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Deaths of 3 firefighters ruled homicides, Fire classified as arson

By WJZ Staff

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    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The deaths of three Baltimore firefighters killed in the partial collapse of a vacant rowhouse have been ruled homicides, police said Wednesday. The January fire that led to their deaths has been ruled an arson, and a person of interest has been identified.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Division, which is leading the investigation with other agencies, ruled the fire as “incendiary.” The classification is defined as a fire that is intentionally ignited or spread into an area where the fire should not be.

“The incendiary classification is an important step forward in this case. We will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure a complete and thorough investigation is completed,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby.

The person of interest in the investigation has been identified and no additional tips from the public are needed, said the ATF. The identity of the person has not been announced.

On Jan. 24, fire crews were called to the scene of a two-alarm fire at a rowhouse S. Stricker Street. A partial building collapse trapped six firefighters inside

Three firefighters — Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler, and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo — were killed in the collapse.

John McMaster was critically injured, but he was well enough to be released from Shock Trauma three days after the incident.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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