On a busier day, this story might not have made any paper but the Denver Daily News and evening TV news, the bottom feeders of the emergency radio scanner beat. But, the fact that these kinds of things happen all the time, doesn't mean that they aren't important. When it happens in the neighborhood, it is particularly worth noting. Even neighborhoods with a reputation for peacefulness have a crisis now and then.
A Denver firefighter was sent to Denver Health in critical condition after his breathing system failed in the middle of a house fire a few blocks from my house yesterday. The story doesn't say, but he was probably one of the firefighters based in the fire station at the Northeast corner of Washington Park.
Fire fighting is an efficient business. The fire was put out in just 16 minutes. But, without their special gear, fire fighters are only human. I wish Billy Green a speedy recovery, hope that the fire department conducts a careful examination of why the gear failed, and extend my concerns and sympathy to the family who has last the use of their home and their sense that they are safe. This was a little house fire. In a more serious conflagration, Billy Green might not have survived.
Reconnecting To I-25
T-Rex, the massive road construction and light rail project from Broadway to the Denver Tech Center along I-25 is supposed to be finished this year. For my neighborhood, this month will be a major milestone in that project. After a five year period isolated from the highway, Downing and Emerson streets will again provide access for Wash Park residents the Southbound I-25. This will likely help mitigate the crush of detoured traffic at University and I-25, near DU, which has been the closest alternative on ramp in the meantime.
An even bigger tranformation is scheduled for August when traffic from I-25 will start surging back into the neighhorhood. One of West Wash Park's best known businesses, an independent donut shop had to shut down because of the resulting loss of inward highway traffic, and the Wash Park Perk and Pub has struggled since its inception to hang on until commuter traffic arrives.
More personally, greater commuter traffic in the neighborhood, particularly in light of a possible school schedule realignment to have elementary school students start at 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., while high school students start later in the day (a change I support, my kids and most elementary school kids are morning people, while teens tend to be night owls), will make the trek to my neighborhood Steele School much more dangerous. I hope that parents and school officials are prepared for the change. It may be time to hire some crossing guards. The late summer opening may help keep kids safe over summer vacation, however.
After the off ramps from I-25 open, the next big step will be the opening of a neighborhood light rail station. This will probably happen in December.