2 died trying to escape cluttered Pekin home

January 15, 2013

The Associated Press

PEKIN, Ill. — Fire officials in central Illinois say an elderly couple likely succumbed to smoke inhalation as fire gutted their cluttered home.

The Pekin Daily Times reports that 79-year-old Sam Garland and 75-year-old Barbara Garland died Sunday in a Pekin home that was packed with items due to her hoarding habit.

Pekin Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Cox says the combination of heat, smoke and virtual walls of junk that met firefighters at the home's doors made rescue efforts impossible.

Authorities say the home's main floor and ceiling collapsed in flames, sending tons of debris into the basement. The Garlands' bodies were later found in the basement.