Authorities crack down on pack rat

Piles of belongings stacked wall-to-wall nearly six to seven feet high in a Henry Place home prompted police, fire and code-enforcement officials to force its sole occupant to vacate until the mess is cleaned up.

Officials on Tuesday handed a “red-tag” notice to the occupant of 19 Henry Place — whose name is not being released but was described as male and middle-aged — forcing him to evacuate the premises due to fire and safety hazards from the piles. Red-tagging, a move often used by government agencies during landslides and other natural disasters, is a rarity in Millbrae, code-enforcement officer Sue Harris said.

“I’ve been here nine years and I’m not aware of any times we’ve had to red-tag a home,” Harris said.

Millbrae police Sgt. Danny Singson said that the three agencies responded to the home — located near the Green Hills Country Club — Tuesday afternoon, following up on a separate police request that the owner remove 11 cars from his property and surrounding street.

Neighbors, who were not available for comment Thursday afternoon, had complained to police for approximately six years about the cars and their unsightly presence. Still, neighbors and police alike were not aware of the safety hazards until they decided to take a look inside the home, Singson said.

He said the piles of clothing and various other knick-knacks nearly prevented access into and around each room in the house. City code requires that at least a door or window is available for exit in case of an emergency; the rooms had neither, Harris said.

Harris also pointed out that the structure’s foundation was not completely closed off from the home’s interior, prompting concerns about rodent infestation.

Singson said the occupant told police he was planning on selling many of the items on the Internet, and that a number of them had been purchased. It appears that the man only lived there occasionally, using the Henry Place home as something of a storage facility, Singson said.

The resident has seven days to make a good-faith effort at cleanup and 60 days total to have the mess completely gone, Singson said. Considering the speed with which the property owner removed the cars from the surrounding property — the original reason for the police visit — police are fairly confident he will comply with the city’s regulations.

“It’s just one of those extreme cases, from what I understand,” Fire Chief Dennis Haag said.

tramroop@examiner.com

artsbooksLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read