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Hoarding Is More Than Clutter And Collections. It’s A Disorder And Can Be Deadly

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There have been four fire deaths in San Antonio this year and the San Antonio Fire Department says all were a result of hoarding. What is hoarding disorder and how is it diagnosed? 

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood presented City Council with plans to form a Hoarding Task Force in September, to help identify and assist families in hoarding situations.

Defined by its excess, hoarding makes the clear distinction between a messy home and one that has been neglected and is overflowing with items or animals.  

Massive amounts of possessions often result in an unsafe and unsanitary environment. Hoarding homes create dangers not just for those living in the residence, but for first responders trying to enter the home in emergencies.

What are common signs that someone is a hoarder? Are there different types of hoarding disorders? What are the options for treatment?


  • Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez, director of the Hoarding Disorders Research Program and associate professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University
  • Sara Cline, city hall reporter for the San Antonio Express-News


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at(210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.


*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, October 15.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.