Five Children Die in House Fire
BALTIMORE (AP) _ A fire swept through a row house early today, killing five girls, ages 2 to 6, before spreading to three other homes.
The girl’s mother and four other children escaped the blaze, which authorities said began when the family tried to light the furnace on a chilly spring morning.
A teen-age boy was trying to start the furnace’s pilot light with a piece of burning paper when an ember touched off the fire, said fire Capt. Stephan Fugate.
It quickly spread to three nearby homes, including that of Rosa and Charles Pickett.
″One of the people in the block came and rescued us, or we would have burned up too,″ Mrs. Pickett said.
Flames were shooting out the front door and windows of the first home by the time firefighters arrived in the east Baltimore neighborhood around 1:30 a.m., Capt. Martin Kavanagh said.
The boy and his brother tried to extinguish the fire with water before calling the fire department, Fugate said. The youngsters, ages 14 and 13, got out safely, as did their mother, a 7-year-old sister and a 6-month-old sister.
The dead children were all found in a second-floor bedroom, fire officials said. Four of the younger girls were in a crib next to the front window.
Family members’ names weren’t immediately released. Fugate said the father was returning from visiting relatives in Buffalo, N.Y., and hadn’t been told of the tragedy.