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Elderly couple dies in Long Beach house fire fueled by pack rat conditions

March 8, 2010 |  9:17 am

An elderly couple died Monday in a Long Beach house fire fueled by pack rat conditions that hampered  firefighters' efforts to douse the flames and rescue the victims, officials said.

Firefighters responding about 2:40 a.m. to reports of smoke at the house at East Fifth Street and North Grand Avenue found the floors and furniture buried in the couple's possessions, with narrow pathways carved between the piles of miscellany, said Long Beach firefighter Joshua Johnson.

Firefighters had to cross an unkempt yard to get into the burning two-bedroom bungalow, Johnson said.

“There’s papers, books, old furniture, a mattress or two, bunches of clothes everywhere – stuff they had just packed up everywhere,” Johnson said.

The elderly couple, in their 70s or older, were discovered dead near the back of the house. Investigators were trying to determine the fire's cause.

-- Amina Khan

Photo: A Long Beach firefighter sifts through debris after two people were found dead in the wake of a fire that swept through a home at the corner of Fifth and Grand in Long Beach. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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