Hazmat Response in Baltimore County

The Baltimore County, MD, Fire Department provides fire, EMS and rescue services to over 800,000 people in a 610-square-mile area surrounding the City of Baltimore on three sides. The county extends from the Chesapeake Bay in the southeast to the...


The Baltimore County, MD, Fire Department provides fire, EMS and rescue services to over 800,000 people in a 610-square-mile area surrounding the City of Baltimore on three sides. The county extends from the Chesapeake Bay in the southeast to the Pennsylvania border in the north. Coverage...


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An incident on Feb. 8, 2008, involved an overturned tanker truck hauling 3,000 gallons of ammonium nitrate slurry and 50 gallons of acetic acid. The vehicle was placarded with an oxidizer placard. Ammonium nitrate is an oxidizer used for making blasting agents. The acetic acid was neutralized by the hazmat team and hydraulic fluid was offloaded prior to uprighting the tanker.

Thanks to Battalion Chief Paul Lurz and firefighters at Baltimore County Station 14 for their assistance in the preparation of this column. Also, thanks to Melissa Heaver, registrar/research director of the Fire Museum of Maryland, for her assistance in providing information about the Baltimore County Fire Department's history.

For information about the Baltimore County Hazardous Materials Team, contact Battalion Chief Paul Lurz at plurz@baltimorecountymd.gov.

ROBERT BURKE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is the fire marshal for the University of Maryland Baltimore. He is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFSP), Fire Inspector II, Fire Inspector III, Fire Investigator and Hazardous Materials Specialist, and has served on state and county hazardous materials response teams. Burke is an adjunct instructor at the National Fire Academy and the Community College of Baltimore, Catonsville Campus, and the author of the textbooks Hazardous Materials Chemistry for Emergency Responders and Counter-Terrorism for Emergency Responders. He can be contacted at robert.burke@att.net.