By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a dozen families are displaced after a fire ripped through an entire block of rowhomes. It happened in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood.

Rick Ritter has more on the fast-moving flames that took hours for firefighters to put out.

Early Tuesday morning, flames lit the way in the Highlandtown neighborhood. A routine call quickly turned to a three-alarm fire. The first came in around 4 a.m. along South Eaton Street.

Patricia Penna awoke to pandemonium.

“People in the alley screaming and panicking and crying,” said Penna.

There were massive flames.

“That’s when I saw this horrifying inferno. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Penna said.

Baltimore fire crews quickly tried to contain the fire to three homes, but say it continued to spread across the ceiling and eventually ripped through the entire block.

“Immediately after that, the fire began to spread rapidly,” said Roman Clark, Baltimore City Fire Department.

In all, 14 homes were torched, including Clayton Sarvis’.

“I looked out, and I seen all this smoke coming out of 110, and I run upstairs and woke my wife and son up and told them to get out,” said Sarvis.

Some will never forget the images.

“Going from roof to roof, house to house, infernos coming out of windows,” said Penna.

Many are counting their blessings, thanks to Baltimore City firefighters.

“The best thing that happened was their lives were saved. It could have been worse, it could have been loss of life,” said Penna.

Somehow, no one was injured.

There is still no word on what exactly caused the fire, but police arson investigators were called to the scene.

The estimated damage of the fire is close to $250,000.

Red Cross is assisting the families displaced.

Rick Ritter

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