BURNABY, British Columbia – A Canadian man in his 70s was severely dehydrated after being pinned for several days under debris in his home that had piled up almost to the ceiling.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday a man called to report that he had not seen his friend in several days.
Police found the doorway and halls of the suburban Vancouver home so choked with junk that the fire department was called to clear a path inside.
Eleven firefighters had to break down the door and chainsaw through garbage to reach the man. Police said there was no heat and electricity, and the man was severely dehydrated.
"Had it been another day or two, with our cold temperatures, the outcome may have not been as good as it was," Assistant Fire Chief Greg Mervin said.
The incident required more emergency workers than for a typical rescue, he said, adding city bylaw officers have been previously called to the same home for complaints from neighbors about the junk piling up on the outside of his property.
The fire department comes across dangerous hoarding situations about a few times a year, he said.
"I wouldn't say it's a regular occurrence," he said. "There's probably a few more people out there that we don't know about. Until something happens, it's not discovered."
The man is recovering in hospital and being treated for possible circulation problems in both legs.