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75-year-old man, 77-year-old woman killed in house fire with "hoarding conditions"

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Two people are dead after fire burns through a Lancaster County home. East Cocalico Township police say that the victims were a 75-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman.

Hoarding conditions made fighting the flames and rescuing the victims inside 106 South Fourth Street in Denver Borough nearly impossible.

“They found a hoarding conditions with heavy smoke. They made the second floor and found two victims and pull them out and attacked the fire,” said Fire Chief Shannon Hilton, Denver Fire Company.

The investigation is underway to figure out how this fire may have started. Just a pile of debris marks the spot and from the outside of the home, the damage doesn’t look intense.

But firefighters say, it’s not the damage to the outside, but what was inside, that made fighting this fire so difficult.

“I don't think the wind really had anything to do with it. I think the hoarding conditions were the biggest problem,” said Fire Chief Hilton.

The call for an investigation into the smell of smoke came in to 9-1-1 just before 8 p.m. last night from a row home at 104 South Fourth Street. Fire crews were having a tough time pinpointing the reason for the smoke so they checked out the house next door.

Inside, they found smoke coming from the second floor and two people that were unconscious. After a lot of effort to get through the house, which was packed with stuff, first responders were able to drag the two victims out of the home.

But unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the two victims inside 106 South Fourth Street did not survive.

“Both of them were in cardiac arrest when we pulled them out and both succumb to their injuries,” Chief Hilton said.

At this point, the Lancaster County Coroner has not released the name of the victim’s killed in the fire or how they died.

A cause of the flames is unknown as well, East Cocalico Township Police say that it does not appear suspicious at this time. The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall was on the scene for a few hours and will make a final determination after a thorough investigation.

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