BALTIMORE - Seven people are in the hospital after an early morning fire in Northeast Baltimore on Wednesday. Officials say the cause was Molotov cocktails -- flammable liquid in a bottle with a wick.
Firefighters were called to the Parkview Garden Apartments in the 5000 block of Lodestone Way just before 4 a.m. When they arrived, a three story garden style apartment building was fully engulfed in flames. The fire on Lodestone Way was one of two fires in the same area that were intentionally set.
Now, investigators are hanging signs and looking for suspects. They believe the same person(s) to be responsible for both incidents.
"This is a very dangerous arsonist," Baltimore Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. "...Anyone who would firebomb a residence in such a way had the intent to kill."
Guglielmi said it doesn't appear the incidents were targeting anyone in particular. Guglielmi also said investigators do not believe the two incidents to have any connection to similar incidents that happened in 2011 . He urged anyone with information to come forward.
Baltimore City Fire Department Capt. Roman Clark said several people had already jumped from windows and several more were rescued by firefighters when crews arrived at Parkview Garden Apartments.
Phylicia Estep awoke just in time to get herself and her children to safety. She said she looked out the peep hole of her apartment and saw smoke. She said she opened the door and all she could see was black with no ability of telling if flames were on the other side.
"I had to get out," Estep said. "We had to get out. I thought we was gonna die. It was so much smoke, so much smoke."
Estep and her children escaped the blaze though a bedroom window. Not everyone was so lucky.
Six adults and one child were hurt in the fire, and taken to nearby hospitals. The boy and a man are in serious condition. No firefighters were hurt.
"Firefighters exemplified an outstanding job of rescue and also attacking the fire itself," Capt. Clark said.
Knowing her family was lucky to escape what could have been a deadly situation, Estep said she hates to think the fire was intentionally set.
"I just hope whatever it was, it wasn't because of a person," Estep said before the cause of the fire was released. "I hope it was not caused by a person, because I would have... I can't imagine. ...Thankful that we got out and my I got my life and my kids got their life." said at this time investigators do not believe the two cases to be connected to a string of similar incidents that happened a few years ago.
In both incidents, investigators say the "devices" were thrown through first floor windows.
Anyone with information is asked to call 410-887-4870 or 410-685-TIPS.
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