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3 Baltimore FFs’ deaths ruled homicides after blaze determined to be incendiary

Police continue to investigate and have identified a person of interest


Firefighters embraced each other after a deceased firefighter was pulled out of a collapsed building in January.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Christine Condon
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — The deaths of three Baltimore firefighters in a January blaze have been classified as homicides, police said, after investigators determined the fire was “incendiary.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Wednesday declared the fire incendiary, a definition that includes fires intentionally set as well as fires that were not intentionally set but resulted directly from other criminal activity, according to a news release from the agency.

A person of interest, captured in photos and videos near the scene of the blaze, has been identified, according to the news release.

“No additional tips from the public are needed,” the release stated. “This remains an ongoing investigation.”

After firefighters entered the vacant home ablaze at 205 S. Stricker St. in Southwest Baltimore, it collapsed, trapping four of them inside.

Firefighters responded to the fire just before 6 a.m. January 24. Shortly after, disaster struck.

Firefighter/EMT John McMaster was extricated quickly and taken to Shock Trauma for treatment.

Two others, paramedic/firefighters Kenneth Lacayo and Kelsey Sadler, were rescued but died shortly thereafter. Lt. Paul Butrim wasn’t rescued until after the blaze had been extinguished. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


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