12-year-old girl dies in fire

April 11, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writer

A 12-year-old girl was killed and four other people, including two small children, were injured early today when fire destroyed their West Baltimore rowhouse.

Pronounced dead at the scene was Monique Wilson, of 26 N. Norris St., a tiny street containing less than a dozen homes nestled between the 1400 blocks of W. Baltimore and W. Fayette streets.

Treated at the Francis Scott Key Medical Center for burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries were Diane Collen, 32, Toy Gilmore, 6, and Dakia Gilmore, 3.

Treated for smoke inhalation at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center was Frank Gilmore, 50.

According to Fire Department Shift Commander Joseph Dillon, everyone in the house except Monique escaped the inferno either by jumping from second-floor windows, being rescued or running out the front door.

"The girl was straddling the second-floor window ledge while her mother called to her to jump," said Commander Dillon," when she either retreated back into the burning room for fear of jumping or was overcome by smoke and collapsed onto the floor."

Shortly after the single-alarm fire was extinguished, firefighters found the girl a few feet from where she had been before she died.

Bobby Walker, 33, who lives across the street from the burning house, ran outside when he heard glass breaking and saw heavy smoke and flames erupting from the house.

"I looked up and saw 6-year-old Toy hanging out the window with smoke all around him," he said.

Mr. Walker said he climbed onto the banister of the front steps and reached up just enough to pull the boy to safety.

"At first, my grip slipped, but then I grabbed him by the back of the head and pulled him out the window," he said. Mr. Walker said Diane Collen already had jumped from the second-floor front window and was lying in the street calling back to Monique when he arrived.

"One minute I saw the little girl and the next minute she was gone," Mr. Walker said.

As firefighters attacked the burning house from the front and rear, the four injured people were taken by neighbors into Mr. Walker's house, where their wounds were wrapped in bed sheets and pillow cases.

From the house, they were taken to the two hospitals.

Reported at 5:02 a.m., the fire was declared under control at 5:20 a.m.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.


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