Thursday, October 21, 2010

Johnson City woman consumed by hoarding habit

By Steve Reilly

Although her home brimmed with debris, Josephine Govericki was passionate about keeping her Fowler Avenue neighborhood clean.

Every garbage day she would walk along the street and put all the trash cans back in place, neighbors said, and her front yard was kept spotless.

"The minute a leaf came down off that tree, she'd always be out there sweeping," said Bonnie Cowden, whose family lives across the street. "That was immaculate along the curb there."

But the efforts at cleanliness did little to conceal a compulsion that likely contributed to her death Tuesday night: She could not keep herself from collecting junk.

When her home at 33 Fowler Ave. caught fire Tuesday night, firefighters were unable to rescue Govericki, 89, from amid the mass of objects she built up in her home.

Johnson City fire Chief Stephen Hrustich said the fire was knocked down within minutes of the 7:27 p.m. call, but every point of access to the house was blocked with rubbage..." More

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