Canyon Courier fire briefs | Canyoncourier.com
Platte Canyon’s Wesseldine Receives State Award
The Platte Canyon Fire Department Instructor was named the 2022 Walter Stonehocker Fire Instructor of the Year.
Mark Wesseldine, who was also a training instructor for the Elk Creek and Inter-Canyon fire departments for about a year, was commended by his peers as someone who has made a difference in firefighter training over the years.
The award will be presented to Wesseldine by the Colorado Fire Training Officers Association in April.
Wesseldine retired from the New York City Fire Department, known as the FDNY, and moved to Colorado. According to Kevin Cashman at Platte Canyon Fire, he has been actively involved in training throughout his firefighting career.
“Chief Wesseldine’s career has spanned from stints as a firefighter in the US Air Force to distinguished service with the New York Fire Department during the infamous ‘war years’ through the 9/11 era,” Cashman wrote in his nomination letter. “Many firefighters would have proudly retired after a full tenure with one of the most respected fire departments in the country. However, Chief Wesseldine chose to continue to share his well-deserved knowledge with the combined fire departments of Corridor US 285 in Colorado, departments of which he has been an active member for over a decade.”
Wesseldine joined Elk Creek Fire as a volunteer in 2008 and became a mentor and friend to Fire Chief Jacob Ware.
“We keep teasing him that he’ll never retire,” Ware said. “I am humbled and honored to call him a friend. He has taught our firefighters and I over the years. He is a great teacher who is great at passing on his knowledge. He is the perfect fire safety instructor.”
According to Cashman, in 2022 alone, Wesseldine ran an academy for new recruits for four 285-corridor fire departments, hired nationally recognized instructors for a week-long school bus extrication course, and hosted a disability awareness course.
Wesseldine said he became a firefighter instructor because he spent years learning from others how to do things right, and he wants to pass that on to new firefighters.
“I teach[firefighters]that there is one way to do things: the right way,” Wesseldine said. “I will not teach anything I have not done. I teach from the heart.”
Wesseldine said he retired from Plate Canyon Fire in 2018 but still offers training.
“‘Good enough’ isn’t in my vocabulary,” he said. “We do it like the best fire departments.”
Cashman wrote that Wesseldine was very deserving of the award.
“Forty years into his career, Chief Wesseldine still demonstrates the humility to evolve with the changing fire service, to expand his knowledge and calmly pass that knowledge on to the firefighters around him,” Cashman wrote. “This guy embodies the heart of a teacher and walks the path of being a firefighter and fire instructor. If there were an award for ‘Fire Instructor of the Decade’ I would nominate him for that too.”
Two house fires in Evergreen on January 31st
Evergreen Fire/Rescue responded to two house fires with the help of Elk Creek Fire on January 31st.
A terraced house fire at the 4800 block of Silver Spruce Lane early on January 31 was ruled accidental, according to the EFR. A woman in her 50s has been found dead and the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances of her death.
The fire broke out around 4am and temperatures of minus 11 degrees made fighting the blaze difficult, according to ERA spokeswoman Stacee Martin. Nearly 25 firefighters were on the scene, working hard to ensure the fire didn’t spread to other townhouses, she added.
Xcel Energy and Jeffco Road and Bridge were there.
Martin said a neighbor’s smoke alarm went off, and that person called 911. The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office quickly arrived at the scene, located near the corner of Highway 73 and Little Cub Creek Road, to evacuate the neighbors from their homes.
EFR investigators are checking the area near a wood-burning fireplace as the suspected location of where the fire started. Martin reminds people to dispose of hot ashes carefully, have their fireplaces and wood stoves professionally checked and cleaned, and have working smoke detectors.
EFR also responded to a house fire at around 8:30 p.m. on January 31 in the 400 block of Aspen Way.
The homeowner along with two dogs made it out safely, Martin said, and firefighters rescued a cat. The second floor of the apartment building was badly damaged.
Ice on the road and cold conditions made it difficult, Martin said, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Elk Creek Fire and Clear Creek Road & Bridge helped with the fire, which was located on Brook Forest Road.
House on fire in Pine Junction
Platte Canyon and Elk Creek Fire Departments extinguished a house fire in Pine Junction on January 30. Nobody was injured.
Firefighters responded to the 911 call at 1 a.m. to find the roof on fire. The first level of the home sustained significant damage, Elk Creek Fire Chief Jacob Ware said. Investigators said the fire started in the chimney and spread to the rest of the home.
The couple and their three children made it out safely and were woken up to smoke alarms sounding in the home. By then, Ware said, the home was largely engulfed in the flames.
Keywords Mark Wesseldine, Platte Canyon Fire, Silver Spruce, Elk Creek Fire, Evergreen Fire/Rescue