A term of art used by firefighters in NYC and on the East Coast of the US (other terms are used elsewhere) for the presence, in a dwelling or confined space requiring evacuation of victims, of debris and rubbish/trash of such magnitude that rescue efforts are difficult or impossible.
The Collyer brothers were famous New York City hoarders and recluses whose deaths were indirectly linked to the inability to manoeuvre in their mansion due to the 130 tonnes (!) of rubbish. Their “collectibles” included baby carriages, rusted bicycles, old food, guns, chandeliers, bowling balls, camera equipment, the folding top of a horse-drawn carriage, a sawhorse, dressmaking dummies, painted portraits, pinup girl photos, plaster busts, Mrs. Collyer’s hope chests, rusty bed springs, a kerosene stove, 25,000 books, human organs pickled in jars, eight live cats, the chassis of the old Model T with which one brother had been tinkering, tapestries, hundreds of yards of unused silks and fabric, clocks, 14 pianos (both grand and upright), a clavichord, two organs, banjos, violins, bugles, accordions, a gramophone, records, and countless bundles of newspapers and magazines
Synonyms Firefighters’ nightmare, Habitrail house, multiple waiting to happen, packer house