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Fire crews battling clutter along with the flames

July 11, 2014
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Firefighters say they are increasingly battling blazes complicated by clutter.

New York City fire officials say that are investigating whether piles of junk in a high-rise apartment fire were a potential factor in the death of a firefighter this past weekend.

And firefighters across the nation say they are seeing in uptick in calls where entryways, hallways and rooms are blocked by stuff — including clothes, boxes, papers and garbage.

Fire officials are doing more training to help firefighters deal with such rubbish, which can make blazes burn hotter and faster. Some communities have created hoarding to task forces made up of mental health professionals and fire marshals to help address the problem.

The American Psychiatric Association estimates up to 5 percent of the population has a hoarding disorder.



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