BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A man and two dogs are dead after their home went up in flames. It happened at a home on the 6500-block of Eastbourne Avenue around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on how firefighters are using this as a reminder to other homeowners.

It’s a tip we hear all the time from firefighters: make sure you have a properly working smoke detector. Sadly though, one family has set the example of what happens when a fire brews and there is no warning.

Baltimore City firefighters are still trying to determine what caused the home to go up in flames and why a smoke detector was not inside the home.

“Smoke alarms provide a warning signal for you and your family to get out,” said Chief Kevin Cartwright.

Chief Kevin Cartwright says firefighters arrived within minutes and found thick black smoke and flames shooting out of the roof of the home. Sadly, the fire turned fatal.

“We performed a rapid attack to suppress the fire. Other firefighters performed a search and rescue operation and found the remains of the person who perished inside that home,” Cartwright said.

Several people inside the home made it out alive, but Bruce Wagner, 51, died, along with two dogs.

Nearby neighbors are stunned.

“It’s sad. I really feel bad for them,” said Kat Colditz.

Colditz has lived across the street from his neighbors for the last 10 years and says he can’t understand why they did not have a smoke detector.

“The fire department comes here at least once a year and knocks on everyone’s door and gives you a free smoke detector,” he said.

As his neighbors slept, a fire inside their woodframe home was brewing. Colditz says his windows were open and he could smell a problem.

“I smelled the smoke and saw smoke and called 911,” he said. “You could actually see the flames coming out the windows. It was like something out of a movie.”

Cartwright says your chances of dying in a house fire decreases dramatically because of one small device: a smoke detector.

“The difference between having a smoke detector and not having one simply means life or death,” Cartwright said.

For this home on Eastbourne Avenue, death was inevitable without a smoke detector.

Colditz says he didn’t know the victim personally but says his death will make him check his detector frequently.

“I heard he was a really nice guy,” he said. “If they had a smoke detector, they would have had more time to get out.”

Damages to the home are estimated at $30,000.


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