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Baltimore firefighter released from hospital after surviving building collapse

Three firefighters had died in the blaze. Firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler was promoted to lieutenant posthumously, the department said Thursday.

Firefighters stand in a line near an ambulance after a firefighter who died while battling a two-alarm fire in a vacant row home was pulled from the collapsed building on Jan. 24 in Baltimore. (Julio Cortez/AP)
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Baltimore EMT/firefighter John McMaster was released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Thursday afternoon, days after he had been trapped while responding to a vacant building fire, the Baltimore City Fire Department said.

“We will continue to pray for his health & strength as he recovers,” the department said in a tweet. The post included photos of firefighters greeting McMaster as he was pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair and hugging him tightly with a caption about “a heartfelt moment.”

McMaster was pulled from a building that collapsed early Monday morning during a two-alarm response in the 200 block of South Stricker Street in Baltimore. Three of his colleagues — Lt. Paul Butrim, firefighter/paramedic Kelsey Sadler and EMT/firefighter Kenny Lacayo — died in the line of duty.

Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles R. Ford said firefighters were battling the fire inside when the three-story building partially collapsed, trapping them. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The department announced Thursday that Sadler was posthumously promoted to lieutenant. Local union Baltimore Firefighters International Association of Firefighters Local 734 said in a tweet that Sadler was acting in the lieutenant position as the unit officer of Engine 14 while responding to the fire.

“She will forever be remembered for her commitment and bravery to BCFD and to Baltimore,” the department said in a tweet.

Baltimore firefighter conscious and alert after deadly building collapse

Two unions, Baltimore Firefighters International Association of Firefighters Local 734 and Baltimore Fire Officers International Association of Firefighters Local 964, have set up a fundraiser to support the families with funeral and memorial, medical and other expenses.

The city and state mourned, with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) holding a moment of silence Wednesday morning for the fallen firefighters.