Aurora plans three new firehouses

Aurora fire Capt. Mike Ackman said that with the population growth on the city’s eastern and northern edges, the city is planning to start construction on three new firehouses by 2018

AURORA | Aurora firefighters will have three new homes in the coming years — and they’ll be saying goodbye to one of the department’s quirkier facilities.

Aurora fire Capt. Mike Ackman said that with the population growth on the city’s eastern and northern edges, the city is planning to start construction on three new firehouses by 2018.

One station will be a brand new Station No. 16 and will be built near the under-construction Gaylord Rockies Hotel in northeast Aurora near Denver International Airport.

The other two will replace current stations, Ackman said. One will replace Station No. 5, which is on Buckley Road just south of East Colfax Avenue.

The other will replace Station No. 15, which is located in a residential house in the Murphy Creek subdivision.

Aurora Fire station 15 on Wednesday April 13, 2016 at 1680 S. Catawba Circle. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora SentinelThat station is actually the city’s newest and was built a decade ago to handle the rapidly-growing neighborhoods on the city’s eastern edge.

Ackman said the need for fire service back then grew rapidly so the city needed a creative solution, so they worked with the homebuilders to build a house that, other than an extra-large garage for the fire equipment, looks like many others in the neighborhood.

“It was a five-year lease that we had been in for 10 years,” he said.

The replacement will likely be located near Flat Rock and East Jewell Avenue, but Ackman said city officials are still working on the land acquisition for that site and the new Station No. 5, which will be somewhere near Colfax and Buckley, not more than a half mile from the current station.

Construction will start with Station No. 5 as soon as this year, Ackman said. Then Station No. 15 will be replaced, followed by construction of the new Station No. 16 in 2018.

In total, the new houses will cost between $5 million and $8 million to build, he said.

To staff the new station, Ackman said the department plans to add five new firefighters this year, next year and in 2018. Those 15 will provide the 15 new firefighters the new station needs when it comes on line.

City councilwoman Barb Cleland, chairwoman of council’s Public Safety Committee, said it’s “long passed time” that the city adds more firehouses.

As for Station No. 15, Cleland said the city benefited from the economic downturn a few years ago when growth in that area slowed. Now that the population is steadily picking up out there, a larger station is necessary, she said.

“The calls for service are there and we need to have a full firehouse with the full complement of firefighters,” she said.Aurora Fire station 15 on Wednesday April 13, 2016 at 1680 S. Catawba Circle. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

Cleland said the city’s need for more stations won’t go away when all three new ones come on line, either. She said more stations will be needed not just on the city’s edges, but near busy neighborhoods like the Anschutz Medical Campus and East Sixth Avenue and Havana Street.

Ackman said that last year, seeing the need for more stations, the department worked with architects to design three prototype stations, essentially a small, medium and large station. With those in hand, the city will be able to more-quickly start construction as they need in the future, he said.

“It sure makes it easy when you know you have the prototypes already designed,” he said.

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