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Boy, 8, Walking Home From School Killed By Debris In Rowhome Fire, Collapse

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An 8-year-old boy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was walking home from elementary school when he was killed in an explosive fire.

Family and friends are devastated.

Christie Ileto explains investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause.

BGE crews are still on the scene Thursday night–more than 24 hours after an explosive fire causes an East Baltimore rowhome to collapse on top of 8-year-old Troy Douglas.

“It’s hard not to see my son walk through the door,” his mother, Shanika, said.

She spoke to WJZ about the panic running through her mind when she learned her son had not returned home from William Paca Elementary School.

“My oldest son called me and said, ‘Troy didn’t come in from school yet.’ A house had exploded and that’s the way that Troy walks and he didn’t make it home from school,” she said.

Cell phone video captured residents digging through piles of bricks after reportedly hearing a loud boom. A fierce fire quickly followed.

“I did everything I could to get over there,” said Gene Brown, who rushed over to help.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, the lamp pole at North Lakewood and Jefferson avenues has become a makeshift memorial of sorts to remember young Troy.

“I want him to know that I care,” said Janaya Dunbar.

Neighborhood children strap stuffed animals to the pole.

“He was nice, caring,” said Antoinae Johnson, who is friends with Troy’s sister. “It was sad, disappointing. I was wondering what was going through her head.”

“I’m looking at it now and wow. It could have been worse than that,” said Tanya Shuford.

Meanwhile, BGE crews continue searching for potential area gas leaks outside the charred and partially collapsed rowhome–unclear exactly how or why this tragedy happened.

Officials have not determined whether a gas leak triggered the incident.

William Paca Elementary is offering grief counselors to students who knew Troy Douglas.

Three people who were inside the home were taken to the hospital for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

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