Hoarding may have led to structure fire

Posted at: 10/28/2012 8:46 PM
Updated at: 10/28/2012 10:16 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque firefighter said hoarding was the main cause of a fire in Nob Hill.

The owner of the home, an 88-year-old woman, was rescued by firefighters Sunday morning.

A neighbor called in about seeing smoke coming from the woman's home.

Fire crews broke into the home to find the woman, but Captain David Mowery said getting into the home was a tough task.

"She had a lot of personal items inside the house that made it difficult for us to enter and look for her," Cpt. Mowery said.

The home was cluttered with papers, boxes, and even some chemicals that Cpt. Mowery said could have been dangerous with the fire. He called the home a sure case of hoarding.

"There were lots of things, uh, aisles, just enough for her to walk through, which definitely makes it difficult for us with all our equipment to maneuver through," he said.

The woman tried to get out of her back door when she smelled smoke. But she had a double cylinder lock on the door and could not find the key. Fire crews found her just inside the home. Mowery said it would have been difficult to move through her house to find her and could have jeopardized her life. "Luckily she was by the door and therefore we were able to get her out a lot sooner than if we had to go deep into the house to find her," he said. But Mowery was surprised when they found the woman, she was upset over something besides her safety. "Even though she did have smoke inhilation, she was more concerned about her property than she was for her own safety," he said. The woman was taken to Presbyterian Hospital and is in stable condition. Firefighters quickly put out the fire once they got the woman safely outside.