Mike Wilson: ‘Give me a break’


To the editor:

As someone who was a 19-year member, 12 as secretary/treasurer, of the Craig Fire Board, let me comment on the proposed second fire station in west Craig.

Bill Johnston and Chris Nichols sound like a broken record.

The firefighters have been attempting this expansion since I became a board member, and it was always the board’s answer that it is not a needed investment of taxpayer money.

As to the reason given for building a second station, growth to the west of Craig, come on.

Growth that way hasn’t increased that much in the past 29 years or so.

Remember, when the first power station was built experts predicted Craig would have at least 20,000 residents within 20 years.

That was back in the 1970s, and Craig’s population is not much above what it was back then.

Is there a need for another fire station? Absolutely not.

As to the way the taxpayers’ money is presently being spent, let’s dwell on that a little: $1 million for a bucket truck to replace the ladder truck, that’s a total waste.

A neighboring small city with a population of 17,000 and a full-time fire department recently purchased a new five-passenger bucket truck for just under $500,000.

Also, it is American made, not German.

By the way, that all-expenses paid trip for firefighters to tour that German plant?

Give me a break. That company just hid those costs within the $1 million. That’s the way it works — you still paid for it.

You guys could have bought two bucket trucks for what was paid for that one.

Was there really a need for that kind of expenditure?

As to articles stating “we need to increase the number of volunteers to 35 because of need.”

Have you changed the fire district’s charter, which states no more than 25 volunteers at any time?

I read in the Craig paper a few months ago that 22 firefighters were dispatched to fight a fire and yet the home was a total loss.

When I left the board 13-plus years ago, the board had raised the pay for part-time firefighters to a little more than $20 an hour. I doubt it’s anywhere near that now.

Even at $20 an hour, and the article stated they were there for more than two hours, that would equate to more than $880.

I know you’ll tell taxpayers you were using that fire as a training tool on how not to save a structure, even if you tried to no avail. Another waste.

Sending that many firemen to a structure already totally involved is a reflection on the chief and his officers.

All this may sound like I’m against the fire district, but I fully appreciate the dangers these volunteers face each time they respond, and hopefully they continue their duties by using the facility and equipment people have already paid for.

The need for another fire station or a full-time department?

Give me a break.

Mike Wilson

Sequim, Wash.

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moffatcountyresident 5 years, 11 months ago

Dear Mike,

Just for clarification, Ladder 1 is a Spartan cab and chassis manufactured in good ole Wyoming, Minnesota, USA. Only the aerial apparatus (which is an articulated platform, not a "bucket") is German made. Also bids were obtained from two other American manufacturers who were not only unable to meet the requested specifications, but also came in with higher bids. The District did a lot of research before purchasing the truck, and procured more truck for less money in the end--especially considering half of the price of the truck was paid for with grant money. Thank you Craig Fire Rescue for having the foresight to provide us with state-of-the-art fire protection equipment, and for being willing to put your own lives on the line to protect and serve all of the District's citizens--even those who are ungrateful louts!


justmyview84 5 years, 11 months ago

Well aside from the argument about where the truck was made..Germany or US..Mr. Wilson does bring up some very good points. The population in this county doesn't warrant another building. Not that we ungrateful louts that live in this county really ARE ungrateful... I think we all appreciate the work they do and have a lot of respect for those who do this line of work .I just see it as a waste of money, no matter how much of it IS paid in grants. Where will the remainder of the balance that DOESN'T get covered by grants come from? And unfortunately Mr. Wilson does make a very valid point that there are a lot of part-time firefighters and the fire was a total loss. Does that mean they need a new training facility? My opinion no I think they need to look inside of their department and see how they can approve with what they have. I fully understand the need to keep equipment updated, but lets face it, we don't NEED another building for them.


moffatcountyresident 5 years, 11 months ago

Ranger520--I believe Metz paid for the trip to Germany, so it is really a non-issue. As for training at Tri-State, it just so happens that Tri-State is a great place to train for confined space rescue, and they are generous enough to let the fire department utilize it, but I somehow think they would seriously oppose a live-burn training taking place at their facility.


saunders 5 years, 11 months ago

You had to know this was coming...

Mike it is an articulating aerial platform not a bucket, ladder, straight stick, famdoozlewhoopper or whatever else you attempt to call it but here is a novel idea while you are hanging out in Washington research the advantages of the articulating platform as opposed to what our neighbors to the east purchased. You should also look into another selling point one that makes this particular apparatus worth every penny. It is referred to as short jacking but for the ex fire board member I will keep it simple. You can use this aerial platform even when you can't extend the outriggers fully. A handy little thing on our narrow streets and tight fits at places like Craig Station.

