Standing water in illegally dumped tires in the Southeast Dallas County town of Wilmer has neighbors worried about the potential breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.
Resident Glenda Hefner said a large pile with dozens of tires appeared on the land beside her home about five weeks ago.
“I’m not young and I don’t want to get sick," Hefner said. "I’ve got a grandchild. He lives with me. These people over here are not that young either, and I’m going, this is crazy."
Hefner said she saw a truck dumping the tires one night, but could not see the tag number. But she said she asked officials for help getting rid of the tires as soon as they appeared.
Dallas County Health and Human Services began a 2014 West Nile virus prevention program on March 4. The county asked residents to remove standing water and use insect repellant. The same recommendation has been issued several more times since then.
Email records from Dallas County show that the health department asked the City of Wilmer to take action on the large tire pile in March.
Property owners are ultimately responsible for clean up even if they did not cause the problem, but cities can undertake a clean up job and bill the property owner for the work.
Wilmer City Administrator Denny Wheat said the owner of the property with tire pile died years ago, complicating the clean up.
“There should be somebody that’s responsible for the property and we’ve got our police department working on it, as well as code enforcement,” Wheat said.
“With the West Nile situation like we have here, it’s certainly something we’re very much attuned to and on top of it,” he said.
Mosquitoes did not appear to be breeding in the tires Friday, but Hefner said they could start any time and neighbors are at risk as long as the tires remain.
“Their health is in jeopardy. It’s scary, totally scary. It could kill them. I don’t want to die. Not yet,” Hefner said.