6th child dies from city arson

July 11, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A 3-year-old child died yesterday from injuries received in a fatal fire this week in East Baltimore, bringing the death toll in the arson to six children, city homicide detectives said.

Deon Cook died yesterday at 3:29 p.m., a Johns Hopkins Hospital spokesman said. The child had been in critical condition at the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit since Tuesday morning's fire.

The fire was ignited shortly before 8:30 a.m. after someone poured a flammable liquid on the first floor, police said. The blaze sent heavy smoke throughout the two-story rowhouse in the 2400 block of E. Eager St., killing four children. A fifth child died the following morning.

Investigators said they have made no arrests and are still questioning witnesses.

Pronounced dead Tuesday were Damien Cook, 2 months; Gregory Cook, 1; Takia Cook, 2; and Russell Williams, 5. The children are all believed to have been siblings, police said.

Antoine Lucas, 12, the fifth victim, died at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday.

Those five victims died of smoke inhalation, according to the state medical examiner's office.

A statement from the medical examiner's office also said that Gregory Cook's body showed signs of chronic abuse and neglect. Police investigators said the boy had been severely underfed.

The motive for the arson is still not known, police said.

Because of the allegations of abuse, investigators said they were trying to determine whether family problems may have been a factor in the arson. But police last night said they were no closer to charging a suspect.

When firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire, the six children were trapped on the second floor.

In all, 13 people lived in the home, which was destroyed. The other residents were able to escape with no injuries.

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