A suburban Dolton woman admits she had too many things in her home which firefighters say contributed to its total loss in a fire Wednesday morning.
Firefighters had a difficult time putting out the fire because they were unable to go inside the home. Dolton Fire Chief Terry Hughes said they were forced to go into “defensive mode” as they battled the flames around 2:30 a.m. in the 14600 block of Lincoln in Dolton.
"These people are pack rats. The place was packed to the gills,” Hughes said. “We got to the front door and couldn’t get any farther than 2 feet in the house.”
"We started to lose the house because there was so much stuff in the house. All the stuff inside ignited."
The owner, Sharon Bundza, said the house she helped build in 1969 is a total loss. She admits the house was crammed full of items collected over the years, some packed from floor to ceiling.
"I thought I would have time to sort it out but it didn't happen that way," Bundza said.
Bundza is holding on to hopes that there's a few things left over for sentimental value, and to help pay for everything they now need, including a new place to live
"Fine, tear it down but let me get my stuff first," Bundza said.
"Some of this stuff was to be sold. You just have to find the right people who would buy it," Bundza's granddaughter, Angie DeClements said.
Bundza's son, Ronnie DeClements, suffered second degree burns in the fire.
"He made it to the front door and it was hot, the handle was hot, and he unlocked the door and made it out the door and passed out and he was on fire," Bundza said.
Village administrators say several tickets were issued demanding cleanup, but the family says both homeowners suffered chronic illnesses and were unable to address the issue.