Elderly 'Hoarder' Dies in Blaze in Messy Home

Firefighters had trouble getting through entrance of Calif. woman's house
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2014 1:47 PM CST
Elderly 'Hoarder' Dies in Blaze in Messy Home
File photo of a hoarder's home in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/City of Las Vegas via Las Vegas Review-Journal)

It was so cluttered in a home that caught fire last night in Carlsbad, Calif., that firefighters couldn't even get inside at first—and once they did, it was too late to save the elderly woman who lived there, NBC 7 reports. The unidentified woman, said to be in her late '70s, was found unresponsive on the first floor of her condo and pronounced dead at the scene, despite the firefighters' efforts to keep her alive. The cause of the complex's two-alarm fire, which sent residents running to escape the blaze, hasn't been determined, and residents in four neighboring condo units that were damaged were vacated from their homes until at least sometime today.

One neighbor tells NBC 7 that she tried to get the woman to clean her home before, but to no avail. "She's a hoarder," says the neighbor. Firefighters acknowledge they had trouble getting through the entrance and then more trouble getting around inside. But at least one other neighbor mentions the woman may have been trying to clean up her act, recently holding a garage sale. "I think maybe she was trying to clear things out and she had been trying for quite a while," he tells CBS News 8. (A Texas community was also hit hard yesterday in a fire that killed five children.)

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