Couple feared dead after fire in house filled with hoarded material
Large quantities of hoarded material "stacked from ceiling to floor" have been found in a house blaze which is feared to have killed an elderly couple.
Firefighters were called to the semi-detached property in Allerton, Merseyside, on Sunday afternoon after a passing motorist noticed smoke coming from the building.
The high volume of combustible materials inside the address in Mather Avenue caused it to spread rapidly to the roof which later collapsed.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said the "significant" levels of hoarding at the property has prevented them gaining access.
It added the building has been deemed unstable and will require access to be first gained by its Urban Search and Rescue Team and a demolition firm before forensic checks can be conducted.
A fire service spokeswoman said: "Having spoken to neighbours on scene it is possible that the couple, both believed to be elderly, will be found within the property.
"This will only be established following the removal of large quantities of hoarded material which was stacked from ceiling to floor with little or no circulation space."
It emerged that the occupiers of the property were visited by firefighters on June 29 this year but had declined a home fire safety check.
The spokeswoman added: "The service was able to give fire safety advice on the doorstep and remove a heater from the property but it was evident that there were significant hoarding issues which have caused challenges in dealing with the incident.
"We would urge members of the public to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their home, check them regularly and ensure that they have clear, safe exits in the event of a fire."