A woman and a young child were found dead in an attic last night after a fire damaged a century-old house near Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane.
The 33-year-old woman and her niece, 4, were trapped in the house in the 4600 block of Falls Road when the fire broke out shortly after 9 p.m. As many as 10 others believed to have been in the house - more than half of them children - escaped unhurt, officials said.
"I could smell the smoke, a bunch of children were running out of the house, and I saw smoke coming out the window," said Amanda Sheridan, a pharmacist who was working at the CVS store next door.
Firefighters arrived minutes after a resident of the house called 911, and found the girl's father in the house, throwing water at the flames.
When the blaze was under control, firefighters found the victims in the attic. "It apparently began up there," said Battalion Chief Charles C. Paylor.
Shortly before 11 p.m., relatives gathered across the street in the parking lot of Western High School, hoping to hear that the two had survived - instead getting the painful news from Paylor.
The girl was dead on a bed near a front window, and her aunt was found reaching toward a closed door. Their names were not released last night.