A horrific scene awaited Baltimore firefighters as they responded to a blaze tearing through the home of a large family. Tragically, many members of the Malone family didn’t make it out — but those who did can thank an 8-year-old girl who helped pull her mother and two younger siblings from the inferno.
“The 8-year-old female actually assisted in bringing the 5- and 4-year-old out along with the mother,” Baltimore Fire Department Captain Roman Clark told WUSA9, a Washington D.C.-based CBS affiliate. The blaze tore through the North Baltimore home with such speed and force that firefighters simply were not able to get through the flames order to save the six children who died. The heat from the flames was so intense that it partially melted a nearby car, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The Malone children featured on a GoFundMe page. Only the three children in the center survived the blaze.
The six victims of the fire were a 9-month old boy, a 2-year old boy, 3-year-old twin girls, a 10-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old girl. The 8-year-old girl helped save two boys, aged 4 and 5, and her mother Katie Malone, who is a special assistant to U.S. Rep Elijah E. Cummings. As of late Thursday night, Ms. Malone was in critical condition, as were the boys, who were in pediatric intensive care.
The unbearable tragedy will no doubt leave a permanent mark on witnesses, including firefighters. Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford told The Baltimore Sun that when he arrived to the scene, three of his firefighters were on bended knee in the front yard of the ravaged home, helpless to prevent the tragedy that was unfolding inside.
“We did everything we could,” one of those firefighters reportedly told the Chief, who replied, “I know you did.”
A neighbor, Robert Spencer, also tried to help rescue the children inside the home, but like the firefighters, was overcome by the flames. Spencer told the Baltimore Sun that his family restrained him from trying to enter the house. According to the Sun’s report, the children’s cries could be heard from inside the house.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators are reportedly looking into the possibility that it was caused by a space heater. The children’s father was working a restaurant shift and was not home at the time.