BALTIMORE — At its peak, the fire in the 700 block of Baylis Street reached an inferno, which damaged two homes and two vacant properties.
Jason Dowell returned home hours later, and learned of his loss from his next door neighbor who lost everything.
“She said that she saw flames. She was watching TV. She saw the flames that were coming up her deck. She went out there with a fire extinguisher. Tried to put it out. Didn’t work. Went back for the second one. By the time she got back out there, the fire was out of control,” Dowell said.
At this point, the fire is still under investigation, and the victims here are left wondering if this was an accident or if someone did this on purpose.
“Some of the neighbors were saying they heard fireworks,” said Dowell. “I wasn’t here. I couldn’t tell you, but if it is fireworks, it is very annoying.”
A veteran appraiser on the scene said popping sounds are also common with electrical fires, so it’s too early to tell what started it.
What is known is that four properties in all are damaged, including the Sandman’s Bar and an adjacent townhouse, which buyers are scheduled to close on this week, and the other two homes will require major repairs before they’re livable again.
“She’s probably going to be displaced for well over a year,” said Dowell as he surveyed the damage. “I’m going to be out for probably about eight months, but we’ll find some house and we’ll move on from this.”
Firefighters initially reported that a dog had died in the fire, but that was based on neighbors' accounts who were unaware the pet recently passed from natural causes. A firefighter was taken to the hospital for second degree burns.
Officials are working to determine the cause of the fire.