Report: Firefighters who responded to fatal Baltimore fire not alerted to home's history

The vacant rowhouse where three firefighters were killed in January was damaged in a 2015 fire that left several firefighters injured


By Leila Merrill

BALTIMORE — A new report from Maryland Occupational Safety and Health reveals information that could have affected how the Baltimore Fire Department responded to the Stricker Street rowhouse fire in January.

Lt. Paul Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo died, and another firefighter was injured.

Lt. Paul Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo died, and another firefighter was injured in the rowhome fire in January.
Lt. Paul Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo died, and another firefighter was injured in the rowhome fire in January. (File photo/Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

A number of firefighters who responded to the fatal fire told investigators they did not know that the vacant home was damaged in a 2015 fire that left several firefighters injured, WBFF reported. One firefighter said he fell through a floor of the home in 2015.

The report said that at the time of the January incident, dispatchers did not make firefighters aware of the previous incident. And a system in which "X"s were put on buildings to warn firefighters of damage was no longer in existence.

“Residents complained about how it looked and that it didn’t look good in the community, so it stopped,” said Councilwoman Odette Ramos, adding that Code X-Ray began in 2010 but did not last long. She said the program will return.

The MOSH report recommends that reinstatement and that firefighters be immediately notified if a building is known to be unsafe.

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