Firefighters battle 4-alarm blaze in Baltimore

Photo: Kevin Cartwright

BALTIMORE (AP) - Five firefighters have been hurt battling a four-alarm blaze in west Baltimore.

Battalion chief Kevin Cartwright says the fire in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue was reported about 5:50 p.m. Monday in a three-story brick building.

Firefighters told residents in nearby buildings to clear out immediately.

One resident, Donna Johnson, said, "They banged on my door and told me I had to evacuate the building."

Cartwright says firefighters found heavy smoke on all three floors, and shortly after an evacuation was ordered, there was a complete building collapse. The spokesman says five firefighters were trapped under searing hot debris and rubble.

A frantic mayday sparked an urgent rescue effort. The injured firefighters were taken to Shock Trauma with non-life-threatening injuries.

Cartwright said, "They are very fortunate. They literally could have lost their lives with the complete second and third floor coming down on top of them."

About 100 firefighters battled the blaze. Cartwright says there is nothing left of the structure except burned, charred rubble, and he could not identify what kind of building had burned.