Father Speaks After Apartment Condemned, Children Removed In Hazleton

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HAZLETON -- Hazleton police say five children were removed from an apartment after they were found home alone Tuesday afternoon.

The city’s health department says the children were living in poor sanitary conditions and the home was condemned.

Tuesday night, their father explains to Newswatch 16 how it happened.

Freddy Colon shows us around his apartment here in Hazleton on South Wyoming Street just hours after children were removed by city officials.

Colon says his five children were alone in the house for a short time Tuesday afternoon when he ran to the store to get them food.

“I understand it looked bad, me leaving them alone for a couple of minutes or whatever, I understand, I tried because my kids, you know?” said Colon.

When he returned home, police were there, checking on his children on behalf of the Hazleton Area School District.

Police say due to conditions found there both the health and code departments were called.

The health department says it condemned the apartment due to a cockroach infestation, poor sanitary conditions and the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom were clogged with cigarettes and food.

The children were removed by the Luzerne County Children and Youth Agency.

Colon says he`s already started cleaning up and has an exterminator coming on Thursday.

“They said the children have to go to another place until this place gets sorted out, until the exterminator comes and checks the place and that was it,” said Colon.

Colon believes the school district was checking on his school-aged children because of missed school days.

Colon says the children are staying with a family friend.

He says he`s heartbroken over what happened and will do whatever to get his children back.

“Crying is not the word, the mother too, yeah,” said Colon.

The Hazleton Police Department along with Luzerne County Children and Youth continue to investigate this incident.

No charges have been filed.