Hoarder house fire kills lone occupant

Hoarding conditions

Most hoarders collect combustible materials by the truckloads

Good morning from the jumpseat. As I return from my doctor’s appointment about my shoulder and listen to a 5-alarm fire in Brooklyn NYC I came across this horrific story of a hoarding fire fatality.  Take a moment to look at these dramatic pictures of after the fire was extinguished. These images are a great example of what you will face inside a hoarder home.

With these fires on the rise it’s our duty to find, label, and change our way of thinking once we have identified a possible hoarded environment It truly amazes me how many time I hear the words “lucky” and “fortunate” when talking with firefighters about these types of specialty fires. Would you attack a High rise fire with residential tactics?

Recognizing Hoarded Conditions 

Sometimes it takes a while to realize that you have a hoarder fire.  I have spoken many time on this subject.  It still seems to keep coming up that firefighters are going to far into these places.  We are all aggressive firefighters, I get that, but if you can’t crawl through, can’t find a wall, or getting hit in the head with fallen belongings it’s time to “Back the Truck Up“.  Look, our lives are number one and these conditions will test the most experienced firefighter.  Make the decision quick. make it sound, and realize it’s a no win situation.

Hoarder fire Challenges 

One constant tactic that we teach is to find a blocked window and open it up by removing the sill down to the floor then taking a hook to begin to clear the window.  This is a common tactic is used to make a access point for master stream applications.  Remember that in this blog we have made the decision to back out and go defensive.  Now, making access needs to be made and the best route of application is through these window openings made by us.  Once the area is cleared enough that a stream of water can be applied then it’s game on!

Caution: Remember that when you flowing these hundreds or thousands of water the weight that you will be adding can make for a collapse risk as these structures are often overloaded before the fire!


Take a moment to review this blog and the attached story.  It is amazing the amount of belonging that people can accumulate in their houses.  Hoarding can kill both the occupants and us!  Be safe everyone!

Anoka County house fire kills lone occupant | StarTribune.com.