Mother, Two Young Children Killed, Five Other Kids Injured After Fire Engulfed Home During Family Sleepover

A happy sleepover turned tragic when a fire broke out at an East Baltimore rowhouse, claiming the lives of a mother and two of her children. Five other kids also suffered serious burn injuries.

At around 3 a.m. on Monday, Nov.22, firefighters responded to a two-story rowhouse in the 1500 block of North Patterson Park Avenue in the Broadway East neighborhood, after a fire broke out during a sleepover, Baltimore City Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said. 

Firefighters managed to control the fire and entered the home to find three people dead. 

The victims were identified as 35-year-old Janice Williams, her 7-year-old daughter, Aubrey Branch, and her 12-year-old son, Antwan Branch.

Williams’ other two children survived the fire. Her youngest, a 2-year-old boy, was rescued by a neighbor, the family said.

Three other boys — aged 11, 13, and 15 — and a 33-year-old man were rushed to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Adams said.

The family was having a sleepover with their cousins, according to relatives and fire department officials.

“It’s just really hard,” said Williams’ cousin Tionne Bratton-Bey. “Right before Thanksgiving.”

Williams’ neighbor, 29-year-old Jessica Waters, said she was sleeping inside her home when all of a sudden she heard screaming.

“Help! Help!” she heard a man scream.

Waters rushed to the home and helped an older woman to get to safety. She then kicked open the back door of the rowhouse and ushered several children away from the flames.

Waters said she looked up and saw a toddler in a diaper falling from a window. 

She stretched out her arms and grabbed the boy and then immediately wrapped him in a blanket.

“I was a little distraught because there were three other people in there that I couldn’t save, so that did something to me,” she said. “I just did what felt right. But I’m just glad I was able to help.”

City Councilman Antonio Glover urged people to be mindful of fire safety measures, particularly as they are heading into the winter.

“This is an absolute tragedy, and my hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of those affected by this fire,” Glover said in a statement.

“It is imperative to remain vigilant about fire safety as we go through the winter months.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott expressed his condolences to the family and friends who lost their loved ones in the fire.

“I am praying for a full recovery of the six people injured, including five children,” Scott said in a statement. 

“With the holidays around the corner, I ask that you keep the family and community in your thoughts.”

firefighters-g57dd0e364_1920 This is a representational image. Pixabay

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