Child playing with matches might have caused blaze

August 12, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A child playing with matches might have started a fire that swept through a West Baltimore rowhouse yesterday, leaving two adults and six children homeless, fire officials said.

The two-alarm fire in the 700 block of Edgewood St., two blocks north of Edmondson Avenue, was reported to emergency dispatchers at 11: 34 a.m. It took dozens of firefighters about a half-hour to bring it under control.

All the occupants escaped without injury. Fire officials said they included a woman with four children and an 18-year-old woman with two children. Their ages ranged from younger than 1 to late teens. Their names were not available.

Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres said firefighters arrived to find the two-story house engulfed and neighbors shouting that an infant was trapped inside. Further complicating matters was a broken fire hydrant.

Hoses had to be stretched several blocks, and Torres said a second alarm was struck, bringing 30 additional firefighters to help with the search and to get water onto the flames. The infant was located outside.

Torres said the investigation has not been completed, but investigators believe a child accidentally sparked the blaze while playing in a basement. One firefighter suffered from heat exhaustion and was treated at Mercy Medical Center.

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