Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Fairmount Fire District

Fairmount Fire District



Fairmount Fire


The Recovery Act “has been great. It has already helped the community immensely.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping the Fairmount Fire Protection District fix a persistent problem in its ability to quickly respond to emergency calls. The fire department covers a 24-square-mile area in Wheat Ridge, Golden and unincorporated Jefferson County. The department handles about 700 emergency calls a year with 23 paid staff (including 21 firefighters) and 65 volunteers.


A train track runs along the south side of the fire department’s coverage area. Fifty-two times a week, trains come through the area – often blocking the roads to traffic and fire trucks, according to Chief Don Angell. So the department began planning to build a third fire station on the other side of the train tracks. In 2008, they purchased a 7,500-square-foot RV-servicing facility in Wheat Ridge near the intersection of I-70 and US 58 that had bays large enough to handle fire trucks. But the building requires significant renovation to become a working fire station.


In 2009, as the fire department began planning the renovation, officials learned of a capital grant funded by the Recovery Act and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The department applied for a $132,000 grant to help cover the renovation and equipment cost of the new station. The application was very attractive because the project was “shovel-ready” – which was an important component for the winning grants. In October 2009, FEMA announced awards for fire departments across the country and the Fairmount Fire Protection District was one of two winners in Colorado. The other winner is Pueblo Fire Department, which won $1.5 million for a new station.
 

Fairmount Fire is putting up $112,000 in matching funds to complete the renovation of the new station. The district paid $1 million for the property and is using its volunteers to do the construction work. When the renovation is complete by the fall of 2010, the total cost of the new station will be about $1.3 million – a very inexpensive project compared to others. The new building will have four separate bedrooms, a full kitchen and offices and also will use a geothermal heating and cooling system to reduce energy costs and usage.

 

Most importantly, the new station will allow the district to reduce response times to emergency calls. “We will lower our response times total in the district from 5 to 5.5 minutes down to 4 minutes and we won’t be stopped by the trains,” Chief Angell said.
 

The Recovery Act “has been great. It came at an excellent time for our organization,” Chief Angell said. “It has already helped the community immensely.”


 

 

>>> Click here to view more stories about how Recovery dollars are being put to work