Germantown home damaged by fire demolished out of safety concerns

By David Williams - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Neighbors call it the worst case of hoarding they've ever seen. Fire crews say it made their jobs nearly impossible Wednesday. The home on Emil Avenue near Eastern Parkway burned for hours. Thursday, demolition crews were brought in. Fire crews say the home was demolished out of safety concerns.

Fire officials tell WAVE 3 there was so much "stuff" inside the house, they just couldn't get inside Wednesday after the fire started.

In fact, crews say all of the things inside the home could make it harder to find the cause

"We had to request an emergency demolition. Just for safety reasons. We didn't want people in the surrounding area to try to go in and figure out what was going on, or any looting, even of the contents," Captain Sal Melendez with the Louisville Fire Department said Thursday.

The fire began around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Louisville Fire says it took crews hours to get the fire under control. But, they weren't just battling flames, they were battling a mess inside the house.

"The bottom line is that there's so much stuff in there that we cannot do our job. Not only that we cannot do our job, but it's a hazard to the activity of firefighting," Melendez said.

Thursday morning, neighbors watched as the house was demolished. Fire crews extinguished hot spots among the home's contents.

"A lot of junk," Janie Brown, a neighbor who lives nearby said as she talked about the owner of the home "He picked up everything. He picked up toys, he picked up wood, he picked up plastic, he picked up cans of paint, cans of anything. Everything. Ladders--he has a whole series of ladders. He had a fetish for collecting things," she said.

Fire crews removed several items they were concerned about--including nearly a dozen boxes of ammunition and a collection of rifles.

"I think he was a major hoarder," Brown said "I did see him come by several times a day. He rides around on his bike and he collects things that people put out and he puts them in the house," She said.

Captain Melendez says by demolishing the home, they were getting rid of the hazard to people and the chance of any hotspots re-igniting.

No one was hurt in the fire.

The homeowner declined to speak to WAVE 3.

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