Firefighters wade through waist-deep clutter to fight house fire

SEATTLE -- Firefighters had to wade through waist-deep clutter to fight a fire that broke out at an elderly woman's home in Seattle Friday afternoon.

A 91-year-old woman inside had lit a fire in her fireplace at her home around 11 a.m., but embers sparked a fire among the debris, said Kyle Moore with Seattle Fire.

When firefighters arrived at the home in the 10500 block of 19th Ave. NE, not only did they have to battle the smoke and flames, but piles of boxes, electronics and newspapers.

"They're going in, they're searching for people, and they've got stuff piled up on the second floor up to their waist-level," Moore said. "You're crawling over things and you can't really see what they are when you're trying to search around to see if there's any type of person in there."

The woman and her son were taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Meanwhile, firefighters began the task of pulling the debris outside to make sure there were no more leftover embers.

"It adds a huge challenge to the firefighters," Moore said. "There could be fire burning under this debris and you just don't know it."

Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the home and $50,000 to its contents.