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14 Displaced By 3-Alarm Fire In Canton

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A rotten start to 2012 for eight Canton homeowners. An early morning fire Sunday left them all without a roof over their heads.

Monique Griego explains the fire was a close call for some homeowners and their pets.

In Canton, they’re already cleaning up.

“Not a good way to bring in the new year at all,” said one person.

Rooftop repairs are underway in the 900-block of South Bouldin Street where an early morning fire in one of the rowhouses began spreading to others and woke the whole neighborhood.

“I could see flames through the window and the entire street was full of smoke,” neighbor Meredith Capron said.

People came running out of the houses, no one seriously hurt.

But several cats in one home had to be treated for burns after they were rescued by firefighters, who then had their hands full dealing with the three-alarm blaze spreading through the rooftops.

Part of the problem, firefighters say, is that the crown molding along the roofline caught on fire. Firefighters had to cut a trench in the roof of eight different houses to keep it from spreading.

“And they were very successful in doing that. Unfortunately, it did cause significant damage to quite a few homes,” said Kevin Cartwright, spokesman for the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Eight rowhouses, in all, are now condemned.

Janice Dunnigan is one of 14 people now forced out of their homes. She woke Sunday morning to her dog barking, followed by the sounds of fire sirens.

“By the time I looked back at my house, it was filled with smoke. I couldn’t see anything,” she said.

She’s says it’ll be months before she can move back in. For now, she’s left with the clothes she’s wearing and a hope that this is as bad as 2012 will get.

“It’s got to get better,” Dunnigan said.

Firefighters say most of the displaced families are going to be staying with relatives. The cause of the fire still under investigation.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the call. One firefighter needed medical treatment after twisting his ankle at the scene.

  • Jack Pollack

    I’ve always suspected that the Balto row houses are not properly protected at the attic and roof levels. If the fire gets to the roof levet, it’ll just keep moving. I used to live in one on Clinton St. I’d be interested in someone who knows, a fireman perhaps,who would explain whether or not this is so.

  • John K. Cassady III

    I grew up in Canton and lived at 1024 S. Bouldin St. the block just south of this fire. The space between the second floor ceiling and the roof is open so I can see how this fire spead. These row houses are over 100 years old and the fire code, if there was any at the time they were built , did not call for a fire break between these houses so there is none. A fire starting in one house will consume the whole block if it gets to the roof. Newer row homes usually now have brick fire breaks between the homes.

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