He already had the support of the city's police officers. Now he has the firefighters as well.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady was endorsed for mayor yesterday by Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

At a news conference outside a fire station in Northeast Philadelphia, union president Brian McBride called Brady a proven problem-solver who understands middle-class people in general and firefighters in particular.

"Bob Brady will keep our streets safe, keep our firehouses open," said McBride, whose union represents 2,400 active firefighters and 2,000 retirees. "Philadelphia needs Bob Brady."

McBride said he went ahead with the endorsement after polling members of his executive board. Last month, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers chose not to back any candidate after conducting a poll of its rank and file.

In accepting the endorsement, Brady promised to look out for the interests of the union's members.

"We need to give them the tools, the facilities and the equipment they need to continue to protect us," said Brady, one of five major candidates in the May 15 Democratic primary. He turned to McBride and said: "When I'm your mayor, Brian, I will be there for you."

Brady, a former union carpenter, has been endorsed by many of the city's construction unions as well as by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and Teamsters Joint Council 13.

Contact senior writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or leichel@phillynews.com.