By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Five households in Canton are out of their homes.

Alex DeMetrick reports a New Year’s Day fire was made worse by a bit of old rowhouse architecture. 

The New Year’s morning fire went to three alarms because it was spreading from house to house on South Boldin Street in Canton.

“The first house on the street, there was a bunch of black smoke coming out of that house.  The second house I could see flames through the window,” said Meredith Capron, neighbor.

“Our firefighters had to cut a trench in quite a number of homes to stop the spread of the fire,” said Chief Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire.

The fire spread on a common piece of rowhouse architecture, similar to crown molding along the roofline.

“We’re from California and new to the area and not used to living in such close quarters, and it really hits home when you can actually see the fire traveling from house to house,” said Lisa Garrett, neighbor.

Especially when it’s your house that burned.  Five of those homes were so severely damaged, they have been condemned by city building inspectors.

“The second floor is demolished.  The first floor is all smoke damage,” said Janice Dunnigan, fire victim.

Contractors have begun repair work.  The home where the fire started had just had roof work done hours before the blaze started.

“But whether or not that’s the direct culprit for the cause of this fire, we don’t quite know at this point,” said Cartwright.

Even though pipes and hot water heaters have been weatherized to prevent further damage, until new roofs are built and fire damage repaired, homes will remain condemned.

“I was told it might take three or four months before I can move back in, and it’s like, where do you live for three or four months and feel comfortable?  You know, it’s nothing like your own home,” said Dunnigan.

According to the fire department, roughly a dozen people escaped the fire.  The only injury was a twisted ankle suffered by a firefighter.


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