Although the elderly woman who lived at the south Minneapolis home that caught fire Sunday morning escaped, fire crews struggled with a maze of clutter while fighting the flames.
There were newspapers and boxes blocking doorways and gun ammunition in the basement. Investigators say the condition of the home created a dangerous obstacle course for firefighters even though 73-year-old Marilyn Melton made it out alive.
A neighbor who rushed to the scene to try and find her said he helped Melton get to safety as the flames raced through her home. He had been calling her name from the windows when she somehow made it out on her own.
Investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire on the 4000 block of 26th Avenue in south Minneapolis. CenterPoint Energy found no signs of gas leaks, but neighbors told FOX 9 News they heard a loud explosion at about 8:30 a.m.
Investigators believe the fire started in the basement, but firefighters had a tough time getting inside because of the clutter blocking the front door and some stairways inside.
Just last week, a St. Paul man died in a house fire after he was trapped inside by his own belongings.
Melton was treated for minor injuries and released from the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Neighbors told FOX 9 News he is now staying with family members.