Chelsea Fire Rips Through Hoarder's Home

DNA Info - December 12, 2010

by Della Hasselle

CHELSEA - A fire started in a Chelsea apartment ripped through the home which was packed with garbage, fire fighters said.

The blaze shut down part of West 20th Street Friday night. The FDNY said it spread quickly because of "Colliers Mansion conditions" - meaning it was crammed full of belongings.

Firefighters arrived at 200 West 20th Street, known as "Kensington House," at 6:05 p.m. after a resident accidentally dropped a match or lighter in the second-floor apartment, according to first responders on the scene.

"There was a lot of stuff in there," a member of the FDNY told DNAinfo. "We had to throw a lot of it in the backyard, to dig out."

Two residents and a firefighter suffered minor injuries. The firefighter was transported to Bellevue Hospital, according to the FDNY.

The building was partially evacuated for about an hour while firefighters extinguished the fire. It was put out at approximately 6:50 p.m., according to the FDNY.

Water was still running down the elevator shafts over an hour after the fire began, as cold and anxious residents waited on the street outside.

"I've never seen so many firetrucks. I hope everything is OK," Eileen Eisenberg, 67, said as she was waiting to get back in the building with her son, Randy, 39.

Residents were let back in a little before 7:30, as firefighters sifted through the belongings that had been thrown into the backyard from the window. Every room of the apartment was damaged, according to FDNY.

"He's not gonna be able to stay there," a member of the FDNY said about the apartment's resident.