The Pekin, Illinois, Fire Department responded to the fire, but their rescue efforts were thwarted by the heat, smoke, and massive amounts of materials filling the home, reports GateHouse News Service. The kitchen was so cluttered, for example, that it wasn't usable. The fire, according to a fire department official, was initiated in the basement, where the couple slept and ate from a "kitchenette."
The incident isn't the first time Pekin firefighters have encountered hoarders; GateHouse reports that they have met other seniors living in similarly dangerous--and cramped--conditions.
Read the NFPA Journal feature highlighting the dangers of hoarding and the ways NFPA is addressing this national issue.