Three years after fire cadet's death, benefits cleared for kids

More than three years after a Baltimore fire cadet died in a botched training exercise, the Department of Justice has ruled that her two children are eligible for a $300,000 benefit, the office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced Friday.

The school-age children of fire cadet Racheal Wilson, who was asphyxiated in a burning rowhouse in February 2007, had been denied federal survivor's benefits due to technicalities. Mikulski wrote a series of letters to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to expediate the resolution of the case.

Wilson died in a West Baltimore rowhouse in which her instructors had set fires as part of a training exercise. A series of investigations found that the exercise violated scores of federal standards. Wilson had been given faulty protective pants and sent into a building where too many fires had been set with an inexperienced instructor who didn't have a radio. When the flames burned out of control, she became trapped in a third-floor window.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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