New fire station complex planned for Camp Guernsey

Lisa Phelps
Posted 5/22/24

GUERNSEY – Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week the Camp Guernsey Fire Department is staffed, ready and willing to help in any emergency in the local community, the region and in support …

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New fire station complex planned for Camp Guernsey


GUERNSEY – Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week the Camp Guernsey Fire Department is staffed, ready and willing to help in any emergency in the local community, the region and in support of operations state-wide as needed. Countless times, these emergency responders have traveled to or through Guernsey to help when called upon to help put out fires or help in medical emergencies. The airfield is also used for emergency medical flights to save lives when timing is critical. Their current facilities are pushing the limits of being adequate for the robust tasks undertaken at Camp Guernsey’s airfield.

On Monday, May 13, the importance of Camp Guernsey’s Fire Department and airfield operations was recognized by the Wyoming National Guard and leaders in the community and state with an on-site groundbreaking ceremony for a new fire station complex. The new Fire Station and Air Operations buildings will consist of three buildings: a 24,658 sq. ft. fire station, five-story air traffic control tower that will be able to see the entire airstrip at once, and a 5,204 sq. ft. Army Airfield Flight Operations building.

The construction will be built to “green” construction and Department of Defense antiterrorism building standards with an “awareness of the sensitivities of the historic significance” of the region. The buildings will be designed to remain operational through any inclement weather or natural disaster event and will also provide adequate space to maintain and repair large military vehicles and equipment. The fire station will have eight parking bays, equipment storage space, eight dorm rooms, kitchen, physical fitness room, day room, conference rooms, private offices, and spaces for firefighter training and testing.

Design Build Solutions, LLC (architects) and Hensel Phelps (construction contractors) sponsored the ceremony.

“I’m excited and raring to go. It’s a great facility that is much needed,” Brian Anderson of Torrington said. He is a construction superintendent with Hensel Phelps. “We’ll finish up the barracks then begin working on the fire station complex.”

The current facilities were built in 1988 and do not meet current criteria for the operations undertaken by the fire department and airfield operations. The buildings are within the “crash zone” of the runway, making it dangerous for personnel in the event there ever was an aircraft accident. The current building was only designed for part-time training support, but the size and scale of operations has expanded into a fully staffed, 24/7 mission-ready crew.

“It’s important to note this is the only full-time fire department in two or three counties,” Robby Cain, Camp Guernsey Operations Manager, said. “I will echo comments from the speech: It’s been a long time coming, the fire department has been in need of a new structure for so long, and it does me good to see the energy put into the fire department here and across Platte County.”

“We monitor the airspace for all aircraft and de-conflict air traffic within 10 square miles to make sure the shared airspace is safe and efficient. We have aircraft performing live-fire missions as we largely support warfighter missions to prepare them for operations overseas. We provide base operation support for transient units and monitor weather for aviation crews and range control to the level they need,” Jason Miller, Camp Guernsey Airfield Manager and Wyoming National Guardsman explained. 

In the mix of missions supported by Camp Guernsey, Miller said the airfield medevac flights are important, as is the fire department which is trained and ready to respond to any number of wildland fires, aircraft crashes and fires, structure fires and mutual aid not only for Camp Guernsey but for the local communities, and across the state as needed. 

Miller said the new fire station facilities will be welcome, giving more space and support to the growing number of responders as well as being able to house their vehicles in the parking bays. For instance, he said in the winter the fire department’s water truck doesn’t have room to be parked inside the building, so sometimes there are issues with frozen water. Just being able to park the water truck inside during the winter will make a difference.

“In the past in this building, firefighters have slept on the floor on mattresses. Now they are in military housing, but they are not as close, so there is not as quick of a response time. The new facility will make us more mission ready with shorter response times,” Miller said.

“We are excited for the new facility. We’re slowly trying to modernize what we currently have and excited everyone will have a modern facility,” Lara Clasett, Airfield Operations Manager said.

