Firefighter Dies, 2 Critically Hurt In Four-Alarm Fire In Parkville

… Blaze strikes Towson Crossing apartments, displacing 30 residents …

By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

6:33 AM EST, January 20, 2011

A Lutherville volunteer firefighter died Wednesday night while battling a four-alarm apartment fire in Parkville, officials said.

Mark Falkenhan, a 43-year-old husband and father of two, became trapped inside a third-story apartment and later died at St. Joseph Medical Center, Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said.

Falkenhan, a member of the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company, had retired from the Baltimore County Fire Department and had worked for the Secret Service, Armacost said.

“He was well-known and well-liked,” she said. “He had a long history with the Baltimore County Fire Department as a career firefighter and as a volunteer,” she said.

The initial call went out at 6:18 p.m. as a kitchen fire in the Towson Crossing Apartments complex at 30 Dowling Circle and was quickly upgraded, Armacost said. About 20 minutes later, Falkenhan sent out a “mayday” distress call, Armacost said.

She said Falkenhan’s partner leaped from the third-floor window and crews eventually found Falkenhan on a third-floor balcony.

Two Towson Crossing residents were critically injured — one woman with severe burns was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and a man was taken to Sinai Hospital, Armacost said.

The brick, three-story structure shares walls with five other apartment buildings. The complex was evacuated, and the fire was contained to the central building. It was still standing after the fire was extinguished, but the windows in the front were blown out.

Several residents from surrounding apartment buildings walked over to watch from behind yellow police tape.

The cause is under investigation, Armacost said. About 30 people were displaced from the building, she said.

Morgan Properties, which owns and manages 131 apartment complexes including Towson Crossing, said in a statement Wednesday that it was working with the Red Cross and county officials to help the affected families.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news regarding the fatality of the Baltimore County Volunteer Firefighter who responded to the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the friends of this brave individual who responded to the scene to assist others in need,” said Karen McAlonen, vice president of property operations.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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