The sound of a lonely siren echoed across Edgewater this morning and many residents did not know what it signaled. At 7 am members of the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District sounded the siren at the Edgewater Fire Station signaling the merger with the West Metro Fire Protection District. As of April 15, 2016, Edgewater residents will be served by members of the West Metro Fire Protection District coming from fire stations outside of Edgewater.
Edgewater has a long history of a volunteer fire department dating back to 1915. On January 1, 2013, the Edgewater Fire Department merged with the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District. April 15, 2016 marked yet another transition in fire services for Edgewater residents. Over the last few months the Board of Directors of both Wheat Ridge Fire and West Metro Fire have been discussing a merger so that residents in the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District might have greater access to quality services. They hired an outside consultant from Emergency Services Consulting Incorporated to study the feasibility of a merger. An Intergovernmental Agreement was signed and voters will vote on the merger in a special election on October 4, 2016.
In a letter to residents, Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District Chief Bob Olme stated, “The feasibility of the study came with a recommendation to merge the two organizations into one, thus providing Paramedic Engines and Fire Based Paramedic Ambulances at no increased costs to you, as well as, the greater depth that a larger department affords.”
Edgewater will now be served by two fire stations providing overlapping 4.5 minute response times. According to West Metro, “Wheat Ridge Fire Station #71 (3800 Upham Street) will remain open with a firefighter/paramedic staffed fire engine, a firefighter/paramedic staffed ambulance and a chief officer. This station will be called West Metro Fire Station #16.” Edgewater will also be served by West Metro Fire Station #1 which is located at 6401 West 14th Avenue at the corner of 14th and Lamar in Lakewood.
West Metro Fire Protection has provided a FAQ sheet about the merger which answers common questions residents are asking. This FAQ sheet is available online here. Three community meetings have been scheduled to discuss the merger.
- May 10 at 6:30 pm, Edgewater Elementary, 5570 West 24th Ave., Edgewater, CO 80214
- May 25, 2016 at 6:30 pm, at Wheat Ridge Grange, 3850 High Court, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
- June 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm, at West Metro Fire Rescue Administration, 433 South Allison Parkway, Lakewood, CO 80226
It is yet to be seen what will happen with the Edgewater Fire Station as the City of Edgewater owns the property located just northeast of 25th Avenue and Gray Street. What is known is that this is an emotional transition for long time Edgewater residents who had strong ties to the volunteer Edgewater Fire Department and had pride in a fire station that was embedded in the Edgewater community.