St. Paul fire in home filled with clothing, mail, books claims woman's life

A woman died from injuries she suffered after a home went up in flames at 72 Rose Avenue East in St. Paul.

According to St. Paul Fire Department Fire Marshal Steven Zaccard, firefighters responded to the small single-story home just before 7 a.m. this morning. The blaze was already burning intensely when they arrived.

"They quickly discovered that this house was filled with personal property... clothing, mail, books -- about four feet deep throughout," Zaccard tells Fox 9. "They knocked the fire down and simultaneously rescued the woman in a bathtub via the bathroom window. She was treated at the scene and transported to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. One firefighter suffered a cut hand.

Zaccard says the tragedy serves as a reminder of the dangers of hoarding.

"When people do this -- they can't throw anything out -- they need help," he says, adding that the affected home is uninhabitable. "The problem is with combustible materials, you're more likely to have a fire, and it's harder to escape."

"I just want to say, about the hoarding, is that people can't help it," Zaccard adds. "They usually can't correct it themselves, so family, friends, neighbors, anybody who knows somebody like this, please try to get them help. It's a very dangerous situation for themselves and for firefighters."

Zaccard says nobody else was in the home at the time. The victim's identity hasn't yet been released.

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