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Firefighters killed in rowhome fire Monday morning identified

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 24, 2022

BALTIMORE — Three firefighters lost their lives Monday morning and another is currently on life-support according to Dr. Thomas Scalea.

They were identified as Lt Paul Butrim, FFPM Kelsey Sadler and FFPM Kenneth Lacayo.

The fourth, who remains at the hospital in critical but stable condition was EMT/Firefighter, John McMaster.

McMaster is on life support in critical but stable condition, according to Dr. Thomas Scalea, Physician in Chief at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

"On behalf of the 450 men and women that are the Shock Trauma Center, we pride ourselves on bringing our A-game. Sadly, this morning our A-game wasn’t quite good enough," said Scalea during a press conference Monday.

“This is a gut-wrenching tragedy for our city, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and most importantly the families of our firefighters,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “There are no words to describe the pain and the severity of the losses we have suffered today.”

Fire crews were initially called to the scene of a two-alarm fire at a row home in the 200 block of S. Stricker Street about 6 a.m.

City Fire Chief Niles Ford said firefighters went into the vacant home to fight the blaze because there was a threat to adjacent occupied houses.

At some point, Chief Ford said, a partial collapse occurred, trapping four firefighters inside. He said one firefighter was immediately rescued and two more were removed within an hour.

Crews worked to remove a fourth firefighter who was still trapped in the rubble left behind by the collapse.

Three of the firefighters were taken to Shock Trauma; two were in cardiac arrest when they arrived, officials said.

Lt. Butrim and Sadler were with the department for 15 years, Lacayo was with the department for seven years and McMaster has been with the department for six years.

On Stricker Street, neighbors told WMAR-2 News their hearts go out to those impacted by Monday's loss.

"I do commend every police officer, every fire fighter, paramedic, everyone because they do risk their lives for us," said Amanda Fields.

"There’s no recovering from death," said Deborah Bunger. "They did it in the line of duty. My heart feels for them."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The ATF is taking the lead on this case.

The last time we lost a member of the Baltimore City Fire Department in the line of duty was in November 2014.

It wasn't the flames that killed Baltimore fire safety officer Lt. James Bethea, but rather smoke inhalation.

He fell through a collapsed floor as firefighters finished putting out a fire next door on east north avenue and could not get out.

Bethea was a 40-year veteran of the department.

Governor Larry Hogan has ordered flags to be lowered half-staff in honor of the fallen firefighters:

“Our hearts are broken for the entire Baltimore City Fire Department as three of our bravest have fallen in the line of duty. A fourth firefighter was critically injured and is on life support. Each and every day, our firefighters and first responders answer the call and are ready to run into danger—this is our worst nightmare.

“This morning, I spoke to both Mayor Scott and Chief Ford, and at my direction, the State Fire Marshal and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management continue to provide assistance to the city.

“Effective immediately, I have ordered flags lowered to half-staff in remembrance of these fallen heroes. I call on all Marylanders to honor the memories of these brave souls, and pray for their families and fellow firefighters.”

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Fire Department Chief Niles R. Ford released the following statements on the fatal fire:

“Today, Baltimore has lost three of the bravest among us: Lt. Paul Butrim, Firefighter/Paramedic Kelsey Sadler, and EMT/Firefighter Kenny Lacayo. All made the ultimate sacrifice. For that, Baltimore owes them the deepest gratitude and respect," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "These heroes of the Baltimore City Fire Department were responding to a 2-alarm fire in a vacant home in the 200 block of South Stricker Street at 6:00am when the structure collapsed. A fourth EMT/Firefighter, John McMaster, remains at the hospital in critical but stable condition. This is a gut wrenching tragedy for our city, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and most importantly the families of our firefighters. There are no words to describe the pain and the severity of the losses we have suffered today. My heart is with the Firefighters, their families, and the entire Baltimore City Fire Department who put the lives and safety of others before their own wellbeing each and every day. I ask that all of Baltimore keep them in our prayers during this extremely difficult time.”

“Every day our Firefighters, our first responders put their lives on the line for the sake of others. Today, three Firefighters lost their lives in service to our city, and another remains remained in critical condition,” said Baltimore City Fire Department Chief Niles R. Ford. “From this moment, we will honor those we lost today, for their bravery, their courage, their love for helping others and the respect they had for the Baltimore City Fire Department.”

City Council President Nick Mosby released a statement on the fire as well:

"The men and women in our Fire Department put their lives on the line every time they race to extinguish fires around our city.  As a citizen of Baltimore, I am thankful for their courage.

I am praying for the firefighters and their families, and my thoughts are with Chief Niles and the members of the Baltimore City Fire Department."