Platte County EMS Manager Dana Sanborn said, “I believe it is great because these guys train all year long and are available when we call. For them to get what they need is welcome.”

“It’s well-deserved and needed to happen years ago. When I was a janitor cleaning the building, we were not able to clean everything because of asbestos concerns. So, the building can’t be remodeled or anything – I think a new facility is the best option,” Robert Lorenz of CFMI at Camp Guernsey shared his opinion.

“Any improvement for Camp Guernsey is an improvement for Guernsey and the partnership with the town. The more we can bring soldiers to the area, the better it is for local businesses,” Shawna Reichert of the Platte County Chamber of Commerce and Guernsey Economic Development said.

“I want everybody to know, this has been 10 years in the making of trying to get this active. We’ve been finally successful in getting this fire station to the State of Wyoming,” Col. James Kezell, Construction and Facilities Management Office (CFMO) manager, said. “Maj. Gen. Greg Porter, adjutant general of the Wyoming National Guard, has been [the voice] behind this project and has given us a clear vision and guidance for our state and for our mission.”

Kezell thanked the State of Wyoming, WYANG, councils of the surrounding communities, the CFMO staff, Design Solutions, LLC, the soldiers of the Wyoming National Guard, Camp Guernsey and all the firefighters and first responders for their support and input into the fire station planning. “What you bring through the fire station here is an absolutely critical part of our community. So, thank you to everybody,” he said.

In his address to the audience at the groundbreaking, Maj. Gen. Porter said, “Thanks for being there. It’s nice to see all our trucks out there (on display at the airfield) in this endeavor. It has been incredible to work on this project and with the people at Camp Guernsey and the vision they have. I’d like to talk first about what we do in the National Guard: we defend our state and our nation.”

“I’d like to start my address with a few comments about what is going on in our world. It’s a volatile world right now and there are a lot of threats out there. We are in competition every day, but what I really want is to thank a bunch of folks, because this is what this is ultimately all about: the people who work here. They have chosen to work here, in this facility, at Camp Guernsey. It is long past time that you had a facility here for you to do your job. I’m incredibly excited you are going to have a facility worthy of the services you provide,” Porter said.

He told the audience this facility has been made possible through the persistence of the leadership and the “outstanding” reputation of Camp Guernsey as a training facility, which factored heavily in being able to bring this project into a reality.

The Army National Guard “validated” the project in 2017, and it has since been funded federally as a “critical unfunded request” by Congress.

Porter concluded, “Thanks to all of you folks for what you’ve done and what you will do, because what you do is important.”

Guernsey Mayor Ed Delgado was invited to be a guest speaker. He shared his appreciation for the firefighters and the partnership between the Town of Guernsey and Camp Guernsey, which he hopes will continue long into the future.

 “I want to thank everybody for what this is going to bring to the town of Guernsey and the entire state. I think it’s been needed for a long time. I also want to thank the firefighters: any time we call on them, they come to our defense and are there to help us. Thanks again for what you do,” Delgado said.

Present at the meeting to show their support of the new facilities were members of Air Methods’ Wyoming Life Flight Crew. Their fixed wing and rotor aircraft service all of Wyoming, transporting patients from accident scenes and between medical facilities when specialty care is required. “The event was a great opportunity to get to know the installment and operation at Camp Guernsey, and to help them understand how our air medical service can assist them when they need it. We are looking forward to building a strong partnership with Camp Guernsey going forward,” Air Method’s Corporate Communications Specialist Dianne Daniels said in a statement.

Air Methods is the nation’s leading air medical service provider, and the Wyoming Life Flight aircraft function as flying ICUs with highly skilled clinicians, advanced medical equipment, medication, and whole blood on board.

Also present at the ceremony were members of the Guernsey town council, the Hartville and Guernsey mayors, Platte County commissioners, state senate district 6 representative, leadership in the Wyoming National Guard and Wyoming Military Department, local community members, national guardsmen, emergency responders and many other groups who have or will contribute to the success of the new facility and it support operations.