Fire Dept. promotions become family affair


Yesterday's promotion ceremony for Baltimore firefighters marked the continuation of a family tradition for at least two of the 19 firefighters who moved up the ladder.

Martin H. Catterton's father was a deputy chief who spent 44 years with the department until he retired a couple of years ago. The younger Mr. Catterton, a 23-year veteran, has become chief of the B shift of the department's 5th Battalion and will supervise personnel on one of four rotating shifts.

Before his promotion, he had served 14 years as captain of Truck Company 6 at 1227 S. Hanover St.

Chief Catterton, 45, has other relatives in the fire department. His uncle James Catterton is captain of Engine Company 23 -- at 15 S. Eutaw St. -- with more than 30 years of service. His brother Charles is a lieutenant with Engine Company 47 in the 2600 block of Washington Blvd. and has about 22 years of service. Brother William, a pump operator with Engine Company 53 on Swann Ave., is the rookie of the group with 10 years of service.

Another uncle, Frank Mate, is a smoke-eater too.

"He's a Marine pilot -- on a fire boat," Martin Catterton said proudly.

Arnold Turner, 36, a 14-year veteran of the department, who was promoted to chief of the D shift of the department's 4th Battalion, will be supervisor of five stations and approximately 55 men. "I'll be in charge of [handling] fires for one-eighth of the city," he said.

Chief Turner served as captain for four years at Engine Company 3, at 6714 Pulaski Highway. It "feels great" to be promoted to battalion chief, he said.

Chief Turner's father, Ed, was a 31-year fire department veteran, who worked in the maintenance bureau. He has one brother who is a lieutenant with Aerial Tower 124 and another who is on a waiting list to join the department.

He has two sons -- Christopher, 17, a student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Jason, 16, a student at the School for the Arts.

The promotions were part of a project to "streamline the department," said Fire Chief Herman Williams Jr.

Chief Hector Torres, director of public information, said that eight deputy chief positions that reported directly to Chief Williams are being replaced by four assistant chiefs. Eight battalion commander positions were also eliminated, and their functions will be performed by four shift commanders.

Chief Williams said the department was "a bit top-heavy," adding: "We created new positions to better manage the department. In doing so, a lot of promotions were involved."

Eight vacancies resulted from the creation of the two new ranks -- assistant chief and shift commander. The assistant chiefs, who will report directly to Chief Williams, will oversee department operations; the shift commanders will direct firefighters in the field.

The assistant chief positions were filled by Clyde J. Smith, fire loss management; Gary E. Frederick, operations; Raymond Lehr, planning and technical services; and Michael E. Dalton, administration.

The new shift commanders are: Lester A. Helfrich, Carl E. McDonald, Joseph R. Dillon and Donald W. Heinbuch.

Two officers were promoted to captain -- Thomas A. Hren and James L. Porter of the fire communications bureau -- and two to lieutenant -- Michael B. Campbell of Engine 4 and Arthur F. Cate, III of Aerial Tower 122.

Five officers were promoted to emergency vehicle drivers: Randy Mont of Truck Company 29; Kevin P. Rock and James A. Goss of Truck Company 4; Karl N. Johnson of Truck Company 9; and Alexander M. Gereny of Truck Company 16.

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