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Baltimore City down two fire trucks, union concerned about safety

Posted at 11:33 PM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-01 23:37:00-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — The City of Baltimore is down two of its 17 fire trucks that service 81 square miles.

It means the men and women who save lives don’t have the tools the Firefighters Union feels they should.

“They don’t feel that the fire department has their back but this union does and that’s my job to make sure that they feel safe when they come to work. When they don’t feel safe at work I have an issue with that,” said Dickie Altieri, President of Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734

There’s a difference between a fire truck and fire engine.

The engine puts the fire out and the truck is in charge of search and rescue.

“They are also doing ventilation,when you ventilate a building it helps to get the super heated gases out of the building. Thats to help the firefighters from the fire engine inside fighting the fire to get it out and protects them from the heat and from getting burned and helps clear the smoke out so the guys can do rescues more efficiently,” Altieri.

There’s no timeline on when the trucks will be back in service.

The city released a statement in part saying:

“When there is a Fire Engine or Fire Truck out of service, we employ our reserve units. If reserve units are not available, then we have Suppression Support Units and additional medic units available to provide services. “

The Mayor has purchased 3 trucks at $1.2 million a piece. The problem is the trucks take 7-9 months to build.

In the meantime, Altieri says the city should ask council to approve emergency funding to bring in some used trucks that are cheaper and train up employees on the new truck sitting outside the fire academy.

“Our men and women come into work everyday to protect the citizens of Baltimore everyday they come to work. We have our apparatus so deplorable it’s breaking down every other day. They do what they can to keep it in service.”

Rick Hoffman was a firefighter for 28 years and his son serves in one of the houses that is down a truck.

“I don’t want anyone getting hurt I certainly don’t want anyone getting killed, but something like that can happen when you operate ineffectively like this,” said Rick Hoffman, Former Baltimore Firefighter Union President.

Both asking the city to fix the problems before it’s too late.

“As you guys can see this wall right here, that's members who have died in the line of duty. I don’t want to add another badge on that wall.”