Port Colborne's fire chief concerned with hoarding

Port Colborne's Fire Chief is drawing attention to the issue of hoarding.

Fire Chief Tom Cartwright tells CKTB the fire department is aware of several concerning residences in the city.

"This year we are actually dealing with six currently right now, and there is a carry over from years in the past. There's one particular residence in the city that we've been there in excess of 32 times in the last 30 months or so."

He says hoarding is a safety concern for the entire community, not just for one individual.

"We all know that eventually it will come down to us. In a lot of cases where there's a bad case, a bad fire, whatever the case might be, we have to try to gain access to try and rescue people. The other thing that gets involved, believe it or not, we have concerns over building collapse because of the amount of products that are in these homes."

Cartwright says this is an issue far larger than just one city.

"This problem is bigger than municipal, bigger than regional, bigger than provincial, it's federal. We have to get together. We have to get the stakeholders to the table across at least this region and we're attempting to do that later this month."

Ultimately, Cartwright would like to see the people who are living in these concerning conditions connected with community services that can offer help.

"A lot of it is a mental health issue, so obviously there needs to be some focus on finding a mechanism by which we can provide funding to be able to get experts involved with regards to helping deal with it in a coordinated effort. It seems that it's falling to the fire department because it always becomes a life safety issue."