(BALTIMORE) — A mother who lost six of her young children in a fire that tore through her family’s home in Baltimore this week has been identified by authorities as Katie Malone, who’s on the staff of a U.S. congressman.
She is the adult female who was hospitalized from the fire, along with several of her children, Baltimore Fire Department Chief Roman Clark said Friday morning.
Fire officials said Thursday the woman and two sons, ages 4 and 5, were in critical condition. Malone’s 8-year-old daughter, who helped her mother and her two younger brothers escape the burning house, was hospitalized in good condition and could be released from the hospital shortly, fire officials also said Thursday.
Six young children died in the blaze: a 9-month-old boy, a 2-year-old boy, two 3-year-old twin girls, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl. The six bodies have been recovered and everyone is now accounted for, according to the fire chief.
Clark said the deadly blaze broke out early-Thursday morning just after midnight and caused the home's third floor to collapse into the second floor, making the search for the children difficult. The fire chief called the collapse "horrendous."
The body of the baby boy was found in a crib on the first floor of the three-story home in northeast Baltimore, Clark said.
The children's father was at work at the time of the fire, according to Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Pugh asked citizens of Baltimore to pray for the family, saying, “Any loss is painful, but the loss of children pains you even more deeply."
Although fire officials had not yet identified the woman at the time, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said Thursday that the fire involved Malone, who is one of his staff members, and “her young family.”
"I am asking that our entire community pray for my staff member, Katie Malone, and her young family. Katie has worked as a Special Assistant in my Catonsville office for nearly 11 years where she dutifully serves my constituents in the areas of immigration, postal services and the military, including Service Academy nominations," Cummings said in a statement on Facebook.
"My staff is a family and this unimaginable tragedy is shocking and heartbreaking to us all."
Cummings told reporters Thursday he talked to Malone's husband "at length today."
"Katie is going to be OK. ... Three of her nine children, her husband thinks they will be OK, also," the congressman said. "Our office will do every single thing in our power to embrace them in this very, very difficult time."
The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the Baltimore Fire Department.
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