- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Firefighters from across Maryland and out of state saluted Allan Michael Roberts yesterday as a hero who charged into burning buildings to save others — a calling he gave his life for while battling a blaze last week in a row house.

Mr. Roberts’ casket was brought to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on the back of a firetruck with its lights flashing. He was the first Baltimore firefighter to die in the line of duty since 1995.

Capt. David Goldman, who worked with Mr. Roberts at Truck Company 26, described him as a passionate 19-year veteran with firefighting in his blood who wouldn’t flinch at risking his life to save others.

In 1994, Mr. Roberts received the department’s Exemplary Performance Award for saving an infant during an apartment fire.

The 40-year-old died last week fighting an early morning fire in Baltimore’s Greektown neighborhood. The blaze was caused by an electrical short in a water heater.

“With the report of people trapped, he risked it all to save them, and because of that he made the ultimate sacrifice,” Capt. Goldman said. The two residents escaped by jumping out a second-story window.

Firefighter Brandon Maddox suffered serious burns to one hand, and firefighter James Butler was injured. They were trapped in the house when parts of the second floor collapsed.

Firetrucks from across the region were lined up for blocks on Charles Street in front of the cathedral.

Inside, the church was filled with firefighters as well as friends and family.

Mayor Martin O’Malley told Mr. Roberts’ four children — Samantha, 13, Kaitlyn 11, Jacob, 5, and 18-month-old Daniel — that their father was a hero who worked in a dangerous job to protect people.

“He gave of himself,” the mayor said. “He loved other people so much that he was willing to do that every day, and he loved you as well very, very much.”

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