A recent story in Fire Engineering Magazine details how rescue efforts by firefighters in Cleveland, Ohio, were impaired by the cluttered conditions inside a burning home. Rescuers' attempts to enter the first floor were thwarted by items blocking the entrance. They eventually entered through a second-floor window, but soon noticed other rooms piled high with objects. Once the fire on the second floor extended to the attic, firefighters retreated, only to discover the resident wasn't home. The Cleveland Fire Department is now considering the development of a hoarding task force to raise awareness on this issue.
A feature in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal examines the problems with accumulating too much stuff, and the role firefighters are playing in dealing with dangerous hoarding situations. Sharon Gamache, director of NFPA's High Risk Outreach Programs, sums up these concerns in the following video: