Phoenix Fire: Hoarding accelerates dangerous fire situations

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 01:49:17-04

A Phoenix Fire Department captain said it is not rare for firefighters to encounter a “hoarder” home and that’s what crews found Thursday in west Phoenix.

“There was just heavy smoke and fire [inside] and there was stuff falling on top of [firefighters],”  Captain Rob McDade said of the scene.

The home is on the 2900 block of West El Caminito Dr.

A man died in a December fire in a Glendale hoarding home, fire officials said, and a firefighter hurt his leg during a May fire at a hoarding home in Phoenix.

"It's a facet of our society that firefighters see more often than not,” McDade said.

He said hoarding homes make it difficult for firefighters to feel the walls of a room in an effort to make their way to a bed in a smoke-filled room and try to save a sleeping or incapacitated victim.

“You're setting your own death trap,” McDade said of residents of hoarding homes.

No one was hurt in Thursday’s El Caminito Drive fire; the owners declined to comment.

McDade said an electrical problem caused the fire.