By Kristen Bruckner
Lyons Fire Protection District (LFPD) lost firehouse 2 in the flood last September. Rebuilding efforts for the critical hub for fighting fires in remote areas of Lyons served are underway thanks, in part, to a grant from the Lyons Community Foundation. By leveraging insurance money, an LCF grant and donations from the local community, the LFPD plans to build a new station that meets the current wild land and urban firefighting needs but also address issues that will serve the Lyons area for the next 20-30 years.
The losses sustained by the LFPD in last year’s flood were large. Not only was Fire station 2 lost, but also destroyed was a brand new engine in a heroic rescue of a citizen on Longmont Dam Road as well as numerous pieces of equipment such as radios, hoses, and ladders. The former station, located on Stagecoach road in the Larimer county portion of the district was on leased land and nearly the entire lot was washed downriver. The new station will be built out of the flood plain on Larimer County Rd 37E.
Lyons FPD serves all of the greater Lyons area. This includes not only the 2000 residents in town, but also an additional 3000 residents in the surrounding areas including parts of Boulder and Larimer Counties. This includes the more remote areas such as the Blue Mountain district, where Fire Station 2 was located. Not only is a fire house a necessity in firefighting efforts in these areas, but also critical in providing the fire protection coverage required by homeowner’s insurance policies.
Like roughly 75% of all fire stations across the nation, the Lyons Fire Department is almost all staffed by volunteers. Funding does not cover basic training and often necessary equipment. The fire department has had to become creative in its funding and staffing efforts. For example, Chief J.J. Hoffman has implemented an internship exchange program to provide critical training to new recruits in exchange for service shifts at the firehouse as well as a two year service commitment after they complete their basic training. Fundraising by the department has including selling T-shirts and calendars, and the old stand-by “passing around the boot”.
In addition to the Lyons Community Foundation grant, other local individuals and businesses have stepped up to help the department rebuild and move forward. Spirit Hound Distillery recently donated $10,000 to the LFPD, Planet Bluegrass solicited significant donations during its festivals, and the Cyclists4Lyons events helped to raise funds. There was “Fight Fire with Beer” event this fall and a black tie fundraiser coming up at the Greenbriar www.lfpdblacktie.weebly.com. An additional LCF grant has also helped to pay for the repair/recovery of a 30,000 gallon cistern that was severely damaged at the original station and will be used for future firefighting efforts.
The cost of the new facility is estimated upwards of ¾ of a million dollars. Flood insurance covered the building lost in the flood but not the land or a variety of other building costs. An estimated shortfall is roughly $360,000. Phase 1 of the new station will include a shell garage and will be able to house equipment and vehicles that are currently in a temporary storage at the Lyons Fire house. Moving this equipment to the new station will allow several vehicles and other equipment that is currently being kept outside, to move into indoor, weather-protected storage. The foundation on this building should be poured in the next week and construction will start immediately.
Plans for a Phase 2 Plans portion of the fire house will include offices, training and meeting space and eventually a heli-pad. The new fire station will not only allow these areas to be served but will also house Colorado Division of Fire Protection and Control employees who will provide actual paid staffing five days per week. Having a presence of volunteers and a consistent staff adds to the overall ability to provide safety and services to this part of the Lyons District. The goal for this part of the facility is to build it in the next year or two.
For more information on the Lyons Fire Department or its rebuilding efforts, please contact the station at email@example.com or call the nonemergency number 303.823.6611. For more information on the Lyons Community Foundation and its efforts in rebuilding and enhancing life in the greater Lyons area, see www.lyonscf.org or call 720.29LYONS.
Lyons Community Foundation