Elderly woman dies, 5 injured in early-morning house fire

October 10, 2003|By Matt Whittaker | Matt Whittaker,SUN STAFF

A woman died and five others, including two firefighters, were injured as an early-morning fire raged through a Northwest Baltimore home yesterday.

The blaze was reported at 4:27 a.m. in a wood-frame house in the 4400 block of Wakefield Road in Forest Park. An elderly woman -- whose name was not released -- was declared dead at the scene, said Baltimore City Fire Department deputy spokesman Kevin Cartwright.

Another woman was taken to Sinai Hospital in critical condition from burns and smoke inhalation. A mother and daughter were also hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Two firefighters were hurt -- one treated for a first-degree burn to the neck at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center's burn unit, the other taken to Mercy Medical Center with an eye injury.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, according to the Fire Department.

After the fire erupted, Cartwright said, a neighbor heard screaming and, with another neighbor, used a ladder in a rescue effort.

Bennie Powell, who lives across the street, said neighbors "dragged three kids out of that second floor" before the Fire Department arrived.

"It looked like it was just a lot of smoke at first," he said, but when firefighters broke a window, a "big blaze" came out.

Ethel Williamson watched the smoke from her nearby porch.

"I heard the screaming this morning at 4:20," she said.

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