Hoarders: Another Hazard for Firefighters

June 3 2010, 9:05 AM

TV programs like "Hoarders" shine a light on seemingly decent and normal people who just can't throw things away and who remain adamant about their choice to live among stacks of clutter and apparent trash. Such shows illustrate the harsh toll that hoarding takes on a person's family and social life. In Denver, firefighters are less concerned with that issue and more with the simple question of what would happen if there were a fire, according to 7 News. And they're running into the problem of houses stuffed with junk, such as old newspapers, more often these days. "For whatever reason, it seems to have grown exponentially over the last several years," says Lieutenant Phil Champagne of the Denver Fire Department. Hoarding presents a challenge if there's a fire. Rescue workers must find the occupants amid the clutter and get them out---and all while trying to quell the flames feeding on scattered piles of stuff. This week, an elderly woman died in her Denver high-rise apartment, which fire officials say was rife with junk. And a few months back, investigators say a fire nearly spread to the home of a hoarder near Aurora.

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