A two-alarm fire tore through three attached rowhomes in West Baltimore on Wednesday night, leaving their rear facades badly charred, bringing dozens of firefighters to the scene and displacing residents, according to the Baltimore Fire Department.
Firefighters responded to the 2300 block of Whittier Avenue, in the city's Parkview/Woodbrook neighborhood near Mondawmin Mall, about 7:40 p.m. and found heavy fire on the third floor of one of the homes, which was occupied, said Captain Roman Clark, a Fire Department spokesman.
The fire then spread to two adjacent homes, which were also occupied, as firefighters began to attack the flames from the front and the rear, Clark said.
As firefighters worked, dozens of local residents watched from a clearing just across the street. Firefighters could be seen with flashlights on the roofs of the homes. At the rear, third-floor rooms appeared largely gutted and blackened.
Stephon Newton, 19, who lives about a block away, said he looked out his window after his grandmother mentioned a fire in the neighborhood and saw flames and smoke coming from one of the homes. He then ran to the scene.
"My heart goes out to those families," he said.
Clark said the fire was brought under control just before 9:30 p.m. He did not know how many families or individuals had been displaced by the flames, but there were no injuries, he said. A cause for the fire has not yet been determined.
Some of the displaced residents stood outside as the firefighters worked, crying. One said she felt "numb."
Barbara Anderson-Dandy, president of the local New Auchentoroly Terrace Association, said the American Red Cross was on its way to provide assistance and someone would be ready to board up the homes as soon as the firefighters left.
The association will work with the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council to see what can be done to help the families whose homes were damaged.
"The blessing is that everybody is safe," Anderson-Dandy said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this article.
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