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Hank Investigates

Chelsea Housing Authority Rat Problem

Now, a story you'll see on just one station. It all started with a viewer's tip and pictures showing rats and mice infesting a family's apartment. They contacted Hank, she found the landlord, and you won't believe who it is.

It's not going to be pleasant to see.

"I'm petrified. I'm not sleeping at all," said Karen who is a resident of the building.

And imagine if you lived here.

"My son was screaming there was a rat on the floor," said Karen. "We've actually been hearing them scratching on the wall."

Rats and mice were all caught in Karen's apartment. She said it's traumatizing. Not a night goes by when she and her family aren't plagued by the creepy vermin.

"Last night we had eleven of them," she said.

They've caught them again and again, on sticky traps. The latest one was video-snared by Karen's terrified daughter.

"I had to take it out of the house, even with gloves, I was like, 'what if it bit me?'" said Karen.

The rat infestation has been going on for a month, Karen said, and certainly she and her family have complained to their landlord, which just happens to be the city of Chelsea. Karen and her family live at the city's Housing Development.

"So I've contacted the Chelsea housing and I've contacted board of health and I don't know what to do anymore for my kids' safety," said Karen.

When Hank and her crew arrived at the housing authority to get some answers, the new director, Albert Ewing, brought his pest control people to the interview.

"I don't want to see any family living in those conditions," said Ewing.

He explained that the problems started when the city of Chelsea dug up sections of the development to do a water filtration system. It turned out, that's where the rats once lived, so they needed a new place to stay. They chose Karen's apartment.

"We're trying to get rid of it. That's our goal," said Ewing.

He insisted it's the top priority, and housing authority records Hank obtained prove they're spending tens of thousands of dollars for continuing pest control.

"Tenants are saying, 'Why is this taking so long?' What is your answer to that?" Hank asked.

Ewing responded, "It's not something you can bring someone in and in a month you can clean it up and you'll never see a roach or rodent again. It's an ongoing process."

As for Karen, she's already spent their own money on sticky paper to catch the vermin, but she said her family is the one that's feeling trapped.

"It's not right. They need to do something really fast because I don't want to sleep," she said.

The Chelsea Housing Authority director said overall complaints about mice and rats are down. They used to get 15-20 complaints a week and now they only received one or two.