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Newspaper connects Baltimore fire chief nominee to old case involving 50 pipe bombs

James Wallace issues statement saying 1992 arrest over explosives was a “mistake for which I was appropriately reprimanded.”

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Interesting Baltimore Sun story about Baltimore fire chief nominee James Wallace’s 1992 arrest for possessing more than 50 pipe bombs. Despite reporter Emily Opilo discovery that the case was expunged, there’s no doubt it occurred. It’s confirmed by both Wallace and Mayor Brandon Scott. It happened in Bel Air, Maryland when Wallace was 23 years old and a Baltimore Fire Department paramedic. The mayor’s office says they were aware of Wallace’s record.

Mayor Scott issued a statement saying, “One mistake during your youth and standing up to protect your family are not disqualifications for public service.”

Wallace’s statement called it a “mistake for which I was appropriately reprimanded.”

Here are excerpts from Opilo’s article:

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s nominee to lead the city’s fire department once faced charges related to his possession of homemade explosives, a circumstance that Scott’s administration said it was aware of and should not disqualify him from overseeing the department.

According to a July 1992 Baltimore Sun article about the incident, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office was called one night to the Greenbrier Hills apartment complex, now Seasons Apartments, in Bel Air for a report of an explosion. Police and fire marshal’s investigators found a homemade explosive device had been detonated in the street.

Officials found explosives inside an apartment rented by another man at Greenbrier Hills. Wallace, then 23, and the second man, then 29, were charged with possession of pipe bombs and possession of explosives without a license, according to the Sun report. Another charge of violating state laws on fireworks possession was levied against the other man, the newspaper reported.

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