Officials seek cause of fatal apartment fire near Canton

October 10, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

Investigators were trying yesterday to determine the cause of a fire that broke out in the bedroom of a Southeast Baltimore apartment Sunday, killing a man in his 50s, according to the city Fire Department.

Firefighters responded about 7 p.m. to a 911 call to the 1300 block of Bonsal St., near the Canton Industrial Park, and were able to contain the fire to a single room. They had to break down the door to enter the apartment.

Firefighters found the victim unresponsive in his bedroom and took him to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a department spokesman. The victim's name was not released.

Cartwright said the man had inhaled smoke, but said the cause and manner of the man's death had not been established.

Clothing and personal items were strewn all over the apartment yesterday, but only the bedroom appeared blackened. The windows were boarded up.

Residents complained that smoke alarms in the building did not go off until after firefighters arrived and smashed out windows.

Len Frenkil, executive vice president of the Time Group, which manages the complex, said each apartment has a working smoke detector.

He noted that smoke detectors might not have gone off because the fire was so small. There was no smoke damage in the rest of the building.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family on their terrible loss," Frenkil said.

There was another fire in the complex last winter, residents said. Frenkil said that fire was caused by a person who fell asleep while smoking.

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