INDIANAPOLIS - A cluttered home impeded emergency crews' efforts today and could have posed a serious threat to the resident, firefighters said.
The Indianapolis Fire Department was alerted at 11:23 a.m. of a house fire on the 1400 block of West 33rd Street.
They arrived to find the 66-year-old homeowner and her 5-week-old Yorkshire puppy having already evacuated the building after seeing smoke and flames climbing the walls.
IFD Capt. Rita Reith said firefighters had difficulty entering the structure due to "excessive clutter," and had to remove piles of debris to even enter.
"Firefighters had difficulty entering the structure and had to remove piles of debris to even enter," Reith said in a release. "Conducting a primary and secondary search was also made difficult as the crews had to climb over debris piled feet high. In addition they found a full size working refrigerator blocking a doorway."
Reith said if the homeowner and puppy had been inside at the time of the fire, their safety and ability to evacuate "would have been severely compromised due to the blocked exit paths" and lack of working smoke detectors.
Neither the homeowner, who had lived there for 60 years, nor the puppywere injured.
Fire crews estimated damage to the home at $20,000. The cause of the fire was preliminarily believed to be electrical.
Reith encouraged anyone who believes a family member or friend to be living in an "excessive clutter" situation to call the Marion County Public Board of Health at 317-221-2150.
StormTeam 6 Alert: Preparing for weekend snow
It's a StormTeam 6 Alert Day as Hoosiers brace for widespread weekend snow.
Hoosier Hoop Hysteria scores: Jan 30
Check out the scores and highlights from Hoosier Hoop Hysteria:
200 animals rescued from Muncie pet shop
A Muncie pet store was shut down after it was raided by Muncie Animal Control on Friday.
Alternative high school opens in Beech Grove
A program that targets at-risk students has found success in Kokomo and was expanding across the state.
Corrections officer accused of sexual misconduct
A Howard County Community Corrections officer turned himself in to police Friday evening after a warrant was issued for his arrest a week earlier.
Police arrest 2 in double shooting
Indianapolis police arrested two men in connection with a shooting that killed one person and critically injured another.