Collapse Kills Baltimore Firefighters

By Bill Carey
25 January 2022

BALTIMORE – Three Baltimore firefighters were killed and a fourth seriously injured on Monday during a fire in a rowhouse. The fallen firefighters have been identified as Lieutenant Paul Butrim of Truck Company 23, Firefighter/Paramedic Kelsey Sadler and Firefighter/EMT Kenny Lacayo of Engine Company 14. Firefighter/EMT John McMaster of Engine Company 14 is reportedly on life support in intensive care.

Firefighters responded to the 200 block of South Stricker Street for a fire in a near the end unit of a rowhouse. Audio of the dispatch included additional reports of fire in the 200 block of South Calhoun Street and the 200 block of South Norris Street, all adjacent to each other. The dispatcher also stated a report of people trapped on South Norris Street.

Battalion Chief 3 initially began coordinating other companies on removing occupants from 205 South Stricker Street next to the fire. The collapse of the second and third floors of 203 South Stricker Street occurred shortly afterwards.

203 South Stricker Street has been abandoned for over 10 years according to local news reports and Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development. Three firefighters were injured in this address during a fire in 2015. The city last inspected the property in January of this year and reported the front adequately boarded up and cleaned.

Baltimore’s last traumatic line of duty death occurred on 12 November 2014 when a safety officer died after falling through a floor in an exposure after a fire in an abandoned rowhouse.

The last time the U.S. fire service experienced the line of duty death of three or more firefighters was the deaths of three Wilmington, Delaware firefighters in two collapses during a basement fire a rowhome in 2016. The last time more than three firefighters died was in 2013 when Houston lost five firefighters in the Southwest Inn fire.

The last time a firefighter died in an abandoned building was earlier this year in St. Louis. Prior to that, the latest was the death of a Illinois firefighter searching for squatters in an abandoned commercial structure in 2019.

Photograph, taken in 2019, courtesy of Google.

Published by Data Not Drama

Data Not Drama is writings that provide a point of critical thought about firefighter fatality data and education, line of duty deaths, and risk. The main focus is to encourage less risk aversion and better knowledge on the subject of firefighter fatalities in firefighters, fire departments, and fire service organizations.

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