A man has died and four people have been hospitalised after a fire tore through a duplex in Putney in north-west Sydney this morning.
Emergency services were called to the home on Stanley Street around 3:50am, with up to 30 firefighters attending the blaze.
Neighbouring homes were evacuated as a precaution.
The 50-year-old man, believed to be the sole occupant of the building, was found unconscious inside the duplex before being rescued.
He was taken to Concord Hospital where he later died. He has yet to be formally identified.
A firefighter and three neighbours were taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and exhaustion.
Fire and Rescue NSW acting superintendent Luke Unsworth said crews struggled to get inside the house due to the large amount of household items stored in the basement and throughout the rest of the property.
“When we arrived, we discovered there was a two-level house with a basement underneath it which was on fire,” he said.
“It was a very complex incident for us, mainly because the amount of household items that were in the property.”
Twenty firefighters were called initially, with a further 10 brought in later to help.
Emergency crews discovered a number of pets at the duplex, including snakes and lizards in terrariums, and were “pretty heartbroken” when they found a deceased dog.
“Some people would describe the property as being a hoarder’s residence,” Mr Unsworth said.
Police have established a crime scene to be examined later today, but the cause of the fire is not yet known.
Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.