Cleanup causing rats?

Some residents say the Centredale Manor Restoration Project, as seen here last week along the Woonasquatucket River in Centredale, is chasing rats from their watery homes and sending them into the neighborhood.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Lymansville resident Dale Rankin says he and his neighbors are dealing with terrible conditions due to rats coming from the Woonasquatucket River, where federal agencies continue to complete cleanup of decades-old contamination.

Rankin and his wife Lori Ann say they hold the town responsible for the situation in not mandating proper rodent remediation before the work was done. They said they’re looking for the situation to be resolved and for the town to pay out restitution.

The Rankins and some neighbors were planning to show up for a meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday, Nov. 2, to express their concerns.

Rankin said a rat crawled up under the hood of his 1999 Mustang convertible and chewed through the computer harness. The replacement parts he needs are obsolete, he said, and he’s been informed that he’ll need a whole new motor.

Rats are also digging through yards and into houses in the area, said Rankin. He said he thought things were bad for him until he spoke with about “200 neighbors,” many with similar concerns but much worse situations, including rats getting into homes.

He said this is a repeat of the rat situation that happened a few years ago when a local apartment complex was found to be providing a significant food source. He said there is no significant cleanup work being done in the river currently that should be causing more rats to be disturbed and enter residents’ properties.

Building Inspector Mike Carnevale told The Breeze this week that he’s visited the neighborhood on multiple occasions in recent days, including inspecting dumpsters at surrounding businesses. Rats have always been “a bit of a problem” near the river since he was a child growing up here, he said, and there’s only so much the town can do. He said he issued citations to multiple homes in the area for garbage being left out, and he’s advised residents to call their own exterminators.

Carnevale said he’s been doing everything he can to be responsive to the residents, but he’s heard from no one else other than the Rankins. He said he can’t say how serious the issue is based on the limited information.

“This is the first I’m hearing about a rodent problem in quite some time,” he said.

Rankin said the suggestion to get an exterminator simply isn’t feasible if all surrounding residents aren’t also doing the same thing.

“Not everyone’s going to pay,” he said.

He said he’s poured thousands of dollars into his yard, but all he keeps hearing is Carnevale and Mayor Charles Lombardi “spinning it” by talking about food sources, including grease trays under grills.

“Are we supposed to throw all our grills out?” he asked. “Where does it end?”

He insists there is no obvious food source in the neighborhood.

Chief of Staff Dick Fossa said residents often don’t want to hear it, but it’s true that rats live and nest within 150 feet of a food source. Eliminate food sources, including feces from pets, and they’ll go elsewhere, he said.

Rankin said he plans to stay on this cause, not just for his family, but for everyone who’s afraid and feeling bullied about the issue.

“I’m going to take a stand,” he said.

He added that he doesn’t know how town officials can assess higher property values on homes when they know there’s a rat problem in a neighborhood.

“Fix it now before it becomes a bigger problem,” he said. “You (the town) brought the rats to us. You guys are the probable cause, we’re not.”

(1) comment


Its always the Town's fault. C'mon, take some responsibility.

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