Imperial Beach firefighters were called to a home in the 1200 block of 7th Street shortly before 8:00 a.m. on March 8.
Firefighters had to stretch their hoses 1500 feet to reach the nearest hydrant. They then discovered that the house had so much clutter, they wouldn't be able to enter safely. Crews cut holes in the home’s roof to access the fire, but flames from the attic forced them off.
"The house has a lot of combustibles inside, and we describe it as a typical hoarding house,” said Imperial Beach fire chief Tom Clark. “When you enter a house and you can’t get past the front door because of all the combustibles, you’re putting rescue crews in danger.”
A next-door neighbor described the family who lived in the burned home as, “Kind of weird, but they didn’t cause any trouble on the block.”
After about 45 minutes of shooting water into the back of the house, firefighters were able to enter through the front door, but only by going in sideways, dragging a hose with them.
According to neighbors, the elderly couple who reside in the house were out of town. A dead skunk in a pet carrier was removed from the garage, and a German shepherd was safely evacuated from the backyard.
Fire units from Coronado and Chula Vista also responded.