SHOREVIEW, Minn. - A fire inside a home that authorities are referring to as a "garbage house" Monday morning claimed the life of a woman in Shoreview.
Neighbors tell KARE 11 they noticed smoke shortly after 8 a.m. and called the fire department's non-emergency number. When firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke billowing from the eaves of the structure at 1002 Richmond Court gutted.
Lake Johanna Fire Chief Tim Boehlke says when crews tried to enter the home they found it filled from floor to ceiling with debris, prompting the chief to refer to it as a "garbage house."
"It was very difficult," Boehlke told reporters. "There was literally debris from floor to ceiling in pretty much every room, so very dangerous conditions for firefighters, made it very hard to maneuver, and in heavy smoke and heat conditions, made it almost impossible."
The victim, tentatively described as a woman in her 60's, was found inside. Authorities say it appears she was the only person who lived there.
Investigators say it the fire started in the basement of the single-family dwelling.
Fire crews from Lake Johanna, Roseville, New Brighton and Vadnais Heights teamed up to put the blaze down.
The identity of the victim will be released after family is notified.
Fire experts say the holidays, especially the week before New Years Day, are the most deadly of the calendar year when it comes to fires in the home.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )