A court-ordered cleanup was supposed to begin at John Wuerffel's Schaumburg home at noon Sunday. But only three people showed up, including a Schaumburg social worker, and Wuerffel seemed to be a no-show.
Wuerffel, 62, of 1427 Hampton Lane, was told by Cook County Associate Judge Hyman Riebman Friday that he has a week to relieve his home of its overwhelming burden of recyclable items or else face a court order that will allow the village of Schaumburg to do the job for him.
A jury found Wuerffel guilty earlier this month of violating village ordinances requiring both the inside and outside of homes to be kept sanitary and free of rubbish. Riebman immediately sentenced Wuerffel to $1,200 in court fines but would not immediately grant the village's request for a cleanup order.
On Sunday the social worker, Linda Young, said Wuerffel could not begin the cleanup without a truck. Wuerffel was getting the truck at the moment, she said. He was supposed to return at 3:15 p.m. - more than three hours after the noon cleanup was set to begin - but no one was outside the building at 3:20 p.m.
"I came here to help John," said Young, who was on hand to coordinate the effort. "It's part of my job as a social worker to support him. We saw that there was support for him in the community, that people wanted to help and we thought we would take advantage of that opportunity."
The objective, she said, was for Wuerffel to move the objectionable contents from the house and yard to the truck. Clutter was not apparent from the outside, except for several vehicles that were parked outside and covered.
Jean Porter, one of the two people on hand to help Wuerffel, said she lives in the area and read about the situation in the newspaper. She added that she was disappointed with the turnout.
"I understand it (hoarding) is an illness," Porter said. "I thought the street would be full of people. "We're supposed to be such a tight community, and nobody has come to help."