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Wyo. FD opens first of three new fire stations

Cheyenne Fire Rescue held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of its first new fire stations


Cheyenne Fire Rescue/Facebook

By Noah Zahn
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne Fire Rescue held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to commemorate the opening of three new fire stations in Cheyenne.

They are the first new fire stations to go online in the capital city in more than 30 years.

There are currently five operational fire stations in Cheyenne. Two of the new facilities will replace older ones, and the third will provide service to the growing population in eastern Cheyenne. Each station cost around $7 million in sixth-penny sales tax funds to construct.

“We have not built a station since 1991, which was over 33 years ago,” said CFR Fire Chief John Kopper. “So, the need has been there. We’ve grown, I want to say, almost 10 square miles as a city since that time frame. So, you start pushing farther out, your response time starts getting greater and greater. So, it was more than time to build new stations and get them in locations so that we can get to the public quicker.”

The ceremony was held at the new Station #5 at 4200 Converse Ave., near the Converse Softball Complex, which replaces the previous Station #5 at 2014 Dell Range Blvd. Built in 1963, the former station was the oldest operating fire station in Cheyenne.

Station #3, located at 1720 Cleveland Ave., was built in 1981. Its new location will be situated off Nationway, near the Ashley HomeStore. The completely new station, Station #7, will be on the west side of Whitney Road at Countryside Avenue, near the Sinclair gas station and U-Haul Moving and Storage in east Cheyenne.

CFR refers to Station #3, serving the Sun Valley area, on its website as “sleepless in Sun Valley .” In 2020, personnel from Station #3 handled 2,756 calls, the most by any single company in the state of Wyoming.

During an April 2021 sixth-penny work session, Kopper described the new facilities as state-of-the-art stations that have updated features and technology to replace the old stations, which had “structural, mechanical and functional issues.”

The three stations will be nearly identical. Station #5 has capacity to board up to six firefighters who typically work 48 hours on and 96 hours off. It has bedrooms, a day room for leisure, a full kitchen and a resource room, where they can study and train.

There is also a decontamination room separating the living area of the facility from the “hot” side of the building. This allows firefighters to clean up and not carry any carcinogens or other contaminants into the living quarters.

Each new building will be able to house up to three fire trucks. The previous Station #5 can’t house more than one fire truck, and Station #3 can’t house more than two.

In addition to the new facilities, CFR also purchased four new firefighting apparatus vehicles, or fire trucks.

“This week we saw the first day of spring, and it’s time to see a rebirth,” Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins said. “You look at the grass, you can see the green starting to poke up through the lawn. Mourning doves in my backyard this week, cooing and making their noises. ... It’s a rebirth, right? But it’s also a rebirth for our fire service.”

He thanked the voters of Cheyenne and Laramie County for approving a sixth-penny sales tax extension in November 2021, which allocated $15,762,000, plus interest earned, to fund the new facilities.

For the relocated Station #3, Cheyenne purchased the property at Nationway from Robert Wirth, the owner of Retail Properties C LLC, for nearly $550,000.

Land for Station #7 was acquired by the city in a trade agreement between the locality and William Edwards , the owner of US 30 BP LLC . They traded the property where the previous station Station #3 is and a piece of land the city owns off Storey Boulevard east of Converse Avenue for the Whitney Road property.

The city already owned the land where Station #5 was relocated.

In 2021, Station #1 received 2,718 calls for service, Station #3 got 2,836 and Station #5 had 1,940, according to that year’s CFR annual report. Stations #2 and #6 received slightly more than 1,330 each. Kopper said he believes the new locations and capacity will provide relief to some of the busier locations.

“Obviously, we did a lot of research,” Kopper said. "... We tried to figure out where our response zones were, so that we were getting to people within a quick response time. Basically, we plotted it on a map and tried to find land, and if people were selling, then negotiate that, get the land and then start the building process.”

In 2023, CFR maintained an average response time of 5 minutes, 41 seconds and recruited 17 new personnel, the most added in one year over CFR’s 114 years serving the community.

Before entering the station bay, CFR firefighters lightly hosed down the new apparatus to unofficially “bless” the new vehicles into service, a tradition dating back to the late 1800s. Cheyenne Battalion Chief John Fitzgerald explained the tradition.

“What’s called a ‘wetdown’ is a ritual celebrated by many firefighters across the United States in which firefighters commissioned a new fire apparatus by anointing it with water spread from retiring apparatus’ tank water or from a neighboring fire house’s apparatus,” he said.

Local clergy would bless newly commissioned horses with holy water for long life, strength, speed and good health. The blessing served to ward off the evil spirits, or gremlins, that would affect the fire house’s new addition, Fitzgerald said.

Station #5 will begin operation on Friday, and Stations #3 and #7 are expected to be operational within the next month.

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