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    City of Albany inspects Talbot house for health and safety violations

    City staff of Albany inspected the house located at 1075 Talbot Avenue Wednesday, which neighbors complained to have serious health and safety problems.

    The City got a court warrant, hired a locksmith, and scheduled to enter the house at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, after the owner of the house Fumi Iwata ignored their request of inspection earlier this month.

    But a few hours before the scheduled inspection, Iwata called Jeff Bond, City Manager of Planning and Building, and suggested that he could use the key she left at the Albany Police Department to enter the house.

    While City staff opened the front door of the house and walked in, a few neighbors stood at the side way watching. To their surprise, the house was not vacant, but has lots of furniture and appliances inside. A table was placed near the front door, with a few phone directories on it, and a washing machine could be seen in the kitchen.

    “I thought it was completely abandoned and dilapilated,” said Ulan McKnight, a neighbor who has been urging city staff to act on the house.

    About half an hour later, Daniel Wilson of the Office of Vector Control of Alameda County walked out of the house with a dozen rat droppings sealed in a plastic bag. He said that the droppings were collected from the living room floor, the stairs, the kitchen and the bed of the house.

    “They are all over,” Wilson said. “It looks like that they have been accumulated over the years.”

    He added that many boxes and paper in the house have been chewed up by rats, which might come in and out via sewer pipes and broken windows.

    After he saw a stove was not safely turned off, Albany’s Fire Chief Marc McGinn called PG&E Company to cut off gas supply to the house.

    Jeff Bond said that he saw a foot-wide hole on the kitch roof, and lots of trash and debris on the floor.

    “We don’t know whether they were left by the owner or by homeless people, ” Bond said.

    Wilson said that he didn’t think any homeless people living in the house, for he saw jars of food and bottles of wine intact in the kitchen.

    Bond is compiling the findings of the inspection, and would send a Compliance Order to the house owner next week, requesting her to take actions on violations of city codes.

    Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

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