Hoarded possessions hinder crews' efforts to fight fire in a West End home
Fire still burned in a house in the West End on Saturday morning five hours after it started. Fire officials said two problems – bitter cold and hoarded possessions – made the blaze especially difficult to extinguish.
When crews arrived at the house in the 300 block of Home Street shortly after 5 a.m., they found the house in flames, said station ten District Chief Bruce Duncan. The fire started in the basement.
"We did attempt to extinguish the fire from the basement, but the fire was too well involved, so they pulled out their crews," Duncan said. "We've been fighting the fire from the outside ever since."
Officials said the person who lived in the home hoarded possessions, which became serious obstacles for the crews fighting the blaze.
Another problem was the bitter cold temperatures. The -30 degree Celsius weather caused equipment to freeze and break, officials said.
By 10 a.m., ice from the water used to put out the flames covered the outside of the house and smoke was pouring out of the windows from the fire still smoldering inside.
One tenant who lived in the house suffered minor smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital.
The houses next door were evacuated and the people who live in them were taken into a city bus to stay warm. Their houses didn't suffer major damage, Duncan said.
The house that caught fire was completely destroyed.
-with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout