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Family, city to honor fallen Baltimore firefighters on first anniversary of deadly Stricker Street fire

Baltimore to honor three fallen firefighters on first anniversary of deadly Stricker Street fire
Baltimore to honor three fallen firefighters on first anniversary of deadly Stricker Street fire 01:39

BALTIMORE -- Tragedy struck a year ago on Tuesday as Baltimore firefighters battled a massive blaze at a vacant rowhome on South Stricker Street.

Now, there sits a memorial garden to honor the three firefighters who died after the structure partially collapsed on January 24, 2022.

The deaths of Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler, and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo were later ruled homicides, and the fire was classified as incendiary. Despite the release of photos of a person of interest, no arrests have been announced. 

"This is a gut-wrenching tragedy for our city, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and most importantly the families of our firefighters," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said last year. "There are no words to describe the pain and the severity of the losses we have suffered."

On the one-year anniversary of the tragic fire, Baltimore City Fire stations will fly flags at half-staff Tuesday from sunrise to sunset to pay tribute to those three firefighters. The city will observe a moment of silence in an all-channel call at 11 a.m.

Family members of the firefighters gathered before sunrise Tuesday on Stricker Street to honor them at the memorial. 


Former Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford said firefighters went into the vacant home to fight the blaze because there were adjacent houses that are occupied.

At some point, Chief Ford said, a partial collapse occurred, trapping four firefighters inside. He said one firefighter was immediately rescued and two more were removed within an hour.

Crews worked to extricate a fourth firefighter who was still trapped underneath the rubble left behind by the collapse. Three firefighters were taken to Shock Trauma; two were in cardiac arrest when they arrived, officials said.

Lt. Butrim and Sadler were with the department for 15 years, Lacayo was with the department for seven years, and John McMaster, an EMT who was also hospitalized and later released, was with the department for six years.  

Ford, who had been chief for 8 years, resigned in December after the release of an investigative report into the department's actions at the scene of the fire. 

The vacant home has been demolished. Baltimore City officials said the property had $50,000 in liens, interest and taxes, and was included in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 tax sales. The city estimates there are 15,000 vacant buildings.  

The families of the fallen firefighters and McMaster are suing Baltimore and the State of Maryland, saying the deadly fire and collapse on Stricker Street in January was the result of the "negligence" of the city and state. 


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

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