East Baltimore Fire Claims Lives Of 6 Adults, Kids

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three adults and three children are dead after fast-moving flames ravaged their rowhouse.

Mike Hellgren has more.

This is the deadliest fire in Baltimore this year and the people who owned the home destroyed by the fire, the Satterfields, have lived there for decades.  They were the heart of the community.

Wind made it difficult for firefighters to battle the flames.  Strong winds fanned smoke and flames in East Baltimore, killing Eleanor and Richard Satterfield, an elderly couple, and their granddaughter and three great-grandchildren, ages one, three and nine.

“Lovely people.  Heaven just welcomed new angels,” said James Johnson.

The smoke and fire combined with strong winds made fighting the fire tough.  It spread to three other rowhomes.  Those who saw the flames will never forget them.

“I had more smoke in my house than fire, but the other two houses were just in flames,” said Shirley Braxton.  “Everything was just on fire.”

The fire department is unsure whether the home had working smoke detectors.  Investigators are still working to determine the cause.

“Exactly what started the fire, we don’t know at this point.  Our fire investigators and police arson detectors are here on the scene and they have begun their preliminary investigation into the cause of this fire,” said Kevin Cartwright.

The department also responded to concerns that a nearby fire company was not on the scene due to rotating, budget-related closures, noting the response was quick, at three minutes.

“I don’t think there are words to describe how devastating this is for their family.  I don’t think there’s ever a good time of year to lose family; the holidays make it particularly difficult,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

A memorial has started to go up for the six victims around the mess that’s left behind.

The city is working to get those displaced into hotels.  The Red Cross is also helping those who are homeless. 

Crisis teams were on hand at Cecil Elementary, where one of the victims was a student. 

Eighteen people have died in fires citywide this year.

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