CHICAGO (CBS) — A house in south suburban Dolton was destroyed in an early morning fire, after firefighters were unable to get inside, due to the house being “packed to the gills” by “pack rats.”
Smoke was showing as crews arrived at the scene on the 14600 block of Lincoln Avenue around 2:30 a.m.
Fire Chief Terry Hughes said it appeared the house was owned by “pack rats” who had filled the building with junk, preventing firefighters from getting inside.
“We got to the front door, and couldn’t get any farther than two feet in the house. It’s just packed to the gills,” Hughes said. “There’s no way we could make interior, because it would be too dangerous for our firefighters. So we ended up having to go defensive mode, and with all the stuff in there, it all ignited at once, and that’s why we have now lost the house.”
The chief said there also was so much junk outside the home, a board-up company had a difficult time getting to the home.
“It was a mess. Like I said, you couldn’t even get in the front door,” Hughes said. “You know how hoarders are. I don’t know how they live or how they do that, but … I was not about to send my guys in. Like I said, we couldn’t get in anyway.”
Hughes said he got his firefighters off the roof just in time before flames burst through the roof.
One man was injured and taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond, Ind., to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation. Hughes said the man was expected to recover.