Davenport residents claim lingering debris piles attracting rats, other problems

DAVENPORT, Fla. (WFLA) – More than two months after Hurricane Irma hit, Polk County residents are still waiting for debris to be picked up.

Residents in the Florida Pines community in Davenport tell WFLA that the piles of debris have become home to rats and other problems.

“We’ve never had rats around here,” Cindy Staber said.

“It’s what a rat likes, a pile of debris. It’s a breeding ground for them,” Rick Langston said.

Some residents told WFLA they worry the problem could spiral out of control if the county doesn’t show up.

Langston said he nearly had someone back out of buying a home because of a giant debris pile in front of the house.

“We called to try to get somebody to get us on the schedule to make sure they come out here and get it and they said there was no such thing as a schedule, they weren’t scheduled to come out and couldn’t give us an answer,” Langston said.

That’s why he took matters into his own hands. He showed WFLA the box truck he had just filled with debris, that he planned to take to the dump.

“It had to be done,” he said. “We closed on the house Friday, and the buyer was pretty unhappy that this was in his yard. He didn’t want to be responsible waiting for them.”

Polk County officials confirm that they have received a number of complaints, from rodents and snakes, to dead sod and debris clogging streets. A spokesperson said that crews are working from dawn to dusk to get everything picked up.

“We’re in the very corner of Polk County, and it seems like they forgot about us,” Staber said.

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