About the Baltimore City Fire Department
Led by Fire Chief Jim Clack, the Baltimore City Fire Department serves a geographic area of 81 square miles and a population of more than 640,000 residents. The department has over 1800 members who are divided into two management branches – Emergency Operations and Planning and Administration. The department responds to more than 235,000 emergency 911 calls per year.
Assistant Chief of Operations Donald Heinbuch oversees the work of 4 Shift Commanders and the EMS Deputy Chief. Operations personnel work out of 40 neighborhood fire stations. These stations house about 100 firefighting, emergency medical and special operations companies. These units include 36 engine companies, 19 ladder companies, 22 first-line medic units, 4 critical alert medic units, 4 rescue squads and a heavy rescue as well as specialty units such as hazmat trucks, collapse rescue vehicles, mobile command vehicles and various fire boats.
Assistant Chief of Planning and Administration Joe Pryor oversees five support divisions which are each headed by a Deputy Chief. These divisions include the Fire Academy, Community Risk Reduction (the Fire Marshal), Information Technology Services, Logistics and finally Support Services. Chief Pryor is also responsible for the department’s business plan.
Prior to 1858 Baltimore’s fire department was an all volunteer organization. In December of 1859 the City Council officially created the city’s first paid, professional fire department made up of one Truck and Four Engine Companies. Eventually, the Baltimore City Fire Department replaced the all volunteer force completely. In June of 1927 five ambulances were placed in service and thus began the EMS Division.
By 1938 the Fire Incendiary Bureau is created which eventually became the Fire Investigation Bureau headed by the Fire Marshal. In 2008, all the supply, maintenance and procurement functions of the department were consolidated into one Logistics Division, adding the final piece to what is today Baltimore City Fire Department.