Infestation of rats adds to NYCHA's crisis

Residents of NYCHA's Claremont Consolidation Houses in the Bronx told Fox 5 that rats eat their food, chew through wires and walls, and even bite them and their children while they're sleeping.

The problem has gotten so bad, one resident had to resort to hand-to-hand combat to save a family member. He showed us a dead rat that he said he killed in his apartment.

A few minutes later, without even looking for them, we saw rats having the run of the courtyard then sneaking inside. They're in many apartments despite residents' best efforts to keep them away.

Veronica Clemente told me she is worried about her baby son Daniel, who has health issues. The rats chewed through his oxygen tube and then went for his tummy.

Krushaun Person and his wife had to put their food in a cooler after the rats chewed through the refrigerator wires, breaking. He tried to patch the holes in his walls the best he could.

In a show of support, local leaders joined tenant activists in demanding action. Council Member Vanessa Gibson said she is "pissed off" and called the situation "unacceptable."

"... we have taken aggressive steps to address the current infestation by eliminating rodent access to the building and the apartments, which will also keep future rodents away," NYCHA spokesperson Michael Giardina said in a statement. "We apologize to our residents and will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation."

Residents said that NYCHA workers have been putting down traps and rat poison. But containing the infestation can be very hard because one female rat can have up to 2,000 babies a year.

Citywide resident leader Danny Barber is calling for a City Council investigation into why available NYCHA funds are not being used to solve this urgent problem.

For the families who live here, it will be another stressed-out sleepless night.