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3 Baltimore firefighters dead after partial building collapse

As they were trying to get the blaze at a vacant three-story row house under control, the building partly collapsed early Monday morning, the fire chief said.

Three Baltimore firefighters are dead and a fourth was hospitalized Monday after a burning building partly collapsed, officials said.

The Baltimore City Fire Department said crews responded to the fire at about 6 a.m. in a vacant three-story row house in the Mount Clare neighborhood.

As they were working to control the blaze, the building partly collapsed, Fire Chief Niles Ford tweeted.

Ford said that two firefighters were pronounced dead after they were hospitalized and that a third who was pulled from the structure was pronounced dead at the scene. The dead were: Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter-paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT-firefighter Kenny Lacayo.

A fourth firefighter, John McMaster, remains in critical but stable condition, Ford said Monday afternoon.

“From this moment, we will honor those who lost their lives today — for their bravery, for their courage, for their love and compassion for this great city and for the fire department as well,” Ford said.

Immediately after the collapse, one firefighter was freed and three others remained trapped, Ford tweeted. Over the following hours, firefighters rescued two others and then tore down the building’s facade and found the fourth, NBC affiliate WBAL of Baltimore reported.

WBAL reported that three firefighters were injured in a blaze at another vacant row home on the same block in October 2015.

Mayor Brandon M. Scott said his heart was with the firefighters and their families.

"I ask that all of Baltimore keep them and our department and our city in their prayers during this extremely difficult time," Scott said at an afternoon news conference.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who ordered flags lowered to half-staff, said in a statement that "this is our worst nightmare."

"Our hearts are broken for the entire Baltimore City Fire Department as three of our bravest have fallen in the line of duty," he said.