Boy, 5, causes fire with lighter baby sister dies

May 31, 1994

A 5-year-old Cecil County boy playing with a cigarette lighter caused a fire yesterday morning in North East in which his baby sister died, fire officials said.

Donald Baker, 31, and his wife, Pamela, 30, were awakened by their son's cries, but Mr. Baker couldn't get through the smoke and flames to rescue his sleeping daughter, said Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.

Firefighters found 11-month-old Julie Ann Baker in her crib in the living room, where the fire started on a sofa, Mr. Thomas said. A state medical examiner will perform an autopsy later this week to determine the infant's cause of death. The Bakers and their son escaped the fire.

The fire, which started shortly before 7:30 a.m., gutted the two-story town house, Mr. Thomas said. It took about 50 firefighters from four Cecil County fire departments about 20 minutes to bring the it under control.

It was the second fatal fire in Cecil County in five days. Thursday night, a house fire in Earlville killed a 17-year-old girl and her 13-year-old brother. Their father remained in critical condition yesterday at Frances Scott Key Burn Center.

In both fires, the smoke detector had been disconnected, Chief Thomas said. He said charges could be filed in both fires for failure to maintain a smoke detector in operating condition.

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