4 children die in fire on Monroe Flames thwart rescue attempt

May 27, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

Four young children were killed in a house fire early yesterday despite a desperate rescue effort by the father of one of them, Baltimore fire officials said.

The father was critically burned.

The mother of the four children was also critically injured when she jumped from the window of a second-floor front bedroom at 233 N. Monroe St., Capt. Hector L. Torres, a Fire Department spokesman, said.

The family had lived for only a week in the house, which had no smoke detector and lacked gas and electricity. They had moved their furniture in Tuesday, a neighbor said.

"We can only speculate at this time that it might have been caused by careless smoking or candles that were being used for lighting," Captain Torres said, adding that the early-morning blaze appeared to be accidental.

The dead were identified as Tyonia Bryant, 6, Toria Brown, 4, Tania Brown, 4, and Tyree Tyner, 2. Tyonia died about 10 a.m. at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and the others were pronounced dead on arrival there and at St. Agnes Hospital, officials said.

The mother, Theresa Richardson, 23, was listed in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she is being treated for injuries she suffered in jumping from the building.

Brian Tyner, 22, the father of the youngest child, was in critical condition at the Francis Scott Key Center burn unit. He suffered burns over 30 percent of his body, authorities said.

Mr. Tyner fought through the smoke and flames trying to reach the children, before he was forced to jump out of a rear window onto a porch roof. He went through an adjoining house to reach the ground.

Fire officials said the blaze apparently began in the middle of the first floor of the two-story rowhouse and smoldered, undetected, before spreading to the upper floor.

By the time Mr. Tyner and Ms. Richardson became aware of the fire just after 3 a.m., flames and smoke were engulfing the house, the Fire Department spokesman said.

A smoke detector "would have made a big difference," Captain Torres said. "It would have given them very early warning and allowed them to escape."

Firefighters found the children in the bedroom -- all in cardiac arrest.

Later in the day, the family's possessions lay scattered on the sidewalk -- a child's scooter, the plastic wheel melted; a pink cloth doll covered in soot; a large, stuffed tiger peaking out from beneath the rubble; and a burned dresser with children's clothing in the drawers.

A fire lieutenant talked with neighbors, handing out fire-prevention leaflets and testing their smoke detectors. He also sold a detector to one resident for $6.

Fourteen of the 21 people killed this year in city fires were age 6 or younger, fire officials said. Five of those children died last month in a single house fire.

Fire officials said there were 22 fire deaths in the city at this time last year, and the death toll for all of 1992 was 47.

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