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'Uninhabitable' conditions at Madden Fire Hall exposed to Rocky View council

At the most recent meeting of Rocky View County (RVC) council, councillors heard from members of the County’s Fire Service describe some of the conditions of the Madden Fire Hall.
Rocky View County Fire Services responded to a fire which destroyed a large home in the Bearspaw community of Watermark June 17.

A Rocky View fire officer says conditions have deteriorated so much at the Madden Fire Hall that it is currently "uninhabitable" for on duty firefighters.

At the most recent meeting of Rocky View County (RVC) council, councillors heard members of the County’s Fire Service describe some of the problematic conditions of the Madden Fire Hall.

According to Merlin Klassen, the assistant chief of the Fire Service, water quality issues and diesel particulates in the air have made the Madden Fire Hall a hazard to firefighter health.

“Currently, [Madden firefighters] do not have potable water for their washroom use, they can’t even wash their hands,” said Klassen, who added that the diesel particulate in the air is so bad, that in the winter the station's air quality detectors get set off just by starting one of their trucks. 

“They are in an uninhabitable environment,” he said.

RVC council was informed of the, “historical and ongoing health and safety concerns” at the Madden Fire Hall on March 28.

According to a council report, the Madden Fire Station has “well documented concerns.”

Per the report, the station in Madden is actually a repurposed Grader shed where Fire Service employees are required to perform all their tasks, from administrative work to training and maintenance operations. 

The station is supplied with non-potable water and does not allow staff to properly decontaminate themselves after work. The facility itself does not have an engineered exhaust extraction system, which has allowed for diesel particulates to accumulate and contaminate the station’s air. 

“We’re at the point where [the station] is a storage shed,” said Ken Hubbard, chief of the County’s Fire Services. 

Klassen told council that the conditions at the Madden Fire Hall were brought to Fire Service's attention last August. Since then, the Fire Service has been looking for ways to temporarily improve the conditions for Madden firefighters before a more permanent replacement for the station can be built next year. 

The alternate temporary measures that the Fire Service brought to council included a relocation of classroom training to a place provided by the Madden Agricultural Society, which would also include the placement of an operational shower and washroom trailer with potable water on Ag. Society grounds. As for the current station, it would be rendered a storage facility for the station's equipment. 

However, since the current Madden Fire Station sits on Municipal Reserve land, the designation would have to be changed before a short-term washroom and shower trailer could be placed. According to the council report, the process to remove or change a Municipal Reserve designation included the dissemination of a public notice, a public consultation, and a public hearing.

Aside from the change of Municipal Reserve land, a budget adjustment of $110,464 to fund interim health and safety measures at the Madden Fire Hall was also presented to councillors, who largely seemed in support of the direction put in front of them. 

“This is a need and not a want,” remarked Division 3 Coun. and Reeve Crystal Kissel. 

"I’ve been out there to take a look at this and it definitely needs something,” said Division 5 Coun. Greg Boehlke. “We need a fire hall there, there is no two ways about it.”

Boehlke also pushed administration officials and representatives of the Fire Service for more clarity on how long they had been aware of the conditions at the Madden Fire Hall.

Aside from Division 7 Coun. Al Schule, who was not present at the meeting, council unanimously approved the plan to redesignate the Municipal Reserve land, as well as a $110,464 budget adjustment. A public hearing will be scheduled for no later than the end of June. 

As far as getting an actual permanent Fire Hall in Madden built, administration officials said that the plans for a Madden Fire Hall is in the County’s 2025 Capital Plan. 



 

 





 


Riley Stovka

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