Fire department drafts new policies
SILT, Colo. – Nearly a year after a volunteer with the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District was involved in an accident with a fire truck and a train, the district has outlined their policies and procedures, especially regarding their drivers.The accident occurred on March 25, 2006, when volunteer firefighter Austin Coryell, who was 19 years old at the time of the accident, was taking a couple and their young son on a community ride in the truck. They were struck by a train while crossing the railroad tracks at the south frontage road to U.S. Highway 6, just east of Coal Ridge High School between New Castle and Silt. The truck was totaled, but no one was injured. Shortly afterwards, the district commissioned an independent investigation by the Aspen Fire Department to make recommendations and review the incident.”The biggest thing is that we now have hard copies of written policies and procedures that are available for inspection,” said Fire Chief Brit McLin. “The driving policies have been revised, but not as a result of the independent investigation. But it was clear we needed to do something.”The fire truck that was totaled in the accident has since been replaced and other new equipment has been added, McLin said.”We used the opportunity to re-evaluate the fleet and while we didn’t replace that exact truck, we have another one that better addresses the needs of the district, ” McLin said.As always, volunteer workers are needed, but the BMFPD is currently running with 50 volunteers, although McLin said a target number he’d like to see is 60.All in all, the district is doing well and responding to the needs of the communities it serves, he said.”We’re in good shape,” McLin said. “But we wouldn’t be where we are without volunteers. Our firefighting crew is an amazing group of people.”The Burning Mountains Fire Protection District encompasses 440 square miles. The boundaries run from the Rio Blanco County line on the north to the Mesa County line on the south and from west of Miller Lane between Silt and Rifle on the west and mile marker 108 (near Canyon Creek) on Interstate 70 on the east. There are three fire stations in the district, in Silt, New Castle and across from the Apple Tree mobile home park in New Castle.
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Recreation and travel in Glenwood Canyon will be much more hazardous due to the potential rockfall and debris flows originating from destabilized ground, rock and weakened trees burned by the Grizzly Creek Fire last summer.