An elderly Burnaby, B.C. hoarder was rescued by firefighters who had to chop through the front door of his home and then cut their way across ceiling-high mounds of garbage to rescue him from underneath the piles of debris that had fallen on top of him.
RCMP were called to the Burnaby house, east of Vancouver, Monday night after an anxious friend reported not seeing the neighbour, in his 70s, for several days.
Police sought the aid of the Burnaby Fire Department, to help them gain entry.
Inside, they discovered "quite a mess" before uncovering the trapped man, Assistant Fire Chief Greg Mervin said to reporters.
"They had to dig through to find this fellow," Mervin said about firefighters, adding the man was suffering from severe dehydration for being pinned under for at least three days.
There was neither heat nor electricity in the house.
"Had it been another day or two, with our cold temperatures, the outcome may have not been as good as it was. It was probably very rewarding for these firefighters."
Neighbours had complained about junk piling up outside the man's home, a fire department spokesman says.
Mervin said city bylaw officers had previously been called to the same home for complaints from neighbours about the junk piling up on the outside of the man’s 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," said Mervin. "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.