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Loss of firefighting units proposed in city budget

Posted at 7:49 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 23:22:32-04

Firefighters know what they signed up for — but hearing positions might be cut during a pandemic is a punch in the gut.

As part of Baltimore City’s proposed budget, some units would be closed.

There’s 38 total stations in the city.

This would get rid of units in firehouses that have more than one.

Dickie Altieri, the President of IAFF Local 374, said firefighters are against any cuts.

“That’s going to reduce the amount of firefighters we have in our local neighborhood firehouses,” Altieri said. “That could possibly increase our response times to the citizens who have a 9-1-1 response.”

The proposed budget released by the city today includes the closure of two suppression companies.

That would mean two less trucks or engines.

“Seconds count when it comes to fire,” Altieri said. “Statistics show that a fire can double in size every 30 seconds.”

Putting a strain on the surrounding units when a fire happens.

“That unit will pick him them additional runs putting more workload on them members,” said Steve Horchar, the President of the Fire Officers Union. “The units in the surrounding areas will also pick up because there is a good possibility that unit may be out and someone else is coming in to fill their spot.”

Horchar called it a gut punch for these front line workers who are already risking their lives every time they go on a call.

“This is a killer, our members, Dickie’s and my members have been doing a great job,” Horchar said. “I mean as Union Presidents we could be more proud of the job they are doing.”

The union reps said they understand coronavirus has put an unexpected strain on all budgets.

They are hopeful they can come of an agreement with the Mayor that doesn’t require them to get rid of any services.