City Calling Hoarded House Worst Seen in Years

LAS VEGAS -- City of Las Vegas officials are calling the hoard inside a Sun City Summerlin house the worst case they have ever seen.

Kenneth Epstein's home was filled floor to ceiling with so much stuff he had to sleep outside.

On Monday, city crews are cleaning it out because Clark County Health District and Las Vegas Fire Department officials said the hoard has created a safety hazard.

To neighbors, Epstein seemed ordinary -- quiet and friendly.

He paid his bills on time and never had his power shut off.

But the growing pile of debris in his yard caught the attention of city officials.

But even they said they had no idea what they had come across.

When city crews opened the door to Epstein's home, they said they couldn't believe what they saw.

Boxes stacked so high, they crawled near the ceiling to get over them.

Neighbor Penny miles said Epstein had a serious problem.

"He slept outside because he couldn't get in the house to sleep," she said.

She said the smell was "horrible" and that it was indescribable.

Miles said Epstein had collected so much junk, he had to go in through his window to get inside.

"He had six refrigerators full of decayed food," she said. "You can imagine."

Councilman Stavros Anthony of Ward 4 declared the house a health hazard.

"There were dead cats. There were live cats," he said. "There were refrigerators with liquefied meat."

Anthony said he had never seen anything like it and put together a task force that included the city attorney, code enforcement and the fire department, to clean it up.

The health district, Metro Police and animal control were also involved.

"We saw stuff on the patio," neighbor Jenny Mangeri said. "We figured this man was moving. But it kept getting bigger and bigger.

City officials said Epstein laid low and when he received a hoarding complaint, he fixed it, albeit temporarily.

"Code enforcement would issue a citation," Anthony said. "And then the person would take care of the problem."

Already, 15 truckloads have already left the property full and there is still more to clean.

According to the city, professional help will be enlisted for Epstein, then the city will decide whether to file a criminal complaint. The house will have to be fumigated then gutted before it is habitable.


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