Renovating Firehouses, Training U.S. Soldiers


Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review, Issue #169

This week, I was joined by Peter C. Hinz, Assistant Adjutant General of Maryland for the U.S. Army, Maryland National Guard, to celebrate a kitchen renovation project at the Baltimore City Fire Department’s stationhouse for Engine 45. The project, led by members of the Maryland National Guard’s 244th Engineer Company, is the first in a newly developed partnership between the City of Baltimore and the Maryland National Guard.

Last year, the 244th Engineer Company reached out to my office to identify opportunities for the company to conduct innovative readiness training projects in the city. We identified fire departments with old kitchens in need of remodeling. In some cases, firefighters had stopped cooking in their kitchens due to the poor condition of the stoves and sinks.

Engine 45, located in Northwest Baltimore on Glenn Avenue, was built in 1951 and was in need of restoration. The 244th Engineer Company gutted the kitchen, cleaned it, painted the ceiling, and installed cabinets, countertops and fixtures. New fixtures include a sink, garbage disposal, stove, range hood, and seven electrical outlets. The materials were provided by the city, and all labor was provided by the National Guard.

We are grateful to the Maryland National Guard for working with us to find training opportunities for soldiers and to improve the conditions in our aging firehouses. It is a natural partnership for us, because our first responders often train with Guard members to prepare for natural and manmade disasters. This new partnership to renovate firehouses throughout the city will allow firefighters eat home-cooked meals and fully utilize the kitchens and other facilities in their stations.

The 244th Engineer Company is scheduled to provide construction support in Afghanistan, starting in November 2013. The company expects to be building infrastructure for the Afghan National Army. Their deployment departure ceremony is scheduled for September 28, 2013.

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