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New Colo. firehouses give firefighters more room

Longmont Station No. 2 has a “negative pressure room” to store firefighting gear when not in use


Longmont Fire Department Station 2

City of Longmont, Colorad

By Nicky Andrews
Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT, Colo. —Since 1967, Longmont Station No. 2 has been housed just off Hover Street and Mountain View Avenue. But as Longmont’s population has grown, so has the demands on the crew, leading them to outgrow the confines of their previous station.

At 2212 17th Ave., nine firefighters have been settling into their new home and office, which they officially moved into in January. The facility houses three fire trucks, an ambulance and two brush fire trucks and is fitted with three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a full kitchen, two offices, a washroom, a gym and a living area.

In the future, AMR paramedics are also expected to be working out of the station, with one paramedic working alongside three firefighters per 48-hour shift.

Similar updates have also been made to Station No. 6, which was demolished in June 2022 and rebuilt on the same property. The station, 501 S. Pratt Parkway, was originally built in 1971 and was previously not Americans with Disabilities Act compliant or within fire, building or energy codes, according to Longmont’s website. On Feb. 20, crews moved out of their temporary home at the Longmont Service Center into the new station.

While Station No. 6 was rebuilt on the same property, Station No. 2’s previous property was too small for a new building and the location of 17th Avenue was picked for both land and access.

“You find land in the middle of or backset in a neighborhood, that’s not a good place for a fire station,” Longmont Fire Assistant Chief John Weaver said. “We have really good east-west and north-south access from here because we have 17th and Hover so access to get around is really good.”

Parker said the area in which the station responds to hasn’t changed when it comes to calls from the south, however, their location on 17th Avenue has led them to respond to more calls further east.

The $9 million construction of both buildings, which was started after Longmont voters approved the project in 2018, has taken almost two years to complete with delays due to “construction issues,” according to Weaver.

Weaver said he could not speak to what the construction issues were, but in an email Longmont Public Safety spokeswoman Robin Ericson said the department “had critical punch list items which needed to be completed by the contractor before the crews could occupy the new property.”

In April 2022, the department said they hoped to have Station No. 2 operational in nine to 12 months, but crews did not move in until Jan. 9.

According to Weaver, Station No. 2 was also no longer ADA-compliant and was only able to house one engine due to the small size of the bays. Despite using a smaller engine, damage to the truck and building occurred several times over the years due to the small clearing for the truck to enter and exit the bay.

Firefighters also said the placement of the station made it difficult to exit the bay onto the road as it was hard to see eastbound traffic as well as traffic entering the intersection.

Station No. 2 specializes in wildland fire response and stores the necessary equipment to respond to wildland fires in surrounding areas.

“We can respond west to Boulder, or to Lefthand Canyon or Lyons or Hygiene for wildland fires,” Lieutenant and Paramedic Steven Parker said. “When this station was designed it was designed to have extra storage space for different tools, an extra hose, and things like that that are wildland specific and currently we have two brush trucks here one of them is going to be moved in the near future to Station No. 5.”

Longmont is a part of the Boulder County Hazardous Material Authority, meaning they are able to respond or assist other agencies when a hazardous material is suspected or located.

“Here in Longmont we carry probably the biggest hazmat truck in the county as well as a smaller response unit and it houses our team equipment down there as well,” Weaver said. “So a lot of the spare equipment and a lot of the gases and testing equipment they use are down at Station No. 6.”

According to Parker, in the old stations, gear was being stored in the garage and there wasn’t adequate storage space for equipment.

The two stations have “negative pressure rooms” to store the firefighter suits when they’re not in use, and the system actively sucks out and filters the air, reducing the harmful chemicals left in their suits.

According to a 2023 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, cancer was the leading cause of death in firefighters due to exposure to smoke and hazardous materials.

The infrastructure of the building also aids first responders in getting as much sleep as they can. Each private bedroom has its own radio speaker that can be personalized to that individual’s job. If an AMR paramedic were to be called to a scene but firefighters were not, only the paramedic would hear the call, leaving the firefighters undisturbed.

Weaver couldn’t give an estimated time as to how long the stations are expected to last, but said stations built in the 1990s and 2000s have not required any major renovations since they were established.

“There’s wear and tear like your house, lots of wear and tear on them so those get redone but as far as major renovations, they’re pretty well built for the long term,” Weaver said.

Both stations will host open houses. The public can tour Station No. 2 from 10 a.m. through noon on June 1 and Station No. 6 from 10 a.m. through noon on July 20 . There will also be a Halloween event at Station No. 5, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. through noon.

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