Firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement officers end stressful week with cook-off
As thunderstorms lumbered over Mount Royal Saturday, the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District, Summit Fire & EMS and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office faced off against each other in a cook-off competition for charity alongside the Colorado BBQ Challenge in Frisco.
The smells of sizzling chicken and frying dough lifted spirits after a stressful but triumphant week for Summit County’s emergency responders. The switch from wildland fires to grill flames was a welcome one. Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said the event was a great way to bring together all the local men and women who worked around the clock during the county’s first wildfire of the year.
“After spending all the last week here together on the wildfire, being able to come together here and have fun while helping some great organizations out, it’s great,” FitzSimons said.
The Buffalo Mountain Fire, which broke out Tuesday, is now 95 percent contained and on its way to being snuffed out. In what is considered a minor miracle, the fire, which started barely a few hundred yards away from Mesa Cortina, did not claim any lives or homes, and firefighters came out unscathed aside from one minor injury.
“That is almost unheard of,” Red, White and Blue Chief Jim Keating said. “We had the same luck last year with Peak 2. I hope our luck continues the rest of the summer.”
Keating added that the community did its part helping avert disaster with a prompt and orderly evacuation.
“I think the public did learn from Peak 2 as the evacuation was much more timely, and I think they are listening to us. When time was of the essence, they didn’t stall or get stubborn, they went and let us do our job.”
The cook-off became a public celebration of the hard work emergency responders put in during the week, with hundreds gathering at the Frisco Historic Park to give thanks and get some grub cooked up by firefighters, EMTs and sheriff’s deputies.
Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson, who was one of the cook-off judges, said he appreciated all the hard work of the first responders and was glad to see a safe and fun end to the week.
“We appreciate all the hard work by our firefighters and emergency crews and (are) glad that they were able to do it safely,” Wilkinson said. “Hopefully we can get some rain and that we have a peaceful rest of the summer.”
In competition were bacon-wrapped, jalapeno-stuffed chicken breasts from Summit Fire & EMS, three different types of gourmet pizza by RWB Fire, and freshly made doughnuts with a variety of toppings and fillings prepared by the sheriff’s office.
Red, White and Blue’s pizzas won the day, raising $1,000 for Wounded Warriors Family Adventures along with money raised for the recently opened TreeTop Child Advocacy Center.
FitzSimons said that all things considered, with the successful resolution to the fire and the smoothly coordinated response, the community had a pretty good week.
“This was a great week in Summit County,” FitzSimons said. “One more time, we showed what we’re made of. This community always comes together and helps each other. People were calling me and offering to house evacuees in their homes. That kind of community spirit is just incredible, and it means a lot.”
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