Crews Respond To Fire, Find Nearly 100 Chickens In Basement

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HAZLETON -- City officials said they found almost 100 chickens living in a home in Hazleton.

The birds were found after firefighters came to the house for a report of a fire Wednesday afternoon. Now the city is working to remove them.

“You don't expect to see that. Birds in a home I've never expected to see,” said Hazleton Deputy Fire Chief Brian Mandack.

Pictures of chickens in cages taken by Mandack came not from inside a barn but in the basement of a double-block home in the city of Hazleton.

Firefighters came to the house in the 700 block of North Vine Street for the report of a fire and found dozens and dozens of chickens, including hens, roosters, baby chicks and eggs.

“We ended up coming across or stumbling across what appears to be, at this 97 chickens was the last count the health officer and I were to get,” said Mandack. “They are feeding them and watering, someone is taking care of them.”

“Chickens are being housed in a basement illegally because according to the city's animal ordinance, in order to have chickens you have to 40,000 square feet and this is really ridiculous, the smells from the chickens,” said Hazleton’s Health Officer Mark Thompson.

Mandack said city officials questioned the homeowner, who gave them a series of conflicting answers.

“He had told me that he didn't know where the birds came from, that he bought the house and he didn't know they were down there and then ‘ok, just get them out of here I don't want them, I don't need any problems,'” said Mandack.

City officials have now arranged for two farmers to take the chickens.

Thompson said removing the chickens will be a process.

“This is the largest number of chickens we've found in one place,” said Thompson. “Logistically I don't know exactly how they're going to do it, but they're going to have a sufficient number of crates to put the chickens in.”

Mandack said the basement was condemned and the rest of the house most likely will be as well since faulty wiring was found throughout.

A utility crew will cut power once the chickens are removed.

“There are a ton of electrical issues, but the electricity is supplying the heat lamps to the chicks,” said Mandack.

Mandack said the two farmers are expected sometime Thursday. He told us the Hazleton Police Department is investigating the chicken discovery, and charges could be filed pending that outcome.


  • Elephant

    If there were no chickens, would there be an issue with the wiring? Almost every house has violations, according to the national electrical code, are we going to go into every house and check for violations? Was there a fire or not?

  • Ronald Clews

    Chickones, where you see chickones? I no see Chickones. Oh those Chickones. Those chickones here we get here.

  • Jeremy Fries

    I was raised on a farm and 100 chickens was just a start. My grandfather had incubators in his basement, and that is where the chicks hatched and remained until it was warm enough outside for them not to freeze. As long as we kept it clean down there and replaced the wood chip bedding it always smelled like pine shavings in the basement. One time when delivering hay to a really old timer, I remember the man had his kitchen door open and the chickens were able to free road the house. Well the old timer was sitting at the table eating some cereal when one of his chickens jumped up on the table and stated pecking cereal right along with him, he didn’t mind. I was grossed out, but it was his house and what he does in his house is his business, who am I to disrespect him? I’m just saying that if someone wants to raise chickens in their basement and nobody knows they are there or complains about it, what is the problem. I even knew people who raised pigs in their home, just as if it were a dog.

  • Linda L

    Well they told every body to take there pet’s in when it’s cold well they did just that. Having a farm get a box and fishing net and catch them.

  • kathy

    Lol..I have countless spite phone calls to children services because of a custody battle for one of two of my kids would it be news when I let the goats out and children and youth have a 300 pound goat standing on the hood of their car staring threw the windshield looking for wrong with the house..all the spite calls were for not winning)

  • Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

    We wouldn’t want to “allow” anyone to provide their own food, now would we? Land of the Free…

  • Ingrid

    Get boxes, pick up chickens, put chickens in boxes. Who wrote this nonsense, you’d swear they were talking about mountain lions!
    Now, ever hear of bleach to clean up the chicken poop?

  • kathy

    This story is stupid ..what do they mean they don’t know how to remove them..duh! Get a freaking box and pick them up ! And the people that can’t figure it out are from where? Lmao

  • Mandi

    Maria-I totally agree with you! I was laughing the whole time I read this story! They’ve never seen 100 chickens before? And this is news? We take pride in taking good care of our chickens, but have the people writing this story seen what commercial chicken farms look like? This story is actually borderline annoying. Remove the chickens, clean and sanitize the basement!! It is probably a one day project!!

  • Maria

    Seriously? A major issue removing chickens? My 10 year old farm girl could come help you get them out of there in 20 minutes. If they are not being cleaned up after it could be a health risk but to say condemn the house for chicken poop? Seriously Hazleton?

    • luvscoffee

      “Mandack said the basement was condemned and the rest of the house most likely will be as well since faulty wiring was found throughout.”

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