Three Baltimore firefighters are dead and a fourth is hospitalized in fair condition after they got trapped in a collapsed rowhome while attempting to put out a fire Monday morning.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called it a “gut wrenching tragedy” for the city, the fire department and the firefighters’ families.
“There are no words to describe the pain and the severity of the losses we have suffered today,” Scott said in a statement.
The city’s fire department identified the dead as Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo.
Today, Lt. Paul Butrim, FF Kelsey Sadler & FF Kenny Lacayo lost their lives in service to our city. FF John McMaster remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition. We will continue to pray for the family of those we lost. pic.twitter.com/cRGXp1YwNp
— Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) January 25, 2022
EMT/firefighter John McMaster is currently in fair condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford said.
According to Ford, the firefighters were responding to a two-alarm blaze inside a vacant, three-story rowhome when it partially collapsed, trapping the four first responders inside. One firefighter was immediately pulled out, but the other three remained trapped as other emergency personnel on scene removed “piles of debris” to locate them. Two firefighters were rescued “within an hour of the fire,” he said.
“From this moment, we will honor those we lost today, for their bravery, their courage, their love for helping others and the respect they had for the Baltimore City Fire Department,” Ford said in a statement.
Ford told reporters that even though the rowhome was vacant, firefighters chose to enter it anyway because a neighboring house was still occupied, the Baltimore Sun reported.
According to multiple media reports, the last time Baltimore lost a firefighter in the line of duty was 2014, when veteran firefighter Lt. James Bethea fell through a hole in the floor of a vacant home and died of smoke inhalation.