Boy, 4, killed in Edgewood fire is identified

Cause of death not known as officials probe source of blaze at townhouse

`This is hard on firefighters'

Building wasn't required to have a sprinkler system

March 05, 2004|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A 4-year-old boy killed Wednesday night in a townhouse fire in Edgewood was identified yesterday as Jerod Ulrich, fire marshals said.

His grandmother, Donna Telmanoski, 39, who suffered second- and third-degree burns over half of her body, remained in critical but stable condition yesterday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor.

The boy, who lived with his grandparents in the 1500 block of F Court in Harford Square, was found on the second-floor landing, Taylor said. Though the cause of death has not been determined by the medical examiner, Taylor said, "more people who die in fires die from smoke inhalation. The burns occur postmortem."

Taylor said the townhomes are equipped with battery-operated smoke detectors, but because of the intensity of the three-alarm blaze, investigators have not found the detector. Also, he said, the home, which was built in the 1970s, did not have a sprinkler system. "It predates the Maryland law [enacted in 1992] requiring them in townhomes," Taylor said.

The fire, which started on the first floor of the two-story structure, was reported at 5:25 p.m. and quickly engulfed the home, Taylor said. The cause remains under investigation.

Erik Petersen, assistant chief at the Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Company, said the last fatal fire he was involved with was two years ago. "This is hard on firefighters," he said, "especially when it involves a child."

Residences on either side of the dwelling were also damaged and had to be evacuated, Taylor said.

Tim Venzke of Joppa, who owns the townhouse to the right - where his son and daughter live - said he was at work Wednesday night when he saw the fire on television and rushed to the scene. His children were not injured.

"We had mostly smoke damage," Venzke said. "I have more damage from the firefighters cutting holes in the walls to ventilate."

Rob Telmanoski, the boy's grandfather, came to the scene yesterday to try to salvage business papers and survey damage. "Everything's gone," he said. " I don't know where to start."

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