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Three firefighters killed, one is in seriously injured after derelict house collapses in Baltimore


Three firefighters were killed and a fourth was seriously injured when a derelict house in Baltimore collapsed and trapped them inside while they were battling a blaze at the vacant home early Monday morning. 

Lieutenant Paul Butrim, firefighter and paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT and firefighter Kenny Lacayo died after the three-story rowhome, on Stricker Street in the city’s New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood, collapsed and trapped them inside.

Firefighter John McMaster was pulled from the wreckage immediately and taken to the hospital, where he was still in critical condition and on life support as of Monday afternoon, Chief Niles R. Ford said at a news conference.

‘Fingers crossed that he’s going to make it and be just fine. It’s hard to know at this point,’ Dr. Thomas Scalea, of Maryland Shock Trauma, told the Associated Press.

Three firefighters were killed and a fourth was seriously injured when a vacant building collapsed in Baltimore early Monday morning

The Baltimore City Fire Department posted a photo honoring the deceased on its Twitter page

The Baltimore City Fire Department posted a photo honoring the deceased on its Twitter page

Lieutenant Paul Butrim, firefighter and paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT and firefighter Kenny Lacayo died fighting the blaze

Lieutenant Paul Butrim, firefighter and paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT and firefighter Kenny Lacayo died fighting the blaze

Baltimore City firefighters embrace at the scene of a vacant row house fire in Baltimore, Monday

Baltimore City firefighters embrace at the scene of a vacant row house fire in Baltimore, Monday

Firefighter John McMaster was pulled from the wreckage immediately and taken to the hospital, where he was still in critical condition on Monday afternoon. Above, firefighters embraced one another after a deceased firefighter was pulled out of the building collapse

Firefighter John McMaster was pulled from the wreckage immediately and taken to the hospital, where he was still in critical condition on Monday afternoon. Above, firefighters embraced one another after a deceased firefighter was pulled out of the building collapse

One of the deceased firefighters was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other two were freed from the debris only to succumb to their injuries at the hospital, Ford said.

‘Today, Baltimore has lost three of the bravest among us. Baltimore owes them the deepest gratitude and respect that we can offer anybody,’ Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said.

The Baltimore City Fire Department posted a photo of the deceased on its Twitter page with the caption, ‘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.’

Three firefighters were injured battling a blaze at the same location in 2015, The Baltimore Sun reported. The property owners of the derelict home were issued a vacant building notice in 2010, Tammy Hawley, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development, told the news outlet.

Vacant property owners must register their properties each year, though the owner of the Stricker Street home was cited in 2020 for failing to complete the registration. The property was last inspected on January 4, when an inspector found the front of the home adequately boarded and cleaned, according to Hawley.

Above, an excavator is pulling debris from the three-story rowhome, on Stricker Street in the city's New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood, which collapsed and trapped the firefighters inside

Above, an excavator is pulling debris from the three-story rowhome, on Stricker Street in the city’s New Southwest/Mount Clare neighborhood, which collapsed and trapped the firefighters inside

A Baltimore firefighter held balloons given to him by a neighbor  a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse

A Baltimore firefighter held balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in the building collapse

Firefighters stood in a line near an ambulance after the deadly blaze

Firefighters stood in a line near an ambulance after the deadly blaze

A firefighter fights back tears as he stands with other officials during an ambulance procession, after another firefighter who died while battling a two-alarm fire

A firefighter fights back tears as he stands with other officials during an ambulance procession, after another firefighter who died while battling a two-alarm fire

‘This is a gut wrenching tragedy for our city, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and most importantly the families of our firefighters,’ Scott told the Baltimore Sun. ‘There are no words to describe the pain and the severity of the losses we have suffered today.’

‘From this moment, we will honor those that lost their lives today for their bravery and courage,’ Ford said.

Asked by reporters why the firefighters made the call to enter the vacant building, Ford said an adjacent home was still occupied.

‘They made the determination they could control the fire and put it out,’ he said. ‘It’s up to those individuals on the scene to see the circumstances they have, and they did.’

Pictured Lt. Paul Butrim

Pictured Lt. Paul Butrim with his wife Rachel Butrim

Pictured Lt. Paul Butrim with his wife Rachel, right, and their son, left, was killed in the blaze 

Pictured Kenny Lacayo

Pictured Kenny Lacayo in photos posted by Tracy Kyttle where he is with her. "No one loved fighting fire more than you

Kenny Lacayo, left and right with his partner Tracy Kyttle who paid tribute to him saying:  ‘No one loved fighting fire more than you. No one wanted that transfer from 58 to 14 like you did. You loved your city and you gave your life for it’

Firefighter and paramedic Kelsey Sadler died in the Baltimore house collapse

Firefighter and paramedic Kelsey Sadler died in the Baltimore house collapse 

Butrim, a 16-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department who died in the fire, was an honoree for Firehouse Magazine’s annual Award of Valor after he rushed into a burning apartment, found a child in a bedroom and brought the child to safety, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Lacayo, a seven-year veteran, was remembered in a Facebook post by the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, which said he was named their paramedic of the year in 2016 and was deemed a top 10 responder in 2015 and 2016. Lacayo also received a unit citation for helping save a person struck by a car in 2018.

‘His exceptional skills as a firefighter and paramedic were matched by his bright smile and his unfailing good nature,’ the squad wrote in the post. ‘He was dearly loved by his fellow WVRS volunteers and will be greatly missed.’

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby recognized the deceased in a Twitter post captioned: ‘The men and women in our Fire Department put their lives on the line every time they race to extinguish fires around our city. I am praying for the firefighters and their families, Chief Niles and the members of @BaltimoreFire.’  



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