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Baltimore Fire Chief Says If Firefighters Don’t Get A Raise, He Will Give Charity Next Year’s Pay Raise

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James Clack
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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Pay raise uproar. Baltimore’s fire chief responds to the outrage over his salary boost and makes a promise to his firefighters.

Mike Schuh has the new twist to this ongoing controversy.

The chief is vowing to give next year’s pay raise to a firefighters charity if his fellow firefighters don’t get a raise of their own. Some say it’s too little, too late.

A sign outside an East Baltimore fire station warns neighbors Truck 15 is no more.

The now-disbanded fire company was first on the scene when Donald Hawkins’ relative’s home caught fire. Now, he worries.

“They definitely need it because now a truck’s got to come a mile from somewhere else to help with a fire,” Hawkins said.

He’s outraged that days after Truck 15 and Squad 11 near Greektown fell victim to budget cuts, Baltimore City approved a raise for Fire Chief James Clack.

Now, in an interview with WBAL Radio, the chief is making a pricey promise.

“If the firefighters don’t get a raise next year– which I hope is not the case– I’ve told folks that I will donate my raise to the Fire Foundation,” Clack said.

While union officials say the chief’s vow is admirable…

“I don’t think when the rank and file gets nothing that the top echelon should get anything at all,” Rick Hoffman, president of the Baltimore City Firefighters’ Union, said.

This year, two deputy chiefs received a nine percent pay increase, and the planned closures aren’t over yet.

There’s a black line through Truck 10 in West Baltimore. The closing of Truck 10 in West Baltimore has been pushed back to Oct. 1.

The chief says he hopes to keep it open.

“I’d love to save that third one, but we have to find the money,” Clack said.

Union officials say it’s vital.

“If Chief Clack is worth anything his salt, that the mayor has her faith in him, he won’t let Truck 10 go,” Hoffman said.

Union officials say Truck 10 responded to more than 600 fire calls this year. It was slated to close with the other companies but was kept open after the storm two weeks ago.

Over the next six years, Clack would earn nearly $29,000 in pay raises.

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