Council may vote on firehouse renaming

October 29, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,SUN REPORTER

A bill in the City Council that would name a firehouse after a veteran firefighter killed in the line of duty last year could receive a vote at tonight's council meeting - more than nine months after it was introduced.

City Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. said he will attempt a rare procedural move to force the legislation out of committee - where it has languished since January - and move it toward final passage.

The legislation would name the fire station at 4315 Mannasota Ave. after Allan M. Roberts, a 19-year veteran who was killed after he entered a burning Greektown rowhouse last October with two other firefighters. Roberts collapsed inches from the front door.

"Out of respect for the family and firefighters that he worked with, it's the right thing to do," said D'Adamo, who represents the 2nd District, which is where the fire station is located.

Twelve members of the 15-member council are named as sponsors, but the legislation has failed to advance because not enough members have shown up to vote for it at committee meetings. In a memo to the council, the Fire Department took no position on the bill.

Richard G. Schluderberg, the president of the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union, said the union supports the measure. He said the fire company and the union will raise the roughly $7,000 needed for a sign.

"I think it's appropriate to name a firehouse after someone who died in the line of duty," Schluderberg said.

Roberts was the first city firefighter killed in the line of duty in 11 years. Four months later, fire recruit Racheal M. Wilson was killed during a live fire training exercise.

Bills in the City Council are typically assigned to a committee and do not come back to the full council for a final vote unless approved by the committee. Council rules allow a majority of members to force a bill out of committee, moving it toward final passage, though it is rarely attempted.

A spokesman for City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, a sponsor of the bill, said he could not comment until Rawlings-Blake returned from an overseas trip.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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