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updated: 1/31/2011 6:40 PM

Schaumburg prepares to use cleanup court order on house

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  • The backyard of Wuerffel's home as it appeared before he began a court-ordered cleanup in recent days.

      The backyard of Wuerffel's home as it appeared before he began a court-ordered cleanup in recent days.
    Village of Schaumburg photo


Schaumburg health officials are closing in on the date and cost to execute a court order to remove an excessive collection of recyclable items from the home of a resident no longer able to live inside.

The village won the court order after 62-year-old John Wuerffel was found guilty in early September of not keeping the inside and outside of his house on the 1400 block of Hampton Lane free of rubbish.

Wuerffel allowed inspectors into the raised ranch Thursday, where they found the upper level a bit less cluttered than earlier this year. The lower level, however, remained virtually impassable, Schaumburg Public Health Officer Mary Passaglia said.

The village will be meeting with a few commercial cleanup companies early next week to get bids for the work. The court order could be executed shortly after those bids are received and analyzed, Passaglia said.

"Our goal is to take care of this as soon as possible," she added.

Earlier this week, Wuerffel himself arranged for the tow of three nonoperational vehicles from his driveway.

Passaglia said the village intends to be sensitive to Wuerffel's personal belongings and furniture during the cleanup and adhere to the specific directions of the court order.

Only rubbish -- in this case, recyclable materials -- can be removed from the home through the court order. Based on her visit Thursday, Passaglia said it should be easy to differentiate between Wuerffel's personal belongings and the recyclable items he's collected.

During his recent jury trial, Wuerffel testified that he's been out of work for more than six years and that his only source of income is the sale of recyclable materials like bottles and cans.

He cannot live in the house because of both its amount of clutter and the fact that its utilities have been shut off for nonpayment.

Wuerffel spends his winters in suburban homeless shelters that reopen Friday, but in recent months he has been sleeping in one of the vehicles in his driveway.

When he returned to the house earlier this year, he found it padlocked by his mortgage company which had assumed it was abandoned. The company has since removed the padlock and put its foreclosure proceedings on hold, but the home remains labeled by the village as a place unfit for human habitation.

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