Rowhouse fire kills 3

Children die in blaze

parents in critical condition

November 21, 2005|By ANDREA F. SIEGEL | ANDREA F. SIEGEL,SUN REPORTER

Three young brothers died yesterday and their parents were critically injured as a blaze ripped through a Southwest Baltimore rowhouse - the third fatal residential fire in the city in as many days.

Police identified the couple as David and Angie Alger, and their three sons as Glen, 9, Christopher, 7, and Jonathan, 4.

Neighbors said the family rented the two-story rowhouse in the 1200 block of Washington Blvd.

Flames roared through the windows and roof about 2:40 a.m., leading David and Angie Alger to fall or leap to the sidewalk. Neighbors cringed as they described the couple as badly burned and severely injured.

"The man and woman were in such poor shape, it was impossible to talk to them at the scene of the fire," said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.

Both were in critical condition yesterday. David Alger was admitted to the burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and Angie Alger at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Cartwright said firefighters found the bodies of the three boys in the second-floor front bedroom.

A Southern District police officer was injured in an attempt to save the children, said a district shift commander. "He's really upset that he couldn't get to them," the shift commander said. The officer's name was not disclosed.

Firefighters brought the one-alarm blaze under control in about a half-hour. The cause remained under investigation, Cartwright said.

The fire brought the three-day tally of home fire fatalities to seven. So far this year, 21 people have died in city fires, Cartwright said.

Early Friday, an arson fire in a West Baltimore apartment complex in the 2100 block of Garrison Blvd. left two people dead, one of them Thomasina Evans, 41. A male victim has not been identified.

On Saturday, a fire in a rowhouse in the 400 block of Elrino St. in Southeast Baltimore killed Robert Miller, 70. A female resident, also 70, was rescued from the burning dwelling fire by firefighters but died yesterday morning at Bayview Medical Center. Her name was not available.

Yesterday, neighbors wiped away tears as they looked at charred rubble in front of the house on Washington Boulevard - a mountain that included melted plastic crates, blackened wood furniture, wet clothing, toys and baseball cards.

"I love you" balloons, orange lilies and stuffed animals were tied to a light pole in front of the home. A colorful lineup of stuffed animals lay on the windshield of the family's blue truck.

On the home's dented metal storm door, where three stuffed animals were perched, next-door neighbor Angel Moore wrote "RIP, Glen, Chris + Jonathan" and "We love you. God bless you all."

She said she her husband had tried to help when they heard Angie Alger crying out for her.

"About 2:30 is when I heard her screaming my name," Angel Moore said.

Seeing flames and smoke, she called 911. Minutes later, she ran outside to see Angie Alger on the pavement and got a blanket for her. Now, she said, "I keep hearing her" cries.

Moore's home and the house on the other side suffered damage. The fire spread to the Moore home through the roof. Though firefighters hacked through the roof and removed the decorative roofline trim, Moore waved away friends' questions about the condition of her home.

"I ain't worried about my house. I have my babies," she said.

At the house on the other side, Sharon Denner of Essex credited her son with rescuing her disabled mother. She said Edward Gerban, 28, got his grandmother, 77-year-old Dorothy Grimes, who uses a wheelchair, out of the house. They had been sleeping on the first floor, and the upstairs was filled with smoke when they got out, Gerban said.

Neighbors said the Algers were trying to move from the home. They said Angie Alger was a homemaker and David Alger had worked until several months ago at a nearby store, but were unsure where he might have worked recently.

"It was like a normal family around here trying to make it. They were good people," said Cheryl Stinchcomb, who lives nearby. "This Thanksgiving Day, at my house there's going to be some silence for prayer for them."

andrea.siegel@ baltimoresun.com

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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