A five-alarm fire burned through the roof of a Northwest Baltimore apartment building last night, leaving 18 people homeless, fire officials said.
The fire began about 8: 40 p.m. in Fallstaff Manor Apartments in the 3000 block of Romaric Court and quickly went to five alarms, said Battalion Chief Hector Torres, a Fire Department spokesman. Fallstaff Manor is a complex of three-story brick-veneer buildings near the Baltimore County line.
No serious injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire hadn't been determined late last night. The blaze, which residents of the building said may have started on the third floor, was brought under control shortly after 10 p.m.
At one point, flames shot through the roof, and plumes of smoke billowed into the sky as a crowd of neighborhood residents gathered across the street to watch the blaze and offer comfort to the families put out of their homes.
Of the 10 apartments in the building, nine were occupied, Torres said. The apartments in the upper floors were heavily damaged by fire, and all were damaged by water and smoke to the point that they are no longer habitable, firefighters said.
A forlorn Eli Baror, 24, stood with a group of friends on the $H sidewalk across from the burning apartment building, next to the only possession he could carry out: his stereo system. "I was taking a shower, and I heard the screams," Baror said. He threw on clothes and got a friend to help him carry the component system down a flight of stairs.
Igor Yurganov, 23, who lives in a different building in the complex had just pulled up with dinner -- a pizza -- for his wife when he saw the smoke. His brother-in-law lives in the building that burned, and Yurganov ran inside to bang on his door.
"But the smoke was so thick, I couldn't get to the third floor," Yurganov said. He and two other men began knocking on doors, but got no response. Everybody had apparently evacuated when they smelled the smoke.
Pub Date: 10/05/96