[UPDATED with I.D.'s Confirmed:] Hoarding Cited as Hampering Firefighters at Home Where Author Died

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Dana Point Historical Society
Doris J. Walker-Smith
UPDATE, NOV. 1, 2:19 P.M.: The Orange County Register confirms that the couple killed in Sunday's fire in a cluttered home on Bremerton Street in Dana Point was Jack Pierson Smith and his wife, the author and Dana Point Historical Society founder Doris J. Walker-Smith.

"She is our very own award-winning historian, our connection to the past and our bridge to our future," community leader Jim Miller said of Walker-Smith at an October 2007 awards banquet honoring her as Dana Point Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year.

ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 1, 10:53 A.M.: I don't know about you, but when I watch the reality show Hoarders, or even the pet hoarding version, I always wonder what would happen if someone set a match in a corner. If you're the type of person who is unaware until the cleaning crew arrives that a dead cat has been molding for years under a tattered love seat, you're likely to be as clueless about the stack of yellowing newspapers in the den smoldering.

Similar visions filled my head when checking the report about a Dana Point house fire that killed two people.

It took three hours and 35 firefighters to extinguish the fire that broke out in a one-story home on Bremerton Street. Fire investigators say there was so much stuff inside the place--milk crates, plastic containers and ceiling-high boxes and filing cabinets filled with books, papers and other materials--that personnel could not fight the blaze from the inside, hampering their efforts to put it out.

A man and a woman were pulled out of the house and rushed to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. The man died shortly after he arrived, the woman perished Monday afternoon. Authorities have not identified the couple.

Property records show the home is owned by Jack Pierson Smith and Doris J. Walker-Smith founder of the Dana Point Historical Society, author of 12 books and a resident of Dana Point since 1963, the Register reports.

Neighbors had reportedly expressed concerns about hoarding conditions inside the home.


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