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News Opinion Readers Respond

Citizens should demand a fully funded fire department

In the article titled "Fire squad might relocate" (April 13), Baltimore City Fire Department Chief James S. Clack states, "When the mayor was able to find the money to keep Truck 10, that changed the equation."

The article goes on to state that the current citywide arrangement of companies is based on choices made when Truck 10 was lost. With Truck 10 still in service, he said, the deployment of companies needs to be tweaked. Am I now to understand that if Truck 10, which is located in West Baltimore, had closed then, the figures noted in the article such as Truck 5 which has seen an increase in calls of nearly 65 percent and Engine 6 and Truck 1 who have seen an increase in calls of 41 percent and 43 percent respectively, would not have occurred, considering those three companies are situated in East Baltimore? That is ludicrous!

Keeping Truck 10 open has no bearing on the increase in calls being handled by those east side companies. The workload for those companies has increased solely because of the cuts made last year to the fire department! Chief Clack also goes on to say that the police reallocate resources all the time. This is not about reallocating resources. This is about robbing Peter (West Baltimore) to pay Paul (East Baltimore) for the serious mistake of closing Truck 15 and Squad 11 in 2012. During the many community meetings and City Council hearings in 2012, we spoke out against these closings and warned of the repercussions that the citizens would face along with the tremendous risk our members would be placed in. But those words fell on deaf ears. The plan to move a west side company to the east side will only shift the risk across town.

It is time for the citizens of Baltimore to rise up and tell City Hall and the chief that they will not allow further cuts and that they want their fire department to be fully funded and to stop this penny pinching way of providing a core service such as public safety!

Michael B. Campbell, Baltimore

The writer is President of Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964.

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