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‘Condemn the house': Baltimore's Harlem Park residents concerned after rowhome catches fire twice in 6 days

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Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 23:14:30-04

BALTIMORE — As Baltimore City fire investigators work to determine the cause of Monday’s vacant rowhome on W. Franklin Street, residents are calling for immediate action. 

“Condemn the house or do something,” said neighbor Marsha Bannister. “Boarding up the house is not going to do any good.” 

According to fire officials, a fire broke out at 3:30 a.m. at 1038 W. Franklin Street. According to a tweet by the fire union, the same home was on fire less than a week ago. 

WMAR-2 News looked into the property. City records show the property was issued a vacancy notice on 4-11-2013 and that it has a citation from 2017 for not having a VBN registration filed.  

According to the latest deed on file, the property is owned by Rafael and Carmen Lopez with an address listed in Silver Spring, Maryland as their mailing address. It appears that they purchased the property earlier this month from a land trust for $28K. 

The property had a license as an owner unoccupied property last year.  

“I hope he gets his tail down here,” said Bannister, "because something bad is going to happen.” 

Bannister, who lives in the neighborhood, said the rowhome, along with two neighboring homes, are a constant source of trouble. 

“Young people be in there,” she said. “I don’t know what they’re doing but this is the sixth time the house has been set on fire since I’ve been here.” 

WMAR-2 News spoke to councilman John Bullock who represents the area. 

“What we need is for them to be responsible property owners,” said the councilman. “We have to hold people accountable for the safety of our city.” 

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. If you have information about the fire, fire investigators want to hear from you.