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Housing Records Reveal Stricker Street Property Long Vacant, Site Of 2015 Fire

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Three Baltimore firefighters died and one is in critical condition after a rowhouse that caught fire partially collapsed Monday morning. The tragedy occurred in one the city's 15,000 vacant properties.

The firefighters killed were identified as Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler, and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo.

John McMaster, an EMT/firefighter, is on life support in critical but stable condition, officials said.

WJZ confirmed the same vacant property caught fire in Oct. 2015, injuring three firefighters then.

According to housing records, the rowhome on S. Stricker Street was just inspected less than three weeks ago, in early January. An inspector found the front and rear of the building were boarded up and clean from its last inspection in 2020.

"There's a lot of people around here who don't have nowhere to live," resident Alice Lee said.

"Last summer, they had guys going around setting them on purpose," resident Tiffany Woods said.

Around the corner from Monday morning's fire, you can lose track of vacant properties.

"Oh, it's a lot of them! It's a lot of them," Lee said.

"one, two, three, four, five, six houses out here now," resident Daniel Hall said.

WJZ learned the property on Stricker street had been vacant for at least 11 years. A violation from 2010 officially labeled the property "unfit for human inhabitation." Ten years later, the property owners were cited for failing to register the property, as owners must do annually.

"The city needs to get on top of it," Woods said. "A lot of people don't have places to stay, so why aren't they fixing them up?"

Public records show the property owners live in Pennsylvania. WJZ tried reaching them by phone and email, but there has been no immediate response.

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