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Four people from Clearwater apartment building hospitalized

CLEARWATER — Four adult family members at an apartment complex on Highland Avenue were taken to local hospitals to be treated for undisclosed medical conditions early Wednesday afternoon after a welfare investigator found them living in unsanitary conditions, authorities said.

Those hospitalized were a 36-year-old man, a 39-year-old woman, and another man and woman who are both 61 years old, said Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. No names were released.

The state Department of Children and Families received a tip about the residents through its abuse and neglect hotline. An investigator went to check on the family at Landmark & Savoy Square apartments at 2065 Highland Ave., said DCF regional spokesman Terry Field.

"When the investigator arrived, she had some pretty severe concerns for the family living there, to the point she did call for medical assistance," Field said.

Field declined to discuss specifics of the ongoing investigation, but did say the investigator's concerns centered on "both unsanitary living conditions and some concerns for the health of the people living in the home."

Emergency workers were seen wearing masks and protective booties as they came and went from the apartments.

Hours later, an unpleasant odor wafted from the upstairs unit.

Neighbor Daisy Gladden has lived at the complex six years. She said she had often observed an unkempt-looking older man and a younger man, both wearing dirty clothes, walking to and from the bus stop.

She and another neighbor said they sometimes heard what sounded like the screams of a female or baby coming from the apartment during the afternoon or middle of the night.

They were shocked to learn Wednesday that anyone other than the two men lived in the apartment.

"They don't never say nothing to nobody. They always kept to themselves," said Gladden, 53. "It's awful to live around people and don't know nothing about them.

"You want to, but you don't want to be nosy."

St. Petersburg Times photojournalist Douglas R. Clifford contributed to this report.

Four people from Clearwater apartment building hospitalized 04/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:51pm]
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