People who live in the city of Fountain are seeing potentially slower response times for fire and medical help. Fire Chief Darin Anstine says it's because of the problem that he hoped would have been fixed in the November election. City leaders hoped voters would have approved a property tax hike to pay to build Fire Station Four which would have been placed on the east side of the growing community and add new staff.
Chief Anstine says train tracks that run north and south in the community also present a barrier to quick service. More than 40 trains runs every day on these tracks. Sometimes, it's a perfect storm of problems that firefighters will have to wait on the other side to get to the east side of Fountain. It happened recently when a little boy was playing with a gun last week and accidentally shot himself in the foot. It took 14 minutes for crews to get to him. Luckily it wasn't a life threatening injury but what if says Chief Anstine, "It's frustrating to us when we don't have the resources to give the best service we can, 24 hours a day."
The existing three stations are on the west side of the tracks. The growth of the city is on the east side. The fourth station would have been placed on the east side of the tracks. The tracks aren't the only problem. Chief Anstine says he's got six paid firefighters and two paramedics manning three stations everyday. If those stations have active calls, the response time will also be slowed to a crawl.
Chief Anstine reminded me that Fountain is the second largest city in El Paso County and has 27 thousand, plus people and growing. He hopes that voters will see the need for another station and more crew and approve a ballot issue the next time it comes before them.