Woman, 34, dies in blaze at Southwest rowhouse

Brother unsuccessful in rescue attempt

July 27, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

A 34-year-old woman died early yesterday in a fire that engulfed a Southwest Baltimore rowhouse, a city Fire Department spokesman said.

City fire crews responded about 5 a.m. to the 100 block of S. Morley St., where they found a rowhouse with heavy fire on the first and second floors, and extending to an adjacent rowhouse. The house's front porch collapsed just before firefighters were able to enter the dwelling, according to Chief Kevin Cartwright, a department spokesman.

Soon after, firefighters searched the house and found an unconscious woman in a second-floor bedroom, Cartwright said. They pulled her from the house and paramedics attempted to resuscitate her. She was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where she died, he said.

He identified the victim as Angelia L. Phillips.

A man and a 12-year-old girl were also in the house at the time of the fire. The man was not injured, and the girl suffered minor smoke inhalation, Cartwright said.

An elderly woman who lived next door, where the fire spread and caused serious damage, escaped from her house and was not injured, he said.

Cartwright said that a brother of the victim happened to be walking to the house in the morning, saw it engulfed in flames, and tried to get inside to help the occupants.

"He was trying to get in to make sure everybody was out," Cartwright said. "He went to the back and kicked the door out, but it was too intense for him. There was nothing he could do."

Helen Dorsey, a neighbor who saw the fire and called 911, said she's normally awake early in the morning. She said she heard someone yelling outside, and then a young man knocked on her door and asked for a flashlight. She said she knew Phillips and was distraught over what had happened.

"It wasn't good," Dorsey said. "Her children had got out, and they said their mother was still in there."

Linnea Anderson, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Central Maryland, said volunteers from the emergency relief organization are assisting other occupants of the home where the woman died: three children and one adult.

She said the family was given help in obtaining food and clothing, but they had found shelter with other relatives.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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