Baltimore Pays Tribute to Fallen Firefighters


Katherine Schutzman, Staff Writer

On Jan. 24, 2022, Lt. Paul Raymond Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Renee Sadler and Firefighter/Paramedic Kenneth Antonio Lacayo were killed as a result of a house fire in a vacant three-story row home in the 200 block of South Stricker Street in Baltimore. The firefighters arrived at the scene at around 6 a.m. Monday morning and began battling the fire, soon rushing into the house in search of anyone who may have been trapped inside. 

Soon after, the roof of the building partially collapsed. At first, it was believed that three firefighters – Sadler, Lacayo and EMT-Firefighter John McMaster – were trapped inside. However, word was received by 8:50 a.m. that a fourth firefighter, Butrim, was also inside.

McMaster was seriously injured and rushed to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, from which he was later released on Jan. 27. Sadler and Lacayo were also recovered from the scene and taken to UMD Shock Trauma Center, where they were later pronounced dead after suffering from cardiac arrest. By 11:45 a.m., the roof had completely collapsed. Butrim was found later that day and pronounced dead at the scene.

37-year-old Burtim began his training in 2005, joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 2006 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2016. He was honored by Firehouse Magazine in 2015 when he found an unconscious child in an apartment fire and performed CPR until other emergency services arrived. Butrim was a fan of baseball, hockey and NASCAR; he was a devoted father to his late son, Nolan, and a loving husband and son. 

33-year-old Sadler started at the Baltimore City Fire Department right out of high school in 2006. She met her husband, Brandon, in 2015, and had a strong bond with her step daughter, Mila. Sadler was a loving daughter and sister who always prioritized her family. She was a strong hugger with a determined personality, and she loved DIY projects, party planning and animals. She was acting lieutenant the day when she was called to the house fire, and in her honor, the Baltimore City Fire Department promoted her to lieutenant after her death.

30-year-old Lacayo became a firefighter in 2012 and a paramedic in 2014. He began his service with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad and joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 2014 after receiving the Rescue Squad’s award for paramedic of the year in 2016, as well as multiple other citations for his extraordinary work as a firefighter and paramedic. Lacayo was a devoted son, brother, fiance and uncle, and his family remembers him as a “kind, humble, gentle soul who put others before himself.”

A memorial service was held for the firefighters at the Baltimore Convention Center at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 2. Firefighters from outside of the city came to Baltimore to cover for the members of the Baltimore City Fire Department, allowing them time to grieve and pay respects to the fallen firefighters. The families and loved ones of each of the departed firefighters spoke about Lacayo, Sadler and Butrim. 

Following the service at the convention center, the funeral procession traveled to Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The procession consisted of police motorcycles, the loved ones of the deceased firefighters and fire trucks carrying fallen firefighters, followed by more fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars from all over Baltimore County and surrounding areas (Bel Air, Fallston, Wheaton, Annapolis, Providence, Kingsville, Baltimore City, etc.). The casket of each firefighter was wrapped in an American flag and placed on the bed of a firetruck to make the journey to their final resting place.

People gathered along the overpass on Seminary Road alongside fire trucks and firefighters to watch as the funeral procession made its way up I-83. An overwhelming number of vehicles honked in support as they went under the overpass. The funeral service at Dulaney Valley was limited to only family and close friends of the firefighters, but others gathered outside of the cemetery to show their support.

Every day, firefighters and other emergency responders go to work knowing they may have to put their lives on the line to save a stranger. And every day they show up, fully committed and willing to sacrifice themselves for others, just like Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo did. These firefighters should still be alive today, but they will forever be remembered as heroes who fought to protect their community.