Today’s Modern Department
Today's modern Baltimore City Fire Department led by Fire Chief Niles R. Ford is an ISO Class 1 rated fire department. Baltimore City Fire Department operates with over 1,600 uniformed personnel and 69 civilian staff from 38 fire stations located throughout the city organized into six battalions. Each fire station is identified by the engine company that is stationed there except for Station 15 which formerly housed Truck 15 and now houses Engine 33. There are 29 engine companies, 15 truck companies, 21 medic units, 12 critical alert medic units, four engines that are identified as squads, Hazmat 1, Hazmat 2, technical decontamination unit, a dive rescue team, a collapse team, high-angle rescue team, two mobile air cascade units, two fireboats and two fire/rescue boats in active service. Baltimore's decontamination unit is one of five almost identical units in the metropolitan area purchased with Federal Grant Money through a grant applied for by the Baltimore City Fire Department. Additional units are located in Baltimore County, Howard County, Harford County, and Carroll County.
Fireboat #1, commissioned the "John R. Frazier" (named in honor of Bureau Commander John R. Frazier who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the Marine Division during his tenure with the fire department) in August 2007 is the first new steel hull boat purchased by the department in 47years. Fire/Rescue Boat #1, the department's other first line Marine Unit, is a 30 feet, 1,500 gpm boat commissioned December 2003. The department also has two reserve boats in its fleet. The special teams including the hazmat team are under the Special Operations Command. Baltimore City responds to an average of over 270,000 alarms per year, many of which are EMS related.
Hazmat Team History
Baltimore City Fire Department's hazmat team was formed in 1985 under the direction of now retired Battalion Chief C.B. "Buzz" Melton. The team was formed as a result of newly passed Federal Legislation requiring specialized operations and training for hazardous materials response. Brooklyn Station 35 and Truck 21 was the original home of the hazmat unit (Figure 5.13). It was relocated to the downtown "Super House" Steadman Station at 15 South Eutaw Street during 2001 along with Battalion Chief 6.