Oct. 23--ALBANY -- A Tuesday afternoon fire in Arbor Hill was tough for firefighters to battle because the house was overflowing with hoarded items piled inside and outside the structure, officials said.
"We were unable to get in there because of the extremely unusual amount of clutter," Albany Fire Chief Robert Forezzi said. "The amount of collectibles in that house, it appeared to be a hoarding situation."
The blaze at 232 First St. destroyed the home. The person who lived there got out safely, but two dogs that lived inside could not be found.
What sparked the 4:32 p.m. blaze is unclear, though Forezzi said the hoarding coupled with lots of utility wires outside made it hard for firefighters to quell the blaze.
The building was too unsafe and crowded for firefighters to enter. The demolition crew was called in early, Forezzi said, and began tearing apart the home as firefighters were still dousing it with water.
"We had to tear it apart as we were fighting it," Forezzi said.
The chief said hoarding situations accelerate the volatility at the scene because in addition for it being harder for firefighters to maneuver around, debris can hasten the flames and also makes the homes heavier. Couple the added weight with gallons of water being sprayed on the home, the structure becomes a danger for collapse, Forezzi explained.
Copyright 2013 - Times Union, Albany, N.Y.