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Indian Hills fire board forming building committee for new station

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Re-elected officers begin serving new terms

By Sandy Barnes

 “I’d like to get the ball rolling,” Indian Hills fire board member Marc Rosenberg said of forming a building committee for a new fire station. “We’d be willing to sit down and work together,” he said at the May 28 meeting.

Other board members said a five-member committee made up of district residents and at least one fire board member would be a way of involving the community in decisions about the project.

Rosenberg also suggested holding another community meeting to get input from residents about building a station on the site of the current one. The existing 57-year-old station is small, in need of costly repairs, and has an electrical system that is not up to code.

The fire department needs to have a station with bays that are large enough to accommodate fire engines, Rosenberg added. The bays in the current one are so narrow that trucks can barely fit, and firefighters are breathing in diesel fumes while getting ready to go on calls, he said.

Board member Scott Kellar said the original plan for a replacement fire station, to which residents previously objected because of its cost, could be modified and scaled down.

The time and place of the community meeting will be published in Smoke Signals, the fire district’s quarterly publication for residents.

Kellar also suggested that the fire board schedule a special session to begin developing a five-year plan for the district and to review anticipated capital expenditures.

“We’ve replaced most of the apparatus,” remarked board member Paul Pettit.

One upcoming expense is updating the computers used by fire department staff. After reviewing options, the board members agreed to a $560 expense to buy and install new software to replace the outmoded Windows XP operating platform, for which there is no longer virus protection available. For an additional $150 each, annual upgrades will be installed on the four computers.

During his report, Fire Chief Emery Carson said the new dispatch system coordinated through Evergreen Fire/Rescue is working well, with few glitches.

Rather than going through Jefferson County dispatchers, calls to the Indian Hills department are coming through Evergreen.

“Dispatchers in Evergreen are stepping up to the plate,” said Rosenberg.

Also, Indian Hills volunteer firefighters are now using a mobile application called “I am responding” on their smart phones for notification about emergency calls. The app has a mapping system that shows firefighters the location of the a or accident.

In the past month, the Indian Hills fire department received 13 calls for service, Carson said. One call was for an electrical fire caused by trees branches on wires, he said.

During the meeting, re-elected fire board members Rosenberg, Ron Walton and Kelley Lehman took the oath of office. About 100 Indian Hills residents who participated in the May 6 election chose the incumbents over challengers Don Schoenbein and Ty Robbins.

The board members selected officers to serve the fire district for the next four years during an executive session at the meeting. Kellar is now chairman of the board, Rosenberg secretary, and Lehman treasurer.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenoco.com.