A 50-year-old man has died in hospital after a fire at his home in Sydney's inner west, with firefighters battling barbed wire fences and hoards of household items to gain access to the property.
Emergency services, including 30 firefighters, were called to the blaze at the two-storey duplex on Stanley Street in Putney, near Ryde, shortly before 4am on Saturday, police said.
"The main body of fire appeared to be in the basement and the resident was found unconscious on the upper levels," a Fire & Rescue NSW spokesman told AAP on Saturday morning.
"The unusually high levels of household materials being stored definitely inhibited the ability of the resident to escape from the building, and inhibited firefighters from being able to find the resident."
FRNSW were faced with "a whole range of security measures" including barbed wire fencing at the home, which could be described as a hoarder's residence given it was filled with piles of various items, he said.
The man, believed to be the only person who lived in the building, was taken to nearby Concord Hospital in a critical condition but later died, police said.
He is yet to be formally identified.
A number of pets were found dead inside the home including snakes, kept in various terrariums, and a dog.
Some snakes were found alive, the FRNSW spokesman said.
One firefighter was treated for exhaustion while three neighbours, forced to evacuate their properties, were taken to hospital for observation suffering smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire is not yet known but a crime scene has been established ahead of a forensic examination.