PowerPoint: Baltimore City Fire Department Strategic Analysis, Presentation on ending rotating fire company closures, April 5, 2012
Companies scheduled to close on July 1: Truck 10 at 1503 W. Lafayette Avenue; Truck 15 at 1223 N. Montford Avenue; Squad 11 at 5714 Eastern Avenue.
Companies scheduled to move on July 1: Engine 33 from 801 E. 25th Street to 1223 N. Montford Avenue; Truck 27 from 2700 Glenn Avenue to 5500 Reisterstown Road; Truck 6 from 1001 E. Fort Avenue to 15 S. Eutaw Street; Rescue 1 from 15 S. Eutaw Street to 1001 E. Fort Avenue.
Three city fire companies will disband, four more must find new homes. It’s part of the fire department’s efforts to do away with rotating closures.
It’s important to note that no firefighters will lose their jobs and no fire stations will be closed. But this is a big shuffle of fire personnel and equipment and some worry it leaves city residents at risk.
“We are going to be there just as quick as we are today,” Jim Clack, chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department, said.
“We’re not laying off any firefighters,” Clack said. “We’re not closing any fire stations. We’re taking some firefighters from one area of the city and moving them to other stations.”
“Obviously, I don’t want to have anybody closed,” said Rick Hoffman, president of the firefighters union. “It makes our job a hell of a lot harder. We’re at bare bones right now. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. … They are gambling with the lives of the citizens of Baltimore and the lives of the firefighters serving Baltimore.”
Under the current plan, 72 firefighters would be transferred and 21 officers would be demoted, including six captains and nine lieutenants. The changes, Clack said, make the department more efficient and could improve response times.
Clack said the move will put a ladder company amid all the downtown high rises.
“We don’t want to have holes in our coverage in the city, especially for EMS and fire. We want to be able to get there (to fire calls) within five minutes,” Clack said.
Baltimore Firefighters Union President Rick Hoffman said replacing Truck 6 with the city’s only specialized rescue unit will leave a peninsula in south Baltimore unmanned and exposed.
“Their response was, ‘It only takes an extra couple minutes to get down there,’” Hoffman said. “Hold a match to your backside for two extra minutes and let me know how that feels.”
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Chief Jim Clack, Baltimore City Fire Department photo.