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Man Dies in Harbor Gateway 'Pack Rat' Fire

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Photo: digitalshay/Flickr
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Although Los Angeles firefighters knocked down flames in 17 minutes at an early morning fire in Harbor Gateway, one man pronounced dead inside the home. The blaze began around 4:45 a.m. at 15925 Orchard Ave. Officials say pack rat conditions, often referred on the east coast as a Collyers' Mansion, were found inside. Back in 1999, about six people died in "pack rat" fires per year, the LA Times found. "Almost all pack rats--also known as hoarders, recyclers and clutterers--live in squalid conditions that violate Los Angeles County health and safety codes, officials say," reported the Times. "They can expose themselves and neighbors to airborne respiratory illness and diseases carried by the rodents and insects that often take refuge in pack-rat dwellings. In many cases, a pack rat's home or apartment is essentially a huge tinderbox." As for today's fire, it is unknown if the home was in code violation.