A woman was rescued from a home that was on fire in western Massachusetts a few months ago. When firefighters arrived on scene it was her neighbors who told them that she was still inside the home.

The woman ended up dying and firefighters had a hard time accessing the interior of the home.

Obsessive Issue Can Mean Death In Massachusetts


Immediately crews changed up their strategy and tried to enter the home via the first and second floors. The woman was on the second floor.

Firefighters face 'huge issue' on the job in Massachusetts: Hoarding

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Getty Images

Not only did crews struggle to enter the home to find the seat of the fire, but the rescue attempt was that much more difficult conditions due to hoarding conditions.

'2 to 3 feet of cluttered objects'

Pittsfield Deputy Chief Neil Myers said crews encountered advanced hoarding conditions throughout the home, often navigating "2 to 3 feet" of cluttered objects around its entrances and passageways.

He said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, and that some crews would remain on site through "most of the night." Investigators will need to dig through some of the clutter in the kitchen to find out more about its origin. -berkshireeagle.com


Hoarding is a mental health condition where someone acquires excessive items usually of little value and stores them in an irresponsible manner resulting chaotic clutter in one's living space.

Hoarding is very dangerous to firefighters and first responders

“It’s a huge issue,” said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. “It gets it very dangerous for firefighters because they can get trapped and entangled.” -fireengineering.com

Firefighters crawling in completely blackout situations searching for people in hoarding conditions can take much longer and can result in serious injury or death.


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