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Three fires leave six people homeless, several hurt as ice hampers firefighters; Cause of blazes under investigation


Three fires in separate sections of Baltimore left at least six people homeless yesterday, fire officials reported.

In each incident, icy streets hampered firefighters.

Seven ambulances, nearly half of the Fire Department's complement of 18, were pressed into service during the hour between the three fires, said a communications dispatcher.

The latest fire, a three-alarm blaze that was reported at 5: 08 p.m., destroyed the third floor and part of the roof of 2409 Linden Ave. in Reservoir Hill, a three-story house being renovated, said Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, a department spokesman.

The fire, which spread to the third floor and roof of 2407, a vacant house, was brought under control at 6: 19 p.m., Torres said.

He said a firefighter suffered a shoulder injury when a section of a ceiling fell on him, and another was injured when he fell on the ice. Both were treated at Mercy Medical Center.

Geraldine Alston, 54, who lived on the third floor of 2409 while renovating the lower floors, returned home shortly after 5 p.m. from her job at an Owings Mills nursing home.

"I turned the corner in my car and saw smoke and flames coming from the house I've been renovating for nearly a year," Alston said as a friend comforted her.

"It looks like everything I've worked for is either destroyed or heavily damaged," she said.

The cause of the fire was being investigated, Torres said.

As firefighters were extinguishing the Reservoir Hill blaze, colleagues were putting out a fire in a vacant dwelling in the 3000 block of Oakley Ave. in Pimlico in Northwest Baltimore, fire communications said.

No injuries were reported in the Pimlico fire, which was reported at 5: 24 p.m.

About 4 p.m., a fire extensively damaged a rowhouse in the 1100 block of N. Stricker St. in West Baltimore.

In that incident, firefighters and neighbors rescued a woman and her three grandchildren, ages 6, 7, and 13. The children's father escaped unharmed. The grandmother and children were treated at hospitals for smoke inhalation.

The grandmother uses a wheelchair and breathes with the help of an oxygen tank.

Albert Stevenson, 47, the childrens' uncle, said he was at a nearby corner when someone told him the house was on fire.

Stevenson said he attempted to enter the dwelling but was forced back by heavy smoke.

Maurice Wyche, a neighbor, said he ran into the house and rescued one of the children.

Minutes later, firefighters entered the burning house and rescued the grandmother and the other children.

Battalion Chief Donald Heinbach said the fire was being investigated.

Sun staff writer Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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