RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Imagine trying to go to sleep at night with the sound of an alarm blasting in your neighborhood. Residents were so fed up; they called NBC12 for help.
We were able to get that alarm silenced around 7 o'clock Monday night. It was blasting at a group home in a building the city had condemned almost a month ago. It started going off at midnight the night before causing more than twenty hours of a literal headache.
Woodland Heights residents have Sgt. John Barkley to thank for a quiet night's sleep. But considering the hazmat suit Barkley had to wear, the silence wasn't easy to come by. Elli Sparks called nearly a dozen city agencies trying to get the alarm at the former Manor at Woodland Heights turned off.
"I dreaded the thought of trying to go to sleep with this sound," she explained.
Plan A for police was to find the owner of the group home. RPD said they couldn't enter the locked condemned building.
Richmond Police told us they sent an officer to the building Monday morning and found it secure. But when we got there the same evening, we found the upper balcony door open and the back door unlocked for anyone to walk right in.
We asked Elli Sparks where her phone calls had gotten her, she replied, "pretty much nowhere until you guys came along."
We told police what we found and in less than an hour, they arrived on scene with a solution. Sgt. Barkley came in a hazmat suit so he wouldn't be in danger of what's described as a "monumental bed bug infestation."
"I don't know what kind of treatments have been done," he said. "I wasn't going to take the risk of going in without some type of protection and get something myself or worse, carry it home to my own family."
The fire alarm is off, at least for now.
"I went in there and reset it," Barkley explained. "I tried to disassemble it but somebody's broke it all up."
Police were never able to find the owner of the condemned group home. Now the question is what to do when this happens again. Residents plan to call CAPS, which is an interagency group that deals with property issues to look at the long term