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Baltimore City

With pledges, ATF reward grows to $100,000 for ‘person of interest’ in fire that killed three Baltimore firefighters

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward for information about a man they called a “person of interest” in an investigation into the rowhouse fire that killed three Baltimore firefighters and injured a fourth Monday.

The original $10,000 reward grew to $100,000 by Saturday with pledges from the state of Maryland, local officials and firefighters.

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The agency’s Baltimore field office is investigating the cause of the fire that burned through a vacant rowhome in Southwest Baltimore’s Mt. Clare neighborhood.

Baltimore City Fire Department Lieutenants Paul Butrim and Kelsey Sadler and paramedic/firefighter Kenny Lacayo were killed when the building collapsed, making the blaze one of the deadliest for firefighters in city history. EMT/firefighter John McMaster also was caught in the collapse and seriously injured, but he was rescued quickly and, after several days at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, returned home Thursday.

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Investigators have not yet determined a cause of origin of the blaze, but are seeking a person of interest, ATF spokeswoman Amanda Hils said Friday.

Pledges from the state of Maryland, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and two local firefighter unions brings the total reward offered to $100,000.

Scott said he was matching the original $10,000 reward “so that we can bring justice to the families of the fearless men and women ... we lost this week.”

Olszewski echoed the sentiment, saying: “Baltimore County is matching this $10,000 reward in support of efforts to swiftly bring the perpetrators of this act to justice.”

Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 and Baltimore Fire Officers IAFF Local 964 announced a $10,000 pledge each to the ATF award on Saturday.

After the reward grew to $50,000 by late Saturday morning, the state of Maryland said they’d double the total to $100,000.

“We urge anyone with tips or information regarding the person of interest to contact federal or state authorities,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in a statement Saturday.

Hogan added: “I want to thank all Marylanders for the tremendous outpouring of support for our firefighters and their loved ones.”

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The ATF said the man was captured on surveillance cameras around the scene of the fire on S. Stricker Street the evening before the fire occurred.

“The brave men and women of the Baltimore City Fire Department are always ready to respond when the people of Baltimore need them,” ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge L.C. Cheeks Jr. said in a statement. “Now it is our time to be there for them when they need us.”

Anyone with information about the person being sought or the fire is asked to call investigators at 888-ATF-TIPS or by emailing ATFtips@atf.gov. The agency also is seeking photos and video of the fire.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.


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