BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford is proposing closing two fire companies as the city looks at necessary budget cuts to offset losses and costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the firefighters’ union, Engine 4 at 1201 E. Coldspring Avenue, which serves northeast Baltimore, as well as Engine 55 located at 1229 Bush Street, which serves the Pigtown neighborhood, would close if these cuts are approved.

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The two fire engines proposed for closure are responsible for bringing water to put out the fire and are equipped with medical devices to provide life-saving care.

The union called for residents in those neighborhoods to call the mayor, fire chief and their city councilmemmbers to opposed “these careless and dangerous permanent closures.”

 

Councilman Bill Henry issued a statement on the proposed closures:

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“During budget week, the City Council knew that two fire suppression companies would be disbanded due to budget cuts. Yesterday, I learned that the closures will effect: Engine 4 at 1201 E. Coldspring Ave; which serves the neighborhoods in North East Baltimore, as well as Engine 55 located at 1229 Bush St; which serves the Pigtown neighborhood.

As far as I know, every member of the City Council is against these closures. We voted for cuts to other parts of the budget which would have provided the Mayor with sufficient funds to restore the two fire companies that are being shut down. The Mayor has chosen NOT to use that money and is closing the fire companies anyway.

I’m calling on the Mayor to keep these fire suppression companies open. If you want to help Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 fight for these companies, focus your efforts on calling the Mayor’s office at 410-396-4900 and getting your neighbors to do so also. There is literally nothing more that the City Council can do that we haven’t already done. Only the Mayor can reopen these fire companies.”

City council recently proposed a $22 million in budget cuts to the police department that will be redirected to public services.

 

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