Vail Valley: 9 new firefighters will be hired |

Vail Valley: 9 new firefighters will be hired

Dustin Racioppi
Vail CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-The Vail Valley-based Eagle River Fire Protection District will soon be able to counter its growth and increasing demand.

The district announced Thursday that it has been awarded a $975,420 federal grant which will be used to hire nine full-time firefighters. The Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant was administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will be paid out over five years, according to a press release from the district.

Deputy Chief John Willson said Eagle River was one of the three fire agencies in Colorado to receive the grant. The other two were departments in the Front Range, he said.

And Eagle River needed the money to bring its staff up to a national standard, Chief Charlie Moore said.

“What that does for us operationally is, it allows us to get four firefighters in each engine ” Minturn, Avon, Edwards, Cordillera, Beaver Creek,” Moore said, “which is the preferred level of response and the recommended level of response.”

Moore said the nine new staff will bring the district to 60 full-time firefighters. Willson said he already knows of 16 applications for the district, so there shouldn’t be much difficulty putting the grant to use, he said.

“The department’s got a little work cut out for us to hire the nine,” he said. “We can get that done pretty easily.”

The other advantage to obtaining the funds is that the district will have a full staff heading into a future station in Wolcott, said Ed O’Brien, chairman of the district’s Board of Directors.

“It gives us the chance to get our staff up before we move on anywhere else so we don’t go into any other new station without filling what we have,” O’Brien said. “I think that a tremendous achievement and I’m particularly pleased.”

The near $1 million grant won’t cover the entire cost to hire the firefighters, but the press release said it covers a “large portion” of the associated cost of hiring them.

“The district will begin the process of hiring its new firefighters within the next several weeks, and we hope to have them in place before June 1,” Moore said in the release.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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