Baltimore is in mourning after firefighters Lt. Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo, tragically lost their lives while battling a massive fire on Monday. The three firefighters became trapped in the vacant row home when the ceiling collapsed, and they were unable to escape.

John McMaster, a fourth firefighter, was also trapped in the blaze, but he was able to get out and is now in critical condition. He was taken to the hospital for shock trauma treatment and is reportedly stable.

According to ABC News, Lt. Paul Butrim was a 16-year veteran of the department, while Kelsey Sadler was a firefighter for over 15 years. Kenny Lacayo, who also perished in the fire, had been a firefighter with the department for seven years.

Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo, three firefighters killed in a Baltimore row home fire
Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo, three firefighters killed in a Baltimore row home fire. Photo Credit: Baltimore Fire Department

Since the row home collapse was a vacant Baltimore housing complex, there were no other reported casualties. It is unknown what caused the fire, but first responders arrived at 6 a.m. to a row home in the 200 block of S. Stricker Street completely engulfed in flames.

“This is a gut-wrenching tragedy for our city, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and most importantly the families of our firefighters,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “My heart is with the firefighters, their families, and the entire Baltimore City Fire Department who put the lives and safety of others before their own wellbeing each and every day. I ask that all of Baltimore keep them in our prayers during this extremely difficult time.”

Lt. Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo “made the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued. “For that, Baltimore owes them the deepest gratitude and respect.”

According to WBAL-TV, firefighter and trained paramedic Kelsey Sadler was in a recruiting class in 2007 with a fellow firefighter who died in a training accident. 15 years ago, when she was just joining the department, she told local reporters that, “it was a reality check for most of us to decided if this is what we wanted to do.”

“This is what I want to do,” she said, “and I love it and I’m just glad to graduate.”

Kenny Lacayo was also a paramedic. He had previously won Paramedic of the Year in 2016 as part of the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. Kelsey Sadler and Kenny Lacayo were part of the same department on Engine #14.

“From this moment, we will honor those we lost today, for their bravery, their courage, and their love for helping others and the respect they had for the Baltimore City Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Niles Ford.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also ordered the flags lowered to half-staff in respect for for three fallen firefighters.

The row homes were allegedly asked to be torn down by the city, but the owners left the potentially dangerous properties to sit. Many neighborhood residents reported witnessing several fires throughout the time they’ve lived near the row homes.

“It’s kind of like a yo-yo between the city and squatters,” one neighbor said.

“It’s bad for the block, bad for the community, these abandoned places where people go in and do whatever they want,” another neighboring resident said. “There’s been several fires between those three houses on the end of the block over the last couple of years.”

The building was reportedly owned and neglected by a woman in Pennsylvania who have not updated the property since 2004.

“Firefighters are among the bravest, most honorable, and extraordinary dedicated servants in our communities,” the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team said in an official statement. “We salute the courage, selfishness, and sacrifice of these four heroes, and we offer our full support to their families and colleagues during this difficult time.”