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Baltimore Fire Department Breaks Ground On New Building For Live Burn Training

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A groundbreaking safety measure for Baltimore City’s first responders.

Pat Warren reports a new burn building is under construction at the city fire training academy.

The Baltimore City Fire Department makes safety its top priority. But a live burn training exercise in 2007 led to the death of fire recruit Racheal Wilson.

“Mistakes were made. Unacceptable mistakes,” said former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Since the death of Racheal Wilson, the fire department no longer uses abandoned buildings for live burn training. Thursday, the city broke ground for a new live fire facility at the training academy.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake recalled the Wilson tragedy.

“It was a terrible day for the city and for the Baltimore City Fire Department. Since then, the fire department has made significant changes to our protocols and procedures to make trainees and our members safer,” she said.

And saving other lives may be Wilson’s legacy.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. That’s what this new burn building is all about,” said Assistant Chief Paul Moore, Baltimore City Fire Department.

The new structure will replace the outdated building, built in the 1950s. The recruits will train with BGE responders who manage utility issues.

The project will cost $1.4 million, with $974,406 coming from the city and $470,000 from Exelon, which was included as part of their merger with Constellation Energy in 2011.

The burn building is the first of many renovations planned for the academy.

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