A deliberately set one-alarm fire today injured seven residents and a firefighter in the 1300 block of Harlem Ave. in West Baltimore.
All of the survivors were rescued by firefighters who scaled ladders and fought through thick, black smoke to pull them to safety from a third-floor apartment.
One, a 3-year-old boy, had no pulse when he was rescued from the flaming three-story house, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Patrick P. Flynn.
"He was revived at the scene by several firefighters and was sitting up and talking to people at the hospital," Captain Flynn said.
The injured residents, all of whom suffered smoke inhalation, were taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center. An unidentified firefighter, assigned to Engine Company 36, sustained minor injuries when he slipped on ice while battling the blaze.
The injured residents were not identified. Captain Flynn said they were two 3-year-olds, an 8-year-old girl, two 11-year-olds, a 10-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman.
Captain Flynn said Fire Department and police arson investigators have determined arson was the cause of the fire, which broke out shortly after 5 a.m.
He said fires were started in the front and back of the vacant second floor of the brick structure, but he would not say what was used to start the blaze.
A motive for the arson was being investigated.
Fire officials said a tragedy was averted because a smoke alarm in the apartment woke up the residents.
The first-floor apartment was not occupied, officials said.
The House of God Church of Deliverance Inc., in the basement of the building, received minor water damage.
The fire was declared under control at 5:47 a.m., Captain Flynn said.
About $12,000 worth of damage was caused to the building and contents, officials estimated.
When the injured are released from the hospital, they will stay with relatives who live nearby on Calhoun Street, a family friend said.