws in the state.

Landlords are required to pay for the exterminator to spray for bed bugs as many times as necessary to stop the problem, and not just the affected apartments, but the eight apartments surrounding them.

The owner is working to solve the problem, and that can't happen soon enough for tenants.

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