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Cops: Home cut to rescue overweight man

Firefighters remove a man from the second floor

Firefighters remove a man from the second floor of a home in Center Moriches. (Jan. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: James Carbone

Firefighters Thursday cut through an exterior wall to rescue a man who slipped and became stuck in the bathroom of his cluttered, second-story apartment in Center Moriches, officials said.

A rescue team used a series of ladders and a rope system to lower the man, identified as a 55-year-old former postal worker, to safety on a stretcher around 12:30 p.m. -- about three hours after someone called 911, Suffolk police and a relative said.

The man, who was not identified by police or firefighters, was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center for treatment. Officials said the man fell in his bathroom and could not get back on his feet. He was listed in stable condition.

Stacks of boxes blocked firefighters from bringing rescue equipment up to the man's apartment, prompting them to cut a way out through the wall, Brookhaven Town spokesman Jack Krieger said in an email. The narrowness of the space in some places -- and the shape of the staircase -- added to their difficulty, authorities said.

"From what I'm told stuff was stacked to the ceiling in most of the rooms" on the second floor, Krieger said.

The second floor of the wood-frame home was condemned by the town after the rescue, Krieger said. Officials deemed it unfit for human occupancy because of what he called hoarding. The home's owner declined to comment.

After the rescue, a massive pile of junk and collectibles -- including stacks of newspapers and figurines of dragons and Star Wars characters -- lay in the yard.

"We are prepared for situations like this," said Ron Primus, first assistant chief of the Center Moriches Fire Department. Volunteers from the Selden, Hagerman, Holtsville and North Patchogue fire departments also responded.

With Patrick Whittle and John Valenti

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