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Firefighters find horrific case of hoarding responding to house fire

ST. LOUIS – A man pulled from the second story of a burning home in south St. Louis Friday night has fire officials warning homeowners about hoarding.

Neighbors called 911 when they smelled the smoke and saw flames in the home in the 6400 block of Alabama at around 6:30 p.m. They told firefighters they believed the homeowner was inside.

Firefighters couldn’t gain access through the front door because it was blocked by piles of stuff. Officials said they broke a side window to get inside and found themselves waist deep in papers, pictures, VHS tapes, magazines, and other items.

The resident was located on the second story. Firefighters brought him to safety with their ladder truck. He’s in an area hospital and is expected to be ok. Officials warn this is the worst case of hoarding they’ve ever seen and if not for observant neighbors, it may have turned deadly quickly.

“This is probably the worst hoarding incident I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in a lot of them,” said Captain Garon Mosby with the St. Louis Fire Department. “Had it not been for the neighbors and the time of day, we could be having a completely different conversation right now.”