Fire in New Northwood kills woman and her 2 young sons

April 05, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore's 1994 fire death toll rose to 30 yesterday -- just four shy of the total for all of 1993 -- when a one-alarm blaze swept through a house killing a woman and her two children, city fire officials reported.

The one-alarm fire started at 6:12 a.m. in the living room on the first floor of a house in the 1500 block of Winston Ave. off Loch Raven Boulevard in New Northwood.

Fire officials attributed the fire to careless smoking.

One resident survived by jumping to safety from a second-floor rear window. Raymond Jefferson, 24, was listed in critical condition in the burn unit of the Key Medical Center with second-degree burns and a fractured ankle, hospital and fire officials said.

The victims were Yvette Martinez, 26, and her sons, Chez Johnson, 5, and Raymond Jefferson Jr., a 6-week-old infant who was Mr. Jefferson's son.

Ms. Martinez and the children suffered smoke inhalation and were treated by paramedics at the scene. They died an hour later at area hospitals.

Battalion Chief Hector Torres said the house was equipped with a smoke detector that was beeping at the time of the blaze.

Yesterday, charred furniture and remains of the house were strewn on the front lawn. Residents of the quiet neighborhood, which faces a deep, wooded ravine, were shocked by the deadly fire.

A witness, Dorothy Daniels, said she was awakened by the sound of Mr. Jefferson crying in the back yard.

"Another neighbor was holding him because he was trying to get back into the house. He was crying and moaning loudly, saying, 'God, please don't let them be in there, please don't let them be in there,' " said Ms. Daniels, who lives in Atlanta and is visiting her mother, who lives near the house that burned.

"I then looked out of the window and saw white smoke coming out. Then I heard the firefighters arrive and they said, 'Get up here! People are trapped.' "

Ms. Daniels said firefighters arrived quickly but could not gain entrance to the house through the front door because of a locked iron security door.

They entered the house by breaking a living room window.

"Then, flames shot out of the house," she said, and this hampered firefighters even more.

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