Demolition of two houses on 17th Avenue to make way for a new fire house was delayed as of Monday due to unforeseen paperwork. Both homes have already been used as training for firefighters but crews never used actual fire on the structures, a fire official said Monday.
“We did not, nor did we ever intend to do any actual burning at the properties,” Dan Higgins, deputy chief of the Longmont Services Division, said in an email. “We did some training with simulated smoke, but live fire exercises were deemed inappropriate for that site.”
Higgins said he did not know when demolition would begin at the abandoned homes at 2208 and 2210 17th Avenue, which will be the site for a new Station 2. Once demolition does begin, the homes should go down in a few days to a week, he said.
“...But other work on the properties will begin soon after demolition to get the site prepared for the construction phase of the project,” Higgins said. The new fire station 2 - along with a revamped Fire Station 6 - should be completed in spring 2023, he said.
The man who lives next to the structure at 2208 17th Avenue said he doesn’t know what to expect from having a fire station as a new neighbor.
“I don’t know, I have only always just lived in the country, where it is quiet,” said the man, who only wanted to be identified as Lorenzo.
He moved into his home about 12 years ago, and found his 1.4-acre parcel ideal because it was relatively serene. Now, Lorenzo said, he’s boxed in nearly every side by commercial and residential development and a fire station.
“I guess growth is always going to happen so I suppose it’s inevitable,” Lorenzo said. “But I may have to put my house on the market.”
Longmont used $1.2 million of a $26.5 million bond issue passed by voters in 2019 to buy the two properties on 17th Avenue, which is just across from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center. The current site for First Station 2 is in a 52-year-old building northwest of Mountain View and Hover Street, Higgins said.
Station 6 will also be demolished and rebuilt on its current site at 501 S. Pratt Parkway but oriented a little differently than the current location, Higgins said. The new Station 6 will also be a two-story structure versus its current single story design, he said.
Both new stations will provide more space for including apparatus bays for front line and reserve vehicles,storage space for equipment, including clean storage areas for supplies, Higgins said.
There will also be a separate, ventilated storage for the firefighters’ protective equipment, and improved ventilation systems in the apparatus bay to deal with vehicle exhaust, Higgins said.
Fire crews have been doing periodic training at the two 17th Avenue homes since the city purchased the properties, Higgins said. “Having structures such as these to train is an invaluable experience for our firefighters by giving them new and realistic buildings to run training scenarios in,” he said.
When a demolition date was announced, fire crews began some of “our destructive training” such as vertical ventilation where our firefighters cut vent holes in the roof of a structure, Higgins said.
At the time we started this training,” Higgins said, “we were under the impression we only had a few days left before the structures were taken down, so we moved to get in what training we could before the structure was gone for good.”
CORRECTION: The homes being demolished for the new fire house are on 17th Avenue.