Is clutter making your home a death trap? - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Is clutter making your home a death trap?

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HUNTINGTON, Wv. -

We take a walk through the alley behind Duck Harrison's house, where Harrison points out the homes where he believes clutter has taken over so much that it has become a fire hazard.

"It's uncalled for," says Harrison. "Drop a match in that [pile of furniture], and the whole block will go up in flames."

Harrison says he has called City Hall a few times, and the clutter had been cleaned up, only to be replaced by more clutter.

"You're not taking care of the problem. You're making it worse," says Harrison. "They let them slide, and they don't say anything so, they keep it up."

Firefighters say clutter in and around a home can fuel a fire.

It can also create an obstacle course for firefighters trying to get to someone inside.

Clutter was a factor in a fatal fire this past weekend in West Huntington.

"A real issue with the some of the first units we were going in with some of the additional clutter that was inside," says Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham. "It makes it a little more difficult to find [him]."

Chief Eastham says an ordinance going into effect this summer will be a tool to help make homes and neighborhoods not just prettier, but safer.

The ordinance targets outdoor clutter, but will give inspectors an opportunity to get a look inside a home, and offer help if they see hazards caused by clutter.

The director of the Huntington Housing Authority says when inspectors find a clutter-filled home, they offer help cleaning, and they offer psychiatric help, with the hope that more people will break the habit.