Hoarding Hampers Md. Firefighters; Man Dies

It was the second time in days that Prince George's County firefighters found hoarding conditions.


COLLEGE PARK , Md. (WUSA9) -- For the second time this weekend, firefighters in Prince George's County have had to fight a house fire dealing with hoarding conditions.

The fire in the 5200 block of Palco Place in College Park, Maryland started around 5 Sunday morning in the two story house that had 4 levels. And this one proved fatal.

Heather Rivas, Neighbor, "when I looked out of the house it was engulfed in flames. The flames were just coming out of the roof.
Wally Brockway, "real high, 15 feet."

The fire lit up the dark Sunday morning sky.

Rivas, "It was horrific."

A couple in their 80s was inside. The woman, suffering from smoke inhalation was able to get out. But firefighters had a tough time reaching her 82-year-old husband who is presumed dead.
Firefighters encountered large amounts of paper, binders and books packed into the house,.

Mark Brady, Prince George's Co. Fire Spokesperson, "small passage ways around. I'm sure the occupants knew where those passage ways were, firefighters were challenged to negotiate that."

Firefighters say stuff was piled high from top to bottom. This is the the second day in a row Prince George's County firefighters have had to battle hoarding type conditions.

On Saturday, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said large amounts of material made it challenging to get the electrical fire under control on Walters Lane in Forestville. An 85-year-old woman and her son escaped their burning house. 3 firefighters were taken to the hospital with burns.

Cleanup back in College Park, went into the afternoon. Peeling back the walls of the house revealed piles stacked every which way as firefighters dug out of the debris. 
Brockway, "We knew Reggie collected a lot of stuff. What did he collect? He did a lot of writing."

A WUSA9 crew on the scene witnessed a body being removed from the home. No identity has been officially released. Fire officials are notifying next of kin.

Wallie Brockway, Neighbor: "We've known them a long time. Our kids grew up together. It's sad."

Nearly 100 firefighters responded none of them were injured. The female occupant remains in serious but stable condition.
There is no cause to the fire determined yet. Fire officials say, all indications point to it being accidental.

 

Republished with permission of  WUSA9.