Monday, November 29, 2010

Horrors of hoarding: Living and dying in chaos, clutter


Tyshee Snead woke to the smell of smoke. He rushed through his house with his wife, Tamica, rescuing their four children. The bedroom air was hot and smoky.

When they got outside, they realized their brick house wasn't on fire. It was the neighbor's wood-sided house, fewer than 10 feet across the alley.

Flames engulfed Viola Dickson's two-story home in southwest Detroit in the early morning hours of July 15.

"Does she go anywhere?" a firefighter asked, trying to figure out whether Dickson was even inside. "Does she go to the casino?"

"No," Tyshee Snead replied. "She's 95 years old."

Firefighters searched for Dickson but couldn't find her on the first floor, where she normally slept. Their efforts were hindered because the house was filled with so much junk. Dickson was a hoarder, and all of her newspapers and books and magazines and clothes and couches became a fuel source for the fire..." More & video

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