UPDATED with new details. Must see video from Baltimore close call. Firefighters caught as fireball comes out front and rear of rowhouse. Five hurt in smoke explosion event.

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New info at 8:30 PM: has exchanged emails with Baltimore Fire Department Chief Jim Clack this evening. The chief has given us a preliminary run down of what happened leading up to what he says appears to have been a flashover at the fire on Northeast Avenue this morning. (I know, as is normal with these videos, there is a raging debate as to whether this was actually a flashover,  backdraft, or something else.  As usual, I will let you, and those investigating the incident be the judge.) 

According to Chief Clack the fire started in the basement of an occupied row house and appears to have been burning for “a while” before the fire department arrived.  The first engine took a line through the front door to the rear kitchen area. The chief says that crew had some trouble finding the basement stairs. They were in the kitchen when it flashed.

We have been told it is the officer of that crew who was admitted to the hospital in stable condition with burns to the ears, neck and face.

Another engine company went to the rear with a line to the outside stairwell leading to the basement. The chief says that crew was just starting down those stairs “when the fireball came up the stairwell into the back yard as well”.

Chief Clack tells us, “The first truck vented some skylights on the roof as well as the front basement windows before the explosion.”

The chief also writes, “Lots of ‘personal” property’ in the basement made getting to the seat of the fire very difficult.” 

UPDATE: Five firefighters were hurt in the flashover. One remains hospitalized in stable condition. Two other were hurt during overhaul.

From the AP:

A Baltimore fire official says five firefighters were injured battling a blaze at a rowhouse.

MD Baltimore N. East AveFire Department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright says when firefighters arrived at the rowhouse on Northeast Avenue around 6 a.m. Friday they found heavy smoke and fire coming from the basement spreading to the first floor.

Cartwright says one firefighter suffered a first-degree burn and may have fractured his arm. He was taken to Bayview Burn Center, where he is listed in stable condition.

Four more firefighters with less serious injuries were taken to other hospitals and are also in stable condition.

Cartwright says it took about a half hour to control the blaze and the cause is under investigation.

He says it’s not yet clear whether anyone was home when the fire broke out.

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