Anonymous tip leads police to rescue of toddler from house fire

November 24, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Three Baltimore police officers looking for a suspected criminal yesterday rescued a toddler from a burning house instead. And then they charged the mother with leaving her daughter alone.

"It's just one of those things," said Officer Michael Trail, who has been on the force one year. "You just never know what is going to happen."

It started about 2: 45 p.m. when someone told an officer working a security detail at Johns Hopkins Hospital that a person wanted for a crime could be found at a house in the 2400 block of Ashland Ave.

Trail, along with Officers Brian Rice and Chris Leaverton, went to the house and knocked on the front door. Keontae Jackson, 2, came to the door, and Trail said he looked inside through the mail slot.

"All I could see was her legs," he said.

After several minutes, Trail said, he realized the little girl was alone. Then he heard a smoke detector in the house go off, looked through the mail slot and saw smoke and flames. By that time the girl wasn't in sight.

The three officers kicked in the front door and found Keontae in the living room.

Firefighters quickly put out the fire, which police said apparently started on the stove, which had been left on.

Police said they found Keontae's mother around the corner. LaKeisha Martin, 23, was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and child neglect. She was being held last night at the Central Booking and Intake Center awaiting a bail hearing.

The girl was in the custody of the state Department of Social Services last night.

Trail said police have no idea what suspected criminal, if any, might have been at the house.

Pub Date: 11/24/98

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