What damage is visible outside the townhouse on Pentwood Court in Bel Air pales in comparison to images from inside the home where a fire and thick smoke on Wednesday night threatened the lives of 42-year-old Jackie Napolitano and two of her children.
"I saw a couple of puffs of smoke. Walked over to investigate. I heard some screaming," said the victims' neighbor, John Kowalczuk, who is a retired Baltimore City Police sergeant, who then broke through the front door risking his own life to save others, "We got a couple of people out of the second floor, and I heard some moaning. So I got on my knees and I crawled in and there was a kid laying on the floor. So I pulled him out."
Investigators say Kowalczuk's heroic actions saved the 10-year-old boy from certain death.
"Bel Air EMS arrived on scene as well as the Sheriff's Office,” said Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire, “They began to start cardiac resuscitation who they thought at the time was in cardiac arrest. They were able to revive the young man."
The victim's grandfather also is thankful the Good Samaritan appeared in the nick of time as fire consumed the basement and thick smoke filled the floors above, making it impossible for the young prospect mill elementary student to escape on his own.
"He's in critical, but stable condition. He just has some burns on his stomach,” said James Greene, “It seems he was lying on the floor, and the fire was in the basement. So the heat burned his stomach and stuff."
The grandfather says the family is also fortunate that a 20-year-old son was not home at the time of the fire, since his bedroom is in the basement, which was gutted by the flames.