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Bedbugs force seniors to flee highrise apartments in Reading

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Oct 23 2012 02:33:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 23 2012 05:12:18 PM CDT

Bedbugs have invaded a senior highrise apartment building in Reading.

READING, Pa. -

Bedbugs have invaded a senior highrise apartment building in Reading.

The bugs' stay at the Episcopal House of Reading, however, is no longer welcomed. Crews on Tuesday evacuated residents and began fumigating the building on North 9th Street.

Sally Levan, 80, said she has lived in the building for almost four years, and for the past couple years, some of the apartments have been infested with bedbugs.

"There were a lot of people that had them. A couple of residents would be sitting downstairs, and once or twice we saw them crawling on their shirts," said Levan.

The complex was previously managed by Christian Concerns Management & Development of Montgomery County. In August, Housing Development Corporation Mid-Atlantic, located in Lancaster County, took over management of the building.

HDC Mid-Atlantic officials said they called in exterminators to determine if the bedbug problem was getting worse.

"Our top priority is the safety of the residents and the health of the residents," said Bill Hubbard, community manager of HDC Mid-Atlantic.

To eradicate the problem once and for all, HDC Mid-Atlantic decided to fumigate the entire building floor by floor. The fumigation started Tuesday morning once the 114 residents and their pets were cleared out of their apartments.

"Some of the folks will be going with friends and relatives and the balance will be going to some temporary housing that we have up outside of Lebanon," said Hubbard, adding that transportation, meals, and activities have been taken care of.

The residents will be able to return to their homes on Thursday, officials said.

"If it would have been done a couple of years ago with the other manager and the other exterminators, we wouldn't have to go through this. I think this fumigation, the process, is really going to do what it has to do," said Levan. "I'll be happy to get back."