Baltimore 2000: What's New In The Baltimore City Fire Department

Joseph Louderback describes the latest developments, programs and apparatus at the Baltimore City Fire Department.


As the Firehouse Emergency Services Expo, Firehouse® Magazine and Firehouse.com return to Baltimore for our 2000 conference and exposition, we take a look at the newest developments in the Baltimore City Fire Department. Photo by Joseph Louderback This new four-bay fire...


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As the Firehouse Emergency Services Expo, Firehouse® Magazine and Firehouse.com return to Baltimore for our 2000 conference and exposition, we take a look at the newest developments in the Baltimore City Fire Department.

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Photo by Joseph Louderback
This new four-bay fire station protects Baltimore's Coldstream neighborhood. Assigned to the $2.5 million, 14,000-square-foot facility are Engine 33, Truck 5 and Medic 16.

The debut of its first "community-friendly" fire station, a high-tech 911 center and the addition of 10 new pumpers to its apparatus fleet makes the Baltimore City Fire Department an agency on the move in the dawn of the 21st century.

New Fire Stations

The first of three new fire stations serves Baltimore's Coldstream neighborhood at 25th Street at Kirk Avenue. Engine 33, Truck 5 and Medic 16 moved into the one-story, four-bay station in March. The $2.5 million, 14,000 square-foot facility emphasizes community access and expanded living arrangements.

"It's a prototype based on comfort and logistical advantages," says Chief Hector Torres, the department's public information officer. A community meeting room, separate sleeping quarters for females along with user-friendly enhancements that make firehouse life easier.

Plans are on tap throughout America for firefighters to interact with the communities they serve. The station's meeting area, which can be sectioned off from the kitchen with a room divider, allows small groups like community boards to gather. Since it adjoins the main entrance lobby, the area is delegated away from high-traffic areas should an alarm occur.

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Photo by Joseph Louderback
Truck 5's logo: "A Touch of Glass."

Ease of operation is found at every corner. A wide hallway borders the perimeter of the apparatus floor, separating it so members can move safely through the building without navigating between returning units. Pull-down utility cords include a power supply charger, air and diesel exhaust hoses and spotlights for under-carriage repairs.

"It's all right here," says Firefighter Michael Brown, who spent seven years in Truck 5's station on nearby Harford Road. Just inside the bay doors is an electric eye that senses when firefighters and apparatus have exited the building so the doors can close. Controls regulate new traffic signals placed opposite the station apron across 25th Street. An extra bay allows for inclusion of future units like a battalion chief.

Sunlight pours into the station through glass panels, literally making Truck 5's "House of Glass" moniker ring true. A geo-thermal tubing system draws natural temperature from the earth to heat and cool the station. The communications center watch desk overlooking the apparatus floor is equipped with a wall-to-wall communications console. Access panels on the backside allow easy repair work.

Private sleeping and bathroom areas enhance conditions for the department's female members. Handicapped-accessible shower stalls with bathing seats are included. Firefighters say their new digs may take some getting used to. They're transplanting historic mementos like an old walnut gong from their former station. Truck 5's "House of Glass" logo will soon smile down from the apparatus bay wall. The old firehouse's fish tank welcomes visitors in the carpeted entrance lobby.

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Photo by Joseph Louderback
Firefighter Michael Brown displays a geo-thermal tubing system that draws natural temperature from the earth to heat and cool the fire station.

Another station will be built near Fort McHenry in the southeastern Locust Point area while plans are on the drawing board for the third new station in the Edmondson Village section of West Baltimore.

911 Dispatch

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