By Khira Moore,
Baltimore City Fire Department officials joined Mayor Brandon Scott as he nominated James Wallace, acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, as the new fire chief.
Wallace began his career as a medical paramedic before switching to firefighter-paramedics. He’s gained experience in several levels of leadership, even serving as a battalion chief for the special operations command deputy.
Following last year’s tragedy on Stricker St., where a fire set to abandoned row homes resulted in the death of three firefighters, former chief Niles Ford resigned. Since then, the city has been scrambling to find someone to usher in a new era for the department to prevent another unthinkable tragedy from occurring.
“I want to assure the residents of Baltimore that I am committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and thriving department that includes top-notch public safety professionals and their industry,” Wallace said, surrounded by deputy chiefs and officials.
Following the tragedy, the S. Stricker Street report highlighted the communication and management issues present in the department. Scott addressed these concerns.
“Since that report has been released, all the acting chiefs that have been in the office prior to me getting here have moved that forward,” said Scott. “We will work, not only with the command staff that you see here but with members of the department, and the unions. We will all work together to continue to build upon what’s already been done.”
Scott also addressed concerns around preventative measures to ensure that another incident like last year’s tragedy won’t happen again. He emphasizes the importance of collaborative efforts between departments.
“This is about working with the women and men in the Department of Labor, in the union, and everyone working together to change whether policies or practices need to happen to put in a failsafe for a job is extremely dangerous,” he said.