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
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
“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
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
“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.”