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Kelly Brooks Likes New Job as Fire Marshal

November 13, 2009
Kelly Brooks likes new job as fire marshal by: Your Hub.com Article Contributed on: 10/6/2009 3:57:48 PM One of the things Kelly Brooks said he likes about his new job as fire marshall of the Wheat Ridge Fire District is that it ties together his love of firefighting with his career as an architect. A volunteer firefighter for the district for seven years, and fire investigator for five years, it's not new territory. "I reflected on the skills I have as an architect and my work with the fire department and realized it's a perfect fit. "This has given me the opportunity to tie all these interests together," Brooks said. Wheat Ridge Fire assistant chief Bob Dowling said after accepting 16 applications for the job, Brooks was selected. He will be second in command to Fire Chief Steve Gillespie, who started with the district in May. Dowling said Brooks's architectural background enhances the role and brings a different aspect to the job. "He is going at it in a different way, because he knows the building business. He knows architecture, but loves firefighting," Dowling said. Brooks said while his is one of six paid positions in the department, he will continue to work as a firefighter when needed. He will be responsible for overseeing the fire prevention division, which includes code enforcement. Reviewing new and existing building plans, commercial property inspections, conducting fire investigations and public education also is part of the job. With about 85 volunteer firefighters, the department responds to a10 square-mile area. Wheat Ridge Fire Chief Steve Gillespie recently unveiled a FLAME-SIM lab training system used to train firefighters. It is the first such system to be used in Colorado. Hands-on training exercises are done at facilities at the Fairmount Fire Department in Golden. Brooks said it was hard to pinpoint a number of fires the district responds to, since it varies, but said within a recent week, the department responded to two house fires and a car fire. The annual count of fires the district responds to is roughly 3,100. Brooks will be in charge of inspecting commercial establishments once a year as well as multi family housing units. "I like the variety of the job. My architecture and building industry background helps me interpret building plans and know what aspects are critical," he said. An example of a big job in the area Brooks will be reviewing is the ongoing construction at Exempla-Lutheran Medical Center, 8300 W. 38th Ave. The $225 million addition and renovation of the existing hospital will add a five-story, 200,000 square-foot patient tower. "We are doing everything we can to help smooth the process, but it does demand a lot of time," Brooks said. The expectant father of twins said, "I couldn't be more happy in this position." To learn more about the Wheat Ridge Fire District, visit www.wrfire.org.