Elderly man dies trying to escape overnight fire in city rowhouse

A 68-year-old man died trying to escape a Baltimore rowhouse that caught fire early Saturday, officials said.

The man's body was found just inside the entryway of the house in the 1500 block of Holbrook St., according to Baltimore City Fire Department Chief Kevin Cartwright. Firefighters responded to the blaze around 2:40 a.m. and found heavy smoke and intense flames coming from the first and second floors.

Police identified the victim as Reginald Russell. A preliminary investigation shows that the man died from smoke inhalation and burns, Cartwright said. An official cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner. His identity wasn't released.

One firefighter fell through the floor into the basement of the house while battling the blaze and performing search and rescue operations. He was located, unharmed, and rescued by fellow firefighters within seconds, Cartwright said.

Firefighters were able to restrict the fire to the single rowhouse, Cartwright said. The blaze was under control by 3:08 a.m.

A cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Fire investigators and police arson detectives are on the scene Foul play is not suspected.

Officials were trying to determine whether the home had any working smoke alarms.

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