Fire training facility to be built on site near Kmart


Reader poll

Do you support a Craig Rural Fire Protection District training facility on Industrial Avenue as opposed to near Colorado Northwestern Community College?

  • Yes, it's a better fit in that location. 35%
  • No, I don't support a training center at all. 62%
  • Undecided 3%

147 total votes.


“We appreciate their offer of the land, but it’s a little bit of a disappointment that we spent two years working on the project on land that was offered. I’m sure (the board’s decision) had a lot to do with public pressure."

— Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president

Craig Rural Fire Protection District officials are in the process of developing plans to build a live fire training simulator on an alternate site near Kmart.

Dave Costa, Craig building inspector, said Friday he received a visit from Todd Ficken, of Niwot-based F&D International, LLC, to withdraw the fire department’s application for a building permit on land near Colorado Northwestern Community College and The Memorial Hospital in Craig.

F&D International is an architectural and engineering firm and Ficken is serving as project manager for the training tower, which is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

“(The fire department’s) engineer was in my office this morning expressing his disappointment that they didn’t get the land transfer at the CNCC subdivision,” Costa said Friday. “(Ficken) indicated to me that he will be submitting a new site plan specific to the land the (fire department) owns on Industrial Avenue on the backside of Kmart.”

The decision to move locations was made following Thursday’s CNCC Board meeting, when college officials were expected to vote on a land transfer resolution between CNCC and the fire district.

But, the issue never got to a vote.

“I’ve never had a situation where we didn’t have a vote because of a lack of a second (to a motion),” CNCC Board Chairman Jim Loughran said. “I think it’s dead, but I’m not sure. “There’s always the potential to bring it up again, but it’s dead. Right now, I would say it’s not going to happen. It’s in (the fire board’s) hands. We’re not going to contact them.”

Byron Willems, fire board president, said Friday fire officials do not plan to approach CNCC about a land transfer for the live fire simulator again in the future.

“We appreciate their offer of the land, but it’s a little bit of a disappointment that we spent two years working on the project on land that was offered,” Willems said. “I’m sure (the board’s decision) had a lot to do with public pressure.

“We’re committed as a fire board to provide the best training for our firemen. We’re moving forward, we’re not looking back.”

Fire officials had touted the construction of a live fire simulator on CNCC land as phase one of what would become a second fire station.

Willems said the fire board’s long-term vision of building a second station is on hold for now.

“It’s not ideal, but it will work,” Willems said. “It’s definitely not ideal for Station 2, not that I am advocating it is in our immediate future, but for our board the focus is the training center.”

Willems said some CNCC Board members voiced an interest in discussing a future land transfer agreement for a second fire station in Craig because of the close proximity to the campus and hospital, but other college officials believe future talks are unlikely.

“I guess they could always approach the board about a fire station as opposed to a burn center,” CNCC Craig Campus Vice President Gene Bilodeau said. “Based on what the board decided and discussed last night, I’m left with the impression that they are not interested in any development associated with the fire department.”

In May, fire district board members approved the purchase of a fire training center kit from WHP Trainingtowers pending CNCC land transfer approval.

The board will discuss how it plans to proceed with its alternate site during its next regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. June 21 at the firehouse, Willems said.

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Taxpayer 4 years, 10 months ago

It costs $300 a day to use the Hayden facility. So, at $1.5 million, using the existing Hayden training tower, 20 days a year, they could use it for 250 years! And what will the new training tower's operating expenses be annually? Gosh, did someone have a brain freeze or just want to leave a legacy for themselves It would appear that the management at the Craig Rural Fire Department has organizational and scheduling deficiencies. Perhaps a change of management would resolve those problems. Or a removal or lowering of the mill levy might be the next solution. Slam dunks are usually achieved in basketball games! A big Thank You to the CNCC Board!


David Moore 4 years, 10 months ago

Any better than where it was going to be put? Now it's in town, same problems. You think those living in proximity of were it's going to go now want it there? I was all for where it was going to be put because the smoke would have pretty much dissipated by the time it reached town. Now, it's in town. Is this location going to be protested too, or is it being put far away enough from those who protested that it doesn't matter anymore? There are many people who live, shop, learn, work and bowl mere yards away from the new site. Do they not matter? Everyone raised heck about the hospital being affected, one building, not even in the wind direction that most commonly blows around here. Now, it's IN town where it will blanket whole neighborhoods, why are people not raising heck about that?
That's what I am asking. Why is this any better?


Taxpayer 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree, but they own the land and can build there unless the neighbors work to stop it. I think they should use the Hayden training tower, and save the $1.5 expenidure along with the annual operating expenses for it. Another waste of money, taxpayer money for something that is not needed when there is a tower which can be readily used. Thisis what happens when a mill levy isn't sunseted --- and perhaps a lack of leadership or empire building.


Sam Relaford 4 years, 10 months ago

I think a new emercency response center should be built by the hospital. A big building to house a few fire trucks and a ambulance, perhaps a hazmat responce vehicle. It is where 2 highways come together plus the bipass to hwy 13 N. There could be a response several minutes faster from there than in town.

Having the training tower built behind Kmart is better on one hand because it wont be standing out like a sore thumb and wont interfere with the daily activities of the comunity. And it has its short falls such as the smoke David mentioned. However the fire board director stated over and over that the use materials that dont create hazardous or toxic smoke. So I guess pick your evil. I say build it if you absolutely need it. We'll see about the smoke if it happens I guess.


daily 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe if we all write to the EPA we will get a sensible resolution to this. I understand that asking the feds in is a dangerous move, but my goodness isnt having a officially blessed fire pit in the MIDDLE of town seems to be a health concern at least, Oh yeah i do not believe you can have an open fire and not have smoke, duh.


Jon Pfeifer 4 years, 10 months ago

Isn't the city going to have to approve this? Hopefully the CDP will make it known when that meeting will occur. I would be ok with putting the tower something like 15 miles out of town... but then they'd be building over the tower in Hayden. What a terrible case of government for the government... not the people.


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