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Neighbor rescues woman from fire that rips through eight West Baltimore homes

"God put me in the right place, at the right time"
Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 17:08:33-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — A massive fire rips through eight rowhomes Friday morning. The people who lived there escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Even though the homes were destroyed, neighbors are thankful no one was hurt.

The early morning fire in West Baltimore gutted eight homes, and left eight families without a place to live.

Neighbor James Eldridge said “flames started shooting out the building right here, and stuff. They got it under control and everything. It was real heavy. A lot of smoke, a lot of flames.”

Baltimore City Fire Assistant Chief Roman Clark said “you could pretty much see the fire from miles away. You could see the heavy smoke from miles away.”

While Jackie Lewis could see the smoke right across the street from where he lives. The sound of neighbors screaming “fire, fire” woke him up but then he heard one of his neighbors had fallen inside her basement and couldn't get out.

“I went in there, me and the gentleman and grabbed his mother and picked her up off the floor and carried her up the steps,” Lewis said.

Despite helping to save one of his neighbors from the fire, Lewis doesn't consider himself a hero.

“Sometimes you have to put your fear aside, and do what you have to do. So, I did what I had to do. I knew eventually that it was going to fill up and start burning, so my concern was the lady downstairs,” Lewis said.

“I’m just glad God put me in the right place, at the right time,” Lewis added.

The fire broke out around 7 o'clock Friday morning on West Fairmount Street between North Gilmore and North Stricker Streets. As Baltimore City firefighters arrived on the scene, they found it had already spread quickly from one rowhouse to the next but that wasn't the only challenge they had to face.

“It’s extremely hot today, and the firefighters are really exhausted from trying to get in to fight this fire,” Clark said.

“The fire department, man, they did a good job man. Getting in there, and nobody got hurt. They got everybody out safe. That’s all that counts. Nobody got hurt,” Eldridge said.