Steamboat Springs It is a home away from home.
City firefighters recently moved their living quarters from the ambulance barn on Yampa Avenue to the Mountain Fire Station on the western edge of town.
The expanded and enhanced building offers all the amenities of home, from couches and chairs to comforters and a coffee maker.
The expansion project began last fall. The 3,000-square-foot building grew by more than 4,000 square feet. The remodel added a 900-foot ambulance bay to the ground level and a 3,060-square-foot second floor.
The second story includes eight dorm-sized bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, offices and training rooms.
It's a nice change of surroundings for full-time and volunteer staff accustomed to sleeping and waiting for calls in the ambulance barn.
The firefighters' new quarters offer more privacy, Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble said. The way the bedrooms line the hallway gives a dorm-life feel to the second floor. A large living area gives fire and emergency personnel plenty of elbow room to relax, read or watch the latest firefighter drama on the tube.
The Mountain Fire Station, which stands at the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road, now houses the department's full-time operations.
Two EMT or paramedic-trained firefighters are on call 24 hours a day.
"It's nice to have everything under one roof," firefighter Scott Ryan said.
The station's location will increase response time to emergency and fire calls from the mountain area, Struble said.
About 60 percent of calls come from the mountain area. Firefighters' response time grows by 4 or 5 minutes if they must respond to mountain area calls from the downtown fire station.
The station's proximity also improves response times to outlying subdivisions like Storm Mountain Ranch, Blacktail and Catamount.
The downtown fire station still houses the fire prevention program, and volunteers will continue to respond to calls coming into the downtown location.
A few exterior improvements are still planned for the station once the snow melts.