Baltimore City fire deaths ruled a homicide, police confirm

BALTIMORE, Md. - The plywood going up over windows and doors, charred remains piled up on the sidewalk, that unmistakable smell of fire in the air; Da Vinci's pizza on the corner of Park and Read streets in Mount Vernon is a shell of a building now, but not nearly as vacant as the look in Jeffrey Hayes' eyes.

"It's not a good way to go man, at all.  No one should have to go that way."

Hayes knows how his friends died because he says there is video of it.

 Da Vinici's has several surveillance cameras throughout the store and Hayes tells us he watched the feed with the owner, a man he used to work for.

Hayes says his two friends who worked there were locking up early this morning when two men forced their way in, robbed the employees at gun point, locked them in the basement and set the restaurant on fire

While the fire grew, the two men were trapped in the basement.

Hayes said his former boss had a camera down there too.

"They left them in the basement.  The door looked like it was getting pulled in because they were trying to open it.  They had the padlock on it.  Couldn't get out," said Hayes.

Hayes said he didn't see that video clip but his old boss did leaving him distraught.

Both men say they gave statements to police.

City detectives haven't released much information as of yet but do say this fire was a double homicide and they are pouring over that surveillance video.

Karen Fricker runs a store just one door down.

 She and others are dealing with smoke damage from the fire, but are far more concerned about the criminal developments in this fire.

"Ya know...murdered?  It's kind of scary.  I got employees that work here in the evenings," Fricker said.

Meanwhile police have yet to identify the murder victims.

Again while police confirm they have that surveillance video, they will not confirm Jeffrey Hayes' account of what is on it.

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