- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BALTIMORE | Flames engulfed an East Baltimore row house early Tuesday, killing three children and three adults, and the blaze spread to adjacent homes, forcing families to flee in the cold.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 4:45 a.m. and found a two-story brick home on fire, Baltimore fire department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said. Firefighters initially attacked the flames from the interior, but wind gusts intensified the blaze and forced them to retreat, Mr. Cartwright said.

Wind gusts in the area at the time were between 30 mph and 40 mph, the National Weather Service reported.

Once firefighters suppressed the fire, Mr. Cartwright said, they searched the home and found the victims. He did not know their ages or identities, but neighbors said an elderly couple, their granddaughter and her three children lived in the home.


Hours after the fire, Karen Lane stood outside the home next to her mother. Her parents’ home next door was one of those damaged, but Miss Lane’s mother and father escaped unharmed.

Firefighters investigate the scene of an early-morning, two-alarm fire in Baltimore on Tuesday. Three children were among the six people killed as flames engulfed their row house. (Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)
Firefighters investigate the scene of an early-morning, two-alarm fire in Baltimore on ... more >

“Thank God they got out alive,” she said.

Richard and Eleanor Satterfield lived in the home where the fire was reported along with their granddaughter, Tiara, and her three children, Miss Lane said.

Neighbor Charles Giddins said the Satterfields were nice neighbors.

“She had just retired from working at the day care program,” Mr. Giddins said. “All she would do is sit on the porch in the morning and feed the birds, and watch her grandkids.”

Shirley Braxton, who lives in a home damaged by the fire, said her daughter opened the front door and shouted that their neighbors’ home was on fire, the Baltimore Sun reported.

“I said, ‘Get my grandson. Y’all just get out of the house,’” Mrs. Braxton said. “The only thing I was thinking about was just getting out.”

Fire investigators and arson detectives were working to determine the cause of the fire. The victims were thought to have died of smoke inhalation, although the state medical examiner’s office will make the final determination, Mr. Cartwright said.

He didn’t know whether the home had working smoke alarms.

Tuesday’s fire was one of the deadliest in Baltimore in recent years. In January, four people were killed in a fire, and in May 2007, a row-house fire killed eight in East Baltimore.