An evening of good food and fun at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew had a serious purpose May 3 as the Fire Foundation of Colorado Springs worked to raise funds for ballistic gear for firefighters.

At the second annual Fuel the Fire event, board member Rob Welch explained that the foundation “bridges the gap between the city budget and other needs.” Thanking the supporters, Fire Chief Ted Collas said there are times “maybe the budget doesn’t quite reach.”

A major effort is to outfit all firefighters in $2,000 tactical gear, something that is not part of the budget. Station 8 Battalion Chief Jess Kruckeberg explained the “why”: The environment firefighters are working in has changed over his years in the department. A perfect example is when one of his engines returned to the station from a fire call recently and they discovered it had been hit by a bullet. Another time firefighters were challenged by an armed man as they tried to put out a fire.

Foundation Coordinator Niki Cicak said Stations 1 and 6 have been equipped with ballistic gear and they are working to equip all 22 stations. For information:

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