By Scott Prater (Fort Carson)August 3, 2017
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- The Fort Carson Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) officially opened its newest fire station with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Butts Army Airfield July 28, 2017.
In typical firefighter tradition, however, Fort Carson leaders dispensed with ribbon and instead uncoupled fire hoses to signify Fire Station 33's activation.
Following posting of colors by a fire department honor guard and bagpiper, Fort Carson Fire Chief Glen Silloway presided over the ceremony along with Col. Ronald P. Fitch Jr., U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson commander, and Lt. Col. Robert McNellis, director of Emergency Services.
With a crowd of firemen, DES, Directorate of Public Works and Fort Carson community members watching, Fitch and Silloway joined McNellis, Hal Alguire, director of Public Works; Ricky Oxendine, DES deputy director; and Fort Carson Police Chief Chris Zimmerman; in uncoupling fire hoses in front of the station's massive vehicle doors.
"This is a historic day for the Fort Carson com?munity," said Silloway, "We're replacing a 4,000 square-foot fire station at Butts Army Airfield that was built in 1965 with a 33,000 square-foot Consolidated Emergency Services facility."
Fitch began by saying that the new station will not only provide support for the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, but will also support bulk fuel operations as well as cover the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., footprint just west of the airfield among other nearby areas.
"This new station includes an improved dispatch facility that will help us integrate with the whole community, the 4th CAB and our DES staff and our police and fire side," Fitch said.
According to Silloway, planning for Fire Station 33 began nearly 10 years ago as the 2nd BCT began moving into buildings west of the airfield. Funded in fiscal 2014, Fire Station 33 was completed late in 2016 and fire crews began working out of the new facility in December.
"It was originally planned to be just a fire station," Silloway said. "But, we explored the possibility of making it a consolidated DES facility early in the process, and we were able to incorporate some law enforcement and dispatch services into the concept."
The new LEED-certified station includes an expansive firefighting vehicle bay which includes radiant floor heat, a state-of-the-art emergency dispatch center and training and meeting areas. It houses two fire crews, Fort Carson's new E911 emergency dispatch center (formerly located at the post's main fire station near Prussman Boulevard) and conservation law enforcement offices.
"The emergency dispatch center includes the latest technology and is equipped and supported through the El Paso/Teller County E911 Authority," Silloway said. "Everyone who owns a home phone or cell phone pays a tariff for E911 services, and that goes into supporting emergency dispatch centers like this one."
By replacing the airfield's former station, Fire Station 33 is now the primary airfield DES provider, but fire crews will also respond to structure fires, hazardous material spills and wildland fires extending from the airfield down to the Colorado Centennial Campus.
"We do have some modern technology built into the station as well," Silloway said. "For instance, in the event of an emergency at the airfield, tower staff now has a computer touch screen inside the tower that allows them to alert us to the runway, type of aircraft and the number of people on board. It provides a quicker emergency response to the airfield."
Since Fire Station 33 replaced an existing station, the number of fire stations on post remains constant at five, including one fire station at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.