Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My worst nightmare

This article about two women whose hoarded home caught fire scared the bejeezus out of me. One of the women, age 60 and not very mobile, was home alone when her house caught fire. In her own words, it's fortunate that she was sitting on the front porch, because "if it had happened while I was in there, I would never have gotten out."

My mother is in her 60s and not very mobile. Over the last few months, she has begun hiring people to help her clear out her house and "get her life in order" (her words, not mine). Since I can remember, she has been working on getting her life in order, by which she means organizing her junk and making her house more presentable. Unfortunately, as with many hoarders, her organizing often takes the form of churning her things from one pile to another. I'm hopeful that having hired some organizers will help her take the next step of actually letting some stuff go. Her house, as far as I know, isn't yet to the point where she would have trouble leaving in case of fire. Hoarding often gets worse as the hoarder gets older, though, so stories like this always strike a nerve.

I recently read another article that I'm going to have to mentally file under "you can laugh or you can cry." This article about firefighters who were unable to fight a fire at a hoarder's home is actually kind of funny, in a twisted way. Or maybe I just think it's funny because it gives me a special kind of glee to picture this happening to my mother's house (when, of course, her not-too-mobile self is far away from it). These firefighters realized they couldn't get inside to fight the flames, so they brought in a backhoe to tear the front of the building off. (I would love to be listening in on the phone call for this insurance claim. "Okay, so you have some fairly extensive fire damage...and pardon me? I thought you just said the firefighters ripped the front of your house off with a backhoe. What? Oh.") So after they tore the front of the house off, stuff started pouring out of the house "like [a] jackpot from a slot machine." Then the first floor of the home collapsed -- but, not to spoil the suspense, it only fell about six inches because all the stuff in the basement kept it from falling any farther. Regardless, to the surprise of no one who is reading this blog, the house had to be condemned.

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna have to go check those articles out. Funny how we daydream of a house fire.