An elderly Batavia man died in a fire early Wednesday inside his home, which was crammed with old newspapers, clothing and other items that he and his wife hoarded, Batavia fire authorities said.
The victim was identified as George McConnell, described as about 80 years old. He was trapped in his second-floor bedroom at 10 Davis Ave., a dead-end street, according to Batavia Fire Capt. Greg Shilvock.
The man’s wife, with the assistance of a police officer who was first on the scene, was able to escape the two-story wood frame house, the captain said.
Firefighters initially tried to rescue McConnell by going through the first floor but were unsuccessful and then attempted a ladder rescue to a second-floor window but were unable to reach him because of the flames, Shilvock said.
“There were newspapers and clothing … it was piled high making it difficult to maneuver,” Shilvock said.
Batavia Fire Chief Jim Maxwell was at the scene with a team of investigators Tuesday morning attempting to determine the cause of the fire, which started at about 2 a.m. A neighbor’s house sustained minor exposure damage.
Several cats also died in the blaze, the captain added, but some managed to escape and were taken by the city’s animal-control officer.