Several neighbors on the usually quiet Alletta Avenue in Lansdowne on Thursday stood outside looking at a fire-damaged home where a 90-year-old woman they loved died earlier that morning.
Neighbors identified the woman as Edna McCann.
"Just as sweet as she could be," said Susan Suter, who lived two doors down from McCann for three decades. "Over those 30 years, you couldn't ask for a much more loving, caring person."
The Baltimore County Fire Department responded to the call at 2:41 a.m. on the 2200 block of Alletta Ave. and found heavy fire had consumed the basement and smoke filled the one-and-a-half story home, according to a Baltimore County Fire spokesman.
A cause for the one-alarm fire, which caused about $100,000 in damages, has not yet been determined, said the spokesman, Fire Director Glenn Blackwell.
The fire raged for about 90 minutes and was finally extinguished after the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. shut off a gas leak, which helped control the fire, Blackwell said.
The balloon-frame construction of the home made it easy for the fire to spread, Blackwell added.
A man, who neighbors identified as McCann's 60-year-old son, Bobby, was found outside the home and taken to the burn center atJohns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Blackwell described the injuries as potentially serious.
A firefighter also suffered non-life threatening injuries, Blackwell said, and was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, 900 Caton Ave., for treatment.
As police stood inside the burned-out home, several neigbors reflected on their feelings for McCann.
Suter recalled how active McCann was.
"She's been helping me with (my grandson, David,) getting him off the bus at 2 o'clock," Suter said as she fought back tears. "It's just sad."
Despite turning 90 in June, Suter said she often saw McCann doing yard work or washing her car, which she still drove.
Richard Brown lived across from McCann for 25 years and noted that McCann was well-respected by the entire neighborhood.
"People got so much respect for her," Brown said. "It's hard to find a parking spot (on this street), but nobody would park in front of her house so she could just back in and pull out.
"She was always just a very fine person that has respect for everybody."
Betty Colvin lived near McCann and said she was close with her and would drive her to the doctor if necessary.
Colvin, too, remarked about how active and independent McCann was.
"She was really in pretty good shape," Colvin said. "She was going all the time in the garden."
"If you needed anything, she was there," she added.
Liz F. Kay contributed to this story