An early morning house fire has claimed the life of an elderly woman in Littleton, Massachusetts, and investigators say the hoarding situation inside the home made it more difficult for firefighters to do their jobs.
The fire broke out at a single-family home on King Street at about 5:15 a.m. Monday and quickly reached 2-alarms.
Crews eventually extinguished the flames, but one woman, identified as Jan Karner, had been unaccounted for.
Littleton Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski said crews had a hard time navigating their way through the home once they got inside, since clutter was blocking some of the entrances.
"There was a high accumulation of collectibles you could say," Wodzinski said. "So that definitely hampered our efforts."
Jan Karner was eventually found in a room.
Authorities said the woman's husband, James Karner, escaped the flames and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The exact cause of the fire is under investigation by Littleton Fire and Police and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney.
The Red Cross is helping James Karner in the aftermath of the fire.