Firefighters: Mesa house fire fueled by clutter - East Valley Tribune: Ap

Firefighters: Mesa house fire fueled by clutter

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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 5:30 pm | Updated: 7:20 pm, Fri May 24, 2013.

Firefighters say flames that rushed through a Mesa home early Wednesday were fueled by a hoarding situation.

The first-alarm fire began around 5 a.m. Firefighters with the Mesa, Chandler and Tempe departments responded.

Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire Department says once firefighters determined the unoccupied house was packed full of clutter, they went on the defensive and families in nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Officials say houses filled with debris, often called hoarder fires, are challenging because the items feed the flames and doors and windows are often blocked by piles of clutter.

Smith says the previous occupants had left the home in disarray. A man hired by the owners to clean the home was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire.

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