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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore City fire department is overhauling its rescue teams and opening a new command center at its Locust Point station.

The Baltimore Sun reports the changes are designed to increase the availability of firefighters trained to work in deep water, collapsed buildings and other dangerous locations. They come after a December accident that led officials to shut down the dive team.

Fire Chief James S. Clack says training has begun, but that the full program could take about two years to implement. The training will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rick Hoffman, president of the firefighters union, called the plan a waste of money at a time when fire companies are being closed because of budget restrictions.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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