Firefighters in Tempe, Ariz., were unable to save a burning home after they arrived to discover the living room floor was covered by "over two feet of crushed beer cans," My Fox Phoenix reports.
In what authorities are calling a hoarding case, the two-story wood frame home built in the 1940s went up in flames, with firefighters saying debris made the situation too dangerous to do their job.
"Firefighters had to break their way through the front door ... they couldn't even open it. There was so much beer cans and all that on the floor," Tempe Fire Department investigator Michael J. Reichling told My Fox Phoenix. "They made entry with a line to do a search and rescue, which is our first priority ... they got to the bottom of the stairs and couldn't go up the stairs.
In addition to more than 1,000 beer cans, officials told the station old newspapers had been collected inside the house, making it all the more combustible.
Speaking with the Arizona Republic, Reichling further described the situation.
"Aluminum cans were stacked two to three feet deep. Cardboard, newspapers and 12-pack beer cases were smashed down and stacked to the ceiling," Reichling told the paper. "Our crews had to climb over this to get in. We had to evacuate and not do a search and rescue."
Fire Department officials said they believe the blaze may have been started by a space heater left running by a resident of the home.
Steel safety bars that had been installed on all the home's windows created another hindrance to firefighting efforts, according to KTVK.
The homeowner, however, has denied charges that he is hoarder, telling KTVK that he was simply "holding on to" the beer cans.
No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, though the house was completely destroyed.
For more on the story, watch the KTVK video report above and the My Fox Phoenix video below.
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