Neighbors attempting rescue driven away by heavy smoke

BALTIMORE - In the minutes before firefighters arrived to fight the fire in the 1000 block of North Rosedale Street, neighbors responded on their own.

"I woke up to a scream... my wife and I," said a neighbor, Lonnie Harvey, "So she looked out the window and said, 'The house is on fire.'"
    
Harvey ran outside and discovered one of the women who lived in the house on the front lawn suffering from severe burns, but the victim's mother was trapped on the second floor.
    
He sprinted back to his home and grabbed a 30-foot extension ladder to try to rescue her.
 
"We put the ladder up there and tried to get up to the lady.  She was hanging out the window.  We were hearing her voice and all of the sudden we didn't hear it anymore and the black smoke just consumed us all... consumed the whole building outside."

Police ordered the men to back away from the burning structure, and when firefighters arrived, they confirmed what many of the Good Samaritans already knew.
 
"One victim in this location was found on the second floor expired due to what we believe were smoke inhalation and thermal burns so was pronounced here deceased," said Chief Kevin Cartwright of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Neighbors say the unidentified victim was a large woman who, at times, had to use a wheelchair to move about.

They say the last moments of her life were spent begging them to get her out.

"We did everything we could to try to get the lady out of there," said Harvey, "and it just really... I'm just really heavy hearted knowing that she did pass away and we're in the midst of the problem and I'm just really hurt by that."
 
Paramedics transported the victim's daughter to the Bayview Burn Center for treatment.
 

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