West Vail Fire Station opens | VailDaily.com

West Vail Fire Station opens

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail fire stations are closed to the public right now.

VAIL, Colorado – The West Vail Fire Station, a $5.3 million facility that was more than 30 years in the making, is officially open.

The Vail Town Council celebrated the station’s opening Tuesday with the Vail Fire Department and other town staff. The previous Town Council unanimously approved the new fire station in September 2009.

The 15,500-square-foot facility contains a new training room and dorm room-like living quarters for all of the town’s 12 resident firefighters. The station will also likely reach the highest level of green building certification, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s gold rating.

The station’s opening is especially exciting for Fire Chief Mark Miller, who said the site presented many unforeseen construction challenges along the way.

He said the new station is a huge asset for the town and “provides the missing link to have almost ideal coverage for the citizens and guests of Vail.”

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“Frankly, in my 32 years in the fire service, this is one of my proudest moments,” Miller said.

Miller calls West Vail the town’s most vulnerable neighborhood in that it sits close to wildlands, has steep slopes, older homes and many part-time residents.

The new station will cut response times in West Vail by about four minutes – a 50 percent to 60 percent improvement in response time.

The improvement has been anticipated and needed for nearly 30 years since the town of Vail took over local fire services in 1982 and a judge ruled that the town should take all reasonable steps to build and staff a new West Vail station by 1985.

But by 1986, about twice as many calls were coming in from West Vail than East Vail, Vail Fire Deputy Chief Mike McGee said, and it’s been that way ever since.

McGee said the volume distribution of calls hasn’t changed since 1986, which is why the new station is so necessary and welcomed.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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