Read memos restricting interior firefighting on well-involved structures in Baltimore

Memo is in reaction to deaths of firefighters

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Scroll down for the two memos this week outlining Baltimore Fire Department operations at “well-involved” structures.

Jessica Albert, WJZ-TV, Baltimore Banner:

The Baltimore Fire Department is making adjustments to how it fights fires, including requiring firefighters to stay outside of blazing buildings until certain conditions are in place.

The new procedures were sent out in two memos to staff on Tuesday and Wednesday from Dante P. Stewart, Assistant Chief of Operations.

“The only time that the above directive will be deviated from, is if there is a credible report of a trapped individual with survivable spaces, and conditions dictate that the rescue can be affected safely without causing injury, or worse to departmental personnel,” Stewart wrote.

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Elizabeth Worthington, WMAR-TV:

It says crews are to attack a fire only from the outside, until a battalion chief tells them otherwise. Matthew Coster, president of Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734, wasn’t a fan of that directive.

“We have a job to do – save lives and property – and we don’t want to be handcuffed by some memo that says we aren’t able to do that,” Coster said.

Less than 24 hours later, a revised version was sent out. Firefighters are still supposed to attack fires from the outside, to start. But now, to enter a building, they only have to wait for the go-ahead from the first officer to arrive on the scene.

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