Residents dig out street after homes caught fire

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 19:19:33-05

Crews have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts trying to get the city clear, but there are still some roads that haven't been reached. And while the blocked roadways are causing a lot of frustration, they're also making it difficult for emergency responders to do their job. 

Baltimore City Firefighters were unable to immediately reach several row homes that caught fire Monday night sometime before 9 p.m in the 3400 block of Mt. Pleasant Ave. in Highlandtown.

According to officials, there were no civilian or firefighter injuries, but several families were displaced. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Joe Keibler grew up in one of the homes that caught fire. His 79-year-old mother still lived there but fortunately wasn't inside the house when the fire broke out. "We just wanted to get her out of here for safety, so like Friday when the snow was about to start we got her out for a few days. Thank god for the snow," said Keibler.

But his street, like some other narrow side roads in the city was unplowed making it difficult for firefighters to get to the burning buildings.

“We did have a little bit of challenge getting to the residence to put the fire out, but the fortunate thing is we had great community people who came up and helped us move hoses and other things to make sure that we were able to do our job,” said Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford in a Tuesday morning press conference.

Christopher Rasin lives on the street, and said the neighbors coming together to help firefighters was a real show of community support. “In tragedies like this when you get the neighborhood to pull together, it shows the people out here actually care,” he said.

And while Keibler said he’s happy he relocated his mother to his sister’s house in Dundalk before the storm, he's not happy with the city's response to his street.

“I know the mayor's got a big responsibility, but to me she drops the ball,” said Keibler. “In all honestly, she drops the ball, something should be done with this. It's her responsibility to protect the people of Baltimore and do what she can do and she dropped the ball. That's the way I look at it.”

As of Tuesday night, residents had made great progress digging out the road.  And according to neighbors, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake walked through the area to speak with some of the victims, but they still hadn't seen any snow equipment down their street.

Breath of God Lutheran Church is accepting donations for the displaced families. For more information or to contribute, click here.

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