Thursday, March 3, 2011

Behind closed doors: Hoarding on the rise?

By: Ted Fioraliso

Emergency officials in Ontario County say calls to homes owned by hoarders are on the rise.

In just the first 19 days of the New Year, fire crews responded to hoarder homes in Naples, Gorham and Phelps. One of those homes was completely destroyed by fire. The fire coordinator says the woman who lived there didn't want to leave her home even as flames were engulfing it. In another case, firefighters couldn't find the hallway needed to get to the fire's origin.

One local woman tells News 10NBC there is help out there.

"Cheryl" is a recovering hoarder. She asked us not to identify her in this story. She says she first knew she had a problem after she invited friends over for dinner and they thought she was moving. “I realized there really was something wrong with me. I was acquiring things at a tremendous rate.”

Things like furniture, handbags and books. Cheryl says she's a three on a spectrum of one-to-five -- five being the most severe hoarders like the ones you see on the A&E television show.

Cheryl sought help at the Creative Wellness Coalition on North Goodman Street when they started up a hoarding support group two years ago. “I think this group has been a lifesaver for me even if it's a little thing like cleaning up a drawer once a week, I've been able to get rid of things.”

Last summer, the coalition set up a task force with other Monroe County agencies to help bring awareness about hoarding and help to those who do it..." More

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