Unsafe conditions outside a Middletown, Connecticut, apartment were enough to bring in the fire department, police, and health department. Then officers saw the inside.

As Fox 61 News reports, it began with an air conditioner fire, started when someone in the third-floor apartment flung a cigarette out the window. Fire crews arrived to put out the blaze and noticed the exit to the building was blocked by trash. And that wasn’t the only problem.

Middletown Police Department

According to The Middletown Press, tenants on the second floor complained that their bathroom ceiling was caving in. The local health department determined it was being caused by a leak from the third-floor residence.

Concerned, authorities decided to speak to the resident of that third-floor apartment. When 27-year-old Chloe Edwards opened the door, the first thing police noticed was the smell.

They didn’t have to guess the reason for the odor. According to NBC Connecticut, officers entered an “uncomfortably warm” apartment and were stunned to find a carpet stained with urine and feces and covered with dead cockroaches and food. Discarded cigarette butts and beer cans littered the floor.

In the bathroom, the toilet was broken and a leaky bathtub faucet ran continuously. Mattresses on the floor were smeared with vomit and feces, while cockroaches crawled on the dirty dishes in the sink. There were no sheets or pillows, but there was a folding knife on the floor, an uncovered electrical outlet, and wooden boards with exposed nails.

According to Fox 61, officers reported that “a multitude of flies were in the apartment as well.” The apartment’s back door was blocked by a 3-foot pile of garbage.

In the midst of the squalor, authorities found five children. Four of them belonged to Edwards, but the fifth was a girl whose mother had reported her missing on Aug. 4. According to police, Edwards knew the missing girl through a “third party.”

Police found almost no food in the house — in the refrigerator, there were only two jars of baby food, a can of pasta, and some jarred sauce. As police waited for workers from the state’s Department of Children and Families to arrive, two children began eating dry dog food off the floor. They’d found the food and told officers they were hungry.

Edwards has since been charged with five counts of risk of injury to a minor and is being held on $10,000 bail. The children are in state custody, and the Department of Health has declared the apartment “unfit for occupancy.”

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