Fire drives grieving family from home

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 06:33:28-05

A family in Northwest Baltimore preparing to bury a loved one Wednesday is now dealing with a new tragedy.

As Rodney Early of the Derrick Jones Funeral Home arrived on Elsinore Avenue to pick up the grieving family, fire engines blocked the limo's path.

"When I pulled up to pick up the family flames were just jumping out of the second and third-floor windows at least six feet away from the house,” Early said, “I would feel the heat from the street."

About that same time, Reggie Hedgepeth was making his way to the house to pick up his children as they prepared to bury the patriarch of the family, 84-year old Joseph Hedgepeth, who passed away the day before Christmas.

"Today is my grandfather's funeral so I was basically just coming here to get everybody right, like my children and everything, and for some reason something told me to speed up. Just speed it up! Speed it up! It's time to go!"

By the time Reggie Hedgepeth arrived, everyone who had been inside the home – eight family members in all – had made it to safety.

"It was like smoke. It was heavy smoke and they saw flames coming out of the window and they were trying to gather every one up to get them out."

This is the second fire at the house in as many years, and the family had just moved back into the renovated two-story about six months ago.

They will now have to replace their belongings for a second time and postpone the service for their beloved patriarch who left this earth knowing he had left a roof over their heads.

"After I realized what was happening and I saw people crying, I just tried to console them and offer them the limo for warmth, but they were already going through some things," Early said.

The American Red Cross has stepped in to assist that family, and the funeral home says they are postponing the funeral service to allow the victims to get back on their feet over the next few days.

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