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Mother, daughter killed in Essex fire

A 63-year-old woman and a 41-year-old woman believed to be her daughter died Monday night in a fire in an Essex rowhouse, Baltimore County firefighters said.

The Fire Department has not identified the victims. Neighbors said two women, Carolyn Himmelheber, and her daughter, Stacy Himmelheber, lived in the house at 907 Arncliffe Road. Fire investigators on Monday night were continuing to investigate the cause of the blaze, in which two dogs died as well.

Friend and neighbor Joyce Page, 73, said she had seen smoke wafting onto the street and went out on her porch to see where it was coming from. A woman who appeared to be delivering pizza in the neighborhood told her it was from the back of the Himmelheber home, Page said, so she ran around to try to knock on her neighbors' back door.

"But it was too hot," Page said.

It was a tragic end to a string of misfortune — Page said Carolyn Himmelheber had recently lost her job in an insurance claims office. And, earlier in the day, Himmelheber and her daughter had been involved in a traffic accident nearby, Page said.

"She came by the house around 3:30, and said they had been taken to Franklin Square, they did tests, and they seemed to be OK," Page said.

About 7:30 p.m., fire crews were called to the house, where neighbors and police were already trying to gain entry, said Baltimore County Fire Department spokesman Jay Ringgold. Firefighters had some difficulty getting through the belongings in the two-story house but found the two women upstairs, he said.

One victim was taken to Franklin Square Hospital Center and the other to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, he said, where each was pronounced dead.

Neighbor Dorothy Ward, 52, said the mother and daughter were close and were fixtures in the neighborhood.

"One could never have lived without the other," she said.

jean.marbella@baltsun.com

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