UPPER MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Samantha couldn’t believe her eyes when her sister started playing cellphone video last Wednesday morning in the kitchen of their family apartment in Upper Manhattan.
“My sister recorded 13 rats in the kitchen, and one got caught in the mouse trap,” Samantha told PIX11 News in New York.
She shared the shocking video from her sister, Yovanka Landa, which showed rat after rat scampering across a kitchen counter and slipping through an opening in the stovetop.
“They go through the stove to get to the gas line so they can go into the hole that’s behind the refrigerator,” Samantha said.
Seven family members live in a six-bedroom apartment on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard; a pregnant woman sleeps in a room next to the kitchen.
“I have a video of me killing one yesterday,” Landa said of the rats, telling PIX11 News she used a baseball bat.
The family realized they were in for some trouble when their refrigerator stopped working on March 7.
“We pulled it out and we noticed the cable was chewed on the fridge,” Samantha said.
The next morning, the sisters made the horrifying discovery that rats were infesting their kitchen.
“The exterminator came Wednesday night to cover the hole with metal fencing,” Samantha said. “But we can actually hear them chewing through it.”
Samantha said when her family called the management company to say the fence wasn’t enough, they were told the exterminator only comes once a month.
Landa said she left work early when the exterminator was supposed to come back, but no one showed up.
“They want our rent on time and want to take us to court,” Landa said. “I left work early for nothing to happen.”
The sisters shared their story as New York City is grappling with an overwhelming rat problem. Mayor Eric Adams has said he is going to appoint a “rat czar” to address the crisis, but no announcement has been made yet on who will take the job.
Samantha said her family has lived in the apartment for close to 30 years. She worries now about her sister’s children, who are 11 and 15, and dealing with rats in the kitchen as boxes of Cocoa Puffs sit on the fridge.