6 chil­dren killed in Bal­ti­more house fire; mother, 3 oth­ers es­cape with in­juries

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATIONAL & WORLD -

By The As­so­ci­ated Press

BAL­TI­MORE — Six chil­dren were killed in a mas­sive house fire in north­east Bal­ti­more early Thurs­day, while their mother and three of her other chil­dren were able to es­cape the blaze but were in­jured, a fire of­fi­cial said.

All six bod­ies were re­cov­ered from the home, and every­one has been ac­counted for, said Fire Depart­ment spokesman Ro­man Clark. Ear­lier Thurs­day, Clark said the pre­sumed dead were two boys, ages 9 months and 2 years; 3-year-old twin girls; and two girls, ages 10 and 11.

Clark said in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the scene had been await­ing re­cov­ery of the last body be­fore they be­gin search­ing for clues about the fire’s cause.

Fire­fight­ers en­coun­tered heavy flames com­ing from all three floors of the home when they an­swered the call about 12:30 a.m. Thurs­day, and they at­tacked the blaze from out­side, Clark said. The third floor col­lapsed and the sec­ond floor par­tially col­lapsed.

The chil­dren’s mother and two boys, ages 4 and 5, are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion at a hos­pi­tal. Clark said an 8-yearold girl who helped res­cue her younger broth­ers was in “good shape.”

Wil­liam Malone said all nine are his chil­dren with Katie Malone, who’s a staff mem­ber for Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings’ district of­fice.

Wil­liam Malone told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he was at work at the time of the fire. He said one of the three chil­dren taken to the hos­pi­tal af­ter the blaze had since been re­leased.

“I’m still in shock, to be hon­est,” said Malone, who was reached by phone at a rel­a­tive’s home. He said he doesn’t know what may have caused the fire.

Cum­mings said Katie Malone has worked as a spe­cial as­sis­tant in his Ca­tonsville of­fice for nearly 11 years. “My staff is a fam­ily and this unimag­in­able tragedy is shock­ing and heart­break­ing to us all. I again ask for your prayers,” he said in a state­ment.

Neigh­bor Robert Spencer said he looked out his win­dow to see the house across the street in flames.

“The flames was com­ing out on ev­ery side, and that’s when the mother was com­ing around the side of the house,” Spencer said.

“I heard the kids cry­ing. My daugh­ter heard them. They said: ‘Help, help!’ and you know, couldn’t save them, couldn’t save them,” he said. “There was just too much fire there.”

Michael John­son, 55, who lives a block away and can see the house from his home, de­scribed it as an in­ferno.

“Fire was com­ing out of ev­ery win­dow, and as they sprayed it, it seemed like the fire was fight­ing back or some­thing. It just kept com­ing and com­ing and com­ing. Fire was ac­tu­ally com­ing out of the sides of the house. I’ve never seen any­thing like that in my life,” John­son said.

John­son, who didn’t know the fam­ily, said he was pray­ing for the peo­ple in­side. “It was just so in­tense,” he said. “I didn’t think any­one would be able to sur­vive it at all.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Fire of­fi­cials looked over the scene of an early morn­ing house fire in Bal­ti­more Thurs­day in which six chil­dren died. The cause of the blaze was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings, D-Md., asked for prayers on be­half of the stricken fam­ily.

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