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'Never forget the sacrifice': Baltimore City, community pays tribute to firefighters on anniversary of deadly rowhome fire

Family, firefighters, honor fallen Baltimore firefighters on first anniversary of deadly Stricker St
Family, firefighters, honor fallen Baltimore firefighters on first anniversary of deadly Stricker St 01:23

BALTIMORE - Tuesday marked the first anniversary of three Baltimore City firefighters who after a vacant rowhome caught fire and partially collapsed.

On January 24, 2022, Lt. Kelsey Sadler, Lt. Paul Butrim and paramedic Kenny Lacayo died while battling the fire.

A year later, the Baltimore City community is still grieving the deaths of those firefighters who were killed in the line of duty on South Stricker Street.

It was the greatest loss of life for the Baltimore City Fire Department in more than 65 years.


There are flowers and photos now are the site where the rowhomes once stood.

Fire departments, community members, family and Baltimore City officials were apart of remembrances.


Mourning started before sunrise at the corner of Stricker and Pratt streets.

"We will never forget the sacrifice of our three brave members that day," officials said on the all-channel call. "Lt. Paul Butrim, Fire Company 23, Lt. Kelsey Sadler, Engine Company 14, and Firefighter/Paramedic Kenny Lacayo, of Engine Company 14."

A private ceremony was held on Tuesday at the spot of the rowhome fire.

A September report found multiple problems with the department's response that day, including its interior attack on the vacant building despite the property's previous fire and structural instability.

The report laid out problems in training, equipment and operations.

The main fire ground channel was congested and several radio transmissions were rejected minutes after the collapse.

The inquiry ultimately led to the resignation of Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford in December.

"Our members are still remembering those three members who lost their lives a year ago," Baltimore City Assistant Fire Chief Roman Clark said.


The firefighters' deaths were ruled homicides.

The AFT identified a person of interest and sent a report to Baltimore City prosecutors.

But, to date, no charges have been filed.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, new City State's Attorney Ivan Bates said his predecessor's office had "ample time and opportunity to review" the ATF report. 

He said he's received three briefings and his office is reviewing all evidence. He says he's "committed to moving...with resolve."  

"It is clear that the prior administration had ample time and opportunity to review the ATF report on this case which was handed over to them back in the summer of 2022," Bates said in a statement. "They also received three briefings on the investigation and the report from the ATF. Upon taking office, my administration was alerted that this matter was still pending. We are reviewing all evidence and will gather additional evidence, as necessary, to make an appropriate charging determination based on the facts and the law. We are mindful that the families of the fallen firefighters, their colleagues, and residents all have lingering questions regarding this tragic event. However, we owe it to these fallen heroes and the residents of Baltimore to make the appropriate considerations based on evidence and sound legal analysis. It is an unfortunate and tragic incident that should have been addressed long before now, but we are committed to moving forward on this matter with resolve to accomplish justice in this case." 

Fire personnel marked the anniversary on the department's dispatch channel.

"Their dedication, commitment, and devotion to their community, their co-workers, and their families will always be remembered and their memories will never fade," the voice on the all-channel call said.

A moment of silence followed.

And, firehouses, citywide, honored their fallen with flags at half-staff from sunrise, to sunset.

"We will carry their memories within our hearts forever," Clark said.

Families of the three firefighters announced last month they are suing the city for negligence.

Here are just a few ways the firefighters have been honored since the tragedy:

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