Bakersfield man concerned about syringes in vacant field

Syringes are seen in a vacant lot in the Rosedale area of Bakersfield, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Carol Ferguson)

Dozens of syringes turned up in the big, vacant field near Jack Sheahan's house, and he was upset.

The Rosedale man said he's been worried for years about trash blown into the field, and tumbleweeds that blow off it, but he considered the syringes a real danger.

They turned up on Wednesday morning, and by midday on Thursday they were gone.

It's still not clear how the syringes got there, but Sheahan said they were clearly a hazard.

"School children will walk through here going from this neighborhood to the other neighborhood," Sheahan told Eyewitness News. The field sits next to Hageman Road, not far from Old Farm Road. The syringes were scattered in an area by a wire fence and some tumbleweeds.

Most were in paper and plastic wrappers.

"There are some that I saw there that were not in packaging," Sheahan said, leaning carefully over the spilled syringes. "This one obviously has some sort of bodily fluid or matter in it."

Suzanne Standridge also lives in the neighborhood. She hadn't spotted the syringes, but said the danger was a little too close.

"I have a 12-year-old that rides his bike around," Standridge said, "he could have come in contact with that."

Some of the syringes were in a plastic shopping bag, and others filled a white box about halfway. The box had a name and address on it, and the address was about a mile away.

At that location, Alberto Montejo answered the door, and was shocked to hear about the syringes.

"I have no idea," he said when a reporter described them. Montejo said the box had been shipped to him with body building supplements, no syringes. "That website doesn't sell syringes," he said.

Montejo went back to the field with us, and looked over the syringes and the box. He also has no idea how someone would have gotten the box after he threw it out.

Other things litter the vacant field. Several bottles sat by one side, and some papers. A sign facing Hageman warns "no trespassing" and "no dumping."

That bothers Sheahan, as well as the tumbleweeds growing on the lot.

"They'll get so high, they blow up against my fence and then up over and end up actually in my front yard," he complained.

But, the syringes are the worst.

Sheahan said the lot was zoned in the City of Bakersfield, and Eyewitness News called their code enforcement office. But, the officer who came out on Thursday morning said the lot is actually in the county. However, the officer put on thick gloves, picked up the syringes and said he'd take them to a hospital for disposal.

We also called the Kern County Public Health Department, and Public Relations Officer Michelle Corson said their office would have also responded to remove the syringes.

Corson said the public can take "home-generated sharps" to the Kern County Special Waste Facility, which is located at 4951 Standard Street. That's the southwest corner of Standard and Foster Street.

That facility will give customers a new sharps container to replace the one they're turning in. If someone arrives with syringes in something like a bag or coffee can, facility staff will give them an empty container which can be used for disposal.

It's still not known how the dozens of syringes ended up in the field off Hageman, or who put them there.

Sheahan got back home Thursday afternoon, and he was glad to see the danger is gone.

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