“I COULDN’T SAVE’ Neighbor recalls the horrifying moments in Baltimore house fire that killed 6 children

Baltimore City fire department remain on the scene early Thursday

(Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

BALTIMORE – Robert Spencer said he often saw children playing on the porch of the house across the street are in their northeast Baltimore neighborhood. When he looked out the window early Thursday morning, the house was in flames.

Spencer ran in the direction of the fire, but it was so big and hot he couldn’t help it. Six of the family of nine children were killed while their mother and three of her other children were able to escape, but were injured, a fire official said.

“I heard children crying. My daughter heard them. She said: `Help, help’ and you know, I could not save, could not save,” Spencer said. “There was just too much fire.”

All six bodies were recovered from the home Thursday, fire department spokesman Chief Roman Clark said.

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(Robert Spencer, who lives across the street and ran out to help the woman after she ran out of the house speaks to media)

Clark said that the children killed were two boys, at the age of 9 months and 2 years; 3-year-old twin girls; and two girls, aged 10 and 11.

Researchers are looking for clues about what the cause of the fire.

Firefighters encountered heavy flames coming from all three floors of the house when they answered the call at 12:30 pm Thursday, and they attacked the blaze from outside, said Clark. The third floor collapsed and the second floor partially collapsed. The fire was so hot that it melted parts of a car that was parked in front of the house.

The children of the mother and the two boys, at the age of 4 and 5 were in critical condition Thursday in a hospital. Clark said an 8-year-old girl who helped save her younger brothers was in good shape.”

William Malone said that all nine of his children with Katie Malone, who is a staff member for Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district office.

William Malone told The Associated Press he was not home at the time of the fire, because he was working for a restaurant. He said that one of the three children brought to the hospital after the fire has since been released.

“I’m still in shock to be honest,” said Malone, who was reached by phone at a relative’s home. He said that he does not know what the cause of the fire. Clark said William Malone told him that he had recently changed the batteries in a smoke detector in the house.

Cummings said Katie Malone has worked as a special assistant in his Catonsville office for almost 11 years.

“My staff is a family and this unimaginable tragedy is shocking and heartbreaking for all of us. I again ask for your prayers,” Cummings said in a statement.

Michael Johnson, 55, who lives a block away and sees the house of his home, described as a complete hell.

“The fire came from all the window, and if they are sprayed, it seemed as if the fire is fighting back or something. It just kept come and come and come. The fire was in fact coming from the sides of the house. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who didn’t know of the family, added that he was praying for the people inside.

“It was just so intense,” he said. “I didn’t think anyone would be able to survive.”

WJZ-TV showed two small children to sit as they were wheeled away on a stretcher and a woman on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over her face. Images from the scene show firefighters dousing the charred shell of the first two floors of the house between two other large three-story single-family houses.

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