Apartment fire kills one, injures four

Blaze started about 1 a.m. above W. Baltimore club

November 22, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

One man died and four people were injured after a fire swept through an apartment building above a West Baltimore bar and nightclub yesterday, fire officials said.

The fire started about 1 a.m. in a second-floor apartment above Club Paradise in the 1300 block of Laurens St., fire officials said, and soon heavy smoke was billowing out of the building.

Firefighters pulled five people from the apartments, including a 40-year-old man who was in cardiac arrest. He was taken to Maryland General Hospital, where he died. Authorities did not immediately identify him.

The four other victims suffered smoke inhalation and burns and were rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Two men -- a 38-year-old and a 35-year-old -- were listed in critical condition, said Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman, who did not have their names.

He did not know the names or conditions of the two other victims.

Few people were in Club Paradise when the fire occurred, and no nightclub patrons were injured, according to officials and Darryl Hall, 35, a nightclub manager.

Hall said he was inside the bar about 1 a.m. when someone approached him to say she smelled smoke. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran up a flight of stairs to reach the apartments, where he could hear people screaming for help.

When he reached the second-floor landing, he was confronted by a wall of fire.

"It was really burning bad," said Hall, who said he sprayed the flames with the extinguisher, creating thick plumes of smoke.

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