Posted at: 10/23/2013 1:03 PM
| Updated at: 10/23/2013 6:05 PM
By: WNYT Staff
Albany fire fueled by clutter
ALBANY - The home on First Street in Albany was demolished after fire gutted it. The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon on the two story building. It took several hours to put the breaks on the flames. Fire officials say a hoarding situation made it more difficult to fight.
"I know that she was like a hoarder but I didn't know it was this bad, like, I thought it was a little bit of stuff but it's really, really bad," said First Street resident La'Daysha Gayle.
Stacks of debris and personal belongings were piled high inside the house. Firefighters say there were tons of stuff blocking the front door and scattered throughout the house. Clifton Park psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Ferraioli, M.D. said the person who lived there is not necessarily lazy or dirty. He said hoarding is a mental disorder.
"The person doesn't think they're doing anything wrong," he said.
And this year, for the first time ever, hoarding has been classified in the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a separate illness.
"Prior to that it was thought to be a part of either OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder," Ferraioli said.
Ferraioli added that brain scans from people who hoard and those who don't, look very different, which makes it a real medical condition. It starts in childhood and progresses when people get older. Ferraioli said awareness like the Albany fire and the fact that hoarding was recently re-classified might be able to change the direction of this disease. There are some treatment options with therapy and medication.
"You can throw all that at the person," Ferraioli told Newschannel 13. "But don't expect an easy ride. This isn't a quick fix by any means."
Ferraioli said you can try to clean up the mess for a hoarder. That might actually be threatening and hurtful. He said they don't see a mess because the junk is soothing emotionally. You're better off seeking some sort of mental health treatment.