Mike it sounds to me like you were around during the good ole days when SCBA's were laughed at, equipment was beyond sub par and you were tucked safely in your board meeting while putting the lives of brave men and women at risk with poor equipment. Wow way to go! Won't you please come back and run for a board position on that platform?

With your ideas on a recent fire it is easy to see you still believe that firefighter safety is secondary to monetary values but before I comment further would you be so kind as to post the link to the article and fire you are referring too.

ranger520 according to: Structural Firefighting: Strategies and Tactics By Bernard J. Klaene, Russell E. Sanders Page 276 (that is called a reference for all you opinion only bloggers)

during the period 1996-2005, 41.5% of all firefighter fatalities occurred in residential properties, mostly in one and two family dwellings

but hey I am sure we should all defer to ranger520 and his vast knowledge of the American fire service and the appropriate level of training for our volunteers.


truthhurts 5 years, 11 months ago

Funny you say that....your only arguements are that they are empire builders who are dishonest and lack credability. Have you been losing this discussion the entire time?

And the truth marches on!


truthhurts 5 years, 11 months ago

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” - Winston Churchill

Which category do you fall under. Malice or Ignorance?

Love your attempt at witty banter but I grow tired of using you as my personal punching bag.


justthefacts 5 years, 11 months ago

Fact: As a 19 year member of the fire board Mr. Wilson understands the arrogance and distain that some members of the Craig Rural Fire Department have toward the community they claim to SERVE!!!

Fact: The Craig Rural Fire Department has been on a 20 year spending spree complements of you the taxpayer. ( Fire Station expansion #1 , Fire Station Expansion #2 , Tele squrit Fire truck, (as only seen on European TV,) New truck, New Truck, New truck, Property to build a training center. Bought and paid for!!! (Why do we need college land? ) Are we missing anything!!! ( Yep New Surburban for the Chief, with FREE gas and insurance and license plates!!! and tires.)

Fact: Some Fire Department related posters on this site are perfect examples of THE ATTITUDE!!!!!!!

Fact: As Mr. Wilson also remembers, some Fire Chiefs and Present board members displayed a similar ATTITUDE toward a former Chief that was there for all the right reasons!!!! ( Didn't give him a break!!!) Give us a break!!!!

Fact: The local Tea Party can make a difference!!!

Fact: The Tea Pary can sponsor a ballot question that will reduce the fire distict mill levy to 1 mill!!!!

Fact: Coupled with the current surplus, the fire department can run for another 20 years on one mill!!!

Fact: After 20 years of service, the part - time fire fighter will collect another 20-30 years of pension.

Fact: 20 years of retirement benifits equates to over $80 per hour paid for the hours served on the Fire Department. ( Not bad for part time?? ) and that does not include the paid hours for calls. ( Which the fire fighters deserve)

Fact: Now we are at over $100.00 per hour!!!!!

Fact: The fire Department had to change the status of it's firefighters several years ago from being called "volunteer" to part -time, due to the pay!!!

Just The Story is still not working Facts, but is on going ,and going, and going.

Catch that Bunny!! ( Tis the season)


saunders 5 years, 11 months ago

My Rocky III tribute as Apollo Creed once said “Ding Ding”

Your first four facts are nothing but you trying to goat someone into a fight. I am sorry you cannot see these amazing men and women as I do. Where you see arrogance I see pride in a community and a calling to serve. Where you see distain I see comparison and caring for those in need I am also blessed to see the pain they carry with them long after the worst of calls are done.

Your 20 years of spending idea holds little water when you consider they were funded with a mere 1.997 mills until the 2006 2.6 mill increase. Also remember that the mill prior to 2006 was one of the lowest in the state. Even the current rate is considerably lower than most fire districts.

There are new trucks just as they promised when they outlined the capital replacement plan. In fact the 2012 capital replacement project was originally set for remodeling the current station. The board is merely exploring options right now.

You encourage the Tea Party to take this on and champion a reduction to a level lower than that of 2006. Yet you yourself will do what? I am still waiting to hear if you will attend the board meeting?

Our district has to have a set amount in pension for volunteers. Not a choice. It is mandated in the Colorado Volunteer Pension Act. They also receive excellent death benefits if they were to die in the line of duty. You know what the beauty is JTF if you want you too can apply and if you make it the 20 years you can receive the same pension. You try to spin it like this is some secret when in fact it is and should be a selling point for recruiting future volunteers.

You can call a volunteer anything you want part time; paid on call whatever the fact remains they are still volunteers. Whenever a call comes in each and every one of them chooses to go. It is by no means required for them to respond to emergencies.

Just The extra exclamation points make it more fact like!!!!!!!!


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