Justin Courtney

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Recent News

A Fallen Brother

Thomas Johnson "Tim" Byrd, a retired Baltimore City firefighter who also worked for BGE, died of myelofibrosis, a blood disease, Friday at a hospital in Glendale, Ariz. The former White Hall resident was 66.

Mr. Byrd was born in Baltimore and raised on Yolando Road in Ednor Gardens. He graduated from City College in 1958 and was captain of the football team. After graduation, he worked as a lineman for BGE before joining the Baltimore Fire Department in 1970. He was an apparatus driver for Engine Company 18 and Truck Company 5. He retired in 1990.

Mr. Byrd enjoyed visiting the Southwest and moved to Glendale, Ariz., permanently in 1997. He maintained an interest in Native Americans and their culture, and liked visiting reservations, museums and national parks.

Mr. Byrd donated his body to the University of Arizona School of Medicine. Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday. Also surviving are his wife of 27 years, the former Mary Dove; a stepdaughter, Laurie Painton of Salt Lake City; and four stepgrandsons.

Department to Accept Applications in June

        On June 1st-June 7th, the Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD) will accept applications for vacant Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician positions. The Fire Department is seeking young, mature men and women who are interested in pursuing a fulfilling and exciting career through serving the residents of Baltimore City.

BCFD recruitment director James Gardner, speaking on the open positions, said, “This is a great opportunity for young individuals to partake in a career that is courageous, thrilling, and fulfilling.” Gardner added, “The benefits of the job go far beyond monetary gains, as a firefighter has the satisfaction of knowing that he or she protects others every day.

The Baltimore City Fire Department holds only two hiring campaigns a year, and during this session the Department is looking to hire 500 applicants. Any prior experience with emergency services is a plus, especially any work with volunteer fire fighting. Applications can be found at any fire house during the dates listed above.

Seating is limited to the first 1,000 applications returned and accepted by the Fire Department. Pre-test study guides will be given to the first 1,000 applicants. to the first 1,800 applicants. All applications must be returned in person to the Baltimore City Fire Department Headquarters no later than March 3rd. Headquarters are located on 414 N. Calvert Street Baltimore, MD, 21202.

This Week's "In the Spotlight"- Jeremy Mitchell

Baltimore, MD—“I was sound asleep,” says twenty-two year old Jeremy Mitchell, rookie firefighter with the Baltimore City Fire Department.

“Out of no where the lights turned on, the bell rang, and within two minutes I was in my turnout gear and out the door at four o’clock in the morning. It was so thrilling that I almost forgot my helmet.” Mitchell was on his way to the first real fire of his new exciting career.

Within 5 minutes of leaving, the fire truck had arrived at the scene. During the ride, the radio operator had come over the intercom and announced, “Development fire on 245 East Fort Avenue, three- story townhouse, occupants reported trapped inside.”

If occupants are reported trapped inside a building, as in this case, the procedures to be followed differ greatly from those applied to fighting a fire in a vacant building. In essence, the main goal of the firefighter changes from putting out the fire, to finding a way around it and locating the victim. Mitchell was assigned this task.

When he looked at the building for the first time, Mitchell saw flames rolling out of every window. All three floors were on fire, and Mitchell’s engine was the first to arrive so the building had not been ventilated at all. His captain ordered him to break the front door down, and upon doing so a wall of hell was unleashed on the crew. Mitchell wanted excitement, and he got it.

Recalling the experience, Mitchell says, “I couldn’t believe how quickly I had gone from stocking shelves to starring down flames, flames that I was responsible for conquering.”