Ignoring Our Neighbors – the Ultimate Cost

I don’t even have the right words to share this.

This morning, a woman died in a fire in her own home. She was described as a “hoarder” and apparently her possessions created a nightmare scenario for firefighters who were unable to save her.

That’s not the only tragedy.

From WPXI:

Neighbors told Channel 11’s Dave Bondy and investigators at the scene that the woman called some of them seeking a gun to harm herself hours before the fire. They’ve also described the woman as a “hoarder.”

Neighbor Wayne Bock said he got an unusual phone call from the woman Thursday night.

“She said I would end it all and that she was so depressed,” Bock said.

According to Bock, the woman’s dog just died and her best friend recently passed away. She was also told just two days ago that she wasn’t allowed to drive anymore.

“She was told she wasn’t allowed to drive anymore and I think that almost pushed her over the fence. She said, ‘How do I get prescriptions? How do I get food?’” Bock said.

I asked Bondy on Facebook and he said “The neighbors I talked to did not contact authorities as far as I know.”

This woman is distraught and makes comments, allegedly, to more than one person that she is considering suicide and no one called 911? They already have a sense that she some issues with hoarding. What is wrong with this picture?

How do you note call 911 when these things come together? How do you talk with a reporter as your neighbor’s body is being bagged and taken away when you failed to act?  Either some vital fact is missing or this is just one screwed up neighborhood.

I’ve asked a few reporters and hopefully they’ll determine if there were 911 calls.

Let’s put this in context. The media and the public have been responding with outrage that UPMC failed to take action when they had multiple types of questionable contact/concerns about John Shick. How is this different? Well, first John Shick presented a threat to others so the standard of reporting for medical providers is higher – I believe its called a duty to warn. We don’t know if this unnamed woman presented a threat to others, but *if* she set her house on fire to kill herself — she certainly did present a threat to others.

Perhaps more information will come out to explain their inaction, but I simply am horrified right now. I can’t imagine.





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