Dirty Seminole Co. home makes battling blaze difficult for firefighters

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

Firefighters had a hard time putting out a fire at a Seminole County home Thursday evening, but not because of the intensity of the blaze.

When crews went inside the home near Lake Howell and Howell Branch roads, they found piles of trash and deplorable living conditions.

Neighbors told WFTV a tree had fallen on part of the roof of the house on Julian Lane, but the homeowner never did anything about it.

The fire may have started where the tree was sitting on the home, near the back of the house.

“They got on scene and they were met with heavy fire conditions on the first floor of the structure,” said Andy Thompson with the Casselberry Fire Department.

But the fire may have been the least of the problems at the home.

Trash was piled on the floors, from the first floor to the second.

“It’s pretty deplorable conditions,” said Battalion Chief Jim Crabtree. “We go into a lot of homes. It’s rare to see anything like this.”

The president of the homeowners association for the neighborhood said the HOA has been trying to get the owner to clean the place for a long time.

“We were on our way to having a wellness check done on this house. I talked to a police officer this morning about it and this happened,” said Erin Tompkins.

She said the homeowner comes and goes, but neighbors see more of the trash than they do of her.

“The homeowner is very difficult to get ahold of,” Tompkins said.

Firefighters said there’s no telling what caused the fire.

“I would say there is definitely some damage from the fire but this has other issued besides that with all the trash,” Crabtree said.

Along with the state fire marshal, code enforcement was called to the scene to investigate.