Teen-ager, baby burned in house fire Boy, 4, said to play with matches

November 26, 1990|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

A teen-ager and a baby were in critical condition today with second- and third-degree burns received when they were trapped by a one-alarm fire apparently started by a 4-year-old boy playing with matches, city fire officials said.

Nicole Johnson, 18, and Travis Banks, 7 months, both of the 2200 block of Guilford Ave., where the fire occurred, were in the burn unit of Francis Scott Key Medical Center.

The fire broke out about 3 p.m. yesterday in a bedroom on the third floor of the brick rowhouse, said Capt. Ron Baker, of the fire department's investigations unit.

"He [the 4-year-old] just set the bed on fire," Baker said. "After he set the fire, he told his mother [who was downstairs]." It's not known how quickly he notified her, Baker said.

Travis was in the bedroom when the fire started.

The child's mother, Admonia Johnson, tried to help her trapped children, but couldn't because of the thick smoke, Baker said.

Firefighters arrived and rescued Nicole Johnson and Travis.

Another child, Alexandria Tyler, 2, was trapped in another room on the third floor.

"How she got out, nobody knows," Baker said. Her diaper was blackened with soot, he said. "Maybe her mother got her out, and doesn't remember."

Johnson received second-degree burns over 50 percent of her body and Travis third-degree burns to his face, neck, hands and arms, a Francis Scott Key nurse said. Alexandria was taken to Johns Hopkins Pediatric Center for treatment of smoke inhalation, Baker said.

Admonia Johnson and the 4-year-old boy, whose name was not released, were uninjured, Baker said.

The fire caused $7,000 in damages to the building's structure and contents, Baker said.

At 3:45 p.m., the fire was declared under control.

Thirty-six firefighters and seven pieces of equipment were used, Baker said.

Baker said there was a smoke detector in the house, but it wasn't working because of dead batteries.

So far this year, 25 people have died in fires, compared to 28 people the same time last year, said Capt. Patrick P. Flynn, a spokesman for the department.

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