Christmas came to a disastrous end for Kevin Coley and his family yesterday as three of their loved ones were critically injured in a fire that swept through their Northwest Baltimore row house.
Fire officials said the blaze started in the first-floor living room of the two-story home just before 12:30 p.m. and quickly consumed the two-story house at 4040 Park Heights Ave. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
Mr. Coley's aunt, 43-year-old Gilda Robinson, who had lived in the house for 17 years, was listed in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Her 25-year-old son, Adrian Stith, who lived with Ms. Robinson, was in serious condition at the burn unit of Francis Scott Key Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.
The third victim, identified as Donny Troy, 36, who resides with Ms. Robinson, was in critical condition at Sinai Hospital with severe smoke inhalation.
"Here I thought me and my two kids could have a Merry Christmas in our new home," said Mr. Coley, who moved next door to his aunt in August because she was lonely. "But instead they had to stand out here and watch their aunt get pulled out of that window, half burned."
He said that before the fire he and Mr. Troy were sitting in his kitchen preparing Christmas dinner when they decided to take a break to visit Ms. Robinson. But when they opened her door, they saw flames.
"I ran back to my house to get my kids out," Mr. Coley said, referring to his two children. "Troy and Adrian ran in my aunt's house to try to save her. But none of them came out until the firemen got here and carried them out." Mr. Stith had been in the front yard of his aunt's home.
Mr. Coley said that Ms. Robinson was rescued by fire fighters from an upstairs bedroom where she had been resting after having spent Christmas Eve unwrapping presents with the children.
Fire officials said the blaze was under control shortly before 1 p.m.
An hour later, as Mr. Coley sorted through the charred furniture and clothing on the front lawn, he groaned, "I can't believe this, everything she owned is just gone."