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Boy, 5, dies in O'Donnell Heights fire


Baltimore fire officials blamed careless smoking for a blaze in O'Donnell Heights that resulted in the death of a 5-year-old boy yesterday and injuries to three other people, including the boy's mother.

Twenty minutes after the blaze was reported, Peter Christoforakis' body was found in a second-floor bedroom in the 1300 block of Bunson Way, said Capt. Calvin Johnson, a Fire Department spokesman.

The child's mother, Patricia McCauley, 24, was reported in fair and stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was taken for treatment of severe smoke inhalation, a spokeswoman said.

The boy's grandmother, Georgia McCauley, 57, suffered leg cuts and was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center, where she was treated and released, fire officials said. The boy's grandfather, Harold McCauley, was able to flee without injury.

Firefighter David Mohr of Aerial Tower 124 suffered second-degree burns on his right leg and was taken to Francis Scott Key Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Captain Johnson said the blaze in the two-story rowhouse started in an upholstered chair in a first-floor front living room and burned for some time before being reported to the Fire Department at 12:53 a.m.

Even though 29 firefighters with 10 pieces of apparatus brought the fire under control in 20 minutes, the rowhouse by then had been ruined, the captain said.

Damage to the city-owned building and contents was estimated at $55,000, officials said.

Captain Johnson said the fire was caused by careless smoking. Of the eight fire fatalities this year, three have been caused by careless smoking, the captain said.

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