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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Amanda M. Hils
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 13, 2022

ATF Classifies Fatal Stricker St. Fire as Incendiary

BALTIMORE, Md. – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division has determined that the fire that killed three Baltimore City Fire Department firefighters is being classified as incendiary.

“Thoughts of Lt. Butrim, Lt. Sadler, and Firefighter/EMT Lacayo have been present in our minds every step of this investigation. We would like to thank members of the community who contacted ATF and our partners with information, as well as for their outpouring of support for Baltimore City Fire Department and the loved ones of these fallen heroes,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby. “The incendiary classification is an important step forward in this investigation. We will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure a complete and thorough investigation is completed.”

On January 24, 2022 at approximately 5:53 a.m., Baltimore City Fire Department responded to a two-alarm fire at 205 S. Stricker St. in Baltimore. A partial building collapse occurred and four firefighters became trapped inside the vacant home. Firefighter/EMT John McMaster was immediately pulled out and transported to Shock Trauma, where he was treated and released. Rescue efforts continued until first responders were able to remove the remaining three firefighters who died in the line of duty: Lt. Paul Butrim, Firefighter/EMT Kelsey Sadler (posthumously promoted to Lt.), and Firefighter/EMT Kenneth Lacayo.

ATF Baltimore Field Division Certified Fire Investigators, working alongside our partners in the Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal, have been conducting the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. It is now classified as incendiary. ATF currently defines incendiary as a fire that is intentionally ignited or spread into an area where the fire should not be, and involves a violation of federal, state, local, or tribal law. Incendiary fires may also include fires that are not necessarily intentional, but directly result from other criminal activity.

Images and video of a person of interest were released early in the investigation. That individual has been identified and no additional tips from the public are needed. This remains an ongoing investigation and no additional information will be released at this time.

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