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Four-alarm blaze leaves 25 homeless


At least 25 people were left homeless yesterday after a four-alarm fire tore through eight rowhouses in Northwest Baltimore, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the 3100 block of Oakford Ave. at 3: 51 p.m. and found 3118 Oakford Ave. -- a vacant rowhouse -- engulfed in flames, said Battalion Chief Hector Torres, a department spokesman. The fire quickly spread to the other houses while firefighters looked for a child who was reported trapped in the basement of 3114 Oakford Ave.

"As it was, the child got out on his own," Torres said. "But, because of the rescue effort, the fire could get headway and travel across several roofs."

No one was seriously hurt, although two firefighters suffered minor injuries, Torres said.

Seven of the eight houses were severely damaged and were left uninhabitable, Torres said. Two of the homes were vacant.

Investigators believe the fire started on the first floor of 3118 Oakford Ave., Torres said. The cause was under investigation last night.

The Red Cross and city officials found shelter for the victims, and the Mass Transit Administration provided buses for transportation, Torres said.

Neighbors pitched in, too.

Jean Jacks, 59, who lives across the street from the fire site, said a displaced mother and two children stayed in her home until they found a place to go. "The kids were calm but the mother was in a bad way," Jacks said.

While they waited for relatives, Jacks found a jacket for the zTC woman and extra clothing for the girls. She didn't know their names, only that they lived across the street.

"I only knew them in passing," Jacks said, "but I wanted to give them a warm place to stay. I wanted to try to help."

Pub Date: 12/27/98

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