Baltimore Sun

Firefighters behaving badly

I ventured down to the opening ceremony of the Firehouse Expo on Thursday expecting a feel-good speech and not much news. Then the city's fire chief, James S. Clack, stands up and admonishes visiting firefighters to behave.

Apparently, last year, visitors got a little out of control, pulled fire alarms and emptied stand-pipe water valves in the city-owned Hilton Convention Center Hotel near Camden Yards. At least a dozen rooms got flooded and damage, according to Clack, ran into the "hundreds of thousands" of dollars. At left, firefighters arrive at the conference. The photo is by The Sun's Barbara Haddock-Taylor.

The city's fire union blames the damage on visiting volunteers. Another city official hinted that maybe visiting soccer fans (in town for the Chelsea-AC Milan match) might be to blame. But the stand-pipes (akin to indoor fire hydrants) can only be opened with a firefighter's tool, so that might narrow down the suspects.


No one was every charged and officials said those responsible were never found. But poor Clack had to use his opening address to lecture the visitors about childish behavior. This is one of the city's biggest conventions, brining up to $15 million into the city. It's been coming to Baltimore for 27 years.

Apparently it needs a little adult supervision.