A seven-hour rescue operation by the Baltimore firefighters came to a bizarre conclusion Sunday as a male who had fallen through the roof of an abandoned Southwest Baltimore house while eluding police freed himself from the debris and got away.
Capt. Roman Clark, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Fire Department, said a call came in at 9:04 a.m. alerting firefighters that a suspect was trapped in the dilapidated house in the 1900 block of Ramsay Street.
Police officers had tried to arrest a person after witnessing "drug activity" around 9 a.m., said Det. Ruganzu Howard. He fled on foot and climbed onto the roof of a dilapidated home in the 1900 block of Ramsay Street.
While officers were trying to persuade him to descend, the roof collapsed and the suspect was trapped in debris, Howard said.
The male, who was not identified, fell two stories but was conscious and spoke to rescuers, Baltimore City Fire Capt. Roman Clark said at the scene Sunday morning. Clark said he did not know whether the male was an adult or a juvenile.
Crews from the Baltimore City and Howard County fire departments worked for hours to shore up the home before entering. Rescuers set up a makeshift carpentry shop on the street as they fashioned supports for the long-vacant red brick building.
For much of the day, the house was surrounded by dozens of firefighters and more than a half-dozen fire trucks or other large emergency vehicles.
However, at about 4 p.m., Clark told a reporter firefighters discovered the victim had vanished.
"I don't want to speculate" on what occurred, Clark said. He said he did not know when the suspect got out. Clark said the last rescue units were pulling out in late afternoon.
The incident took place in the Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, where many abandoned homes are interspersed with ones that remain occupied.
Sam Holmes, a lifelong resident of the area, said the neighborhood is the scene of rampant drug activity.
"It's like a new episode of 'Cops' every five minutes. You don't need a TV," Holmes said.
Holmes said efforts to renovate homes in the neighborhood are usually thwarted by theft.
"The more you try to fix them up, the more they go in and steal from you," he said. "Most of the abanadoned buildings are ready to fall down."