PHOTOS BY MORGAN BAK
From assisting tactical police units to putting out your floor’s kitchen fire, the House Company No. 2 of the Colorado Springs Fire Department responds to approximately 2,500 calls a year district-wide and stands less than two blocks away from Colorado College.
Originally blueprinted in 1896 and established in a nearby location, the House Co. No. 2 has been servicing this area of Colorado Springs — known as the Old North End — along with 21 other city fire stations. The original building was “torn down and rebuilt in 1939 at this location,” said Jake Webb, firefighter and emergency medical technician.
As you walk up San Miguel Street to the station, House Co. No. 2 looks like another house in the neighborhood until you see the station doors and step inside.
The bay area, or as Webb said, “the glorified garage,” was only the first place in my journey around the station. There, you can find the main fire truck along with a TEMS truck “[which is] used when cops have a SWAT operation…we go patch up anyone who’s been injured,” said Webb.
The Company receives an average of 118 SWAT calls a year.
The one fire truck can carry four people, each with a designated job: the driver, the officer, the paramedic, and a firefighter. Accompanying the personnel are 500 gallons of water, ladders ranging from 14 feet to small enough to fit in your attic, tools ranging from pick axes to the Jaws of Life, and an abundance of medical supplies.
Each day, the truck is loaded with intravenous bags, drugs, narcotics, dressings, and other trauma-related aids. When confronting situations with constricted airways, paramedics are equipped with “high tech cameras that [they] can attach to these tubes to prevent us from going down into the lungs,” said Andrew Lowe, a paramedic stationed at the San Miguel house.
“By city charter, we are in charge of the medical, pre-hospital aspect of all emergencies,” said Lowe. “An ambulance is transportation.”
Transport calls are one of the two most common calls that the company gets from Colorado College, which are often drinking-related incidents. After receiving a 911 call, “the dispatch center asks for the nearest medical assistance, which is us,” said Captain David Broch.
“Students don’t pull manual alarms; they usually grow out of that by the time they get to college,” said Broch. This leaves the other common calls received by the company to be cooking related.
In order to become familiar with the campus, the company likes to “capitalize on the school’s schedule by training when it doesn’t hamper with the students,” said Broch.
Training often occurs in the basement of Bemis Hall.
During block breaks and holiday breaks, the company has “walked through the Western Ridge apartments in order to familiarize with layouts in case of an emergency,” said Broch. By getting a sense of the occupancy and the ways to get in and out of the building, they can most efficiently react to an emergency.
The relationship with Colorado College does not stop there, though. The Company assists residential assistant training over the summer.
Providing RAs with fire safety knowledge and the local area with medical and emergency assistance, House Co. No. 2 stands tall among the men and women of Colorado Springs.
Candelaria Alcat, Staff Writer