House fire kills 2 children Man critically hurt

victims apparently asleep on 2nd floor

December 20, 1997|By Scott Shane | Scott Shane,SUN STAFF

Two children were killed and a man was critically injured last night in a fire that broke out on the second floor of their Northeast Baltimore rowhouse while they apparently were sleeping.

Firefighters entered the house in the 300 block of Ilchester Ave. about 8: 20 p.m. and quickly put out the blaze, said Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, a Fire Department spokesman.

They then searched the house and found one child in a rear room and the second child and the man in a front room, he said.

"They were almost surprised to find the bodies, because the fire was confined to the middle room," Torres said. "But you can see smoke penetrated the whole floor."

Both children, a boy and a girl of approximately kindergarten age, were found near beds and were pronounced dead of smoke inhalation at the scene.

The man was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where a nursing supervisor said he was in critical condition.

None of the victims had been identified, and the cause of the fire was under investigation last night.

The victims' neighbor, Wanda Wells, said that she had no idea a fire had broken out next door until she heard sirens. She looked out her second-floor window and saw thick smoke pouring out.

"This is a good, close block," Wells said, standing on her porch. "Everybody looks out for everyone else. My heart hurts right now."

The children were the 22nd and 23rd fire deaths in Baltimore this year, passing last year's total of 22 deaths, Torres said.

Pub Date: 12/20/97

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