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Official Site for the Crystal Park Volunteer Fire Department
and the Crystal Park Metropolitan District

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Annual Communication to Crystal Park Residents:
A Look Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015


The Crystal Park Fire Department (CPFD) had approximately 80 dispatched calls in 2014, including structure fires, smoke investigations, medical calls, vehicle accidents, carbon monoxide alarms and move up calls to Manitou Springs.

In November 2014, we had a major structure fire in Crystal Park. The alarm went out at 12:36 AM on Saturday morning November 8 th. Chief Welsch was on scene within minutes and was able to enter the house, clear the house of the resident, try to identify the heavy smoke source and begin to request resources. Fire began to show soon after his arrival and developed very fast. The location of the house presented challenges: it was at one of the highest points in Crystal Park, at the end of a steep driveway, with no turnaround for fire apparatus. Hose was laid from a port-a-tank at the bottom of the hill and pumped to the scene. We want to especially thank Manitou Springs Fire Department (MSFD) and an AMR ambulance for their swift arrivals. The El Paso Wildland team under our own Shayne Coyne got to work in the woods around and below the burning house to ensure that the huge burning cinders and small fire starts did not turn into a larger wildland fire. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, Green Mountain Falls, and Fort Carson fire departments all responded to assist our firefighters. CPFD volunteers stayed on scene throughout Saturday, Sunday, and into Monday; then continually checked on the fire until the following Friday. The Crystal Park Metro District (CPMD) Board wishes to thank our CPFD firefighters for the good job they did to contain and manage this fire. Two residents of Crystal Park also went above and beyond: Thanks to Chuck Lavezzi and Linda Foulk for their assistance and support throughout the fire.

There is no way to predict the number of calls we may have in 2015. EMS calls typically make up the majority of our dispatches. We do have many retired, older residents in Crystal Park…please keep an eye out for your neighbor’s well-being, as you may save a life by calling 911 in time. As for wildland and flood dangers in our area, the weather outlook through May is for normal weather and normal rain/snow fall. However, the worst wildland fires on the Front Range have been in June, after Spring and before the monsoon season….that is the time we ask you to be extra careful and vigilant for smoke, lightning strikes and any accidental fires. Call 911 immediately, even if you are not absolutely sure! Later, flooding takes place in July and August if the afternoon monsoonal rains become fierce. We ask every resident to register ALL their cell phones and/or VOIP phone numbers with the El Paso Reverse 911 system to ensure that you are notified of any emergency in Crystal Park. Go to the El Paso County Emergency Notification System to sign up or log in.

CPFD has joined up with what is called the “Broken Arrow” initiative: In Summer 2015, we will be part of Tender Strike Team #6 which will focus on wildland fire on the West side of Colorado Springs and includes MSFD, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, Fort Carson and Westcott fire departments. The Strike Team will help fulfill a statewide initiative that calls for 90 firefighters and 30 apparatus to be on scene within 90 minutes of dispatch to an uncontrolled wildland fire.

The CPMD will continue to support an Automatic Aid Agreement with the MSFD: We agree to answer all calls for fire investigations, structure fires, wildland fires, floods, high angle rescue and requested move-up calls in each other’s districts (if not otherwise dispatched). Although CPFD does not typically respond to EMS calls in Manitou Springs, MSFD does respond to all our medical calls if available. They bring a Paramedic and extra firefighters to the scene.

The CPMD supports the annual ESA contract ensuring that AMR will continue to respond to our community as well as it has in the past. AMR now stations an ambulance with a Paramedic and an EMT at the Manitou Springs Fire Department, which promises to decrease response time to Crystal Park.


The good news: Our 1979 Engine 910 passed its annual pump test with excellent results and responded admirably throughout the year and during our major house fire. The bad news: It died after pumping water on the house fire for 3 days! Engine 925, a mini-pumper, is also an old apparatus (1978) and will have to serve as our primary response vehicle until we can replace Engine 910. Both water tenders, Tender 960 and Tender 961, are fully operational, as is Rescue 970, our primary Emergency Medical Services (EMS) utility. The CPHOA continues to loan the CPFD a plow truck during the summer fire season, which becomes a 4x4 brush truck with a fire skid mounted on it.

Our first priority in 2015 will be to replace Engine 910. We explored the possibility of repairing the pumper, but given that it is 36 years old, we feared it would become a money pit over the next few years. We are researching a lease-to-own option for a much newer, used apparatus and we have applied for a grant to purchase a brand new wildland urban apparatus. A lesson learned during the structure fire was that we need to have agile first-response vehicles for the terrain here in Crystal Park, preferably 4x4, able to climb steep grades, turn in small quarters and have enough water and pump capability to hit a fire hard until more resources arrive.


Manitou Springs donated a 10,000 gallon cistern to Crystal Park, which was buried in the middle Park. It is fully operational, and is a milestone in our effort to continually improve our fire water delivery system. Our cisterns throughout the Park serve as our mountain version of fire hydrants, so the bigger the better.

