The City of Thornton maintains a full-service Fire Department with six 24-hour fire stations. Each fire response crew consists of a station officer, firefighter/engineer, and firefighter/paramedic. The department also oversees the City's fire safety issues, provides ambulance service, and carries on education and training around a whole spectrum of public safety issues.
The City of Thornton Fire Department mitigates the public safety needs of the community by providing services quickly, competently, and compassionately.
The Fire Department is responsible for mitigating emergencies and providing fire and safety education to the community. The Department is comprised of five Divisions: Operations, Prevention, Support Services, Ambulance Services, and Administration. Services provided by these Divisions include: responding to and managing requests for emergency services, including fire, medical treatment and transport; hazardous materials and technical rescue; fire investigations; performing building inspections and pre-plans; interpreting and enforcing the International Fire Code; developing and administering a rigorous training program; educating the public in fire prevention and community safety through community outreach events; planning and directing the Department’s operations, resources and development; and performing emergency management planning.
The Fire Operations Division is responsible for responding to and mitigating all types of incidents within the City of Thornton. More than 11,000 times last year, our resources were dispatched to manage incidents that include Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls, fires, car accidents, odor investigation, hazardous materials spills, special rescues and more. These calls range in severity from life-threatening to very minor in nature, some are very simple while others are very complex. A triage system is used to identify the type of call and severity and identify the resources that should be dispatched to manage the incident. In short, your Fire Department sees just about everything and sends the correct resources to handle the problem. Resources across the City of Thornton are deployed from 6 fire stations and include 5 Engines, 1 Ladder Truck, 4 Medic Units, 1 Squad, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Heavy Rescue and multiple other apparatus that support our mission. All of our Engines, Ladder, and Medic Units are staffed with Paramedics that have the ability to deliver Advanced Life Support (ALS) care.
In addition to handling incidents within the City, we share our resources with neighboring jurisdictions, and they share theirs, in an effort to work collaboratively across the region. This regional cooperation is essential as it is difficult for each agency to meet the workload and resource needs of major incidents or multiple smaller simultaneous incidents.
Typically, when someone calls 911 to report an emergency, the call is triaged and resources are dispatched. Most incidents will receive an engine and medic unit as a minimum response and more significant incidents may receive several fire engines, a ladder truck, multiple Medic Units, and a Battalion Chief.
You may see our apparatus or personnel out in the community. On a daily basis, they respond to calls, perform station and apparatus inspections and maintenance, train, conduct business inspections, make public education appearances or shop for meals to be consumed while at work. They always take their apparatus and equipment so that they are always ready to respond. If you see them in your community, don't hesitate to say hi!!
The basic work unit of fire operations is the engine company. In 2017, we responded to 277 fires. The staffing on an engine company is a minimum of three personnel – one company officer, one driver/operator, and one firefighter/paramedic. Some of the primary services delivered by the fire operations division are:
- Fire Suppression
- Emergency Medical Services
- Hazardous Materials Response
- Technical Rescue
- Public Education
- Fire Prevention
- Fire and Arson Investigation
- Community Service Activities
Fire Training (Operations Division)
The Training Division is charged with the responsibility of providing all initial recruit training and certification, Fire, Rescue, recertification, and continuing education training. The Training Division also provides specialty training such as Haz-Mat, swift water rescue, emergency vehicle driving, driver operator, incident command, technical rescue, and other specialties.
The Training Division serves a workforce of approximately 130 members through the ranks of Firefighter Recruit, Firefighter, Paramedic, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, and Fire Chief along with administrative positions. The City of Thornton is a rapidly growing City, and the Thornton Fire Department does what is necessary to keep up with the ever-changing emergency situations that may arise.
The Training Division personnel consist of a Training Chief, Captain, and Lieutenant with support from multiple line members of the organization. The Training Officer is responsible for assigning training disciplines. The Thornton Fire Training Division operates in partnership with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Aims Community College, Red Rocks Community College, and other City training team members.
We offer training of all types including hands-on training, classroom-based, E-Training through the web online, video conferencing, in-station company-based training, and seminar-based training. The Thornton Fire Department is fortunate to have a staff of dedicated officers who are willing to conduct training in combination with their other duties.
Fire Prevention Division
The Fire Prevention Division is administered by the Fire Marshal. Her staff includes four Fire Protection Engineers who perform many tasks, including the technical review and approval of construction, development, and fire protection system plans. Fire alarm system, fire sprinkler system, building construction, site utility, and various other plans are reviewed to ensure that buildings have adequate access roads, sufficient water supplies, and fire hydrants, and correctly designed fire protection systems. The Prevention staff also performs various inspections to ensure the correct installation and maintenance of fire protection systems, and to verify compliance with all permit applications.
Ambulance Services Division
The Thornton Fire Department provides training, quality assurance and medical oversight of the level of care delivered to the citizens. In 2019, Thornton Fire Department responded to 8258 emergency medical/rescue calls.
The Thornton Fire Department began as a volunteer department in the 1950s. The volunteers took turns keeping the 1924 American LaFrance fire truck at their homes until the community had facilities to store it. The phone company also set-up a special telephone system so every time an emergency call was placed, it would ring at all the firemen’s homes, they would listen for the address and then would meet at the fire.
In 1994, the Thornton Fire Department and the West Adams County Fire Protection District merged to form the North Metro Fire Rescue District and covered the cities of Thornton, Broomfield, and Northglenn. This District was in force until December 31, 1999, when it was decided to de-merge the two. The Thornton Fire Department was then re-created on January 1, 2000.
In August 2018, the sixth station was opened. Fossil Ridge Public Safety Center also serves as a sub-station for the Thornton Police Department.
Thornton's Fire Department now consists of 138 full-time employees and operates six 24-hour fire stations.