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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OT - A Horrible Event

Really awful news. The Associated Press: Baltimore rowhouse fire kills 3 kids, 3 adults and

My wife, her sister, and her brother own the block of six row houses involved in the fire. Though some in Baltimore are run down, these were in excellent condition, and my wife's family had lived in one until relatively recently. The windows that can be seen boarded up in the video were boarded only after the fire.

The fire started in an end unit, and completely destroyed it, damaging the others. The wind, as the articles said, was 30 to 40 knots, and blew the flames toward the other units. The family that died lived immediately next to the one where the fire started (not in the one gutted in the video), and died of smoke inhalation. The family in the unit where the fire started got out, as did the families in the other units.

My wife found out yesterday from the fire marshal that a malfunctioning portable space heater is the likely cause of the blaze, though the final investigation is not compete.

The older couple (the Satterfields) who were killed with their granddaughter and her 3 children were dear and lifelong friends of my wife, ever since my wife was in grade school. Their loss is the worst of it, by far. My wife had also known the granddaughter (the mother of the children killed) since the granddaughter was a child. Mr. Satterfield was a wonderful man, always available to help, and he had done so often. My wife has been just inconsolable since their loss yesterday.

When my wife bought a new Town Car in 1999, because of all the help and kindnesses over the years, she gave the Town Car she was replacing to Mr. Satterfield, rather than trading it. His son has been driving and caring for it lately.

My wife knew the tenants, and counts them as friends; they were long-term. Most had lived there for years; some for decades. My wife goes back to Baltimore quarterly to assist with her youngest sister's medical needs, and she has visited the tenants, especially the Satterfields, when doing so. She worries about the displaced ones now. We won't know for a time whether any of the units will be habitable, so they can move back in if they wish.

The fire department is investigating whether there were "operating" smoke detectors - there were functioning detectors in all the units, but they are battery powered. If tenants did not replace the batteries, they would not have worked; that's a possibility especially with the folks who died, the eldest of whom were in their 80's. I don't yet know how the other tenants became aware of the fire; all the rest of them got out safely - thank God.

Sometimes it's just a story on the evening news. Sometimes it is very, very personal.

Be safe.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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I wish I had something appropriate to say.

Give your wife a hug.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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I can't begin to imagine what she's feeling, but please do give her lots of hugs and tell her she's in our thoughts.
 

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1976 450 SLC. (working, in need of paint)/1987 300E/1989 635 CSI/2004 Honda Element (appliance)
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142 Posts
I feel terrible about this tragedy, and it really puts in perspective what is important in life. The relationship with these people was important for you and your family, therefore you made their life better. I think that is all that you can really do in life.
You and your family have my families best wishes, and if anything can be done to help, please let us know.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
1979 280sl 4 sp w/ac 1957 MGA 1998 volvo xc/70 2004 F150
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A tragic accident. Really nothing to say except let time dull the pain and bring back the good memories.
 

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Now: 14 E350 Coupe; 86 560SL Then: 73 280SEL 4.5; 80 300SD; 82 300SD; 98 E350; 08 GL320; 11 E350
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Your last paragaph is very true. It is always personal to someone; always a life-changing tragedy to somebody. Real people, who had vitality, personalities, histories, who loved and who were loved are suddently gone. Words are never adequate in such times. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and each person touched by this terrible loss.
 

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82 380SL 96 SL500 03 SL500
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In my work I have been involved in numerous apartment fires. The first thought to always go through my mind has been a question... "Is everyone all right".

The answer in this case was so sad.

I add my thoughts for your wife to those of the other members, but also thoughts for you to help her through this.
 

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Premium Member
1975 450SL
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2,440 Posts
It's always just a picture in the paper or a few second on the TV, until it's someone you know.

There are people that forget that it could be someone they know, or even them, at any time.

Our best wishes and prayers. I know the pain will eventually become tolerable, but damn it, it still HURTS.
 

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1986 300 SL Euro spec - Signal Red/Black Eng/Trans: Inline 6 (M103.982) / 722.322 Auto
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Please express to your wife our sincere condolences from this MB brotherhood / membership and our thoughts are with all of you affected by this tragedy.
 

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89 R107, 05 CDI
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OMG, when I read the first words of your post, I thought you were about to say that you lost your "wife, her sister, and her brother", and my heart really skipped a beat.

We are a fortunate and lucky group here in BW 107, very fortunate that we can share our experiences, both good and bad. An unusual and special place that is grown out of a common interest that crosses political, social, economic and physical boundaries.

In that spirit, at this challenging point in your life I wish your family and your friends Godspeed.

May you find some faith and gratitude in this difficult time.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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Bad things happen to good people.
People will tell you how you must grieve. They mean well but everyone must grieve in their own way. No one can tell another how it must be done.
Thoughts and prayers are with you and all of the families at this time.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
'78 450SL
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199 Posts
Our hearts go out to you and A. in this time of tragedy. All our prayers, if you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to call, we're here for you.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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10,978 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
We received the fire/arson investigation report today. The fire is confirmed to have started from a faulty portable space heater in the end unit (the one so badly burned in the video). Although the units were separated by brick walls, the high winds spread the fire to the adjacent unit via the front porch overhang.

Each unit was equipped with a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector.

My wife will go to Baltimore for services for the Satterfields on Wednesday.

Thank you all for your kind words. We both appreciate them.
 
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