Infestation forces renters to move

PADUCAH — A cockroach and bedbug infestation at a local apartment complex is forcing people to find a new place to live.

“It’s a hellhole!” Martha Griffin, a woman who lives at Southgate Manor in Paducah, told Local 6 Friday. She’s packing up and looking for a new home.

The purchase district health department notified the city about the infestation issue at the complex last week.  The property owners, Falconite Development, said they tried to fix the problem, but some people who live here refused to comply with exterminators.

Nine of the 44 units there are empty. The remaining tenants, about 35 people, have to leave.

Another tenant at the complex, Allen Riley, said he’s lived there for seven years. But, Friday, he was hopping on his motorcycle and getting out of dodge. He didn’t seem too worried as he explained his situation.

“My brother here knocked on the door. He said ‘You better go around there and see what’s going on. They’re talking about bulldozing the place,’ I went around there, and they told us we had 30 days to vacate the premises,” Riley recalled.

Riley’s apartment is clean, but he’s forced to move too.

“It ain’t really easy to try and find a place to move these days,” he said.  But, he said he doesn’t blame the property owners. Instead, he blames other tenants.

“If the bug situation is what’s making them shut this down, you know, that’s not on Falconite, man. That’s on people, you know?” Riley said. “Take care of where you live.”

Griffin disagreed. “I’ll be glad to get out of this hellhole!” she said. “My closet is full of cockroaches.”

She said the worst of it is in her kitchen. “I’ve got cockroaches and bed bugs real bad,” she said.

Griffin said she doesn’t know where she, her husband or dog, Chewey, will live, but she’s eager to move.

Falconite Development sent Local 6 the following statement on the situation:

“Falconite Development is truly saddened by the state of the Southgate Manor apartments. While we tried to resolve the bug issues, many of the residents refused to comply with the exterminators requirements for treatment and unfortunately that has led us to the situation we are all facing today. We are working with as many families as we can to transfer them to other properties. We appreciate all of the help from the city and other agencies in assisting our residents during such a difficult time.

We have issued notices to the majority of the tenants giving them 30 days to move and are working with the residents under current lease agreements to move into other complexes. We do not anticipate reopening the complex after it closes. “

The health department described the situation at Southgate Manor as “very serious.”  The department told us it was tipped off to the infestation last week and investigated immediately. The experts say bedbugs won’t hurt you, but they’ll make life miserable for you.

“The insects are going to come out and feed on you, and they will crawl on your body. It takes three to 10 minutes for them to actually feed,” Joel Barrett with the Purchase Area Health Department said. “And, depending on how many is there, you may have one or two or a swarm of them —40 to 50 bugs crawling on you. That’s going to affect your ability to sleep. And if you get lack of sleep, you’re not going to feel good, and your mental health is going to be affected.”

So, how can you prevent bedbugs?

  • Don’t pick up any used furniture or mattresses from the roadside or garbage bins.
  • If you have furniture from a rental service, always check the seams and any creased areas for bedbugs.
  • When traveling, check all motel or hotel rooms thoroughly before setting your luggage on the floor or bed.