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One Dead in Baltimore High-Rise Fire

March 15, 2003

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A fire at a city-owned high-rise for senior citizens killed one person and injured five Friday _ less than two months after another fatal blaze in the same building.

Three people were seriously injured in the latest blaze, which raged mostly on the 10th floor of one of Lakeview Towers’ two 15-story buildings, Baltimore Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said. He had no information about the person who died.

On Jan. 16, an accidental fire that began on the third floor of the same building killed two people and injured about a dozen.

After the January fire, city officials acknowledged that the complex lacked sprinkler systems. They said they had discussed installing sprinklers but had no immediate plans to.

When the latest fire hit, the building still lacked sprinklers, Cartwright said. He added that investigators were checking the fire-alarm system after many residents said they didn’t hear it.

Mayor Martin O’Malley blamed the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for the lack of sprinklers, which would cost an estimated $1.5 million. HUD had been asked to foot the bill.

``We’re going to obviously have to huddle and figure out a way that we can do it without having to wait on HUD to do what HUD should have already done,″ the mayor told WBAL-TV.

The complex is not required to have sprinklers because it was built in 1970, before the building code required them for high-rise buildings.

The cause of Friday’s fire was under investigation.

Many residents of the building were able to return to their apartments, but 10th-floor residents were spending the night at a motel, Cartwright said.

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