California family fighting neighbors’ junkyard ridden with hazardous waste is at breaking point: ‘Trapped’

Jul 11, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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One California family is at its breaking point, warning their neighbors are “endangering the entire community” with their hazardous, makeshift junkyard as they struggle to get support from government officials. 

Los Angeles resident Elena Malone and her family purchased what they thought was their dream home in Sun Valley in 2021, but things quickly changed after their neighbor allowed the property to spiral into a hoarding nightmare – one ridden with hazardous material, trash, melted car batteries and even stolen vehicles. 

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Malone, who is concerned about her two children and husband who is fighting cancer, told “Fox & Friends First” she is at her “limit” in trying to mitigate the dangerous waste site. 

“We are at our limit here,” Malone told co-host Todd Piro on Thursday. “I have two young children. Both of us are working. We just dealt with cancer treatment, but we are trapped here. I would never sell this property to another family and have them have to deal with that… I don’t know what I can do. I can’t sell the property, and I can’t seem to get the city or the state or the federal government to do anything to remove this hazardous waste from the property, so I’m stuck.”

Malone, who contacted one dozen government offices, argued officials passed the buck in handling the property. 

She said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) have both skirted responsibility for cleaning up the property as the hazardous material continues to mount.

“They’re passing the buck. The EPA has declared the site a hazardous waste site in 2021. They say the soil’s contaminated, but will not clean the soil until CHP removes some of the 100 vehicles, five of which have been either identified as stolen or involved in crimes,” Malone said. “But EPA will not go until the CHP clears. CHP will not enter the property until they feel it’s safe for officers. So, each agency has basically said they aren’t willing to engage with this person on this property because it’s not safe.”

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Despite her efforts, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez’ office said in a statement she “is engaging with city departments on immediate next steps to resolve this issue.”

Malone told KTLA that the amount of debris also worries her because of wildfires, since she has been trapped on the property before by the neighbor’s cars. 

The LA Times previously reported that the property owner, Mary Ferrera, allows her son, David, to live on the property and even brings him food each day. 

“She’s worried about her son, as we all are as parents, but she is really endangering the whole community,” Malone said. “We’ve already had two fires in this canyon this week. Two brush fires and the week’s not even over yet.”

But that isn’t what has pushed Malone “over the edge.” She explained how her husband’s cancer journey brought her concern to a heightened level.

“When he was in the peak of his treatment, doing chemo and radiation every day, we were in and out of the house and asked the neighbors to at least keep the gate free,” Malone said. “There was a time when… [it] was a very difficult day of chemo, and my husband was vomiting, needed me to come get him, and I was trapped in my house because of the cars blocking the gate, so that was really the point where I felt like I broke.”

“I could not imagine someone not being able to see the empathy and move their car so that they could… allow their neighbor to go get their husband and their family,” she continued. 

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