Collyer and Blankets in the Projects

Relating to the Collyer Mansion article on Firehouse.com this month, there was a 2-alarm fire in the Bronx in Co-op City this week. Unless you happened to be listening to the FDNY online you would be hard pressed to find any information about this job. Fires in major cities are a dime a dozen to some in news and this one lost becoming a news story to Alex Rodriguez and a rampaging chimpanzee.

Co-op City is considered the world’s largest cooperative housing project. Located off of the New England Thruway, it is a complex of many large high-rise and townhouse dwellings. Today’s fire was Box 4482 at 100 Casals Place on the 26th floor of the 33-story occupied multiple dwelling. Six minutes into the attack Battalion 15 had Rescue 3 and Squad 61 reporting in with their high-rise blankets; a injured person coming down to EMS and one line in operation. Squad 61 deployed their blanket and a following progress report declared the fire to be knocked down with searches still in progress. Again, if you happened to be listening in, you would also know that some of the companies on both the box and the 10-75 were responding from a earlier auto extrication.

Collyer Mansion conditions in the fire apartment delayed the primary and secondary searches. The final progress report, approximately one hour since the initial dispatch, stated that the secondary search of the fire apartment was negative.

Recently, firefighters here in Prince George’s County worked a house fire that escalated to a Fire Task Force assignment due to Collyer Mansion conditions.
House fire, 4600 block Queensbury Road, Riverdale, MD
“The crew advanced the line into the basement and within 5 minutes of the Engine being on the scene the fire was knocked. Due to extension to the upper floors via the walls, and “Colliers Mansion” conditions inside, command called for a Task Force.”

Below are a number of resources regarding Collyer Mansion conditions, hoarding and pack rat living.

Did Suburban Town Demolish Man’s Home Without Due Process?
WFLD (IL), 2009

Task Force Helps Hoarders
Salem News (MA) January 2009

Note: The link to the WKRC video story is down and has been replaced by WKRC with the following news story. It is a transcipt of the video report
WKRC report of Cincinnati fire involving hoarding

Ambulance men ‘decided dying man not worth saving’
London Time, 2008
A wrong approach to Collyer Mansion conditions.

Cambridge reaches out to those who can’t stop hoarding
Boston Globe, 2008

Former Lilly chemist killed in fire
WISH (IN), 2008
“Firefighters said it took about 30 minutes for them to find Ovelgonne and put the fire out because of all the debris in the house.”

Online resources
Children of Hoarders
Compulsive Hoarding, Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
Bio-Behavioral Institute
Institute of Living, Anxiety Disorder Center

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