Firefighter pulled from house after trying to rescue woman Woman, 62, dies in blaze

captain treated for burns

October 11, 1998|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

A fire captain who tried to rescue a woman from a burning West Baltimore house last night, despite a delay in pouring water on the blaze, was pulled to safety from a second-story window by one of his colleagues.

Capt. Stephan G. Fugate was being treated at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for second-degree burns on his ears. A 62-year-old woman died in the fire, which broke out about 7: 40 p.m. in the 1000 block of N. Payson St.

"They couldn't get the hose working, so Captain Fugate just ran into the home without a hose and tried to rescue the woman," said police Officer Chuck Connolly.

But Fugate got trapped on the second floor, and a firefighter -- who would not give his name to reporters -- climbed a ladder, grabbed the captain's hand and pulled him to safety. "Both the captain and the firefighter are heroes beyond human strength," Connolly said.

Inspector Michael Maybin, a spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department, said a truck had mechanical problems that prevented it from dispensing water.

While Fugate ran into the home, Maybin said, firefighters hooked hoses to another truck, resulting in a three- to five-minute delay. Maybin said the difficulties did not contribute to the fatality.

Grace Kelly, who lives around the corner from the scene, ran into the victim's house before police and firefighters arrived but was forced back because of heat and smoke.

"I couldn't see anything," said Kelly, who said she was upset at the delays in fighting the fire. "There was fire and smoke everywhere, and they didn't have any water."

The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was not identified last night. She was the fifth person to die in city fires last week.

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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