The Baltimore City Fire Department’s (BCFD) new response reduction policy, which lowers the number of vehicles and battalion chiefs responding to initial fire alarms, went into effect on Sunday, September 1. Barely a day passed before an incident that the city’s rank-and-file firefighters’ union said shows the policy’s critical weaknesses. Department spokesperson Chief Roman Clark said the incident is being looked into.
A statement from Richard “Dickie” Altieri II, president of of the International Association of Firefighters Local 734, described an incident that happened Sunday evening, in which a 911 caller said that someone was trapped inside of a burning building. The call was designated a “Local Alarm,” Altieri wrote, and 17 firefighters responded to the scene instead of the previous standard of 30. “Our firefighters made entry into the structure without having the proper resources in place due to this new policy,” the statement read.