Fire claims a man, one dog, and 10 cats

No smoke alarms in home where man died

BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) - Malia Wagner came back to the home where she and her husband of 30 years lived, and the place where he died.

"He was already on fire and no sooner when we opened the door that's when the dog ran out and we got out of there in time.  That's when all the flames just flew and that was it," said Wagner.     

It was too much for a neighbor to try to rescue 51-year-old Bruce Wagner.  His daughter Crystal shared her favorite picture with us since her father will not be in her wedding album.

Wagner was hospitalized for a week with a kidney infection.  He missed his daughter's wedding Saturday, and then two hours after getting back home, his house caught on fire. 

"One time we're happy, and now we're sad," said Francis Tomczewski, the victim's stepson.      

The bright spot is a four-year-old pit bull.  "Papa" saw the flames, started barking and got four people out of the house. 

A spokesman for the fire department says one woman was transported with minor burns to her face.  But another dog and 10 cats all died.

--What responsibility does a landlord have? Find out here .--

"All I know walking through the living room and a blaze of fire," said Tomczewski.    

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to knock down the fire on Eastbourne Ave.  When they found Wagner, he was pronounced dead of possible smoke inhalation and burns.

"I went out there just in my underwear and the four other people who were there ran out in their underwear too.  We didn't have time," said Wagner. 

Wagner says there were no working smoke detectors in her home, an issue she had pressed in the past. 

"None, never had it.  Our landlord was supposed to put some in there five years ago and never did," said Wagner.     

As is typical following a fatal fire, firefighters will walk through the neighborhood this weekend to install smoke detectors for free.  You can also call 311 to request an alarm. 

The cause is still under investigation, but the family believes Wagner may have been smoking just before the fire.

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