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Baltimore City announces closing of Trucks 10 & 15 & Squad 11. Other companies moving. End of rotating closures.

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PowerPoint: Baltimore City Fire Department Strategic Analysis, Presentation on ending rotating fire company closures, April 5, 2012

IAFF Local 734 says citizens lives placed in danger

Companies scheduled to close on July 1: Truck 10 at 1503 W. Lafayette Avenue; Truck 15 at 1223 N. Montford Avenue; Squad 11 at 5714 Eastern Avenue.

Companies scheduled to move on July 1: Engine 33 from 801 E. 25th Street to 1223 N. Montford Avenue; Truck 27 from 2700 Glenn Avenue to 5500 Reisterstown Road; Truck 6 from 1001 E. Fort Avenue to 15 S. Eutaw Street; Rescue 1 from 15 S. Eutaw Street to 1001 E. Fort Avenue.


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.

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.

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

Baltimore Sun:

“We’re not laying off any firefighters,” Clack said. “We’re not closing any fire stations. We’re taking some firefighters from one area of the city and moving them to other stations.”

“Obviously, I don’t want to have anybody closed,” said Rick Hoffman, president of the firefighters union. “It makes our job a hell of a lot harder. We’re at bare bones right now. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. … They are gambling with the lives of the citizens of Baltimore and the lives of the firefighters serving Baltimore.”

Under the current plan, 72 firefighters would be transferred and 21 officers would be demoted, including six captains and nine lieutenants. The changes, Clack said, make the department more efficient and could improve response times.


Clack said the move will put a ladder company amid all the downtown high rises. 

“We don’t want to have holes in our coverage in the city, especially for  EMS and fire. We want to be able to get there (to fire calls) within five  minutes,” Clack said. 

Baltimore Firefighters Union President Rick Hoffman said replacing Truck  6 with the city’s only specialized rescue unit will leave a peninsula in south  Baltimore unmanned and exposed. 

“Their response was, ‘It only takes an extra couple minutes to get down  there,’” Hoffman said. “Hold a match to your backside for two extra minutes and  let me know how that feels.”

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Chief Jim Clack, Baltimore City Fire Department photo.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Spike

    Response times “could” improve??? Simply disgusting….

  • Hozer

    Rotating( rolling ) Brownouts are the Fire Chiefs way of getting the public used to a certain fire company(s) not being in their particular firehouse at any given time. It makes it easier for the public to get used to NOT seeing a firetruck in their neighborhood. Then they are gone forever and then it’s too late.

    PS…you gotta LOVE when a Fire Chief/politician actually says that response times will improve with the closures !!! How is that logistically possible ??? Feed people BS and tell them it’s caviar.

  • the ear

    I don’t see closing companies and moving others as a solution to the problem.The rotating closures were not good but this redeployment is worse.Disbanding twoo busy truck companies puts a burden on the others.Again the citizens will suffer and the members of BCFD continue to put underextrme pressure to do the job.
    Clack it is time for you to leave.

  • mdff

    Correct me if I am wrong but closing 2 of the busiest trucks (10 & 15)in the city makes no sense. Puting the only Heavy Rescue in Baltimore City on Fort Ave puts it further away from a central location. Putting Truck 6 downtown, didn’t they recently close Truck 2 which was located at the same station?

    Baltimore City has been on a steep population decline for nearly 50 years so I suppose a reduction in the fire department would be required, this go far beyond resonable.

    Chief Quack is just a tool with no ties to the city, a city that wants to be considered world class (not a chance these days) and a fire department that was once, in the now distant past, considered second to none. Better tweek the mutual aid plan once again.

    I am a long time area resident with no direct connection to the situation. It is sad to see it’s continued demise and the generations of liberal,corrupted,one party control that follows the same failed path to perpetuate the decline.

  • Commenter

    Of course the union, and citizens, should fight for a better FD budget…

    …However, with what budget they have, permanent closures are much more responsible than random rotating closures. They force you to deal with the cards you’ve got, rather than letting you keep shuffling them and hope no one notices you’ve got a weak hand.

    At the end of the day, you’re trying to save lives and, to a lesser extent, property. That’s how you should measure a fire department. We *think* that meeting response time standards like NFPA 1710 (or scoring well for staffing and company distribution with ISO) will help that. If you can meet those standards, and reduce fire deaths, it doesn’t matter what companies you used to have.

    • anonymous

      If you read the articles/reports you’ll see that their response times are not meeting the standards, and in fact are worsening.

  • Mike P

    It would appear that the fire department is not a priority in the city. Or at least not a priority until something is on fire. The city that bleeds is going to become the city that burns.

  • PG County Housesiren

    Public safety includes fire and police. Why is the Baltimore Fire Department being shrunk every time there is a budget crisis, but the police budget is always fully funded? Because the public would not tolerate the police force being reduced. The fire department is already stretched about as thin as it can get.

    That being said, if three crews need to be eliminated, Baltimore needs to think outside the box and not just disband companies. They should consider staffing stations, not units on an as needed basis. For example, instead of disbanding Squad 11, Baltimore should have the crew in the station cross staff Squad 11 and Truck 20. That way both units would still be available, although only one at a time. Prince George’s, and to some extent, Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties use this model every day to deal with limited staffing. However, the ideal solution is to fully fund the fire department

  • Medic44

    I think Chief Clack tried the same thing when he was chief in Minneapolis.

  • ppfd

    I’m lost, where is the cost savings? No members are being lost, the city owns the tricks and stations with no mention of selling either. So whats the point? To beef up the reserve fleet.

    And someone help out the hick FF here, you cut trucks and the response gets better??

