Snow lingers on fire station sidewalks

Watchdog

Slippery conditions persist more than week after storms, city's pleas to clear walkways

  • Brenda Zeiters steps gingerly in front the firehouse. Officials say the sidewalk situation has improved.
Brenda Zeiters steps gingerly in front the firehouse. Officials… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
February 21, 2010|By Liz F. Kay | liz.kay@baltsun.com

The problem: The sidewalks by a Riverside fire station go unshoveled.

The backstory: More than a week has passed since two back-to-back storms crippled Baltimore.

The news during and after the snowstorms was filled with city officials' pleas to residents and businesses, imploring them to assist with the cleanup by shoveling snow off sidewalks, and from storm drains and fire hydrants.

One might ask whether some of the departments should also be doing their part.

A Watchdog spy spotted treacherous walking conditions last week in front of the fire station on Fort Avenue at Riverside Avenue.

This firehouse is not used by firefighters, but rather by the Fire Department Safety Office and the Fire Department Bike Team, according to fire officials. The bike team responds to medical calls at festivals or events such as the holiday fireworks displays at the Inner Harbor to begin treatment before a medic unit arrives.

The team presumably would also benefit from ice-free sidewalks.

But Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman, said the station has been emptied for repairs.

When it was in use, the staff assigned to the station would routinely shovel snow from the nearby sidewalk and ramp as necessary.

However, given the unprecedented accumulations after the recent snowstorms, "a great deal of concentration had been directed toward clearing the ramps and sidewalks of operating stations and, secondarily, the auxiliary fire stations," he said.

Cartwright assured Watchdog that every effort was being made to alleviate any hazards, including ice and snow. By Friday, a fire official said the front of the station had been cleared.

Who can fix this: The shift commander's office, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 410-396-3086. City residents can also call 311.

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