Two rescued after rowhome partially collapses in West Baltimore

Firefighters rescued a contractor and a second man escaped on his own Friday after the floors inside a West Baltimore rowhouse that was undergoing renovations collapsed Friday.

City firefighters worked for an hour to build supports and remove debris from the home on the corner of West Lafayette Avenue and Carey Street in Sandtown-Winchester. They rescued a construction worker who was inside the home at the time of the collapse, said Fire Department spokesman Samuel Johnson.


As firefighters pulled him from the rubble about 12:30 p.m., cheers erupted from the crowd that had gathered to watch the rescue.

Johnson said the worker, who was taken by ambulance to a hospital, was conscious and able to speak. But the man did not speak English and firefighters had difficulty communicating with him.

Another worker inside the home was injured but walked out on his own, Johnson said. He also was taken to a hospital.

Johnson did not know the victims' names or their conditions Friday afternoon.

They were the only two people inside the home, he said.

The owner of the home, in the 1200 block of W. Lafayette Ave., could not be reached for comment Friday. Charm City Property Holdings LLC previously owned the home, online property records show. The company's resident agent, Ian Horowitz, said that the home was sold recently to an investor and that the sale had settled within the past couple of days.

A city building inspector will assess the structure to make sure it is safe, Johnson said. It wasn't clear what floor the men had been working on when the collapse occurred or what caused the collapse, he said. The exterior walls remained intact.

In September, city firefighters rescued a man after the rowhouse he was renovating on South Paca Street near Camden Yards collapsed. The man and a second worker were injured. Firefighters spent hours building wooden supports to shore up the building to make it safe to go inside.

Standing outside the West Lafayette Avenue rowhouse Friday, Cathy Morell watched as firefighters scooped out a bucket of crumbled brick and plaster, where they had just pulled the man out on a stretcher.

She said there was a loud "boom" before firefighters surrounded the home.

"That guy did not make enough money to get hurt or die," said Morell, who has lived on the block since the 1990s.

Across the street, Gwendolyn Bohanan said she was just getting off the bus when she saw a worker frantically trying to get inside the home to reach the worker who remained inside. She said the worker on the outside kept calling for the other, but she never heard a response.

She said that the house had been auctioned a short while ago and that the rehab work began recently. She believes the house has been vacant for the past year.

"I just hope the person is OK, that he wasn't hurt very bad," she said.