Cluttered home hinders Baldwin firefighters
By Stephanie Hacke
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
They couldn't get in the front door. The personal belongings were stacked several feet high and there was no way to get inside.
The garage had items piled wall to wall and lined nearly to the ceiling.
Creating a path through the garage and living room took rotating crews about 45 minutes each, as the fire burned inside.
“This was a hard one, probably one of the hardest ones I've seen. There was pretty much no way in. There was every possession he probably has been saving for 65 years in there,” Baldwin Independent Fire Company No. 1 deputy Chief William Connors said.
A fire at a home on Green Glen Drive, which started at about 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 12, took crews from eight South Hills fire departments about two hours to extinguish due to the large amount of debris and clutter located in the home, Connor said.
Firefighters at Baldwin No. 1 in the last year have seen hoarding at about one in every 10 house fires to which they respond, he said.
“It's even gone up from there,” Connors said.
Firefighters typically learn that the home is filled with rows of possessions when they open the front door, Connors said.
“It's a lot of work. You're trying to go in and just move stuff and get to the fire,” he said.
Connors said fires such as last week's have him worried about for firefighter safety.
“You can't work efficiently if you can't see where you're going or what you're doing,” he said. “A small fire like this should have taken us 10 minutes to get in and be done.”
Instead, the Green Glen fire was cleared by midnight, Connors said. The fire, which started in the back of the basement, mostly was contained because of the compacted possessions, he said.
No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is unknown, Connors said.
This was the second house fire in north Baldwin that crews battled Sept. 12.
No one was injured during the first house fire that day, which started just before 9:15 a.m., Baldwin No. 1 Capt. Brian Zimmerman said.
A home in the 3100 block of Vernon Avenue sustained about $30,000 worth of damage after an electrical fire that started in the second-floor bedroom, Allegheny County deputy fire marshal Gene Stouffer said. The fire was ruled accidental.
The fire took crews from six South Hills fire companies about 15 minutes to extinguish, Zimmerman said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vocal resident banned from all Baldwin-Whitehall district property
- Baldwin Township charter school plans for enrollment boost
- Baldwin-Whitehall board approves termination of interim cafeteria manager
- Shredding program set in Pleasant Hills
- Baldwin-Whitehall board fires transportation manager
- Stabbing tragedy prompts districts to re-examine what they would do