Baltimore City Fire Dept. Shuffles, Disbands Fire Companies Amid Residents’ Concerns

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– 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.

Derek Valcourt explains it’s a major shuffle of fire crews and equipment.

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.

For every engine and fire truck, there’s a company of 24 firefighters assigned to work them. But under a new city plan, three city fire companies– Truck 10 on the West side, Truck 15 on the East side and Squad 11 on the far East side– will be disbanded. Those firefighters will permanently be reassigned to other fire companies. This is a move the fire chief says will not affect citizens in emergencies.

“We are going to be there just as quick as we are today,” Jim Clack, chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department, said.

To ensure response times don’t suffer, several other fire companies will be relocated to new fire stations. It’s all part of a plan to eliminate the rotating closures forced on them by the city’s budget three years ago.

But the move upsets many firefighters who say the department has already been cut to the bone.

“The citizens of Baltimore are at risk and so are the firefighters that wear these uniforms,” Rick Hoffman, president of the Baltimore City Firefighters’ Union, said.

Firefighters say the ladder truck in Locust Point is a perfect example of their concerns. It is being relocated downtown, but this truck will still be the first ladder truck responding to problems downtown all the way over to Fort McHenry.

“I gotta wait for a downtown truck company to get here. In downtown traffic, that’s crazy,” Hoffman said.

Clack says their strategic analysis shows trucks at nearby fire stations can cover the affected areas without increasing response times. But that’s a hard pill to swallow for residents in the affected areas like Patterson Park where Ladder Truck 15 will no longer be staffed.

“They can say whatever they want but the fact is, it’s going to take longer for the truck to get here because it’s further away,” Paul Cash, a resident of Patterson Park, said.

The new plan takes effect July 1.

The new plan also means temporary demotions for nine firefighter lieutenants and six firefighter captains. The chief says they will be re-promoted once there are new openings.

For a detailed look at the Baltimore City Fire Department’s analysis, click here.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • Greg

    The detailed pdf file shows coverage from truck 2 as the primary for t10 and the secondary for t15…..truck 2 was disbanded two years ago and does not exist. Rescue 1 can not cover for t6 if moved due to the rescue being a dramatically different piece of apparatus!!! It does not have a large aerial ladder or small ground ladders (it is not a ladder truck) and can not perform the search and rescue functions of a ladder truck

  • confused

    when chief clack closed 2 truck he stated it took too long for a truck to leave downtown, and that its quicker for one to go into downtown. was there road improvements in the two years truck 2 has been closed that have changed this? is there a new route into locust point that will allow a truck to respond from 3.2miles futher away to make it in the same time? if there is new routes of travel yahoo maps, and map quest are not aware of them either as both of these web sites show an increase in travel times.

  • queen

    Close em all down & let the city burn to nothing. Best thing that could happen to Balto. Firemen sit around all day eating donuts & watching porn, take retirement @ age 50 & get another job. Double dip the social security retirement tank & start fires to keep themselves busy anyway. The whole fuc’n this is fraudlent. Don’t give me save the baby in the window B.S. either.

    • aboutthat

      HAHA. what firefighter broke your heart? and what number do you call when your house burns or you get chest pain? they should probably just skip you too huh?

      • oscar

        Firefighters are the fattest laziest people in Balto next to the welfare crowd.

  • Larry26

    When there a couple of fires that can’t be reached because of traffic and lives are lost, perhaps the City will wake up amid all the law suits that will ultimately occur.

  • Killen

    Obviously the Mayor doesn’t care about the citizens of Baltimore! The Chief or the Fire Department doesn’t care or know what is important either! Tax payers are at risk and if you think a minute doesn’t matter, when there is a fire, talk with anyone who has lost someone by death in a fire? Ask the people in Morrel Park 2 years ago on Washington Blvd. when 2 engines were closed close by and they waited for water and the Truck company could not get into the house to save the occupant! This is just one example but there are hundreds more! When will the Citizens stop this insanity? When the Mayor cut other agencies and departments and stop cutting the Fire Department? Since O’Mally was mayor, the Fire Department has been the biggest cut department in the city of Baltimore. O’Mally robbed the city blind of tax bases and the following Mayors have followed his lead. Because of the hit and rob of O’Mally the city lost tax money and all the departments of the city, especially the Fire Department has paid the price for their inept leadership!

  • Killen

    By the way, I misspelled O’Malley on purpose he doesn’t deserve to classed with the great Mayors before him!! The Late great WDS is rolling in his grave!!

  • truth and common sense

    I can just about guarantee that the Mayor and City Council have not relocated any from around their homes, in fact the shuffle has probably added to the stations near them, can’t wait to see ladder 15 trying to get to fort ave from downtown at 4pm on a friday when a game lets out from the stadium, bumper to bumper traffic lanes closed for roadwork and nobody can move, but get that huge ladder truck thru the street, response time will still be the ass it will

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