A 54-year-old man was killed and three other people were injured early yesterday in a fire at a boarding house in the Woodlawn section of Baltimore County.
The county fire marshal's office was investigating whether the owner of the home in the 7400 block of Castlemoor Road had taken in more than the three boarders allowed for an unlicensed domiciliary care residence. Fire officials said at least eight people lived in the home, including owner Becky Brown and three members of her family. Four other people paid rent to live in the basement, which was renovated into four bedrooms, fire officials said.
The boarders -- including David A. Mackie, who died -- were described by the authorities as people with special needs because of age or physical or mental impairment.
Carol Brenner, director of the office of licensing and certification for the state health department, said their office is looking into how many people were living there and what level of care those people were receiving. "Depending on the circumstances and what we find, we'll refer the owner to the state's attorney's office for violation of the law," she said. "This is truly a tragedy."
The fire, which was reported at 3:06 a.m., trapped Mr. Mackie in the basement of the one-story, brick, ranch-style house. Witnesses said they thought Mr. Mackie ran back inside to retrieve something while several other residents fled the house, fire officials said.
The fire was believed to have started in the basement, but the cause remained under investigation, said Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard, a county fire spokesman.
The other injured residents were identified as Clotielde McCormick, 47, listed in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center from severe smoke inhalation; and Ronald Johnson, 48, and Marcel Brown, 36, both released after treatment at other hospitals.
Officials said they did not know last night whether Marcel Brown was related to the owner of the home, who escaped from the blaze unhurt along with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.