Firefighters encountered severe "pack rat" conditions and a resident who refused to leave Tuesday morning when they responded to a fire at a Monterey Park house.
Firefighters tackled the blaze in the 800 block of Hershey Avenue at around 1:21 a.m, a Monterey Park Fire Department spokesman said.
They encountered severe "pack rat" conditions in the single story house, with items being stacked as high as the windows inside, but they managed to extinguish the blaze at 2 a.m. Fire crews also faced a challenge due to security bars on the windows and door.
It is believed the fire was sparked by candles burning in the back room of home. The family of the mentally challenged male occupant told investigators he had been lighting candles.
Monterey Park Police Department officers had to drag the 67-year-old man from the front porch, as he did not want to leave even though the house was fully engulfed.
A 15-minute search was carried out inside the burning home for the other occupant, the man's brother, however it was later determined he was at a different location with his wife.
The home is a total loss.