Perhaps you’ve noticed the particular autumnal smokiness to the air in Baltimore over the past couple of days. Unfortunately for Baltimore, it’s not just the afterglow of fireworks; the city has seen several serious fires break out over the past two weeks. In the past couple of days alone, we’ve seen a car fire on 83 that made post-Super Bowl traffic even worse and a 4-alarm fire at Penn Lumber in West Baltimore. Even more scary: one of the crucial truck companies that helped put out the Penn Lumber fire (and helped resuscitate a victim who “otherwise would surely have died”) just barely escaped being shut down last year.
We’ve written here about cuts to the fire department budget and some of the ingenious ways the city has tried to raise money to fund its fire program. Baltimore’s Truck 10, which serves the West Baltimore neighborhood where the Penn Lumber fire broke out, has been in operation since 1967. It was slated for closure last year until some last-minute Grand Prix money enabled the mayor to continue funding Truck 10 — for the rest of the year, at least.
“The Mayor’s decision to keep Truck 10 open, despite the proposal to close it for financial reasons, continues to save lives,” Rick Hoffman, president of the International Association of Firefighters local 734, said in a statement. “I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming show of support through prayers, texts, calls and emails. I’m pleased to say all five firefighters who had been admitted to the hospital have, at this time, been released. They are beaten up, bruised and battered, but luckily, they escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.”
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