PUEBLO — Pueblo firefighters will soon be able to get to emergencies faster thanks to new funding. The City of Pueblo received more than 30 million dollars to build three fire stations.
In a press release, they said, “City of Pueblo priced and sold certificates of participation in a competitive sale. Nine bids were received, with the winning bid coming from BNYMellon Capitals Markets with a true interest rate (TIC) of 3.656%. This funding allows the City of Pueblo to move forward with plans to build three new fire stations.”
Tim Trujillo with the Pueblo Fire Department said the plan is to rebuild two existing stations and add one completely new station.
Firehouse 6 is one station in Pueblo that is getting an upgrade. The department said the new station six will be built just down the road from the current one, on the east side of town.
Trujillo has worked in the Pueblo Fire Department for 16 years. When people drive by the firehouses for them it might just look like a station, but to Trujillo, it is more than that.
“This is our home for 48 hours at a time. When we look at this place, we spend a lot of time here, we spend a lot of time together,” Trujillo said.
Station six is just one of 10 firehouses in the Pueblo Fire Department.
“Station six has always been a station people like to come to, it is called a hidden gem,” Trujillo said. “We have calls that are unique to neighborhoods, unique to residential. Some stations don’t have commercial properties, but this eastside station here has commercial, residential, and industrial and they cover parts of the airport,” Trujillo said.
He said it is a fun station to be at if you like to stay busy.
“You are not going to get bored working at station six, you are not going to get bored working at Belmont earlier,” Trujillo said.
Regardless of its exciting atmosphere, Trujillo said station six needs an upgrade.
“Getting our fitness equipment into our own space so we are not sharing space with some of the contaminants we bring back from fires,” Trujillo said
Trujillo said a new building will be safer and healthier for firefighters. He explained that since the space at the station is limited, there is not enough room to properly store their uniform after being at a fire. He said the equipment that is contaminated currently sits very close to the living quarters. The new buildings will also separate where the trucks are parked.
“The new stations are going to have the truck rooms on the other side so the exhaust is blowing away from the living quarters,” Trujillo said.
With the funding, the department will also add an entirely new station
“So we have been approved to build three stations. Two of those stations are going to replace two stations on the east side in Bessemer. Another of those stations is 11, which is going to be an additional station for us and that will be built on the west side of town,” Trujillo said.
Station Eleven will get new equipment and personnel.
“The staffing station eleven will have to be from additional hires, hiring more firefighters and promoting people to manage that truck,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo said hiring new firefighters has never been an issue for their department.
Mayor Nick Gradisar said building new fire stations is an investment in the future. He said station 11 will be located on the west side of town because they are anticipating more growth there.
“It’s a part that’s historically not grown, but we’ve invested in some other infrastructure improvements there so we think there’s gonna be significant changes in that part of the community that require the addition of this fire station,” Gradisar said.
Gradisar said adding this new station will make response times faster and it should not affect the city's budget.
“We’ll pay for these new fire stations, with what we’ve been paying for the last 15 years at the municipal justice center, which is paid off. So now we’ll just continue to make those payments (to the fire stations) so it won’t really have an adverse effect on the city's budget at all,” Gradisar said.
The mayor also mentioned how a goal for the new stations is for them to be energy efficient, with each of them being designed very similarly.
“We’ve asked them to design submit zero fire stations so that hopefully they will not use any energy off the grid. We will have solar panels there and some geothermal heat and cooling for those fire stations so it should serve the community for 50 or 60 years at least,” Gradisar said.
The new stations will also have better sleeping quarters. Trujillo said station six currently has dorm-style sleeping quarters with not much privacy. Trujillo said that will change in the new firehouse. Gradisar said the new firehouses will be more accounting for men and women.
“Well, ever since I took office, the concern was these fire stations we have now do not accommodate both sexes, and there have been some issues and some problems as a result of that where men and women have to share locker rooms and sleeping quarters, and those kinds of things. We decided that rather than try to spend money remodeling some of these older stations, we will invest in the future for the city of Pueblo and try to build some state-of-the-art fire stations,” Gradisar said.
Trujillo said these stations will help both the department and the city.
"We're gonna have training walls inside of there so that we could train in house everything from repelling to throwing ladders new equipment, new beds, new washing machine so all of those things morale for the firefighters I think it's really good and then just as a City to see that we're expanding growing in investing in that infrastructure I think it's really important for them as well,” Trujillo said.
The fire department said they have been trying to get this funding for years, so they are very excited to break ground on the new stations next year.
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