Video: Baltimore FFs protest proposed closure of 2 engine companies
Union officials held rallies with local leaders and community members at the two stations housing the units marked for disbandment
By Laura French
BALTIMORE — Baltimore firefighters held rallies Wednesday to protest the proposed closure of two engine companies as part of the city's plan to cut costs.
Union officials, local leaders, active and retired firefighters and other supporters gathered at the Bush Street station in Pigtown that houses Engine 55 and the Cold Spring Lane station in northeast Baltimore that houses Engine 4 to call on Mayor Jack Young not to disband the units, according to WBAL-TV.
"Our message to Mayor Young today is simple: you now have the power to do the right thing. Amend, fix, do whatever it is you need to do, but do not close our neighborhood fire engines," said Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 President Richard "Dickie" Altieri, speaking at the Bush Street rally.
"These closures are not the right thing to do, especially when we're dealing with the biggest health issue in a generation," said City Council President Brandon Scott, who said he was honored to stand in solidarity with firefighters and colleagues at the rally.
Baltimore Fire Fighter rally to stop the closure of Engine 55 in the Pigtown community.Posted by Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 on Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Protesters wore union T-shirts and held signs reading "Keep Our City Safe," "Stop the Closures" and "#NOCLOSURES."
According to Local 734, Engine 55 responds to more than 1,800 calls annually and Engine 4 responds to more than 2,200 calls annually. The union asserts that "less apparatus means longer response times" in a flyer stating "Mayor Young believes your family is not entitled to fire or emergency medical protections in a timely manner."
A fire department spokesperson told WBAL-TV that if the engine companies are disbanded as proposed, the personnel from those companies will be relocated to other areas of the city. The mayor's office said it did not have a comment when contacted by WBAL-TV reporters.
Baltimore Fire Fighters rallying on the city's northeast side to speak out against the potential closing of Engine 4.Posted by Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 on Wednesday, June 24, 2020