Children left alone start fire 18-month-old dies

March 01, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Two children left alone at home apparently played with matches last night and caused a fire that left an 18-month-old boy dead and his 3-year-old brother treated for burns, Baltimore VTC fire officials said.

The childrens' mother was charged with reckless endangerment, police said.

It was the second fatal fire in the city in two days. A fire Saturday night left nine people dead -- seven of them children -- in the 2000 block of Hollins St. in Southwest Baltimore.

That fire started when lighted candles ignited some combustible material in the house, which had neither gas nor electricity.

Last night's fire broke out about 6:50 p.m. in the living room of a first-floor apartment at the Lorelly Apartments in the 4800 block of Lorelly Ave. in Northeast Baltimore, said Battalion Chief Hector Torres, a Fire Department spokesman.

The boys apparently set fire to a "a sofa or a chair," said Capt. Paul Geoghegan, 56, of the fire investigation unit.

Derrell Lovett was pronounced dead at the Francis Scott Key Burn Center at 7:52 p.m., Chief Torres said.

Captain Geoghegan said Derrell may have died of smoke inhalation and body burns but that an official cause of death would have to await an autopsy by the state medical examiner's office.

Derrell's brother, Dwan Lovett, suffered third-degree burns on the right leg and was released following treatment at the Key burn center, Chief Torres said.

The fire was confined to one apartment, but smoke spread throughout the building, causing at least one resident to panic. Arol McNarr, 45, who lived in a third-floor apartment -- two floors above the basement unit where the fire occurred -- suffered minor injuries when she jumped from a window to the ground, Chief Torres said. She was being treated at Key Medical Center.

One firefighter was also injured in the blaze and was treated at Key, Captain Geoghegan said.

It was not clear how long the two boys had been left alone in the apartment.

Chief Torres said he had "sketchy information" about the whereabouts of the boys' mother, Lisa Lovett, 26.

"My information is that she did show up and is at the hospital," Chief Torres said.

Police said the mother was arrested late yesterday and charged with reckless endangerment by order of the state's attorney's office. Other charges, including leaving the children unattended and child neglect, were pending.

She was held overnight at the women's detention center pending a bail hearing today in District Court, police said.

There are 12 apartments in the complex where the fire started, Captain Geoghegan said.

"None of the other apartments was damaged," he said.

"The only smoke damage was in common hallways. But all the apartments may have some smoke odor."

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