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Chief: Firefighter in fiery home collapse in fair condition

January 25, 2022 GMT
A Baltimore firefighter holds balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse while battling a two-alarm blaze in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A Baltimore firefighter holds balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse while battling a two-alarm blaze in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A Baltimore firefighter holds balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse while battling a two-alarm blaze in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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A Baltimore firefighter holds balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse while battling a two-alarm blaze in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
1 of 4
A Baltimore firefighter holds balloons given to him by neighbor Darlene Cucina as a group of fire officials sit on a stoop across the street where several firefighters died in a building collapse while battling a two-alarm blaze in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore firefighter who survived the collapse of a burning vacant home that killed three colleagues was upgraded to fair condition Tuesday as his fire chief reported him to be conscious and alert.

Fire Chief Niles Ford said the four firefighters were battling the rowhome blaze early Monday when they became trapped in the partial collapse of the three-story building.

Crews removed piles of debris to reach the firefighters and EMT/Firefighter John McMaster was immediately pulled out and taken to a hospital, Ford said.

McMaster was originally listed in critical condition and on life support Monday night at Maryland Shock Trauma. But Ford said in a statement Tuesday that McMaster’s condition has been upgraded to fair as “he is conscious and alert.”

“While he has a long way to go, I am incredibly optimistic,” Ford said, adding he was praying for his recovery.

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Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted afterward that McMaste’s improvement was “a great relief amid so much heartbreak right now.”

Two other firefighters were pronounced dead at the hospital and another at the scene Monday. The fire chief identified those kiled as Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo.