Year In Review 2011 – Police and Fire

Police, fire highlights for 2011
Barbara Lawlor
Peak to Peak

It has been a year of progress for the Nederland Fire Protection District, of change for the Nederland Police Department and transition for High Country and Colorado Sierra fire districts.
At the beginning of the year, the NPD hired Officer Tom Mangione to join the force. Mangione is a Post Trauma Stress Disorder officer and an alcohol counselor.
The NFPD inherited an Ambulance from Gilpin County, which was housed in the new addition at Station 2 on Ridge Road. This gives the NFPD 20 emergency vehicles with the oldest being a 1967 tanker truck. The firefighters made use of mop up equipment during deep freezes resulting in burst pipes and flooding from record-breaking rain and melt off.
NFPD Firefighters Jim Harrison and Mike Smith rescued a local dog who was swept away into a culvert near the roundabout during spring meltdown flow. The firefighters had to crawl into the culvert and coax the dog to come out with them. As they emerged they were greeted by applause from a crowd of spectators.
High Country and Colorado Sierra Fire District set an election date in March. For the past two years the two districts have been working on a merger, a dissolution and inclusion process to form the Timberline Fire Protection District. The election passed 96 to 10 and the transition began. After a series of interim chiefs, the TFPD board hired Chris Jennings, from Johnstown, Iowa, to take over the district. During the time the Timberline Fire Authority existed, response time was faster and call responses increased.
At the final Colorado Sierra award picnic, firefighters said goodbye to the department that many of them had served for decades. They agreed it was a bitter and sweet time.
Several wildland fires caused evacuations throughout the mountain areas of Boulder County, but they were quickly contained by rapid and multi-agency responses. Air tankers and back burns worked on the Left Hand Canyon fire. Firefighters were also called upon to mitigate the damage done by mudslides caused by erosion in last year’s Fourmile Canyon fire.
Fire bans were imposed and then released as the County underwent severe weather schizophrenia, soaking rains and then drying heat and heavy winds.
Ken Robinson, chief of the NPD for almost 10 years, resigned his position, which was put out on the internet for applications. Town residents rallied around Officer Jake Adler, and after the final five applicants faced a meet and greet with the public, Adler was appointed chief.
July lightning caused the Castle Rock fire which had the potential to move up to Ridge Road residences, but multiple fire agencies, hiking into the steep terrain, doused the flames before the fire could spread.
Although 2011 was filled with natural, damaging weather events, there were no area disasters, and local emergency responders mitigated potentially catastrophic situations.