Rosedale house fire kills 2 men, 1 woman Cause of blaze is not known

November 22, 1993|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Staff Writer

Three people -- a man, his wife and her brother -- were killed early today when a fire raced through their two-story frame house in Rosedale.

Firefighters found their bodies after the blaze destroyed the house, at 8101 Duvall Ave., shortly before 2 a.m.

Battalion Chief Michael Whittaker of the Baltimore County Fire NTC Department identified the dead as Edward J. Bartos, 72, his wife, Dolores, 68, and her brother, Leonard Keissling, 62.

Chief Whittaker said two of the victims were found on the second floor, and the third victim was found on the first floor.

Neighbors said that the woman lived on the first floor and that her husband and brother had bedrooms on the second floor.

The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore, where autopsies were to be performed to determine the cause of death.

Chief Whittaker said so much of the house was engulfed in fire before firefighters arrived that it would be some time before the cause and origin of the blaze were determined.

He said investigators were to remain at the scene most of the day.

The house and its contents, he said, were destroyed.

Houses on either side of the burned home were not damaged, but their occupants fled.

The fire was discovered about 1:25 a.m. by an unidentified motorist who saw flames in the back of the house and alerted Luther Woods, 58, a retired baker, who lives next door.

Mr. Woods and the motorist heard a woman cry out as they stood on the front porch, but they couldn't reach her because of the flames.

Mr. Woods said he could hear the woman yelling but that he couldn't detect where she was or what she was saying because of the noise the fire was making.

"Everything in the house was burning up and making sounds like cracking and popping," he said.

Moments later, the woman's voice ceased, he said.

Mr. Woods said he saw that the stairs were intact and thought about trying to reach whoever may have been upstairs, but decided not to when flames erupted through the door and over his head, nearly burning him and the motorist.

"Nobody could have gotten in there except firemen," he said.

He and the motorist retreated as the first of nearly 50 firefighters arrived and battled the blaze from all four sides before declaring it under control at 3:12 a.m.

Firefighters and equipment came from stations in Rosedale, Essex, Middle River, Golden Ring, Wise Avenue and Eastview.

One firefighter was injured when flames broke through a window, causing him to turn abruptly and twist his leg while on a ladder. He was treated at Franklin Square Hospital and released.

Lawrence Meusel, a retired chief deputy of the county sheriff's office who lives two houses from the burning house, said he was awakened by lights flashing on his bedroom wall.

"When I looked out the window," he said, "I saw flames coming from the back of the house and in a few minutes the whole house was full of flames and smoke."

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