BALTIMORE (WJZ) — John McMaster, who was hospitalized following the partial collapse of a vacant rowhouse that killed three firefighters, shared a video message on Wednesday applauding firefighters across the country.

“To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement,” he said. “I’ve witnessed first-hand the dedication and commitment demonstrated by our firefighters to protect the lives of others and our community.”

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Lt. Paul Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo died in the collapse last January as they were fighting a fire in a vacant rowhouse in the 200 block of S. Stricker Street.

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McMaster was hospitalized following the incident and released from Shock Trauma three days later.

In the video message, which was released on International Firefighters’ Day, McMaster pays tribute to Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo.

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“Despite the challenges we face as firefighters, we are honored to help our residents, our community, and each other,” he said. “I’m so fortunate to work alongside an amazing group of firefighters.”

CBS Baltimore Staff