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4 city firefighters injured battling rowhouse blaze


Two city firefighters were injured yesterday when the second floor of a burning West Baltimore rowhouse collapsed beneath them.

The fire in the unoccupied house, investigators said, was started by thieves apparently trying to get warm while removing copper piping from the house about 7:30 a.m.

Battalion Chief Ronald Brown said Lt. Thomas Giesler and firefighter Herbert Rieger fell about 12 feet to the first floor at 60 South Franklintown Road.

Both men suffered sprains and strains to the back, arms and neck. Lt. Giesler fell on some burning debris and burned part of his back.

Both men were treated at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released, Chief Brown said.

Also injured were firefighter Charles Matthews, whose neck was burned by falling embers, and emergency vehicle driver Charles Carroll, whose cornea was scratched by flying debris.

Both were treated at Mercy Hospital and released.

The one-alarm fire started on the second floor and spread from the rear to the front room, causing about $20,000 damage to the two-story, brick building, said Capt. Stephan Fugate, of the fire investigations bureau.

He said there were no suspects and no witnesses. The fire was under control in about 30 minutes.

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