With seven bedrooms, a weight room, and a kitchen to die for, a lot of folks might want to live in this place.
But while the living conditions are comfortable, the working conditions are pretty tough.
The Upper Pine River Fire Protection District is hosting an open house tomorrow at its newly renovated Station 5 near Forest Lakes. The station is now staffed 24-7 to provide paramedic and fire service to the large subdivision and nearby residents.
"Forest Lakes is 40 percent of our assessed evaluation," so having a station at the entrance to the subdivision makes sense, said Chief Bruce Evans. While giving a tour of the new station on Tuesday, a call came in from Durango Fire and Rescue asking for assistance from Upper Pine for a housefire on CR 223.
Upper Pine began providing round-the-clock paramedic service last summer. Since most of the calls to the district are medical-related, having full-time paramedic service available from Forest Lakes is critical, Evans said. A night paramedic came on full-time in March.
In addition to a night paramedic, the station will house a wildland fire crew this summer.
Dan Miller, one of the paramedics at the station, also is a firefighter. He said if a wildfire or housefire call comes in, he can start driving a water truck, followed by two more firetrucks, to start getting a blaze under control. Two more stations in Vallecito can provide even more backup personnel if needed.
The new living quarters include a weight room with equipment donated by 555 Fitness, which specializes in workout equipment for firefighters. The seven living quarters look like dorm rooms. Upstairs is a large training center for meetings and staff training. There are two bathrooms with showers.
"And this is our big ol' kitchen!" Miller said proudly of the new facility. The Forest Lakes Metro District donated a six-burner stove with griddle and a range hood. There are four monster refrigerators, one for each shift and one for the wildland firefighter crew that will be housed in the station this summer.
Outside, Upper Pine staff laid bricks for the patio and planted the landscaping around the building.
For as large a building as the station is, the district only spent about $300,000 of its own funds on the project, Evans said. Another $300,000 came from a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant. The metro district donated the stove and waived a tap fee for the station to have water. Most of the construction was overseen by Roy Vreeland and Tom Higgins, two district employees with construction experience, while the electrical and plumbing service was installed by licensed local companies.
The concrete building and extra insulation make the building energy efficient and will reduce utility costs, Evans said.
All are invited to the open house tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by the district auxiliary.