"Mounds of stuff" poses risks to fire fighters - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

"Mounds of stuff" poses risks to fire fighters

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RED BANK, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)-- A Red Bank family won't be allowed to stay the night in their home, after it caught fire Sunday.

Fire officials say the family's collection of clothing, toys, and much more endangered the lives of first responders, and poses a risk to the neighborhood.

Less than 24 hours after catching fire, the Red Bank home has been condemned by city code enforcement.

"There was like so much smoke you could barely see the house," says neighbor Andrew Scruggs. "There were like flames in all the windows and the whole inside of the house was red."

The McSpadden family made it out but fire crews had trouble getting in.

"They were only able to get in between three and five feet to find out where the fire was starting,: says Hamilton County Emergency Services Spokesperson Amy Maxwell.

The home was packed so tight, fire fighters' oxygen tanks brushed the ceiling as they crawled through the burning home.

Maxwell says the mounds of stuff made it extremely dangerous for first responders.

"Accumulation of personal items to the point where you can't enter the house or exit the house is a serious matter, we're in this business to save lives, but if we can't get to you to save you're like that is an issue," says Maxwell.

The McSpadden family made it out in time, but a dog and three cats died in the fire.

Fire crews spent hours Sunday putting out hot spots, but officials still don't where the fire started.

Red Bank City Code Enforcement Manager Jimmy Mathis tells Channel 3 the home has been condemned because of the fire, but if his department would have been aware of the condition of the home before now it could have been condemned for sanitary reasons.

The McSpadden family didn't want to go on camera, but is aware of the problem.

Code enforcement says the family won't be allowed to move back in until the home is emptied and cleaned.

On Tuesday, the fire marshall will return to the home to look for what caused the fire.   

Insurance adjusters will also be on scene. Damage is estimated at $120,000.

The American Red Cross has given the family a three night stay in a local hotel.

After that, they aren't sure where they will go.

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