CBS47 On Your Side: Homeless along 41 freeway setting fires, causing dangers for Fresno neighborhood

CBS47 On Your Side
February 07 2021 03:30 pm

How to deal with illegal homeless encampments across the valley is an ongoing debate.

But imagine having one directly behind your house.

That’s what an entire neighborhood is dealing with, as their backyards line up against the 41 freeway in Fresno.

They say they were getting no where to have the state clean it up.

So they called CBS47 On Your Side for help.

From drug use, to drinking and partying at all hours of the night, that what folks living on the 3700 block of Thesta Avenue near Dakota say they are dealing with.

Keith Stubbs says, “There is drug paraphernalia everywhere. There was two crack pipes.”

His wife Connie says, “I called Caltrans and they didn’t come out and did nothing. Three days later my umbrella was on fire.”

The Stubbs have lived in their manicured home for the past 43 years.

Now they’re considering moving because of the homeless related problems.

It’s not just trash and clothes on the other side of their back fence, but human waste and used syringes.

Plus you can see where a recent fire happened.

The Stubbs say it was started by the homeless and it burnt their property.

Connie says, “We call Caltrans on a fairly regular basis. We tell them and report that it’s a fire hazard back there.”

The Stubbs and others say no one has shown up and it’s been more than a month.

So what does Caltrans say about it?

Elizabeth Yelton, Caltrans Spokesperson says, “We are a little back logged and behind on some of the work, just working with schedule issues with CHP or sometime our landscaping crew.”

Caltrans adds when crews clean up homeless encampments, it must also schedule a third party bio-hazard clean up company.

Yelton says, “They sift through the items and pick up what they have deemed hazardous. Then and only then our crews can go and do work behind them.”

Residents say someone needs to find a long term solution.

Keith says, “If you run them off here and they go two miles from here that’s not solving the problem. So they need to sit at a table, the people in charge, and figure out how do we solve this problem.”

Because it’s on state land, Fresno City homeless ordinances don’t apply.

However state agencies tell CBS47 crews will be cleaning up the property Friday morning.

If you see homeless encampments along the freeways on state property, report it to the California Highway Patrol or Caltrans.

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