Lynchburg Chronic Hoarders Stopped

Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Ira Quillen

Lynchburg, VA - You have probably seen the show "Hoarders," or at least heard of it. Well, there is a real life version of it in Lynchburg, and now volunteers from area churches are working together to clean out a jam packed house.

It is filled with everything from food, to books, to clothing. To date, trash collectors say they have hauled away 31 tons of trash. Volunteers say 5,000 VHS tapes were taken out this weekend alone.

"When I first pulled up, it was reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina work. I had previously done that, and it was just reminiscent of all the trash and just the gutting of the house," said volunteer Heather O'Hara.

"Every room was literally wall to wall, floor to ceiling," said Tom Calogrides, a friend of the homeowner. "There was no clear path through the house. It was maybe a two footer."

Three chronic hoarders living in the home on Richland Drive have been evicted until they can clean up their act.

"There was so much stuff that they could have gotten hurt, the fire people couldn't have got in, the emergency people couldn't have gotten in if something had happened. They couldn't have gotten out at all," said Wayne Craig, a property maintenance official.

The home was causing many health and safety concerns. Finally, area churches including Blue Ridge Community Church and TRBC's Korean Church, among others, stepped in.

"Taken out at least 15 dumpsters of trash," Calogrides said.

Those hauling away the trash say they have already picked up more than 60,000 pounds so far. Organizers say they still have about six more dumpsters to fill.

"I just can't wrap my mind around how someone can get all of this stuff and live with all this stuff around them," said neighbor Tricia Smith.

A family friend says the family is from Korea. The parents are in their 80s and the daughter in her 40s. The friend says during the Korean War, the father lost everything, a possible reason for the family's behavior.

"They're always worried about the Korean war broke out. That's why they immigrate to here, and here they worry about so many things," said Jason Song with TRBC's Korean Church said.

Calogrides says the family will move back into the home after it is cleaned out but without any type of mental help.

"They are currently being supported with the social services," Calogrides said.

The family has been living in this house for 18 years now. Volunteers say group of Liberty University students and other volunteers will be at the house until the cleanup is done.

The dumpsters cost about $400, which is being paid for out of pocket. If you would like to help, contact Heather O'Hara at 614-406-4212.