Despite pressure from a contingent of firefighters, the Aspen Fire Protection District Board declined Tuesday to begin formally looking into hiring paid firefighters.
“If you ask for a hard decision now, the answer will be no to paid staffing,” board President Karl Adam said. “I am not willing to engage the public when I’m not sure where we’re going with this. A lot more thought needs to be put into this.”
The somewhat contentious discussion at Tuesday’s board meeting was prompted by the presence of a group of volunteer firefighters who were involved with producing or support a report that urges Aspen Fire to convert to a department with a combination of volunteers and paid firefighters.
That committee’s report on an improved operational plan — issued in April — urges the board to hire eight paid firefighters. Their plan calls for one paid firefighter and one volunteer firefighter to staff the North Forty Fire Station and the downtown fire station 24 hours a day in 12-hour shifts.