Eagle River Fire Protection District opens its new station in Edwards
State-of-the-art station and training facility will also house paramedics
EDWARDS — Thirty-four years is a long time for a temporary home.
The Eagle River Fire Protection District moved into its temporary Edwards home in 1985. It dedicated its new, state-of-the-art permanent home last Thursday. It should be good for 50 years.
“We are thrilled to able to operate out of this new facility,” Fire Chief Karl Bauer said. “We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the support of the community, whom the fire district and its firefighters serve.”
It’s officially called Station 12, a station and training facility, and also a home for Eagle County Paramedic Services. If you see smoke coming out of the training facility, don’t call the fire department. They’re already there.
Thursday’s dedication opened with a bagpipe and drum duo leading the color guard and welcome by ERFPD Board Chair Clint Janssen then Bauer, followed by the national anthem performed by local vocalist Terry Armistead.
It ended with lunch, tours, handshakes and smiles.
In between, plaque presentations were followed by a hose uncoupling ceremony, a fire service tradition similar to a ribbon cutting.
Finally, Vail Public Safety Communications Center, the county’s 911 dispatch center, aired the initial callout for all ERFPD units who will be responding from their new station.
A thank you to voters
Thursday’s dedication was the public’s first look at the finished product. Their first look was more theoretical — artists’ renderings not long after mid-valley voters approved a $25 million property tax increase — $12 million for the new combined fire and police building in Avon, and $13 million for the new fire station/training facility on the Eagle County Paramedic Services site in Edwards.
Before Station 12 opened last week, the closest training facility was in Dotsero. The next closest is in Summit County. The problem is that training in either location takes crews out of service and renders them unable to quickly respond to calls, district officials say.
It’s the public’s expectation that when someone calls 911, something is going to happen, and happen quickly, Bauer said.
“It requires certain things for us to make that happen,” Bauer said.
The fire district looked at 26 sites in the area before settling on a combination of the fire district’s site — called Tract K — and the Edwards ambulance district site. The fire district bought Tract K from local real estate developer Rick Mueller in 2016. The sale was contingent on voters passing the tax, which they did on May 3, 2016.
Throughout the years, Tract K has been seen at least seven development proposals come and go.
The Eagle River Fire Protection District’s coverage area is 186 square miles, from Tennessee Pass to Minturn on U.S. Highway 24, and west along Highway 6 and Interstate 70 to Wolcott. The town of Vail has its own fire department. The district runs five full-time fire stations.
With a key water deal denied, the Battle Mountain developer and the town of Minturn are planning to meet next week to discuss the future of the Bolts Lake property.