BURNABY, Canada — A Canadian man in his 70s was severely dehydrated after being pinned for several days under debris in his home that had piled up almost to the ceiling.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday a man called to report that he had not seen his friend in several days.
Police found the doorway and halls of the suburban Vancouver home so choked with junk that the fire department was called to clear a path inside.
Eleven firefighters had to break down the door and chainsaw through garbage to reach the man. Police said there was no heat and electricity, and the man was severely dehydrated.
"Had it been another day or two, with our cold temperatures, the outcome may have not been as good as it was," Assistant Fire Chief Greg Mervin said.
The incident required more emergency workers than for a typical rescue, he said, adding city bylaw officers have been previously called to the same home for complaints from neighbors about the junk piling up on the outside of his property.
The fire department comes across dangerous hoarding situations about a few times a year, he said.
"I wouldn't say it's a regular occurrence," he said. "There's probably a few more people out there that we don't know about. Until something happens, it's not discovered."
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The man is recovering in hospital and being treated for possible circulation problems in both legs.
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser.
Viola CrouchFriday, January 18, 2013 9:17:10 AMPathetic! NO excuse for a home to be like this! If nothing else it's a firehazard. I'm sure it stinks and has all kinds of creepy crawly things.
Annie ParenteauFriday, January 18, 2013 9:57:09 AMHoarding is a mental problem, not an excuse but a reason. It is treatable with help.
Ryan PenningtonFriday, January 18, 2013 10:25:37 AMCompulsive Hoarding is a Neurological Disorder. These folks don't choose to hoard! This is a GROWING problem to first responders worldwide! We are facing these dangers more often! Ems runs Mask up, ammonia, fecal matter, hanta virus! If it is on fire, Identify, adjust and attack! #heavycontent fires are not normal structural fires... They require tactical changes!
Jodi PcoFriday, January 18, 2013 10:27:40 AMYou have to ask where the family is in this case. I wonder who called them knew about this.
Fredric L. RiceFriday, January 18, 2013 10:29:12 AMYou can see one of the photographs of the materials being stored at.
The materials appear to be an artifact of hoarding but there is a great deal of actual trash also involved. The granular nature of the materials afforded access to oxygen however the plastic bagging looks significantly dangerous.