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Firefighter's minor injuries Monday, part of city's major vacancy issue

Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 18:14:29-05

BALTIMORE — Just two days before the conclusion of the city's 30-day review into how it addresses vacant houses, a 3-story vacant home on the 1300 block of Carey Street left a firefighter injured.

While their injuries were minor, the problem remains a major one across our city.

Firefighters say those flames fanned to 3 occupied homes next door displacing neighboring residents.

Hope Crosby witnessed the fire's aftermath saying it felt like déjà vu, another fire another vacant home.

“Its just devastating when you see all of the boarded up homes and you have people on this block living in some of them because they have no where to go. If they're trying to keep warm more than likely this is what you'll see,” Crosby said.

She’s hopeful, for her neighborhood's sake, the city cannot only get to the root of the problem but fix it

“I think Baltimore City will see more of this if they don't do more,” she said.

"What we are doing now is really collecting and working with agencies to develop comprehensive recommendations for our mayor to accelerate the work that has been done and is being done by agencies across the city,” said Christopher Shorter.

He’s the Baltimore City Administrator who’s heading the city's efforts to reduce vacancies.

He's overseeing the 30-day review of how city agencies address vacant homes and lots that account for more than 15 thousand properties after the fire on South Stricker Street left 3 firefighters dead.

"We've developed an internal work group. That work group is meeting frequently. We are sharing documents, sharing ideas, sharing recommendations and what we hope to provide to the mayor at the end of this month and start of the next is a very comprehensive set of recommendations that he can evaluate that will push our system forward,” Shorter shared.

A part of that group, Shorter says agencies like the Department of Housing and Community Development, DPW, and the Legal department are collaborating in search for solutions to a decade's old issue.

Residents seeing fires in their neighborhood almost every week are clinging on to hope that soon it all gets addressed and fixed.

“With a little help I think it can be better again because this was one of the best blocks around here at one time, the 1300 block of Cary Street,” shared Crosby.

The Mayor's office says they plan to make an announcement regarding the 30-day review next week.