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Dundalk man charged in deaths of fire victims

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Dundalk man responsible for three disabled people living in a Randallstown apartment when it caught fire last spring, killing two men, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and neglect.

A Baltimore County grand jury charged Philip Jobes, 36, of Dundalk in a 10-count indictment with manslaughter, neglect of a vulnerable adult in the first and second degree, and reckless endangerment, state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. announced Thursday.

Jobes, who could not be located for comment, was a caregiver for three deaf people - two of whom were also blind - in the apartment used as a group home when the fire broke out March 6, 2003, the attorney general's office said. The fire killed Delano Thomas, 32, and Nevalon Mitchell, 38, two of the men for whom Jobes was caring, it said.

Initial reports said the fire appeared to have broken out about 4 a.m. in a kitchen at the group home, located in the Woodridge Apartments in the 3900 block of Noyes Circle. The three-alarm blaze forced at least 20 residents of the 12-unit building onto their balconies, where they gasped for air until firefighters climbed ladders to rescue them, Baltimore County Fire officials said.

Jobes was charged with two counts of manslaughter; two counts of neglect in the first degree for failing to provide the required supervision for the men who died; three counts of neglect in the second degree, related to his failure to care for all three men in his care; and three counts of reckless endangerment. The name of the third man was not immediately available. A trial date hasn't been set.

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