Windsor Mill Fire Update:
Windsor Severance Fire Rescue (WSFR) crews along with law enforcement will continue to be on scene at the Windsor Mill Fire around-the-clock until all hot spots are extinguished and the investigation of the fire is completed. Due to limited space and the need to stay connected to hydrants 3rd Street must remain closed between Main Street and Walnut so we can conduct operations.
Due to the size and scope of this fire loss, we have asked for assistance from the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). At this point we have no determination of the cause of the fire. Citizens with tips or information should call the ATF at 1-800-283-4867. Please do not call 911 or our dispatch center as this impacts our services.
There have been some questions about including federal assistance at a local level; this is not unusual. Local agencies including WSFR work with our Federal partners on a regular basis. The ATF is the Federal agency primarily responsible for administering and enforcing the criminal and regulatory provisions of the Federal laws pertaining arson. Over nearly 40 years, ATF has developed scientifically proven investigative capabilities, expertise, and resources they have positioned ATF as the Nation’s primary source for explosives and fire investigative knowledge and assistance. WSFR’s decision accept federal assistance is solely based upon these extensive resources available on this complex investigation and not based on any speculation of the cause. This will also assist WSFR and WPD with continuing our ongoing service to our growing community.
While investigation activities begun before the fire was brought under control this effort will be supplemented by a national response team of 15-20 investigators on Tuesday morning. With the use of specialized tools and heavy equipment investigators will be able to access this still dangerous scene.
Until we are able to get this debris removed, the fires will continue burning in the void spaces of the collapse zone will continue to produce flames and smoke.
The tragedy of this fire extends beyond just the historic building. This incident is having an effect on one of the neighboring business, The Hearth Restaurant for example has chosen to remain closed because smoke from this fire is pulled into their building by the air handling system. They will not be opening until we are able to mitigate the smoke situation. We are working closely with the owners to get them re-opened as soon as possible. The NAPA Auto Parts Store has access limited to the alley off of 2nd and Walnut St. Please keep these great local businesses and its staff who are directly impacted in mind and give them extra support.
Fire Chief Herb Brady
May 8, 2017
By Herb Brady
As is typical for Colorado, we transitioned seemingly overnight from winter to spring and summer weather conditions, including the hazardous weather that comes with it: flash floods, hail, high wind and red flag warnings, lightening and tornados. It is important to be aware and prepared for all of these hazards in Colorado.
Each year as the awareness of tornados reemerges and siren tests are conducted in areas that have sirens, we are often asked why sirens are not located in all communities. In our District, Severance has two sirens that residents may hear in some, but not all parts of that growing community. Most tornado sirens are left over Cold War era air raid sirens from the 1950s. Around 1970, these sirens were first used to warn of approaching tornados. Now that the Cold War is over, these sirens are used almost exclusively for that purpose. Many communities with these sirens have elected to take them out as better, more reliable, and less expensive solutions become widely available.
The use of large outdoor sirens as tornado sirens has several limitations starting with reliability. They are prone to failure from the mechanics to power supply and even the telephone or radio systems used to activate the sirens are often affected by the very storm the system is designed to warn against. Additionally, cost of the system is very expensive. To cover and maintain adequate systems, communities the size of Windsor and Severance would likely run $500,000 plus ongoing maintenance. For a system like this, with questionable reliability, and limited in scope, there are much better choices.
The technology to give information and warnings today for all types of perils has never been better. Systems for cell phones can be set up for low to no cost and configured from a litany of warnings from all-weather types, crime, hazardous materials, amber alerts and road closures. As a backup, National Weather Service weather radios, that have battery backup and alert when there is a serious weather issue in your area, can be purchased for around $40.
The most important activity for every family is to not wait for the emergency. Have a plan and be prepared. We encourage everyone within WSFR’s district in Weld and Larimer Counties to sign up with the Everbridge Notification System through LETA. WSFR’s district is the only non-Larimer County area additionally covered by this robust 911 Notification System. Furthermore, residents within our District and in Weld County can also sign up for the Code Red Emergency Notification system. Yes, you can have both. Also, with these systems you can add other locations such as your children’s school, your business, or family members, and can choose which types of alerts you would like. Additionally, there are apps from the National Weather Service and local TV stations that offer very useful information even when you are traveling. Personally, I have several free subscriptions that come in handy especially when traveling.
Back to weather in general, while we do get tornados and they are highly publicized events, other weather perils lead the way in loss of life and property in Colorado. Colorado, in fact, year over year is among the top 3 states for lightening fatalities. Flash floods are also very fast to develop and very deadly in our state including right here in our local communities. Do not ignore the warnings, get off the ball field, pool, or golf course when lightening is in the area, do not tempt driving through flooded streets, and stay prepared.
Code Red for Residents of Weld County:
LETA’s Everbridge for Residents of Larimer County AND WSFR’s entire Fire District including Severance and Windsor
FEMA’s Plan-Prepare website
FEMA’s Ready.gov site for helpful information
Some may have noticed the face of our Web site and social media has changed. As many folks now may know, WSFR has been hard at work crafting our 2016-2021 Community Driven Strategic Plan. We began this proccess with assistance from industry colleagues from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), our accreditation organization who sought out honest and direct feedback from nearly 50 community stakeholders. While the official plan is not ready for release, the first product of this proccess, our revised mission, and values statement is ready to roll.
A mission and values statement holds high importance in an organization that hopes to be progressive and customer accountable. A shared mission and values statement is essential for those who seek to accomplish even greater things, for it takes a village.
After a great deal of determined work, community input, and exhaustive dialog with the internal stakeholders group we present the following statements. The Mission is all new, short, and to the point. The values are based on our last set of Competence, Readiness, and Respect, but expanded to 4 values and refined meanings which we feel more completely captures the values that guide us as we carry out our mission.
Providing professional service and compassionate care from our family to yours.
Readiness: We will anticipate the needs of our community through preparedness, education, and continual improvement.
Excellence: We will pursue mastery of technical knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Courage: We will display the mental strength and moral character to do what is right, even in the presence of personal and professional adversity.
Respect: We will serve our community and each other with dignity, integrity, appreciation, and kindness, while valuing the diversity and efforts of all.