Herbert Hamilton had lived in his home for near 40 years. After meeting with fire department personnel and additional representatives from city agencies, Hamilton was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. He passed, but unfortunately is now staying in a Boston shelter*. The city’s inspection services have begun work to determine safety and code compliance as well as schedule a condemnation hearing. ““If you would have had any kind of fire in here with this much stuff, it would have been a bonfire. You wouldn’t be able to control it. Again, it’s a health hazard,” said Deputy Chief John Hasson of the Boston Fire Department.”"
While the effort to correct Mr. Hamilton’s destructive personal behavior is commendable, it still leaves a danger to fire department personnel. 32 St. Stephens Street is now a vacant middle of the row unit with a heavy fire load. Fortunately the department now has a heightened awareness of the difficulties expected at this address and can change fireground strategies without a large loss of time.
If this happened to you in your department, how would you make notification of the conditions to other companies?
What municipal services are available in your area that could tip you off to such conditions?
Would being aware of the conditions inside, before or upon arrival, lead you to use a 2-inch or 2 1/2-inch line as your initial attack line?
“Hoarder Removed from Home”
Photos: House of Hoarder
“Cleanup at Boston Home”
* It should be stated that readers may find it confusing that a person living in such squalor could pass a psychiatric evaluation. The point for the fire service to be aware of is that baseline psychiatric evaluations are generally prone to determining relative cognitive functioning. Despite appearances, such as Mr. Hamilton’s and dramatizations such as A&E’s ‘Hoarders’, compulsive hoarding is an obsessive compulsive disorder. Many adults who hoard can be highly functional and highly organized. It is an emotional factor that contributes to the obsession. This can make relying on outward appearances (i.e. physical structure) deceiving. Powered by Facebook Comments
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Lowell. The thumb works while Theo keeps a close eye on him.
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