‘They saved my life’: 81-year-old’s hoarder house receives extreme makeover

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:29 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:30 AM CDT
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FOLSOM, Calif. (KOVR) - Spring cleaning took on a new meaning for an 81-year-old woman when a group of companies stepped in to help after her hoarding became so bad, a hazmat crew was called in.

After two months of hard work, Gene’s home is no longer a hoard. When she saw the extreme home makeover, the 81-year-old former postal worker couldn’t believe her eyes.

“I was amazed at how everything looked,” she said. “Well, it’s all brand new. It’s beautiful.”

Her home of 40 years got the makeover thanks to the help of the 911 Hazmat Cleanup Crew and a group of sponsors in Folsom, California.

“We donated about $35,000 of our services, including the repairs, and with all of those local companies, they gave us a lot of discounts and donations,” said Kim Chatman, the owner of the hazmat business.

Chatman and her crew stepped in after a call from Gene’s plumber. When they arrived, they found a level three hoard: trash, mold, old food and rodent feces. The crew cleaned out the trash and made repairs.

“It was a very severe situation,” Chatman said. “We repaired the roof, ceiling, drywall, bathroom, kitchen, all the flooring. We donated a whole bunch of furniture, brand new furniture for her.”

After two months of hard work, 81-year-old Gene’s home of 40 years is no longer a hoard. Hazmat...
After two months of hard work, 81-year-old Gene’s home of 40 years is no longer a hoard. Hazmat crews say it was a level three hoard with trash, mold, old food and rodent feces.(Source: KOVR via CNN)

One of the most dramatic transformations was in the bathroom, where Gene was able to get the walk-in shower she always wanted.

The 81-year-old says she’s definitely slowed down over the years. A stroke led to depression and chronic fatigue, and living alone took its toll.

“I just needed help, and I didn’t ask for it. Things got out of control,” she said. “They’ve saved my life.”

Gene is now getting the treatment she needs and reconnecting. She and her dog, Mimi, will be forever grateful.

“I’ve gotten to know some of my neighbors. I’ve been here a long time, but I’ve been pretty much to myself,” she said.

Chatman says she sees similar situations over and over again and that hoarding is really a sign someone needs help.

“This is a great way to give back and help people, so we leave them better than we found them,” she said.

Copyright 2021 KOVR via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.