The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 15, 2021 1:00 am

Clutter complicates house fire

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A house fire on East Paulding Road required several crews and an extended amount of time to find a spot to enter the one-story home, according to a Fort Wayne Fire Department report. 

On Thursday, the homeowner at 2519 E. Paulding Road called 911 at 2:51 a.m. to report the fire. No one was injured.

There were so many belongings and debris, crews had to remove a large amount of items before they could access the structure and extinguish the fire, according to a report submitted by Battalion Chief Lance Dafforn. 

The fire was under control at 3:25 a.m.

Adam O'Connor, Fort Wayne Fire Department spokesperson, said the department was aware of the home because there was so much clutter outside. 

“All you had to do was drive by,” he said.

It is up to Neighborhood Code to enforce laws regarding unsightly items outside a home. The Fort Wayne Fire Department does not inspect homes but does inspect businesses for fire hazards, particularly around the holidays. 

Inside can be a different matter, O'Connor said.

“We have an inspection division, but we typically do not inspect residences. We do inspect group homes,” he said. 

The fire department typically responds to hoarder homes several times a year. Last summer, there was a hoarder fire in an apartment. 

“We couldn't even force our way into the apartment,” O'Connor said. “We had to put out the fire from the outside.” Hoarders put themselves and firefighters in danger, he added.

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