By Annie Rose Ramos June 24, 2020 at 6:33 pm
BALTIMORE (WJZ) —Two Baltimore City fire stations are facing cuts to their trucks and staff due to the Mayor’s 2021 budget.
“Jack Young, if you’re watching and hearing this, keep this engine open,” a protestor said Wednesday. A rallying cry could be heard to Mayor Jack Young at protests held at both stations Wednesday.
“Step up for firefighters and step up for our city,” said City Councilman Zeke Cohen (District 1). Cohen and roughly seventy people at each location called on the Mayor to keep stations from losing their truck engines and the firefighters that work on them.
“When you close fire engines you endanger the lives of citizens,” one protestor said.
The Mayor’s new budget is making cuts to Pigtown and Northeast Baltimore’s stations.
“This fire engine will be gone,” said Dickie Altieri, president of Firefighter’s Local 737 Union.
“This piece of apparatus is important because it carries a hose and water,” said Kyle Higley, a firefighter.
Leaving behind search and rescue trucks that don’t have hoses to put out fires and a community that City Council President Brandon Scott said has a tremendous amount of fires during the winter. “Help will take longer to arrive at their doorstep,” Higley said.
Higley and his brother, Justin, have each served at Pigtown’s Station 55 for nearly ten years. They attended Wednesday’s protest with their families. “We’re part of this community,” Higley said.
City council members said they have reallocated money to keep these engines open. A spokesperson for Scott’s office said the council was able to find $3.6 million for the fire budget to keep the fire truck engines and its staff in place. “We’ve done all we can do,” Scott added.
“We made strategic cuts within the city budget,” Cohen said, “to keep these companies from closing.”
But Mayor Young is standing by his budget, telling WJZ on Wednesday his decision is “final,”
Councilman Bill Henry called it a “stubborn act coming from City Hall.”
Mayoral candidate Brandon Scott said if he’s mayor, he’ll reverse it. But for now, the future of these fire engines is left uncertain.