4 die in 2 city fires Girl, 14, two women die in a blaze at home in Walbrook.

April 20, 1992|By William B. Talbott and Joe Nawrozki | William B. Talbott and Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writers

Two women and a 14-year-old girl perished today when a fast-moving one-alarm fire raced through a brick rowhouse in the 3000 block of W. North Ave. in Walbrook.

The two adults were believed to be 41 and 34, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Hector Torres. Their names were withheld pending notification of relatives.

Five other people escaped uninjured, Capt. Torres said.

Earlier today in southwest Baltimore, an elderly woman died and her husband was critically burned in another fire that investigators said started near a kerosene space heater and spread rapidly.

In the Walbrook fire, which consumed 3004 W. North Ave., officials said the dead were trapped in the second and third floors as flames quickly ate through the flooring separating those levels.

The dwelling was destroyed.

Officials said the victims' identity was not immediately known. The fire was reported a few minutes after 10 a.m.

One occupant of the third floor, identified as James Miller, managed to escape by climbing down the stairs to the second floor. There, officials said, he went out a front window onto the roof of a porch and into the safety of an adjacent house.

Rachel Rowell, who lives with her two sons next door at 3006, said her son noticed the smoke and flames and alerted her. She and her children and a young niece who was visiting fled the home, she said.

The fire's cause is unknown. Investigators were going through the rubble in an attempt to determine what started it.

Officials said the house was believed occupied by one family but the three-story dwelling was divided into separate living quarters on the second and third floors for other members of the family.

In the southwest Baltimore fire, the victim was pronounced dead on the scene, probably from smoke inhalation, investigators said. Her body was removed to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

The woman's 76-year-old husband suffered third-degree burns on his upper body and was listed in critical condition at the Francis Scott Key Medical Center's burn unit, spokeswoman Sandy Rachert said.

The couple was not immediately identified, pending notification of relatives.

City Fire Department Capt. John Griffin said the fire was reported at 2:51 a.m. at the house in the 400 block of Brunswick St.

The fire apparently started in a kerosene space heater and spread through the front living room.

The flames then climbed up the stairway and filled the upper floor with smoke, said Det. Richard Fahlteich of the Police Department arson unit.

After firefighters extinguished the fire, the woman's body was found on the floor next to her bed in a front bedroom.

The husband was found with his upper body next to the stairs where the fire was most intense, Capt. Griffin said.

Margaret Arndt, a next door neighbor, said the couple had lived in their house for more than 20 years.

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