Oct 16, 2012 8:10 PM by Matt Stafford

Security Fire asking for staffing help

Thursday, October 4th, a fire started in a Widefield home on Cielo Vista Drive.

The Security Fire Department gets the call first; they send out two trucks, with one person on each.

"Probably 99 percent of the time it goes out with one person," says Security Fire Chief Ski Stambaugh, explaining the circumstances on that fire.

Until other departments arrived to help those two Security fire fighters had to work a rescue operation - getting people out of the home - and begin putting out the flames.

"That was done by two people?" News 5 asks.

"Two people," says Chief Stambaugh; that's until the others arrived.

"How often does that happen (going out with one person in each truck)?" News 5 asks.

"That happens, I'm going to say, 90 percent of the time," Chief Stambaugh replies.

One person died in that fire on Cielo Vista Drive; three others made it out alive. Chief Stambaugh acknowledges that even with more staffing, they probably wouldn't have been able to save that one person who died.

The truth is, Security has been sending fewer people out. That's what they want to change. The department is going to the voters with ballot question 5B in Security-Widefield; it's asking for a property tax increase to help pay for nine additional positions within the department.

The ballot question, 5B, comes out to about $28 per year for every $100,000 in assessed property value.

Anne Springfield says she's voting for it.

"There's one person there trying to put out a fire; that's not a good thing," says Springfield, pointing out that if it's her house on fire she wants more than one person showing up. She's lived in Security for more than forty years; she says the area has grown quite a bit over the years and the fire department has made due with a "shoestring budget."

However, Security FD has tried this before; just a few years ago. The voters said "no."

"We lost by like by 50 votes, and that was for the same thing," says Chief Stambaugh.

Chief Stambaugh points out that now the problems are worse. Even though the fire protection district has grown, property values in Security have dropped; cutting into the amount that the department gets in tax money. Last year the department lost $150,000, but they responded to ten percent more calls.

The new ballot question may have trouble this time around too. There are several issues in El Paso County being considered, which could cut into a voter's willingness to say yes.

For a look at El Paso County's sample ballot, click here.

If you live outside of El Paso County and would like to see your sample ballot, just head to your county's Clerk and Recorder's website.



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