The tragic Baltimore house fire that claimed the lives of six children is reverberating in Annapolis, where the General Assembly is in session.
Many Baltimore-area state lawmakers know the children's mother, Katie Malone, who is special assistant to U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.
Malone was hospitalized following the Thursday morning fire at the family home in Northeast Baltimore. Six children died, and three escaped, including two who remain hospitalized. The father, William Malone, was not home.
Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, a Democrat who represents the neighborhood where the fire occurred, tearfully told his fellow senators on Friday that he was haunted by reports that neighbors could do nothing to help as they heard the cries of the children trapped inside.
"It was a tragic day," McFadden said as he struggled to remain composed. He asked that members, whatever their religious faith, remember the Malone family as they worship this weekend.
Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, a Baltimore County Democrat, said Katie Malone often helped her when constituents called with immigration concerns. Nathan-Pulliam is an immigrant, so she often fielded calls from constituents, even though it's generally not an issue addressed by the state legislature. She would connect her constituents with Malone.
The senator said she was relieved when Malone returned from her last maternity leave.
"It was really heartbreaking that six children perished," Nathan-Pulliam said.
As senators closed their floor session, they joined hands in a prayer for the Malone family. The prayer was led by Bishop Larry Lee Thomas of Empowering Believers Church in Glen Burnie.