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Fire Chief says hoarding in 1st Street home was a challenge for firefighters

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Updated: 10/23/2013 3:58 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Albany Fire Chief says hoarding conditions inside the 1st Street in Albany, which broke out in flames on Tuesday afternoon, made fighting the fire a challenge.

It took firefighters three hours on Tuesday afternoon to knock down the flamescoming from the Arbor Hill home. Officials had to close down 1st Street between Henry Johnson and Lexington as the fire was fought.

"There was definitely a hoarding situation going on there," said Albany Fire Chief Forezzi. "I didn't feel safe sending firefighters inside. We had to fight the fire from the outside, by tearing away at the structure to get to the flames inside. We didn't even feel comfortable sending in the dogs to investigate."

Fire officials believe the blaze started in the back of the home, spreading to the home's upper levels.  Challenges arose for firefighters as they could not enter the home because belongings were piled from floor to ceiling. The piles of clothing, bags of cans, and furniture blocking their entry may have even fueled the fire.

The 232 1st Street home had to be torn down Tuesday night due to the extent of damage.

No one was inside at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.

The homeowner, Doris Coles, told NEWS10 ABC that she had a lot of her belongings on the bottom floor of the home, which was in the process of being cleared.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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