HAZMAT Crews Respond to Dangerous Situation at Midland Home

by Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A man is in the hospital after being contaminated in his own home but you won't believe what officials think could be the cause.

On Friday morning, Midland Police were called out to check on a man who hadn't been seen at work for the last few days. When police arrived to a house off of New York St. in Midland, they found a dangerous situation, not only for the homeowner, but for themselves too.

The elderly man was living by himself in a house with no water or electricity but that wasn't what had officials so worried. The man had three dogs inside the house, but two of them were dead and they aren't sure how long they'd been there.

EMS and HAZMAT crews were dispatched to the house because the man was very sick and the house was also in pretty bad shape.

NewsWest 9 spoke with his neighbors who say they haven't seen the homeowner in almost two months and they're not surprised by what officers found.

Ernest Gomez said he's lived in his house for the last year and he's never seen a light turn on at his neighbor's residence. He said the man did have friends over every so often but he doesn't understand why no one ever said anything about the way he lived.

He also said at one point he thinks he even saw the elderly man trying to start a contained fire inside his home to stay warm and he always noticed a lot of dogs at his neighbor's house.

Gomez watched as his neighbor was carried out from his house on a sheet and then to a stretcher.

"From what we saw, he looked pretty bad, like skin and bones," Gomez said. "I was wondering how he was living especially with all those dogs. At one point, he had little pups and those were hanging out for a while and then after a while, I didn't see them."

That man was taken to Midland Memorial Hospital. Officials have not released a name and there's still no word on his condition.

Earlier, David Hickman with the Midland Fire Department said bio-hazard situations can be any number of things from trash to spoiled food. In this case, the dead dogs might have been the cause.

The house was quarantined and it's now being looked at very closely. Animal control took the other dog from the house and all response crews were also decontaminated to prevent the spread of any germs.

We'll bring you the latest as it becomes available.