Baltimore Cop Killed in Crash With Fire Engine

BALTIMORE --

City police officials said an officer whose cruiser hit a fire truck Wednesday morning has died from his injuries.

Officer Thomas Portz, 32, who served in the western district, went into cardiac arrest on the way to Shock Trauma and died shortly thereafter.

"We lost a hero this morning in a terrible traffic accident," said Fire Department Chief James Clack.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. He said a fire truck was responding to a medical call at Calhoun and Franklin streets (Route 40) in west Baltimore when the police cruiser rear-ended it while it was at a standstill.

Four members of the fire engine company were also taken to Shock Trauma to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

The police cruiser sustained heavy damage. The engine company truck received moderate damage.

"What caused the collision, we don't know at this point," said fire department spokesman Kevin Cartwright.

It wasn't clear whether Portz was responding to a call or had his lights and sirens activated.

Portz leaves behind a wife and three children.

"I ask the citizens of Baltimore to keep his family and friends in their thoughts and prayers," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "The people of Baltimore owe Officer Portz their gratitude for dedicating his life to public safety.”

"He was well-loved by not only his wife, but by the officer he worked with. They are all taking this very hard," the mayor said.

Officer Portz worked for about 10 years with the department.

Sgt. Brian Atwood told WBAL-AM that Portz was "a man who made everyone laugh." |

Portz is the third member of the Baltimore police force to be killed in less than a month.

Detective Brian Stevenson was after what authorities called a dispute over a parking space in Canton.

Sian James, 25, was charged with first-degree murder in the incident. Police said he hit Stevenson with a blunt object.

Officer James Fowler died in a car crash on his way to a training exercise in late September.

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