A MAN and several pets have perished and four other people have been taken to hospital after a fire tore through a “hoarders house” in Sydney’s northwest.
Thirty firefighters were dispatched to fight the blaze, which ripped through a two-storey duplex on Stanley Street in Putney just before 4am on Saturday.
Crews reportedly had to fight their way through barbed wire fences and “hoards of household items” in order to access the property.
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It’s understood the blaze began in the basement and a 50-year-old man was found unconscious on the upper levels.
The man was rushed to the nearby Concord Hospital in a critical condition but sadly he could not be saved and later died.
He is believed to have been the only person living in the property.
Authorities have described the house as a hoarder’s residence which is surrounded by barbed wire fencing, making it difficult for the occupant to get out and for firefighters to get in.
A Fire & Rescue NSW spokesman told the AAP the piles of various items and “household materials” being stored at the home “definitely inhibited” the occupant’s ability to escape.
A number of snakes and a pet dog were also found dead inside the home.
It’s understood some of the snakes, which were being kept as pets in various terrariums, survived and were found alive.
Three neighbours who were evacuated from their properties were taken to hospital as a precaution after suffering from smoke inhalation, while a firefighter was hospitalised after succumbing to exhaustion.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
A crime scene has been established and was expected to be forensically examined later on Saturday afternoon.
A report will be prepared for the Coroner.
You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.