ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - No one -- not even the homeowner -- is denying it's a big mess, and cleaning it up so she can move back in won't be easy. But that's exactly what neighbors want for the 82-year-old Northeast Heights homeowner.
"This is monumental," neighbor Robert Trudo said.
Junk and old appliances fill the backyard. The garage is packed with boxes of mason jars, baby strollers hang from the rafters, and fabric and decorations fill a back bedroom.
Trudo is worried about what else may be in the piles.
"We don't know if we've got critters under there that are nesting or just what the situation is," said Trudo.
Trudo has lived next door for 45 years. With the homeowner's permission, he showed KRQE News 13 just some of the problems. He said the house has no heat because no one can get to the furnace to repair it, and the electrical system isn't up to code. The city red-tagged the property at the end of November.
"Right now, we don't know who in the family is going to take responsibility or care of her items," Safe City Strike Force Manager Joe Martinez said.
City cleanup crews will start clearing out the backyard soon. Martinez said all items will be treated with respect.
"The City of Albuquerque will take the best care of her property that we can financially do," said Martinez. "Personal effects, pictures stuff like that, that doesn't go into the trash."
That is something Trudo is glad to hear. He is heading up the effort to get the home back in order. While he's asking for all the help he can get, he knows this is a daunting task.
"We are looking forward to seeing her come back here as quickly as we can get her back here," said Trudo. "Frankly we are not sure if that will ever happen."
Neighbors are also hoping to get the mess cleaned up because it's become a magnet for burglars and trouble-makers. It's been hit five times since Halloween.
The homeowner is living at an assisted living facility now. City officials said they hope to have a family member take charge of the home in the next 30 days, so it doesn't turn into a mess again.
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John Smith with your forecast and Kim Vallez with your afternoon headlines.