NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Paramedics from Transcare, responding to a report of a 70-year old woman in cardiac arrest along with the New Rochelle Fire Department, were forced to retreat due to strong odors from cat waste and flying maggots which engulfed them as they entered the house. The two paramedics remained in the house for several minutes but exited after they determined the woman had expired. Initial reports were that 18 cats were living in the house but this has not yet been confirmed.
The paramedics described an overwhelming stench from cat urine and cat feces, an odor that neighbors have been complaining about for years. The odor could clearly be detected 50 feet outside the house.
After determining the woman had expired, the paramedics moved a man police believed to be the woman's husband outside onto the front porch and called for backup with Hazmat suits. The man appeared to be distraught but otherwise unharmed. He was later moved to a chair in the driveway in front of the house.
Police officers from the General Investigation Unit arrived, donned protective gear and entered the home.
The house is located at 194 Wilmot Road. The property is not located on Wilmot Road proper but a side street near the entrance to the Hutchison River Parkway. The back of the property abuts Lake Isle.
Neighbors said they had sought to intervene for years but the couple refused all help. City officials, the Westchester County SPCA and other agencies were called repeatedly, each offering assistance to the couple, but all offers were refused by Joan Rodenberg, the property owner.
City records show the New Rochelle buildings department was called at least five times in the past 30 months starting on June 4, 2010. There were further inspections on May 18, 2011, July 14, 2011, April 23, 2012. In each of those four cases the conditions and violations were resolved. The last visit by the building department took place on September 24, 2012. The house was inspected and marked for further follow up.
Today, after the New Rochelle Police Department took control of the scene, a New Rochelle building department official was sent to the house. The man was given 24 hours to clean the house.
The paramedics described a horrific scene with cat feces covering the floors and furniture with maggots and flying maggots buzzing everywhere. As they worked in the house, the flying maggots went in their ears, nose and covered their body.
"There was a cat with black legs," said one of the paramedics. "When it moved, the maggots jumped off the cat. His legs were actually white."
The house was described as completely soaked in cat urine. The fumes made breathing difficult.