KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo firefighters say “severe hoarding conditions” and effects of the bitter cold hampered their response to a deadly house fire.
It happened around 7:05 a.m. Tuesday in the 1000 block of Denner Street, south of Alamo Avenue in Kalamazoo.
Crews arrived to smoke billowing from the two-story home, and they quickly discovered the first floor had partially collapsed.
Neighbors told 24 Hour News 8 a woman was inside the home when the fire started and never made it out. Authorities later found her dead inside the home.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety identified the victim as a 65-year-old woman. They’re withholding her name until relatives are notified.
Neighbors say the victim was going to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said frozen hydrants slowed firefighting efforts. Temperatures were near 10 degrees with wind chill temperatures around 8 degrees below zero in Kalamazoo Tuesday morning.
Authorities say hoarding conditions inside the home also hampered their ability to reach the victim. Neighbors told 24 Hour News 8 the woman had hoarding troubles in the past.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury at the scene of the house fire but refused medical treatment.
The fire marshal is working to determine what sparked the fire.