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15 May 2014, 11:44
London Fire Brigade has released a video which shows the devastating effects of a fire in a hoarder's home.
According to new data, hoarding has been a factor in nearly 20 fire deaths over the past three years, with firefighters attending around two fires a week in the homes of hoarders.
The film, made in laboratory conditions ahead of National Hoarding Awareness Week, shows a heavily cluttered room catching fire. Within minutes the room is almost entirely alight and thick with choking smoke.
The Brigade is warning that cluttered rooms make it much easier for a fire to start and a greater risk of excessively rapid fire spread increasing the risk of injury and death.
Dangerously high levels of clutter also makes it very difficult for people involved trying to escape and may lead to extreme difficulties for firefighters tackling the fire.
London Fire Brigade is asking for people with hoarding tendencies or their friends and family to get in contact and arrange a home fire safety visit. The free visit will give firefighters a chance to work with the hoarder and make sure they know what to do if there is a fire and how to escape.
All firefighters are now trained to understand the condition and to work together with people to make their homes safer.
To consistently identify the level of hoarding in homes across the capital, fire crews use a clutter image rating of between one to four, for normal levels, and, up to nine for the most serious cases.