EDGEWOOD, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County Fire officials have identified two of three victims killed a townhome fire in Edgewood last week.
Ernest Milton Lee, 57, and Kimberly Ann Shupe, 47, lost their lives when the group home they lived in caught fire in the early morning hours of May 9.
The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Firefighters arrived and quickly called for backup once they saw the severity of the flames.
A third victim’s identification is still pending.
WJZ spoke to one of the home’s residents, Bobbi Hodges, as she held her dog Boo Boo.
“The smoke detector, I heard it and the people in the basement woke me up, screaming,” Hodges said.
Her friends, a man and two women who lived on the third floor didn’t make it. Two others who lived on that floor did make it out but barely.
“They were all three good people,” said Hodges. “They were all three good people.”
The only person to survive from the home’s top floor was a man who jumped to safety.
“One individual did jump from a window in order to escape the fire and suffered broken bones to their legs, another individual suffered burns over 70 percent of their body and obviously they’re in very critical condition,” said Emily Witty, with the state fire marshal’s office.
That survivor spoke to WJZ last week — but did not want to be identified.
“The fire is moving fast. The smoke is coming. Everybody’s panicking,“ the survivor said. “We’re banging on [my roommate’s] door because she takes medication. We couldn’t get her up. We’re all panicking. I got real scared. I’m on the phone to police and trying to get them information. I’m kicking my a/c unit out of my window. I couldn’t go through my door. The smoke and fire was coming up the stairs.”
He said there was only one way out.
“I’m hanging on the side and feeling the heat. I had to jump because I’m hearing people screaming and burning, and I didn’t want to burn so I had to let go,” he said.
Then, he fell to the concrete below. “And once I hit, my body went numb.”
He said it’s still difficult for him to believe he’s the only one who got escaped from the top floor. He has injuries to his arm and leg.
He said the final words of two of his roommates lead him to believe the fire was intentionally set. “I believe there was foul play,” he said.
The State Fire Marshal’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the fire and is receiving assistance from the ATF. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating.