Fire chief credits Blue River station changes in saving large wood home
BLUE RIVER – When a large wood home on 272 Doris Drive caught fire early Tuesday morning in Blue River, a fire engine from the Red, White and Blue Fire Department’s Blue River station was on scene within five minutes. Crews entered the home at about 6:30 a.m. and quickly doused the flames.The damage from the fire was limited to the home’s second floor, where the fire ignited, but a year ago, the house could have been reduced to ashes.”If (Blue River firefighters) weren’t there and we had to respond from our main station in Breckenridge, it would have been a very different outcome,” Lt. Kim Scott said.Investigators say the fire was caused by cedar siding that was installed too close to the heater in a sauna that is adjacent to the second floor bathroom. The home was unoccupied, although its owners, Colorado Springs residents Dan and Cindy Davies, had renters living there until this last Sunday.This incident is one of many that has had a more positive outcome due to the RWB board of directors’ decision to staff station No. 7 in Blue River 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Fire Chief Gary Green.The reason behind the increased service stemmed from a department assessment that showed response times to Blue River were the slowest in the district – at about 15 minutes, Green said.That time was not within the nationally recognized standard for response time, he added.Also the population south of Breckenridge has been growing steadily and call volume in the Blue River area has tripled in the last couple years, Green said.The move cuts response time to emergency incidents in the Blue River area by an average of 10 minutes.”Getting there in five minutes instead of 15 or 20 is certainly the difference between life or death in some cases,” Green said.Even if it’s not a life threatening situation, it’s often comforting for people to have emergency personnel at their side within a few minutes.It costs the department $800,000 per year to operate the station, which is staffed with three firefighters, one who also is a paramedic.When the board decided to staff the station, it was able to “shuffle resources” to prevent taxpayers from picking up the tab.”Down the road with planning, I can’t say it will always be that way,” Green said, adding that taxpayers have historically supported the fire station.Before March of 2004, some equipment was stored at station No. 7, but volunteer firefighters were the only personnel responding from Blue River, with career firefighters driving from Breckenridge.All three of RWB’s three stations – Blue River, Main Street Breckenridge and the North station at Tiger Road – are now fully staffed.Growth patterns will determine when and if RWB ever builds a fourth fire station. For the last five years, the board has been concentrating on development near Peak 7 and Peak 8 to see if a need for more coverage will surface, although response time is currently at a favorable four minutes from the Main Street station, Green said.Call volume is also growing north of town near the Highlands development and at Farmer’s Korner, he said.Most of the calls handled out of the Blue River station are medical, such as altitude sickness or cardiac problems.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at email@example.com
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