The bodies of six children, including a 9-month-old boy, were recovered today after a fire tore through a family’s home in Baltimore, Maryland, early this morning, officials said.
The deadly blaze started at the three-story home in northeast Baltimore just after midnight, with a mother and her nine young children inside, said Roman Clark of the Baltimore City Fire Department.
An 8-year-old girl helped her mother and two of her younger siblings — 4- and 5-year-old boys — escape the house, fire officials said. The four of them were out of the home by the time the fire department arrived.
While the 8-year-old is in good condition and could be released from the hospital shortly, the mother, the 4-year-old and the 5-year-old are in critical condition, fire officials said today.
Six children perished in the blaze: a 9-month-old boy, a 2-year-old boy, two 3-year-old twin girls, a 10-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old girl. Clark said this afternoon that the six bodies have been recovered and everyone is now accounted for.
The body of the 9-month-old boy was found in a crib on the first floor of the home, Clark said.
Fire officials did not identify the woman, but Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings said the fire involved one of his staff members, Katie Malone, and “her young family.”
“I am asking that our entire community pray for my staff member, Katie Malone, and her young family. Katie has worked as a Special Assistant in my Catonsville office for nearly 11 years where she dutifully serves my constituents in the areas of immigration, postal services, and the military, including Service Academy nominations,” Cummings said in a statement. “My staff is a family and this unimaginable tragedy is shocking and heartbreaking to us all.”
Cummings told reporters this morning that he talked to Malone’s husband “at length today.”
“Katie is going to be okay. … Three of her nine children, her husband thinks they will be okay, also,” Cummings said. “Our office will do every single thing in our power to embrace them in this very, very difficult time.”
Neighbor Delmetria Elmore told ABC News she looked out her window and saw orange flames; she then went outside, went to the house and found it fully engulfed in flames. “My heart just went out to the whole family,” she said. “It just broke my heart.”
The home’s third floor collapsed into the second floor, making the search for the children difficult, Clark said. He called the collapse “horrendous.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, the fire department said.
Pugh asked citizens of Baltimore to pray for the family, saying, “Any loss is painful, but the loss of children pains you even more deeply.”