Fire training facility in Bergen Park taking shape

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By Sandy Barnes

Its steel structure is standing tall, and exterior walls are being placed on the fire training facility in progress at Fire Station 2 in Bergen Park.

For the past few weeks, a J. Reed Construction crew has been working on the building, a three-story, pre-fabricated structure that will be 1,056 square feet in size. 

“They’re putting walls up and using metal studs to start adding sheet metal,” said Evergreen Fire Chief Mike Weege.

The building design has a unique room for live burn training, with walls made of stainless steel, Weege said. A Westec insulation blanket will be installed between the interior and exterior wall of the room for added protection.

When completed, the building will have a maximum height of 34.5 feet and a façade that will blend with the surrounding buildings on the fire station campus.

The Evergreen Fire Protection District board and the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the $500,000 project last year. 

“We’re hoping that it will be done by the end of May,” said Weege.

When training sessions begin at the new facility, Weege has said that there will be 12 Class A live burn sessions a year, primarily on Monday nights.

During other training sessions, firefighters will practice running hoses through the three-story building and throwing ladders, along with other exercises.

After nearby residents raised concerns over burning excelsior and using a commercial fog or mineral oil to produce smoke, the decision was made to use wood during live burn training.

Firefighters will not train during red-flag days when the risk of wildland fire is high, according to Weege.

While the building project is under way, Evergreen firefighters are focusing on wildland fire training, which usually takes place in the spring, he said.

Beginning next month, fire crews will use the 600-acre deDisse family ranch for wildland fire exercises, Weege added. Firefighters who need Red Card certification for wildland fires will be on the scene, along with volunteers, Weege said. 

“We’re lucky to have 600 acres to train on,” he said.

After the former training building was torn down to make room for the new one, firefighters conducted training in a former movie theater building in Bergen Park.

The fire board’s approval of the training facility spurred controversy from many nearby residents, some of whom initiated a recall of the board members. The fire board chose to use a mail-in ballot process for the recall election, which was scheduled for April 23.

Unofficial results of the election will be posted on the Canyon Courier website at www.canyoncourier.com.

The Evergreen Fire Protection District serves more than 40,000 residents in a 125-square-mile area that includes portions of Clear Creek County, including Floyd Hill. 

The volunteer fire department has 88 firefighters.

Evergreen Fire/Rescue has 34 full-time staff members and 11 part-time employees and an operating budget of approximately $4.6 million, not including capital projects.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.