Creede, Colorado, is much like any other small town in America, except that its beauty and unique location make it a bit of a tourist town in the summer months. That, and another little oddity. In the early ’80s, the town decided it needed a place to house its volunteer fire department and equipment. In keeping with Creede’s history as a mining town, it was agreed that the firehouse would be built into the side of a mountain.
The blasting materials were donated by the owners of local mines, and the mine workers volunteered to help drill into the rock. A small chief’s office and the turnout room where the gear and kitchen are located was built off to the side. Bathrooms were installed and soon the floor was leveled and bays for the trucks were cleared.
When the work was finished, Creede had a new firehouse that couldn’t burn, didn’t need air conditioning, and would not require much maintenance. The whole project used donated materials and labor and didn’t cost the town or the fire department anything. The furnace burns used motor oil is housed in a small exterior building built up next to the mountain. There is a tank outside and anyone in the area who changes their own oil brings it by to be used for wintertime heat.
Backing large firetrucks in and out of the bays, which are carved out of solid rock, presents some unique challenges. After a couple of crunched fenders and body panels, they came up with the solution of painting a yellow stripe on the floor leading into each bay. If a driver looks in his mirror and keeps the rear tire of the truck right on that yellow line, they can back the truck into the bay perfectly every time.
Know Before You Go
The firehouse is used to people stopping by and asking to look around. Please be very respectful and knock before entering, or if the door is open, stop by the office and ask first before wandering around inside. This is a active volunteer fire department and as such, their job supersedes tourists wanting to see inside. Occasionally, a retired firefighter will be onsite for the purpose of greeting visitors and answering questions. If it looks like they are busy or rolling out to a call, please leave them to it and give them a thumbs up as they go by. They have a large wall of patches from other fire departments from around the country that they have collected over the years. If you bring one from your local department, they will usually trade you for one of their patches. This is common among fire departments, just ask.