Apartment fire kills two Elkton children

Officials suspect smoke alarm was not working

July 17, 2000|By Kurt Streeter | Kurt Streeter,SUN STAFF

For the second day in a row, state fire officials pointed to an unmaintained smoke detector as a contributing cause in a fire that killed children, this time in Elkton in Cecil County.

A day after a fire killed a 3-year-old girl in Southeast Baltimore, two Elkton children - a 3-year-old boy and his 1-year-old sister - died in a two-alarm fire that swept through their home early Sunday.

Nathan and Haylie Shrewsbury died of smoke inhalation in the apartment in the 1400 block of Appleton Road, according to Allen Gosnell, a spokesman for the state fire marshal's office.

Their parents, Regina Grimm, 22, and Delston Shrewsbury, 28, were injured while trying to rescue their children, Gosnell said.

The adults were transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, where they were in critical condition yesterday, suffering from burns, smoke inhalation and cuts, according to a nursing coordinator.

Forty firefighters responded to the blaze, which was reported at 2:22 a.m. and took about 45 minutes to control. The apartment was gutted, causing an estimated $85,000 in damage, Gosnell said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

After the blaze was extinguished, firefighters found a smoke alarm in the rubble.

"There was no battery in it," said Gosnell, who added that a working smoke alarm might have prevented the deaths.

Early Saturday, Nicole Austin, 3, died of smoke inhalation in a fire that broke out in the basement of her father's rowhouse in the 600 block of S. Oldham St.

Baltimore Fire Department officials said that a smoke detector in the rowhouse lacked a battery.

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