‘Nothing I could do’: Neighbor tried to help when woman’s home caught fire

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ELYRIA, Ohio — An Elyria home was destroyed and the homeowner is dead after a Sunday fire that crews struggled to put out.

The woman’s cars that are left outside where the home stood are filled with so much junk that there’s hardly room for a driver; neighbors said that’s what it was like inside the home as well.

Firefighters said after they responded to the scene, they tried to get inside the home to fight the fire, but they were crawling over items stacked ceiling-high. One firefighter was actually injured in his eye as he tried to crawl through.

Firefighters were able to find the woman and pull her out, but she wasn’t breathing. A neighbor even tried to help.

“I tried kicking in the front door, and I couldn’t do it because she’s a hoarder, and she had stuff all the way up against the door, and there was nothing I could do to get in. We tried to get in the back, but the flames were coming out too hard and so we had to wait until the fire department got here,” said neighbor Joe Glessner.

Firefighters eventually were forced to attack the blaze from outside and chose to tear it down as the safest way to douse the flames.

Neighbors at the scene said they have been afraid something like this would happen.

“Basically every room is from floor to ceiling with boxes, papers and all kinds of stuff,” said Glessner. “Basically, there’s a one-foot path into the center of the room.”

Investigators haven’t released the woman’s name yet. The fire is still under investigation.

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