By The Associated Press
PEKIN - Fire officials in Central Illinois said an elderly couple likely succumbed to smoke inhalation as fire gutted their cluttered home.
The Pekin Daily Times reported that Sam Garland, 79, and Barbara Garland, 75, died Sunday in a Pekin home that was packed with items due to her hoarding habit.
Pekin Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Cox said the combination of heat, smoke and virtual walls of junk that met firefighters at the home's doors made rescue efforts impossible.
Authorities said the home's main floor and ceiling collapsed in flames, sending tons of debris into the basement. The Garlands' bodies were later found in the basement.