Automatic aid pact between Mountain View, FFFPD comes to acrimonious end

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By The Staff

FREDERICK — A pact signed in 2010 to provide automatic aid between Mountain View Fire Protection District and Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District is no more.
    The sharing of resources between the fire districts to automatically send aid came to an end, prompted by Mountain View’s notice given May 29 to terminate the agreement, which dictated the closest three fire stations would be dispatched within the automatic aid area, regardless of which agency’s stations they are.
    Since 2010, operating under the agreement, Frederick-Firestone FPD provided aid in the areas of northern Dacono (north of County Road 12), Highway 119 west of Interstate 25 and unincorporated areas north and east of Firestone. Mountain View FPD provided aid to southern Frederick (south of County Road 16) and Saint Vrain State Park.


    According to Frederick-Firestone FPD, their firefighters responded to structure fires in Mountain View areas 16 times since 2010, while Mountain View responded to FFFPD areas seven times in the same period.
    “This is unfortunately one of the downsides of such agreements — you can’t count on them more than your own services. Even though we are fully committed to our aid agreements, you can’t control what the other party decides to do,” said Tim Kosmerl, president of FFFPD’s board of directors. “We have the obligation to our communities and our firefighters, they do not. Looking toward our future and that of our communities, we are continuing with the development of Station 4 located at 10706 WCR 7 in Frederick, as well as continuing with cooperative capital planning with both the Town of Frederick and Town of Firestone.”
    Officials with FFFPD stressed the district will not be changing its level of service for residents within the district and that the 2002 Weld County Mutual Aid Agreement between all county fire agencies is still in place. Additionally, FFFPD has mutual aid agreements (where aid is formally requested by an incident commander) and automatic aid agreements (in which there’s an established dispatch response without a formal request) with Longmont, Lafayette, the Fort Lupton Fire Protection District and the Platteville-Gilcrest Fire Protection District.
    While fire officials remained upbeat about the prospect of continuing normal service to residents, town leaders from across Carbon Valley took the occasion to question the motivations of the move by Mountain View.
    “From Frederick’s perspective, I find Mountain View’s decision to pass a resolution terminating auto aid concerning,” said Frederick Mayor Tony Carey. “We have every confidence in FFFPD’s commitment to service and to the safety of our citizens as they have displayed time and time again.”
    Firestone Mayor Chad Auer said he was not happy about the politics of the decision.
    “I am disappointed anytime that administrative gamesmanship of one party comes before service,” Auer said. “However, I have every confidence that our Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District will continue in their tradition and Mission of taking the high road and delivering the best service as they do with every other bordering fire district through existing, working, cooperative agreements, regardless of what appears to be nothing more than political wrangling from one neighboring district.”
    In a press release, Mountain View Fire Rescue said the decision to break the automatic aid agreement was prompted by legal actions taken by the towns of Firestone and Frederick.
    “The Town of Frederick and the Town of Firestone have each recently filed a lawsuit against Mountain View Fire Protection District,” the statement reads. “These lawsuits were a result of MVFR not allowing properties to be taken from their Fire District and placed into the Frederick-Firestone Fire District as a part of recent annexations by the Towns.  The basis for Mountain View Fire District not allowing these properties to be taken out of its district is that Frederick-Firestone Fire District does not have adequate personnel and equipment to cover these properties to the level the citizens have come to expect from Mountain View Fire Rescue.”
     Mountain View will continue to serve areas west of Interstate 25, where the district has spent more than $3 million in fire stations and equipment to enhance service to the area, in addition to the ongoing annual costs of providing paid fire officers, firefighter/paramedics and firefighter/EMTS to cover this area.
    “The conflict arises from the assumption of the Town of Frederick and the Town of Firestone that whenever a property is annexed into their towns that Frederick-Firestone Fire District should be entitled to serve that property as the Towns’ sole fire/rescue provider,” the Mountain View statement read. “Alternatively, Mountain View Fire Rescue believes that it is in the best interests of the citizens for it to continue providing service to those properties annexed by the towns west of I-25, effectively creating co-providers of service to the towns.”
    Mountain View appealed to the residents of both towns, saying that enough taxpayer money has been wasted on legal battles.
    “The Town of Firestone, the Town of Frederick and the Frederick-Firestone Fire District have embarked down a path that will cost their taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees,” the Mountain View statement read. “Should the Towns of Frederick, Firestone and the Frederick-Firestone Fire District be successful in its efforts regarding the recently annexed properties being excluded from the Mountain View Fire District, it will cost [residents of Firestone, Frederick and FFFD] millions of dollars in tax money to build new fire stations, hire personnel and buy equipment to serve an area that already has stations, personnel and equipment in place that is being served by the Mountain View Fire District.”