Firefighters were unable to prevent the deaths of a couple of excessive hoarders who died after a fire engulfed their home.

firefighters outside destroyed homeClare and Robert Cain’s house was so full of contents the fire service could not gain entry after they were trapped when the blaze started in the front lounge.

Mr Cain, known as Bob, was a self professed “hoarder” and admitted to being a “compulsive buyer, who could not resist a bargain”.

However his shopping obsession took over the couple’s three bedroomed, semi-detached home, in Mather Avenue, Allerton with every room and even the couples car, described by the council as “full to the maximum”.

Mrs Cain, a 75-year-old housewife and 72-year-old Mr Cain, a retired factory worker, were solely confined to the front room of their home and slept in arm chairs, only using a halogen or fan heater for warmth.

The couple were unable to access any other room in their house, apart from a separate toilet space upstairs.

At an inquest at Liverpool Coroners Court, Andrew Parsons, of Liverpool Council ’s Environmental Health Department, said the Cains’ home was the “worst case of hoarding he had ever seen” in his 14 years of doing the job.

He told the court how he was first alerted to the husband and wife’s living situation, after complaints by a neighbour of a rodent infestation, in 2010.

tribute to elderly coupleA series of visits took place by the council and pest control, from 2010 to 2011 and an external rodent infestation was dealt with.

However Mr Parsons said that Mr Cain was reluctant to allow entry into his home, on occasions telling him that “it wasn’t the average property”.

Mr Parsons said: “When I did gain entry I found excessive hoarding.

“There was a lot of tinned food stuff but there wasn’t any particularly foul odours or evidence of rodents.

“I told Mr Cain that he should look to remove material, as they would soon find themselves with no habitual space.

“Every room within the house was full to the maximum and they had even filled the perimeter of their front room.”

Continue reading this article below to find out more about how firefighters tried valiantly to access this cluttered home:


Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at for help.

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