Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ district staffer Katie Malone is in critical condition after a fire at her Baltimore home that killed six of her nine children.
“It’s hard for me to imagine losing one child. But to lose six in an instant is very, very, very difficult," Cummings said at a news conference Thursday.
Earlier, Cummings told reporters, “It appears that Katie is going to be OK. I talked to her husband extensively today. It appears that all three children, the surviving children will be fine.”
Cumming said Malone was able to escape out the back door.
“In talking to the fire department... they said they didn’t have a shot. It was just that bad, it was a very quick fire.”
Firefighters arrived at the home at 12:30 a.m. Thursday to find the three-story structure fully engulfed, and the third floor had collapsed into the second, Chief Roman Clark, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Fire Department, told The Baltimore Sun.
“The fire chief said that when his men were already there, he said it was just so hot he couldn’t even come close to it,” Cumming said.
Two of Malone’s children, ages 4 and 5, are at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where Malone is also hospitalized.
Malone is a special assistant in the congressman’s Catonsville office, a job she has had for nearly 11 years. She works on immigration, postal services, and the military, including Service Academy nominations issues. Her children ranged from ages eight month to 11 years old.
“One of the 8-year-olds was able to rescue two of the other children,” Cummings said at the press conference. “The other thing that makes this so difficult is that we knew the children. We watched them grow up. That makes it even harder.”
“I am grateful to the Baltimore City Fire Department and all those who responded quickly to the devastating fire. My staff is a family and this unimaginable tragedy is shocking and heartbreaking to us all. I again ask for your prayers,” Cummings added in the statement.
A Go Fund Me account was created for the family with the goal of raising $20,000. By 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, $44, 785 was raised in eight hours by 684 contributions.
Rema Rahman contributed to this report.