The Dangers of Hoarding

September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 28, 2010 at 7:16 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 28, 2010 at 7:16 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) - Environmental Contractor Matt Ferro has quite the job.
"I do crime scene clean up, clean up of death scenes," says Ferro, who owns Kleen Scene, based out of Hamburg.
He also responds to the homes of hoarders.
"They have an obsessive need to keep things."
Lots of things.
Ferro has been to homes so cluttered it's hard to walk through the front door.
"You find dead pets-- or pets the family did not even know they had. In a lot of these houses there's stacks of paper-- things that can easily ignite, It's dangerous," Says Ferro.
And it's deadly too.
In just the past year, firefighters have responded to several house fires where clutter has been an obstacle for them.
In December of 2009, three people were killed in Cheektowaga after an apartment caught fire. Firefighters told Eyewitness News they had a tough time battling the blaze due to the amount of debris and clutter in the apartment.
Last April, on Grand Island, a 60-year old woman was killed when her apartment caught fire.
Neighbors said She, too, was a hoarder.
The issue has been in the spotlight recently as more and more cable television networks debut shows, highlighting the problem.
Ferro believes the exposure is a good thing because it shows people there is help out there. His company works with several Erie County agencies that can offer counseling-- and sometimes-- help with clean-up costs.
"There is help out there-- but you have to seek it out. Everything becomes easier when your house is more manageable," Ferro Says.
To watch the story, click on the VIDEO link.
For more information on how you, or someone you know can get help, visit the following website:
http://www.erie.gov/depts/seniorservices/health/hoarding.asp