3 Baltimore FFs dead; 1 in critical condition after house fire

Officials confirmed the deceased members include Lt. Paul Butrim, Firefighter-Paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT-Firefighter Kenny Lacayo


By The Associated Press

UPDATE Jan. 24, 6:41 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE — Three Baltimore firefighters were killed and a fourth was injured when part of a vacant home collapsed while they were battling a blaze early Monday, the city's fire chief said. 

Firefighters were at the scene of a three-story vacant rowhouse fire in Baltimore.
Firefighters were at the scene of a three-story vacant rowhouse fire in Baltimore. (Photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service)

The Baltimore City Fire Department said in a tweet that firefighters were responding to a blaze at the three-story rowhome when the four were trapped inside. Crews removed piles of debris to locate the firefighters, the department said.

Chief Niles R. Ford told a news conference that injured firefighter John McMaster was pulled from the rowhome immediately and taken to the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Monday afternoon. Dr. Thomas Scalea of Maryland Shock Trauma. said McMaster is on life support.

"Fingers crossed that he's going to make it and be just fine," Scalea said. "It's hard to know at this point."

Two other firefighters were pronounced dead at the hospital, Ford said. The fourth trapped firefighter was pronounced dead at the scene, the chief said, his voice breaking at times. Ford identified the dead as Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo. 

Scalea said Sadler and Lacayo suffered cardiac arrest at the scene and couldn't be resuscitated. "Today, Baltimore has lost three of the bravest among us," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said. "Baltimore owes them the deepest gratitude and respect that we can offer anybody."

Photographs from the scene showed firefighters being consoled by their comrades. Later, an excavator could be seen clearing the remaining debris, leaving a gap between two rowhouses.

Three firefighters were injured battling a blaze at the same location in 2015, The Baltimore Sun reported. 
 

UPDATE Jan. 24, 5:23 p.m. ET

Authorities confirmed during a news conference with the fire chief that three members of the Baltimore City Fire Department have died — Lt. Paul Butrim, Firefighter-Paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT-Firefighter Kenny Lacayo. One member is hospitalized in serious but stable condition. This is a developing story.

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Christine Condon
Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Three firefighters were seriously injured after being trapped in a vacant home on fire in Southwest Baltimore, according to the city fire department and the firefighters’ union.

Crews are still working to recover a fourth firefighter inside, according to Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams.

Around 6 a.m. Monday, firefighters arrived on the scene of a fire in the 200 block of South Stricker Street in the city’s New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood. While fighting the blaze, the three-story home partially collapsed and trapped the four firefighters inside, Niles Ford, the city fire chief, said in a tweet. One firefighter was rescued immediately, he said.

“Immediately & as quickly as possible, we removed piles of debris in order to located the trapped members,” Ford said.

Two other firefighters were rescued “within an hour” and taken to Maryland Shock Trauma, Ford said.

By about 11:45 a.m., the home had collapsed entirely, and firefighters had taken to the roof of a home next door as smoke wafted from the ruins. Then, crews began using an excavator to clear the debris of the destroyed home.

“My heart is with the firefighters, their families, and everyone at [the Baltimore Fire Department],” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Our BCFD members put the lives and safety of others before their own wellbeing each and every day. I ask that we all keep them in our prayers during this extremely difficult time.

Celeste Ireland, 55, said she was lying in bed in her home Monday morning when she began to see flashes of light. At first, she thought she was dreaming, but then her Shih Tzu began to bark and she arose and walked to her window.

“When I opened the curtain — and my house is right behind it — everything was ablaze,” Ireland said.

Three firefighters were transported to the hospital in serious condition.
Three firefighters were transported to the hospital in serious condition. (Photo/Jerry Jackson/Tribune News Service)

Her home is located behind the homes that caught fire, separated by an alley, she said.

The homes on fire appeared to be vacant, Ireland said. She saw the family that lived adjacent to the blaze be evacuated, she said.

Then, she heard that firefighters were trapped in the blaze.

“I’m a godly woman, and I just started praying,” she said.

Note: A previous version of the article is below.

BALTIMORE — Three firefighters were injured after being trapped in a vacant home on fire in Southwest Baltimore, according to the city fire department and the firefighters’ union.

Crews are still working to recover a fourth firefighter inside, according to Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams.

Around 6 a.m. Monday, firefighters arrived on the scene of a fire in the 200 block of South Stricker St. in the city’s New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood. By about 7:10 a.m. one had been rescued; another was rescued around 7:40 a.m. and was taken to the hospital in serious condition, according to the union representing Baltimore firefighters.

Both were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

The final firefighter rescued was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, officials said, also in serious condition.

This article will be updated.

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