A Norwalk, Connecticut, man died recently in a house fire fueled by hoarded belongings. This is the second fire in Norwalk in as many months in which towers of trash in the home hampered firefighters’ ability to rescue the homeowner and put out the fire. Firefighters from five neighboring communities arrived to help Norwalk in response to the blaze.
Deputy Chief Steven Shay is quoted as stating that fighting the fire and locating the victim were made difficult due to extreme hoarding conditions.
Hoarding, a condition in which a person has persistent difficulty discarding personal possessions, not only increases the risk of fire, it makes fire deadlier. In addition, hoarding is dangerous for firefighters. They can’t move swiftly through a home filled with clutter. Responders can be trapped and have objects fall on them.
According to The Hour, the victim of the most recent fire was known to authorities. He was cited in 2014 under the city’s blight ordinance. Instead of cleaning up, he moved clutter indoors.