Extreme case of hoarding in Lewiston
LEWISTON (WGME) -- It may be the worst case of hoarding discovered in the state of Maine. Monday night, police found a man's body inside this Lewiston home, while firefighters rescued the man's companion and owner of the home, Lisa Courtenay. Police say the man had become ill recently and say both were malnourished with barely anything to eat or drink in three weeks.
Neighbor Heidi Lemieux says "I can't imagine going without food or drink or use of a bathroom." Lemieux went next door for a closer look. Despite a warning from her granddaughter, she peaked in the back door. She told us "There's boxes to the ceiling. Trash. Cartons. I mean, garbage. Coffee grounds. I mean, how in the world did they even get in there? I have no idea."
With all the windows blocked, neighbors had no idea there was this type of hoarding going on inside this home. It was only when the couple called for a food delivery, that police were alerted to come for a wellness checkup here." Chris Lemieux says their windows were always covered. He says "I never knew it until the firetruck came and had all that stuff thrown out the window."
Jeff Baril, Lewiston's code enforcement officer, told us "This is a case where it's such extreme hoarding, you don't even know where do we begin." He is still trying to figure out if it is safe for crews to go inside. He says "The house is really packed to the ceilings with debris and items. Not only are we worried about the sanitation issue, we're worried about the load on the house."
A dog also died in the basement, but we are told the couple's other dog is doing well. Baril says he is trying to give the homeowner time to recover. He says "She seems to be doing much better. But the ordeal she went through, she's going to have several weeks, if not months, of recovery." Even so, tough decisions must be made soon, like cleaning out the house or tearing it down.