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Baltimore bill pushes FF body cameras, restrictions on entering vacant homes

The proposal was put forth in the wake of the deadly January fire that killed three city firefighters


Fire officials gather during efforts to retrieve the body of a deceased firefighter caught in the building collapse while battling a two-alarm fire in a vacant row home, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

By Rachel Engel

BALTIMORE — A new bill proposed by a city councilwoman would place restrictions on when firefighters could enter a burning home in the city, as well as require firefighters to wear body cameras, the Baltimore Sun reported.

In the wake of the deadly fire that claimed the lives of three city firefighters last month, Councilwoman Danielle McCray introduced a bill this week that would prevent firefighters from entering vacant buildings if more than 25% of the structure has been consumed by flames.

Below the 25% threshold, firefighters would only be permitted to enter the building if the crew “confirmed” someone was inside and if “structural and hazardous conditions permit a safe entry.”

The bill would also require firefighters to wear body cameras at fire scenes.


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“Although we cannot bring back those we have lost, as a council we are in a position to abate the great consequences of future eras,” McCray said during Tuesday’s city council meeting. “And we can see to it that safety measure and equipment are in place to ensure Baltimore City does not incur such great loss again on our watch.”

Though McCray said her bill was based on best practices, citing both the NFPA and IAFC as resources for the legislation, local fire leaders are objecting to many of its proposals, and said they were not consulted on the language or recommendations.

Following the deadly fire, Mayor Brandon Scott ordered a citywide review of vacant properties and how they are being evaluated and handled.