- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

BALTIMORE(AP)— An early morning fire took the life of a 69-year-old Baltimore man yesterday, adding to the deaths of three children in the previous three days.

In response, firefighters planned to canvass the neighborhoods where the fires occurred to distribute fire-prevention pamphlets and check smoke detectors.

“We’re seeing the very young and the elderly as the most susceptible to dying in fires. Able-bodied people manage to get out,” Baltimore fire department spokesman James Gardner said.

“It’s a tough way to start the year.”

On Thursday, two children were killed and a third was critically injured when a fire swept through a row house in West Baltimore. Fire investigators believe no adults were in the home at the time of the incident.

And on Wednesday, an 11-year-old boy died and his younger brother was critically injured in an East Baltimore fire. Investigators said candles used for light in the home, where the power had been shut off, may have been to blame for the blaze.

In yesterday’s fire, firefighters found heavy smoke pouring from a two-story brick row home shortly before 4 a.m.

Four adults managed to escape with mild smoke inhalation. Robert Lee, 69, was found in a rear bedroom, apparently having succumbed to smoke inhalation, Mr. Gardner said.

The identities of the two boys, ages 6 and 9, who were killed in Thursday’s fire were not released because of the ongoing investigation into the blaze. The injured child, Jocelyn Walker, 8, was listed in critical condition yesterday at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The victim in Wednesday’s fire was identified as Davon Dortch, 11, who died Thursday. His brother, Fidel Russel, 7, was listed in critical condition yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

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