'Hoarding' case concerns neighbors - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Hoarding' case concerns neighbors

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HARDEMAN COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Residents in one Mid-South town want officials to take action.  They claim their neighbor is a hoarder and it needs to stop.

Trash is piled up to the ceiling under Mary Cole's carport in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Cardboard boxes, clothes, and furniture are piled up on every side of her home.

People living along the same street say the mess is a breeding ground for animals.

“There's possums, coons, and rats and snakes, I'm sure,” said neighbor George Sargent.

“It smells, smells dirty and rotten,” added neighbor Dana Borders.

Neighbors say these living conditions are also dangerous.

“If the house was to catch fire, and she was asleep, she wouldn't get out,” Sargent worried.

Mary Cole did not want to do a recorded interview with Action News 5, but she said on the phone that she has multiple sclerosis and lives on a fixed income.

She did an interview with the Bolivar Bulletin Times saying she simply does not have the money to keep the place up.

“Underneath my house is that much water. You can't kill bugs with water like that. I'm waiting to wake up with a snake on top of me,” she said.

Neighbors say the mess outside has gotten worse.

There is so much trash piled up you cannot even get to the doors.

And neighbors say what is outside does not even begin to touch what is inside.

“Boxes stacked up to the ceiling.  Little trails through the house with barely enough for her to get through,” Borders explained.

Neighbors say Cole tells them she has stuff piled up to the doors to keep thieves away.

Those who live around her say she goes dumpster diving at night and brings in more trash.

“It's a hazard to our community, a health hazard to her,” added Sargent.

Late last month, county officials mailed a letter to Mary Cole saying she had one month to clean up the mess.

Now that month is almost over.  She has one week left or county officials say will call the EPA.

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