Eight people left homeless after blaze damages rowhouse Two adults rescued from porch roof

December 27, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Eight people, including several children, were homeless yesterday after escaping a fire that burned through their East Baltimore rowhouse, trapping two adults on a second-floor porch roof.

Firefighters carried the trapped pair down ladders to safety. Six other residents, ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years, got out safely. Two dogs perished in the blaze, which caused $13,000 in damage to the narrow rowhouse in the 1300 block of Valley St.

"I was up in bed asleep, said Beverly Rorie, 45, who was shaken but uninjured. "My son was yelling, 'Fire.' I had to jump out the bathroom window. The only way I could get out was the back roof. It was frightening."

Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, a Fire Department spokesman, said the one-alarm fire was reported at 9: 27 a.m. and was under control at 9: 48 a.m. He said investigators believe it started in the basement; damage was heaviest in the basement and on the first floor.

He said that when firefighters arrived, smoke was pouring from most windows. Rorie and a man were on the roof of a back porch and were rescued by firefighters. "They got ladders up and got them down pretty quick," Torres said.

The cause of the fire had not been determined yesterday afternoon, but Rorie said she believes it started in a basement furnace. Torres said investigators believe the cause was accidental.

The Red Cross was helping the family relocate yesterday. "It's a sad day for the day after Christmas," said Charlene Thomas, a neighbor who called 911. "Thank God they all got out safe."

Pub Date: 12/27/96

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