Craig/Fire Rescue proposes 2nd fire station |

Craig/Fire Rescue proposes 2nd fire station

Ben McCanna

K.C. Hume, battalion chief for Craig Fire/Rescue, said the need for a firefighter training facility has grown in recent years.

"We can't just go and burn a house down anymore," he said.

Hume was referring to the practice of burning down donated buildings for training purposes. He said Environmental Protection Agency regulations on smoke pollution, handling of asbestos and more has removed that option from consideration.

In its place, Craig Fire/Rescue has considered another option — a second fire station with training facilities. The proposed "Station No. 2" would be located just south of The Memorial Hospital on property currently owned by Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Representatives from the volunteer fire department made their case at the hospital's board meeting Thursday night.

"If this does come to fruition, we just want you to be in the information loop," Hume said to the board.

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The presentation was led by Todd Ficken, executive director of F&D International — a program management company.

Ficken said he is not an architect. Rather, his role is to help the fire department conceptualize the project so it can be presented to architects for bidding.

Ficken provided draft diagrams of the facility in a slideshow presentation.

He said the station would include four bays for vehicles, living quarters for firemen, a five-story training tower, a separate building for live fire exercises and an education room with stadium-style seating.

The fire department hopes to broker a land transfer from CNCC, Ficken said.

He said the two groups are still in early discussions, but CNCC has considered adding a fire science degree to its curriculum.

As such, the education room is crucial to the deal.

The five-story tower would not be used for fire exercises, but rather physical training, Ficken said.

"Rookies will be able to run up and down the tower carrying 300 pounds of fire hose," he said.

The live fire building would be located in a gulch west of the proposed fire station.

He said the prevailing western winds suggest that smoke wouldn't be an issue for the hospital. Also, the live fire exercises would be infrequent.

"We're only anticipating one training fire per month," Ficken said.

Hume said the duration of the training exercises vary, but persistent smoke wouldn't be an issue.

"The live fire piece is 15 to 20 minutes," Hume said of each exercise.

Ficken said the proposed location makes sense.

"The location is on the west side of town. That's where the growth is," he said.

Battalion chief Dennis Jones added that Craig homeowners could experience a tangible benefit from the second station.

He said improved response times to homes on the western side of Craig could mean a reduction in home insurance premiums.

Board member Tinneal Gerber asked if there are any other training facilities nearby.

Hume said there are live fire training facilities in Hayden and Rifle.

Board member Forrest Luke asked how long the project would take to complete.

Hume said the timeline is uncertain.

"This is the early stages," he said. "This is more of a feasibility study."

At the conclusion of the presentation, Ficken stressed that residents would not experience a tax increase to pay for the proposed facility.

Jones said the money had been raised through a voter-approved mill levy in 2006.

"Part of the mill levy was for capital improvements," he said. "It's the wishes of the public."

In other news

At its regular meeting Thursday, The Memorial Hospital Board:

• Approved, 7-0, medical staff privileges for Thomas J. Young, oncologist/hematologist.

• Approved, 7-0, the recommendations from the joint conference committee that included the credentialing of fluoroscopic privileges to all previously approved clinical privileges, plus neurology clinical privileges; nurse practitioner general clinical privileges; certified registered nurse anesthetist clinical privileges; physician’s assistant orthopedic surgery clinical privileges; physician’s assistant general clinical privileges; and clinical nurse specialist psychiatric and mental health clinical privileges.

• Approved, 7-0, an authorization to extend Dr. J. Scott Ellis’ contract within OB/GYN guidelines.

• Approved, 7-0, emergency medicine guidelines.

• Approved, 7-0, an authorization to employ emergency medicine physician Dr. Tinh Huyn.

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