Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hoarder problem growing in Oklahoma


Local and state officials are at a loss to explain the recent increase in cases of compulsive hoarding, but say better cooperation is needed to spot the largely hidden phenomenon before it becomes deadly or causes a health risk to neighbors.

Troy Skow, environmental field supervisor with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, said inspectors have noticed an increase in hoarders in the past year. All involve women between the ages of 50 and 90, he said.

"It’s on the rise like crazy,” Skow said.

He said 60 to 70 percent of the worst residence complaints have involved a hoarder.

Two Oklahoma County women in recent months have been found dead in their homes, surrounded by stacks of items and filth. The outside of their homes didn’t seem unusual, but inside, the mold, trash and stacked items were hard to comprehend, officials said.

Terry Humphrey, director of the city of Edmond’s code enforcement division, last week told a House committee it took nine firefighters about two hours to get to a dead woman found in trash on the kitchen floor of an Edmondhouse a couple of months ago. Crews removed two tons of garbage from her home..." More