Teen-agers suspected in firebombing that killed woman, 94, in October

November 20, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

An Oct. 17 fire that killed a 94-year-old woman at her West Baltimore rowhouse was caused when someone threw a Molotov cocktail onto the back porch as an apparent act of retribution against another resident, police said Wednesday.

Based on information obtained by detectives, the firebombing is being investigated as a murder, and police are looking for several teen-agers.

The blaze in the 2300 block of Whittier Ave. was initially investigated as a suspicious fire.

"We believe it may have been some kind of payback, an act of revenge against someone in the house," said Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman. "It appears to be drug-related."

In the fire, Carrie Pinder suffered severe smoke inhalation and second- and third-degree burns. She was pronounced dead on arrival at University of Maryland Medical Center. Her 81-year-old sister, Viola Trott, was treated for smoke inhalation at University.

Fire investigators said they received information that a group of male teen-agers were at the rear of the house about 5:30 p.m., minutes before the fire started. One of the teen-agers threw a bottle that appeared to have a fuse at the top, investigators said.

The blaze started on the rear second-floor porch and burned into the adjoining apartment, where Ms. Pinder and Ms. Trott lived.

Firebombings in Baltimore are occasionally the method of retribution by narcotics dealers.

Fire officials and arson investigators said firebombings, usually carried out in the middle of the night, are being used more and more as a means of retaliation in drug deals gone bad. In 1990, there were nine such cases in the city, police said.

Anyone with any information about the Whittier Avenue firebombing is asked to call the homicide unit at 396-2100.

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