Preliminary plan has Station 3 housing extra truck, crew during Station 1 project
Temporary sharing of Fire Station 3 by an engine company from the downtown's Fire Station 1 came up as a future possibility during a public meeting last month at
the Westside station.
Dan Raider, the Fire Department's deputy chief of support services, clarified in a follow-up interview that the concept is still preliminary, and in any case will not become a reality until spring of next year. The situation would result if City Council approves plans to build a new Station 1 facility, which would in turn relocate one of its trucks and four-member crew to Station 3 during construction, Raider said. The main impact on the neighborhood around Station 3, should the temporary move occur, would be parking - because its lot would not be large enough to handle the increase in private firefighter vehicles.
About 25 people attended the June 11 meeting, most of them taking tours of the 57-year-old Station 3 building, which recently underwent a roughly $180,000 remodeling for drainage control, ventilation and gender equality locker/bathroom facilities.
Captain Ray Johnson also talked about public services at his station, located at 922 W. Colorado Ave.
These include offering free blood-pressure checks and serving as a no-questions-asked “baby drop-off” (meaning unwanted newborns can be left at the station). He added that the public is usually welcome to visit during daytime hours, when the station doors are usually open.
Covering a four-square-mile area, Station 3 responded to 2,100 calls last year, Johnson said. County Commissioner Sallie Clark, who attended the meeting, noted that the number has gone up since 1997, when a neighborhood effort she led helped convince City Council not to close Station 3.
One issue that spurred discussion at the meeting was the high volume of Station 3 medical responses for homeless people. Johnson said that such calls average about 10 percent of the station's total. Another concern with such calls is that they tend to take longer because intoxication is often an issue and the individuals can be “so combative,” he said. He added that the problem is basically citywide, and “great number of veterans” with mental issues are among those who require frequent attention. “It's very tough. We try to help them along.”
Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, also at the meeting, said he knew of one homeless person who was responsible for 220 calls in one year. That is indicative of "a real serious problem," he said.
Westside Pioneer article