Jun 22, 2016 12:47 PM

Franklin firefighters hampered by hoarding in 1-alarm blaze on East High Street

FRANKLIN - Firefighters made fast work to put out a one-alarm fire inside a house filled with boxes of junk and bags of trash, police said.

Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle said initial crews forced entry into the ranch-style home early Wednesday and were immediately hindered by "extreme hoarding conditions" at 17 East High St.

“Hoarding is a major problem nationwide and poses a greater danger to firefighters who are already entering zero visibility conditions,” said fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle. “On-duty staff were on scene within four minutes, this makes a huge difference knowing that a fire doubles in size every minute.”

This is the second case of hoarding found in Franklin in as many months. Last month, the city took ownership of a home on West How Street after it was found in such squalor a woman and her children were ordered to evacuate immediately.

READ: Update city seizes Franklin "House of Horrors" and will pay to clean property

Wednesday's fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes and the cause has not been determined. A joint investigation is being conducted by the Franklin Fire Department and the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office. It is believed to have started near the front entryway.

The building is a single-family rental home owned by Robert Hofmann.

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