Editor's note: After this story was broadcast Tuesday evening at six o'clock, workers arrived to silence the alarm.
AUBREY — On a homey front porch on Cedar Lake Drive in Aubrey, black fuzzy spiders the size of steering wheels swing in a gauzy web.
Pumpkins sit by the door.
The Friedrich family really does it up for their kids. But it's the screech from the vacant house next door that haunts them day and night — an endless Hitchcockian soundtrack, like the whole house is backing up.
"It's incredibly irritating," said Leah Friedrich. "I feel like my ears are constantly ringing."
Friedrich's family woke up to the piercing "beep, beep, beep" about 3:30 Saturday morning. They quickly traced it to the smoke alarm in the foreclosed house a few feet away.
"We called the sheriff, and they dispatched the fire department," she said.
But there was no fire — just an alarm system apparently crying out for new batteries.
The Friedrichs hoped for a quick fix, but not so fast.
"The Realtor told me she couldn't touch anything that is affixed to the house because it's government-owned," Friedrich said. "It's a HUD home."
She called the emergency number for the management company listed on a tag in the window, but said she couldn't get through.
The Realtor said she placed an emergency work order with the company, but couldn't predict when workers will arrive to silence the beeping.
"Even when I'm not home, I feel like I can hear it," Friedrich said. She can hear it in her bedroom, and the sound follows her to the kitchen.
So far, the Friedrichs have waited four days for their misery to find its way through the red tape.
If there's any left over, they'll stick it in their ears.