A night out saving the town

Oct 022003
Authors: Jason Kosena

Editors note: Jason Kosena went on a ride-along with the Poudre

Fire Authority to write this article.

Fire engines carry five hoses of different sizes, made of nylon

jackets and rubber lining. Every fire is different in nature and

requires a different type of line.

They carry first-aid kits, defibrillators and trauma equipment.

Every call they respond to has the potential of being a medical


They carry shovels, brooms, Pike Poles, axes and crowbars. They

never know what car, garage or house they will need to gain access


They carry clamp sets, cribbing, oxygen bottles, ladders,

radios, maps, tarps and Gatorade because being a firefighter

requires preparedness.

Firefighters are dedicated to assisting every person in need of

help. The status or significance of the person, the time of day,

the weather or the situation does not matter to firefighters; they

are here to help everyone in every situation.

“When we get to the scene, each of us has a specific job to do,”

said Dave Kelln, firefighter and company officer at Station 1, B

Shift. “I honestly believe that the guys here, when they put their

combined efforts together, can solve any problem.”

On Saturday, the firefighters of Station 1 went about their

daily routine, checking equipment and responding to calls from

people in need throughout Fort Collins.

“Saturdays are different than weekdays for us. We take this

opportunity to go out and get some breakfast together and then

spend the day checking every piece of equipment on the engine,”

Kelln said, as a loud beeping sound started to blare from his

radio. “If we hear another set of beeps here shortly, than that

means it is our call and we’ll be out of here.”

The second set of beeps failed to come through the intercom in

the station and Kelln picked up the conversation where he left off

before the incoming call.

As Kelln began making his way around the engine, explaining the

different tools and gauges and the different services they provide

for the community, a pride for his job, his duty, began to shine


“The one thing (firefighters) have a problem doing is staying

away from problems. We train and we know what to do in certain

situations. We train to the best of our abilities, but every

situation is different,” Kelln said.

Jay Klassen, company officer for Engine 2 at Station 1, believes

that being a firefighter is not a job for everyone.

“I started when I was 19 years old. The people in this line of

work are physically fit and like an adrenaline rush. It can be very

depressing, also. We see people during their worst days. It’s not

for everybody. We see things that people only see on TV or read

about,” Klassen said. “We go out to solve other people’s


At 2:45 p.m. the first call of the day came into the station,

and within 45 seconds, the fire truck was out of the station and on

its way to the airport.

A possible plane crash had been reported at the Downtown Fort

Collins Airport.

“A plane has radioed in that they aren’t getting a landing gear

signal, and the airport has asked for some assistance,” said

Klassen from the shotgun seat of the fire truck as it races down

Mulberry Avenue, sirens blaring and lights flashing.

As the truck pulled up to the airport, many police cruisers and

an ambulance are on the scene along with some airport staff on a

golf cart. Everyone was awaiting the landing of the malfunctioning

airplane, which landed without problem, with its landing gear


“Most calls we get are like this one. No one is dying, there is

no fire to put out,” Klassen said.

As the truck pulled back into the station, the firefighters got

out and replaced all their gear next to the truck to be ready for

their next quick departure.

At 5:46 p.m., the same time dinner was being pulled out of the

oven at the station, another call came in. A medical emergency at

Ammons Hall on CSU’s campus was the call. The firefighters raced to

the engine, and within 54 seconds of the call coming in, were

shooting down College Avenue toward the Oval.

The firefighters made their way into Ammons Hall to assist an

elderly lady sitting in a chair, surrounded by many people handing

her water.

She was feeling faint and was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital by


As the firefighters were pulling back into the garage of the

firehouse, another call came in. Before they had the opportunity to

get out of the truck or eat the dinner that was burning in the

oven, they were racing to the Fort Collins Library, for an unknown

medical emergency.

“We go to the library a lot. That is where the transients hang

out,” Kelln said.

As they pulled up to the library, there was a group of people

sitting around the picnic table.

All of them were highly intoxicated and one of them had a cut

over his eye.

Firefighter and Engine Driver/Operator Tom Johnson attended to

the man with the cut over his eye, who was sent to Poudre Valley

Hospital by ambulance.

As they got back to the station, dinner was burned, but edible,

and none of them complained about a crisp meal.

The firefighters finished dinner and began to relax until the

next call for help came in.

Kelln began to explain the PFA map on the wall and what his job

means to him.

“(The transients at the library), they pay no taxes, they don’t

pay our salaries, but we still want to help them,” Kelln said. “We

still want to help them.”




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