Quiet chatter echoed off the walls Saturday, Nov. 14 as friends, family and firefighters gathered to celebrate Albany County Central Fire Department’s new station located two miles south of Laramie on Highway 287.
The new location will expand fire protection and increase emergency response times in the southern half of Albany County’s outer city limits, also known as “the donut.” Expected response time for dispatch is projected to improve by 10 minutes.
According to data provided by Division Chief of Training Steve Kaiser, Central Station experienced a drastic increase in dispatch calls over the last few years, stating they went from a little over 50 calls in 2017 to over 300 this past year. These calls, ranging from medical and auto extrications to wild, circuit and grass fires, indicated the donut’s need for immediate attention.
“We’ve grown very rapidly,” Central Station Fire Chief Dylan Whitner stated, “we’re happy to serve the residents.” Whitner’s passion and concern for the growing need of coverage led to project inception just one year ago.
Although the building is not yet fully operational — interior construction for classrooms, dorms and kitchen is scheduled for completion sometime in March — residents will benefit from the new station in more ways than improved fire protection.
According to the ACFD#1 grant narrative (found on their website), homeowner’s insurance will have savings approximately $200 per home per year. After Central Station undergoes and passes an Insurance Service Office audit, insurance rates will drop from Level 10 to Level Five.
The ceremony, held inside the new building to shelter attendees from the blistering cold, concluded with a prayer of blessing, reminding the community of the men and women who sacrifice their safety for the safety of others; a ribbon tearing (performed by Fire chiefs Whitner and John Essley, of Tie Siding. A radio transmission notifying dispatch that Albany County Central Fire Department is operational also was part of the ceremonies.