Hoarding and Fire Hazards
On a recent episode of Hoarders on A&E the spotlight was shone on how hoarding situations can quickly become life threatening situations. A fire ignited in the home of Laura due to stacks of newspapers and cooking oil positioned around the kitchen oven, and someone unknowingly engaging the burner on top of the oven that was surrounded by clutter. Thankfully, this fire was able to be quickly extinguished, but if a fire had occurred when less people were present in the home the potential of the danger could have been much greater. The flames could have quickly overcome the structure of the home and any occupants inside. This example gives us a moment to highlight some of the concerns for hoarding homes, and the loved ones that live inside that can sometimes be overlooked.
Hoarding is a compulsive disorder that many times accumulates into the cumulation of large piles of debris within a home. This can create several fire hazards for the occupants of the home:
· Buried surge protectors and/other engaged electrical sockets surrounded by paper and debris
· Sparks from older or faulty electrical appliances that may be plugged in nearby debris
· Papers and other flammable items positioned around areas of open flame or atop stoves
· Frayed or chewed electrical cords due to vermin
· Clothes or fabric atop of lamps, space heaters, or radiators
· Smoking cigarettes in ashtrays near flammable materials
Homes affected by hoarding can pose significant fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association, homes that have hoarding situations can pose significant threat to not only the occupants of the home but to the first responders who are brought on scene to extinguish the flames. Many times homes in this condition have windows and doors that are not easily accessible or that may be blocked The amount of fuel a fire may have in these conditions may allow a fire to become large and difficult to attack as the amount of paper, boxes, and other items for the fire to consume are readily available. Additionally, with blocked areas of access fire fighters may not be able to easily bring in the necessary equipment to combat fires quickly which pose a risk for not only the homeowners that may be inside, but the first responders, and the neighbors of those that live next to these homes. Due to these reasons many fire professionals across the nation are providing additional training to their teams to learn how to best react to fires within homes affected by hoarding.
Bio-One of Tucson is committed to serving our community to help prevent the catastrophic loss that could occur from a hoarding related fire by helping reduce hoarding on the front end. If you, or someone you know is struggling with hoarding, please contact us at 520-771-5960 for a free estimate of services so that we can help prevent unimaginable loss.