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Search for victims comes up empty in NE Baltimore fire

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 22:11:52-05

BALTIMORE, Md — The heat from the fire melted the siding and flames shot through the second floor of the house in the 5000 block of Harford Road when Lilita Pope awoke next door and realized something was wrong.

"I saw this light outside and after using the bathroom, I came out, and I was like, 'Wow! This is a fire!'” said Pope, “So I got my children up immediately. We came down and we couldn't go out the front door. We had to go out the back door."

In the meantime, ten people inside the burning structure scrambled to get out.

"The home was being utilized as a group home and according to management, 11 people occupied this home. However, one person is unaccounted for at this time," said Blair Skinner of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

While the 11th person remains unaccounted for, the fire department believes the person was never inside the building at the time of the fire

Once they had doused the fire, firefighters searched the two-and-a-half story structure extensively before giving the all clear---convinced that the sole person who remained unaccounted for must have spent the night elsewhere.

While no one suffered injuries, the fire has taken a toll on Pope and her two sons who lost a pair of family members in a similar fire in West Baltimore last spring.

"The end of March, I lost my mother and brother in a house fire, so dealing with that... you know... it's a lot," said Pope.

But this time, Pope and her family were spared and helped warn their neighbors of the fire after awaking early to simply relieve herself.

"If I didn't get up and go to the bathroom, we would be dead,” said Pope, “That's what I can tell you. That's exactly what I can tell you. We would be dead."