2nd rowhouse arson injures 5, 2 critically Grandparents save 2 boys, then jump

June 11, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

Five people were injured early yesterday -- two critically -- after an arsonist torched a Pigtown rowhouse.

It was the second arson fire in as many days at the house at 1168 W. Hamburg St., and authorities say both blazes resulted ** from a neighborhood dispute.

Yesterday's fire was discovered shortly after 6 a.m.

Several people were trapped inside the house, and neighborhood residents went to their aid after hearing screams and seeing smoke belching from the second-floor windows.

A man and a woman fought back dense smoke and dropped their two grandsons -- ages 2 and 4 years old -- to the arms of neighbors on the street below.

After the children were safely out, the couple threw a mattress to the ground and leaped onto it, neighbors said.

The grandfather, Lewis E. Lafferty, 45, was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was in fair condition last night following treatment for smoke inhalation, a spokeswoman said.

His wife, Mary Lafferty, 38, and their 4-year-old grandchild, Albert Lewis Lafferty Jr., were taken to the Francis Scott Key Burn Center where they were listed in critical condition last night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The 2-year-old grandchild, James Lafferty, was taken to the University Hospital pediatrics emergency room where he was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A firefighter, Kay Tee Tyson Jr., 40, suffered first-degree neck burns. He was treated at Mercy Hospital and released.

Property damage was estimated at $45,000.

Capt. Hector L. Torres, a Fire Department spokesman, said that it took about 17 minutes for firefighters to bring the blaze under con- trol.

Authorities said that the blaze had been started when someone set fire to furniture in two locations in a first-floor room while the house's occupants were asleep,

Captain Torres said that the house did not have a smoke detec- tor.

"It was a total burnout," the captain reported.

"It's always a bad situation when you don't have a smoke detector."

The earlier blaze occurred Wednesday when someone set a fire in a second-floor room.

That fire was relatively minor, resulting in no injuries," Captain Torres said.

Police and fire officials say both blazes are the apparent result of a neighborhood dispute, but they provided few other details.

Det. John F. Hess of the police arson unit said he was uncertain of the motive for the fire.

"There was a lot of transient traffic at the house," Detective Hess said.

Police and fire investigators said last night they had not located the parents of the two children who were living in the house.

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