Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– An entire Northeast Baltimore community is devastated as a family is torn apart by an early morning fire. Five people are dead, four of them children.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on how loved ones are trying to cope with the unthinkable loss.
A heartbroken little girl burst into tears after laying a teddy bear on the steps of her friend’s porch. Tykia Manley, 7, lived at the home on Denwood Avenue, along with several other children.
The home went up in a blaze of fury early Thursday morning, killing Manley, 4-year-old Darryl Stewart, 2 year-old Knyah Scott, a 1-year-old and their grandmother.
Fire officials say the fire started in the basement of the home, the flames then traveling all the up until they shot out of the roof. All five victims were found in the back bedroom.
“I’m really going to miss all of them,” Lolita Marcucci said.
Marcucci lives across the street from where tragedy sparked. Her daughter often played with the children who died.
“I’m saddened because I became very fond and close to the family, especially the children and Miss Nancy,” she said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation though rumors of arson have begun to spread. The neighborhood was the scene of two arsons in the last few weeks.
“Is there something else we don’t know about? I would hate to think that,” Charles Reinhart said.
Two of the young victims were students at Moravia Park Elementary School. A sign honoring their lives hangs in the hallway, signed by students and heartbroken teachers.
“Tykia was very lively. She had lots of friends here. They were both really good students,” Debra Brooks, principal of Moravia Park Elementary School, said. “Darryl was becoming to come into himself as a student.”
The horrific story of loss and survival spreading across Baltimore City continues to draw stunned visitors to the home.
“Oh my, it hurts my heart just to see something like this happened,” Betty Drumgoole said.
“I just wanted to pay homage to the children. And I hope and pray it never repeats itself,” Reinhart said.
Several firefighters were injured while battling this fire. Two of them have been released from the hospital. One firefighter is being treated for severe burns.
The grandfather who jumped to safety remains in the hospital.