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Mice, cockroaches: NDG family raises health concerns over unfixed hole in apartment ceiling

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A Montreal family that came to Canada with dreams of building a better life have found themselves living in an apartment in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce where mice and cockroaches are coming through the ceiling because their bathroom ceiling caved in.

The parents are worried about the filth because their daughter has been diagnosed with cancer.

On April 12, Adil El-abbar says the giant hole opened up in his bathroom ceiling.

His upstairs neighbour's shower had been leaking and when the ceiling finally collapsed, water and debris came crashing into El-abbar's bathtub.

"Every time there's a person in the apartment taking a shower, the water starts up again," he explained.

The hole allows debris and mice into their apartment. (CTV News)

He says he contacted his landlord right away but after nearly a month it still hasn't been fixed. Each morning, he says he has to clean out more debris but that's not all he finds in his tub.

"Apart from the toilet problem, there's a mouse problem," he said, as mice are coming through the hole.

It's a major concern because his three-year-old daughter has leukemia and chemotherapy treatments have weakened her immune system. He says he and his wife are forced to disinfect the entire apartment every morning because there is mouse urine and droppings in the unit.

Adil El-abbar's three-year-old daughter is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer. (CTV News)

He says the ordeal has left his two older sons traumatized. They're losing sleep, he said, and refuse to bathe at home out of fear. Instead, El-abbar says they shower at the nearby Benny Sports Complex.

"He's falling asleep in class and I believe it's because of this," the father said.

A mouse is seen inside Adil El-abbar's shower. (CTV News)

The owner of the building on Walkley Avenue, Jean Onel d'Haiti, says he already sent a plumber to fix the leak and is waiting for the ceiling to dry out.

In a statement to CTV News, he wrote: "This week, without fail, I'm going to send someone to seal the hole and repaint the bathroom."

Adil El-abbar is worried about the filth in his apartment because his daughter has been diagnosed with cancer and her treatment has weakened her immune system. (CTV News)

But Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough city councillor Despina Sourias says there have been complaints about the building for more than a year.

As for El-abbar's situation, Sourias says the city has hired its own plumber and plans to do the repairs. The city will send the landlord the bill.

"The situation … it's a danger to their health right now. So we're going to use the powers that we have to intervene," she said.

Caring for a sick child throughout this ordeal has taken its toll on the father. He said he immigrated in 2017 in pursuit of what he described as "the Canadian dream" but is instead fighting to give them a safe place to live.

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