Closing fire stations: A permanent solution to a temporary problem

May 08, 2012

Your recent article about Truck Company 10 accurately portrayed the role this and other units played in the rescue of three young children from an early morning apartment building fire on West Lexington Street ("Union lauds fire co. set to disband," May 7).

Truck 10, which along with Truck Company 15 and Squad 11, is slated to be closed permanently on July 1, has already taken 2,212 runs this year, including 79 reports of fire. Each of these three companies responds to thousands of calls from citizens every year. Now the city's remaining companies will have to pick up the slack.

Heart attacks are a leading cause of death among firefighters, and the additional stress that will be thrust upon the remaining men and women of our department does not bode well for reducing that statistic. In addition, the closures will add to safety concerns among those who are left.

One reason given by the Fire Department for the closures is the low number of fire deaths in 2011. But has the Police Department reduced the number of squad cars simply because the homicide rate is at an all-time low?

The Baltimore City Fire Department is already a bare bones operation, and closing companies is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

When a fire company closes in Baltimore it never comes back. We need better choices from our leadership when it comes to our members' safety. This decision doesn't come close.

Michael B. Campbell, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore Fire Officer union IAFF L-964.

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