'Hoarding' slows crews at Endicott house fire (with photos)

By Matt Porter
By Haley Burton

March 18, 2014 Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 6:36 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Several fire departments responded to a second alarm house fire Tuesday morning.

The call came around 8:40 a.m. of reports of a house fire at 113 Roosevelt Ave.

The fire started in the basement near the furnace and quickly spread up the home, according to Endicott Fire Chief, Joseph Griswold.

But, piles of stuff from books to clothes forced fire crews out of the home shortly after dousing the basement flames.

"We have hoarding conditions in the house," Griswold said. "All four floors are filled with debris almost from floor to ceiling."

Crews instead battled the fire from the outside where heavy smoke and some flames were coming from the roof.

Firefighters took more than three hours to put out the flames, and by the end, they knew the home was going to be a total loss.

"We can't send anyone in there anymore," Griswold said. "With the amount of debris, and the weight we've added with the water. I'm surprised [the roof] hasn't collapsed already."

A middle aged couple lived in the home. They made it out before the firefighters arrived.

The smoke from the fire billowed so large it could be seen for miles.

Louis Ricotta, of Johnson City, was leaving Target when he saw the clouds of white smoke.

"We wanted to come where it was at," Ricotta said. "Because we have family that live here in the Endicott area."

Neighbor Jennifer Novak was awoken out of her bed by the sirens of the fire trucks.

"I was shocked when I came out to see it," Novak said. "The flames were shooting out of the window and out of the roof."

Vestal and Endwell Fire Departments were called for mutual aid.

The fire is being ruled an accident, although its official cause has not been confirmed.