Dept. of Sanitation deems flea market with vermin infestation 'illegal'

Highbridge residents say that there's a vermin infestation at the Ogden Avenue lot that houses a flea market, which health officials says is operating illegally.

They're demanding that the owner clean up the space at Ogden Avenue and West 166th Street.

News 12 cameras found that the back of the lot contained trash bags, kitchenware, pieces of metal and other miscellaneous items in piles.

Franklin Gomez rents the lot for his flea market.

Afer people complained about trash there a few months ago, the Health Department ordered the property owner to clean it up, but residents say it has only gotten worse.

Gomez says that the trash bags are filled with items that are either for sale or destined for donation to needy people and charities.

"Next week this will all be clean," Gomez tells News 12. "Part of it goes to charity. Some of it will stay, and some of it will be thrown away." 

But people like Agnes Johnson say the piles have existed for years and provide a breeding ground for vermin.

"It's as if a hoarder went crazy," Johnson says. "And they have an open space to just collect as much as they want and pile up as much as they want."

Johnson says she has complained to city agencies and local leaders. The Department of Sanitation inspected the market, which they say is illegal.

News 12 reached out to the lot's landlord, but has not yet received a response. The Health Department says inspectors will return to the market on Thursday, and if it's not cleaned up by then, they will take further action to ensure that it is.

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