(NEXSTAR) — Yesenia Irizarry’s new apartment is “just perfect,” she says. It’s clean, it’s quiet, and no one was trying to burrow through the light fixtures.
That wasn’t always the case.
Irizarry, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, had recently shared an apartment in Brooklyn with three roommates and at least one uninvited guest who lived in the crawlspace over the ceiling.
“I mean, we’ve always kind of had problems with the apartment since we moved in,” Irizarry told Nexstar. “We live next to a cemetery, and we came up with this joke … that if we heard scratches on the walls, that we were haunted.”
No, her apartment wasn’t haunted. But one night in November 2021, she and her roommates made an arguably more horrifying discovery.
As seen in footage she recently shared on her Instagram account, Irizarry caught a raccoon trying to claw its way into the apartment via the kitchen’s light fixture — and nearly succeeding, too.
“We were literally just waiting and watching,” said Irizarry, who was alerted to the incident by the screams of her roommates. “Its arm just stuck out. At one point, we saw its ear, like it was opening the gap wider so it could come in.”
It was well past midnight by that time, and the local animal-control services were closed, Irizarry said. So the women called 911.
Police responded, but said they “wouldn’t even know what to do” and suggested the women wait for their landlord to call them back in the morning, according to Irizarry.
“No one slept that night,” she said. “We huddled in our rooms. The scratching kind of died down, but then it started again a little later. It was getting more aggressive. We could hear the raccoon moving (in the ceiling above) the living room, above the bedrooms.”
Finally, at about 6 or 7 a.m., Irizarry said the landlord responded and sent over a handyman to patch up the loose light fixtures. An animal-control officer came the day after, and set traps on the building’s roof, in the crawlspace, and on the fire escape.
During the course of the ordeal, the women also learned a few interesting tidbits about the history of the apartment. “Past tenants would come home to raccoons in their living room,” Irizarry claimed. The building’s management attempted to solve the problem by putting caps on the chimneys, she said, but the caps had later been torn off, and now a raccoon was once again using the chimney to access a crawlspace.
To top it all off, Irizarry said the animal-control officer hinted that the raccoon was rabid and likely raising babies up there.
“For a month after that, we still heard the scratching, during the day, on the ceiling,” she said. “We all immediately started looking for new apartments to move to.”
Eventually, after about six weeks, Irizarry said the scratching stopped, leading Irizarry to believe the raccoon (and perhaps its babies) had crawled back out through the chimney or that it had died up there.
“Nobody, as far as we know, came by to clean out the crawlspace,” she claimed. “So that’s a big question that was never answered.”
The landlord, however, had thankfully understood the women’s plight and released them from their leases early. In February, Irizarry got herself a new apartment that meets all of her requirements, not the least of which is a raccoon-free ceiling.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know there would be raccoons in the city,” Irizarry said. “I thought maybe we’d have roaches, or bug problems or rat problems. But I never would have thought raccoons would have been a problem.
“It keeps me on my toes. You never know what’s going to happen here. It consistently shocks me, every day, being here.”