Tragedy of hoarder killed by his own clutter

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A reclusive hoarder who lived alone drinking bottles of wine, chain-smoking, and eating nothing but Shredded Wheat died after setting fire to his rubbish-filled Sheffield home accidently, an inquest heard.

Bachelor George Ives, aged 80, was carried unconscious from his flat in Hartley Brook Road, Shiregreen, by firefighters in March last year. He died two days later in the Northern General Hospital, having breathed in choking smoke.

His brother Gordon told the Sheffield inquest George once enjoyed an active social life.

But five years ago the former Forgemasters instrument technician was diagnosed with diabetes. He stopped going out and locked himself away in his flat which, Gordon said, was ‘full of papers, letters and rubbish’.

“He didn’t like to throw anything away,” said Gordon. “The sofa was buried and George had to walk through piles of rubbish to get to his chair.”

George refused to tidy up or go into care, his brother said.

Fire investigation officer Trevor Bernard said the fire was caused by a cigarette which had set fire to the clutter, causing intense heat and smoke.

Coroner David Urpeth recorded a verdict of accidental death.