That fire I mentioned yesterday was a horrific one indeed, one of the deadliest in Baltimore history, with only one less charred corpse than in the arson murders of the Dawsons. But this doesn’t seem to have been an intentional fire, just a simple “accident,” the kind of accident that happens when crowds of people pack into an illicit, unregistered rental. Who knows if a smoke detector would have made a difference, but I note that the house was not equipped with one, a shocking oversight in this day and age when they are to be had for ten dollars or even free from the firemen who are always coming around offering the things. And so: six lives wasted on a Tuesday morning, including wheelchair-bound Tashon Thomas (16) and his brother, Davonte Witherspoon (13); Davonte, whose daily task it was to carry Tashon up and down the stairs of the rowhouse, had escaped from the fire but reentered the house when he learned that his brother was still inside. I wonder if I’m even half the man that this young boy proved himself to be in the last minutes of his life. I hope like hell that I never have to find out.

I’d record a little more about each of the other victims here, but it’s hard to type through the tears I can’t hold back reading about this tragedy. You can find out more about the victims in this Sun article if you want, but be warned that it’s rough going. I also recommend this article about the firefighters who fought the fire and managed to save one or two lives. A compendium of all the coverage is here.