Meanwhile, we fulfilled the terms of an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) award, purchasing 4000 ft. of 3” hose and 5 new nozzles. In 2015 we will begin to use the longer, larger diameter hose, allowing us to lay hose directly from a water source to a fire; or to lay hose up steep grades and long distances when a water source is not nearby. A state grant award in 2015 will also allow us to purchase more equipment to enhance our water delivery system.


2014 was tough: Our Chief and the founder of the CPFD, John Hennessey and our lead for EMS, Susi Hennessey, moved from the Park. Then, one of our most valuable volunteers in both the CPFD and the CPMD Board resigned: Mike Doughty plans to move to warmer climes and decided the time was right to concentrate on personal matters. How can we thank these folks enough for their service!? Those willing to take on their responsibilities are: Deputy Chief Paul Welsch took over as Chief; Metro Board Secretary, Joan Powers, became Chair of the Metro; and Steve Leander took on the leadership for EMS. And fortunately, new volunteers and one returning firefighter, brought our numbers back up to 19 firefighters.

In 2015, we hope to enlist more volunteers in a variety of roles. We welcome all residents who are interested in training to become a firefighter! Twana Denton can help you with that process. However, we know that not everyone has the time to train as a firefighter and to respond to calls, yet many have expressed interest in helping in some way. Some residents have expressed interest in the idea of supporting the fire department in a very active role such as helping with traffic control and using their ATV’s to navigate errands during an incident or helping with an evacuation. We also hope to find individuals with skills or talents for specific projects. If you want to help out, please contact Linda Foulk .


In 2014, we gained 5 new EMT’s in the department. Four of them graduated from an intensive 3 month EMT course and are all certified by the National Registry and the State of Colorado. Another resident joined already trained as an EMT. Two EMT’s also completed an advanced course which gives them the skills needed for intravenous and intraosseous medication therapy.

All our firefighters take a “Probie” training course, but in January 2015, 4 firefighters began a Firefighter I course. This will bring the department’s number of highly trained firefighters to 6, a new high for the department.


As always, the CPMD and CPFD apply for every grant that we can possibly qualify for! 2014 was no exception…and we really went big. We applied to AFG for a wildland urban interface apparatus. Will we get this vehicle? The competition for vehicles is fierce, and we hope we made the case in spite of our small population and department. If not, we will try again next year. We did receive a $23,000 federal mini-grant to purchase hose and nozzles for the department.

In 2015, we hope to be awarded a State grant to purchase more equipment for our water delivery system, and another grant for 10 complete sets of bunker gear. A third major grant proposal asks for radios and a rescue apparatus for EMS.


We had a banner year in 2014 for donations and fundraising to the Department. These funds enable the Department to purchase much needed supplies and equipment, update old equipment, enhance its reserve fund for long range costs, and perform needed maintenance and repairs. We thank Borriello Brothers Pizza for their extraordinary support of our largest single fundraising effort each year. Thanks to all who helped with that project and all other fundraising activities in 2104.

A newly formed group, called “Friends of the CPFD” has come up with some fundraising ideas for 2015, and also plans to build upon the successes of the past. Contact Mariellyn Scola to help with this effort.


Fire mitigation has become a top priority up and down the Front Range, with Federal and State funds becoming more available. In 2014, the CPHOA secured fire mitigation grants, one of which was used to completely mitigate fuels within 800 feet of the CPFD station/shelter-in-place. Three other “neighborhood” mitigation grants have been awarded to help coordinate residents in their efforts to make their neighborhoods safer. CPFD Firefighters continued to do FireWise assessments for residents whenever requested and encouraged the purchase of a special gel to protect their homes.

There are resources for the individual homeowner in Crystal Park in 2015. If you choose to mitigate your property at your own expense, make sure and take advantage of Colorado’s tax break. The all-important HOA-owned chipper is available to all who watch a safety video first. The CPHOA encourages neighborhoods to come together and make a plan for mitigation in order to obtain a grant to help out. The CPFD continues to provide free assessments of your property and home at your request; additionally, “Barrier Gel” can be a valuable ally during wildland fire. Notify Chief Welsch for more information.


We would also once again like to thank you, the residents, as well as the Board of Directors of the Crystal Park HOA and our great Park Staff, for support of the Crystal Park Fire Department and its volunteers. Please take the time to explore the CPFD website for detailed information on CPMD proceedings and budgets, and for more resources to keep you and your family safe.

Crystal Park Metropolitan District Board of Directors*
Joan Powers , Chairman
Clint Schneider, Treasurer
Derek Strickler, Secretary
Dick O’Brien
Steve Leander

Crystal Park Fire Department
Paul Welsch , Chief

February 27, 2015

*Crystal Park Metropolitan District Board meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:00 PM at the CPFD Fire Station. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!