  • Anonymous

    Mark my words, kids. By this time next year the closed companies will still be closed (gone forever) AND there will be talk of more rotating closures.

  • UsetobeDC

    You guys are kidding right???

    Close companies permanently is better than Firehouse Roulette???

    At least there is a possibility of the money coming back and the end to Firehouse Roulette. Once a company closes it is FOREVER!!!

    And to say staff stations and not companies???

    Are you guys on crack???

    Stop giving handouts to get reelected and use that money to fund the Fire Department fully.
    That is what scumbag politicians need to do!!

    Guys need to stop with the genius ideas!!!

    You’re not helping, only killing the Fire Departments!!!

  • UsetobeDC

    Love the comment “Hold a match to your backside for two extra minutes and let me know how that feels”

  • Mike

    It is a sad state of affairs when you put a dollar amount on public safety. The people that will suffer the most will be the firefighters and the citizens, meanwhile the Mayor and City Council will probably not even be affected by the moves.

  • Bullets

    Maybe BFDs budget is smaller due to the decline in actual fire and an increase in medical emergencies and crime. The budget should reflect the nature of the call volume, which means more cops, emts medics and ambulances and less fire suppression apparatus

    While it easy to play the safety game, and use a chicken little campaign (the sky is falling), the call stats are not reflected in staffing and equipment

    • Jim Miller

      Are you sure? Are you on the job somewhere?

      You have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

      Clack needs to return back up north and let someone that has been a member of the department get promoted and get this crap straight.

      Cutting these companies like he has is going to cost more lives of citizens as well as the members of the department.

  • Brokenhearted

    Isn’t Truck 10 one of their busiest Truck Companies in the city, if not the busiest?

  • fedup

    Bullets the bCfd continues to be one of the busiest fire departments in the nation for suppression runs…. get the facts straight before you run your mouth

  • Anonymous

    BCFD is one of the busiest departments in the nation. The population might be smaller but the city is still the same size. 95% of the time companies are the first one on scene of a medic run. There still are fires every day even if there are less people in the city and these fire need to be put out every day. Fires 99% of the time do not start them selfs. Chief Clack and the Command Staff are a bunch of MORONS while they enjoy a $15,000 RAISE the Citizens, Men, and Women of the BCFD SUFFER every day. “PRIDE PROTECTING PEOPLE” will never DIE That is our MOTO

    • Bullets

      If engine companies are the first on scene of medic runs, then they need more ambulances. If the city is burning every day, how can they justify sending fire apparatus to medical when there are fires working?

      Looking at the call stats, looks like Baltimore should have similar EMS staffing as fire staffing.

      Look at the top 5 busiest FDs in the country, all of them do more EMS then fire activity. In some cases its significant, only Chicago has an almost even split

  • Bill

    I hate these dopes that keep pulling the “EMS up, Fires down” line, they are the same ones that say “Gotta stay outside, lightweight construction.” That might be the case in your boring suburb, but in the cities, we continue to burn.(and in a city, new construction techniques don’t effect all those 80+ year old buildings in my first due) Sure, the amount of fires may have decreased slightly, but at the same time our staffing in most cities has been going down. Closing companies is nothing new in American cities, it’s just been kicked into high gear since they have an excuse to use now. I’d like to see the fires per firefighter, now that many cities across the country have cut companies and the staffing on those companies.

    You know what though? That really isn’t all that relevant. Doesn’t matter if you go to 20 fires a year or 200, you still need the same amount of manpower to put it out, and it still needs to get there quickly. In fact, despite advances in detection and FD notification, fires are growing quicker and more aggressively than in the past and the smoke they are putting out is extremely toxic. A speedy response by not only the first company, but of the entire assignment is essential.

    The fact of the matter in Baltimore and every other city in the U.S., is they need to get their priorities straight. Citizens need police on the street, firemen when the house catches on fire, water out of the tap, garbage picked up, and potholes patched. If you can’t fund that, stop funding all these stupid projects and touchy feely garbage. We all know you’re doing it to get that new development or building named after you.

    • Bullets

      Decreased slightly? FDNY did 43K fire calls in 2010, compared to 1.2mil EMS, sounds like more then slight differences

  • Anonymous

    Closing fire companys is not good at all I was in the fire service for years and Why is it everytime the city officials have budget issues the target public safety let them statrt with all the waste in other places first like public works I see waste all the time in my public works department driving around doing nothing and i see waste in the schood department as well school bueses out driving around doing nothing when the kid are in school.The buses are to be sitting idle while the kids are in school that is waste also i see waste in the schools how many support staff do we need for the department heads if we get rid of the non usefull staff and all the waste in in palces like schools and the public works and other departments fire and police and ems would not be targed so mutch

  • disgusted firefighter

    How about saving a couple million dollars on the free bus service downtown, cutting the take home cars for the administrators who don’t need to respond twenty four-seven. How about retracting the pay raises for the administration chiefs, the city council members, eliminating all the chiefs in upper level management with less people to supervise…there is so much fiscal mismanagement in the city by so called educated career politicians who have know idea how to work a real job, and who will collect a pension regardless of their performance on the job.

  • Fed-Up-In-Fed-Hill

    Funny how one of the units that’s providing some of the coverage for companies being closed is a company that ITSELF HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR YEARS?

    Truck 2 – Maybe their slogan should be ‘Ghost Truckin’ instead of ‘Downtown Truckin’. Hell, I might transfer. I haven’t heard them take a BS smoke detector install yet!

  • Brian McAllister

    And how many of those EMS runs effects hundreds of people at one time? A fire in a highrise could potentially kill hundreds. The toothache at four in the morning…..probably not a big deal. EMS is up because people use it as a primary doctor. You can fluff it all you want but its true.