BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Travel around to the city's 40 firehouses, and it's like stepping back in time. Many of the buildings are functionally obsolete.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a coalition of donors is stepping up to fix up what some firefighters consider the most important room in the building.
When the corner stone was laid at Squad 54, Eisenhower was president. There have been 11 mayors since Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. Though Squad 54 is a frontline station, with 2,000 calls a year, the city hasn't kept it up to date.
"It's a matter of continuing to upgrading the firehouse that's not been supported," said Lt. Mike Brown, Baltimore Fire Department.
The plaster is falling off. The windows are painted black. Concrete is crumbling.
Eleven men on a shift all depend on each other. At least one meal a day is made by a volunteer cook. Hotplates are used. The cheap stove just isn't big enough to make dinner. And all of them cram around hand-me-down and homemade tables.
"Yeah it's not very big at all. Yeah, got big pots, big pans and little burners," said Cory Walters, firefighter.
In fact, nearly everything is a hand-me-down.
"The last set of cabinets came out of somebody's house, and they were used cabinets to begin with. Members took their own time and money to install it," Brown said.
Some corporations and individuals feel this is not how you treat frontline fighters. So, here and at 17 other stations, new kitchens are going in.
"So now we got some good funding. Our friends at Stevenson are helping us out," Brown said.
Cal Ripken's agent, Ron Shapiro, approached the city and his many friends to make this happen.
And for the cook, it's welcome news. At Squad 54, the new kitchen should be completed in August.
Stevenson University was the principle sponsor for Squad 54, donating $20,000.
Other large contributors to the Firehouse Renovation Project include the Baltimore Ravens, Under Armour and the Horseshoe Casino.
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