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Lake County, Colorado sheriff – fire dispute has neighbors concerned about mutual aid. Chaffee County chief worried about safety of his firefighters.

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We have been covering the ongoing dispute between Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR) and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department that resulted in the handcuffing of Battalion Captain Dan Dailey. Now comes word of the impact this battle has on a neighbor to the south, Chaffee County.

CO Leadville deputy Captain DaileyChaffee County Fire Protection District and LLCFR had a five-year mutual aid agreement that has expired. The renewal had been uncertain because Lake County has been trying to figure out what role the Sheriff’s Department will have in fire and EMS.

The March 27 incident at the Lake County jail has prompted Chaffee County Chief Jim Wingert to speak out in the form of a letter to the Lake County Commissioners. According to Sue Price at the Mountain Mail, the letter says in part :

“With the recent events and displays of unprofessionalism by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, to renew this mutual aid agreement I feel would compromise the safety of my professional volunteer firefighters.”

“I am concerned with my firefighters’ safety if we continue to work with Lake County. I can’t have our firefighters worrying about being arrested for trying to do their job. I’m not going to play that game.”

Here are more excerpts from the article:

Wingert said because Lake County has chosen not to renew its contract with the City of Leadville and Leadville Fire-Rescue, the current agreement “cannot be renewed.”

Chaffee County Fire Protection District will need two separate agreements; one agreement with Lake County and one with Leadville Fire-Rescue.

He said the Chaffee County fire district is working with Leadville Fire-Rescue on a new mutual aid agreement. He said he is willing to negotiate with Lake County but does have some “issues” that need to be discussed.

Until a new mutual aid agreement is developed with Lake County, service could only be provided through Leadville Fire-Rescue.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District has four full-time paid personnel, one part-time paid staff member and about 75 professionally trained volunteer firefighters. The district responds from six fire stations and encompasses 1,000 square miles.

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