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'They Saved My Life': Cleanup Crew Rallies Group To Give Folsom Senior's Hoarder House A Makeover

FOLSOM (CBS13) — Spring cleaning took on new meaning in Folsom after a group of companies stepped up to help a senior who had become overwhelmed.

After two months of work, Gene's home is no longer a hoard.

"I was amazed at how everything looked," she said as she sat in her front yard on Monday.

The 81-year-old former postal worker couldn't believe her eyes when she walked in this morning.

"Well, it's all brand new," Gene said. "It's beautiful."

Her home of 40 years got an extreme makeover thanks to the help of the 911 Hazmat Cleanup Crew and a group of local sponsors.

"We donated about $35,000 of our services including repairs and all of those local companies they gave us a lot of discounts and donations," said Kim Chatman, who runs 911 Hazmat Cleanup.

Chatman 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.

"It was a very severe situation," Chatman said.

They cleaned out the trash and made repairs.

"We repaired her the roof, ceiling, drywall, the bathroom, the kitchen, all the flooring," Chatman said. "We donated a bunch of furniture, all new furniture, for her."

The most dramatic transformations were in the kitchen and the bathroom, where Gene was able to get the walk-in shower she always wanted.

Gene 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 and things got out of control," Gene said.

She is now getting the treatment she needs and reconnecting.

"I've gotten to know some of my neighbors. I've been here a really long time, but I've been pretty much to myself," she said.

Chatman sees it over and over again: Hoarding, a sign someone needs help.

"This is a great way to give back and help people. We leave them better than we found them.

Gene and her beloved dog Mimi will be forever grateful.

"They saved my life, they saved my life."

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