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Northeast Baltimore neighborhood concerned about multiple fires

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Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 06:11:57-04
Three fires at two vacant homes in a little more than a week is the reality for people in one northeast Baltimore neighborhood.
 
Fire officials are investigating to see if the fires are connected, but neighbors want the city's Housing Authority to step in and do something about area blight now.
 
On the 2700 block of Fenwick Avenue, there is frustration.
 
A morning fire tore through six vacant row homes, which is enough of a shock for the people living nearby. But Ralph Stewart lived next door, and just barely made it out alive.
 

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"It is so scary. So frightening. I've never seen orange fire coming at you so quickly," Stewart said.
 
But it isn't the first time a home here has gone up in flames.
 
ABC2 video shot earlier this month shows city firefighters knocking out the remnants of a fire just down the street from Tuesday's fire as residents watched.
 
It was the second time, fire officials confirmed, the same home went up in flames in three days.
 
"The city, in this particular area, could do more, quicker," said Mark Washington, executive director of the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation.
 
Washington said more than half the homes on the block are vacant. His frustration was visible as he spoke with a city housing official on site Tuesday afternoon. He said he wants the vacant homes knocked down, or residents moved until a more permanent solution is found.
 
His fear was the next person caught in a fire on the block may not make it out alive.
 
"To constantly push this rock up the hill with the city to get them to take expedient action, it becomes frustrating," he said.
 
But hopefully, residents said, a resolution is reached long before that becomes a possibility. 
 
The way it was coming, i was just saved by God," Stewart said. "Father God was on my side today. That's the best I can tell you."
 
A spokesperson for the Housing Authority said work on Fenwick Avenue would cost more than $4 million, but added the block is on the list of "potential demolitions" for demolition funding.
 

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