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Rescue building snags more funds

Nelco Construction employees begin work on the county's new search and rescue building in Price.
The new 11,000-square-foot search and rescue building will replace original 1,800-foot facility.

Sun Advocate reporter

Having already invested $450,000 for construction of an 11,000-square-foot search and rescue building the Recreation and Transportation Special Service District board voted Monday to dedicate another $150,000 to finish the project.

Boardmember Bill Krompel explained to the district board members that the original price tag for the structure was $900,000 but had risen to $1.2 million. The building will hold all of the county's search and rescue equipment and will also have a classroom for training of the team's members.

"Because of the escalating price of building materials the cost has jumped by $300,000," Krompel said.

The board seemed amenable to providing the funds but with the understanding that it would be the last money the district could sink into the structure.

"What's the contingency plan if the project comes up short again?" Boardmember Tom Bruno asked.

Krompel said the county would just have to find a way to get the money if that happened.

The financing of the facility has come from the special service district and the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board, with the entities each providing half of the funds.

The district's decision came just in time as the building is already under construction, according to Krompel.

At the site which is adjacent to the existing search and rescue building, the concrete has been poured for the walls and heavy equipment operators are busily focusing on clearing out the dirt and rock.

And for Carbon County Search and Rescue commander Frank Pugliese, the construction is coming none too soon as the existing 1,800-square-foot facility is jam packed with all the emergency equipment and causing problems for the team when members have to go out.

"It has caused a delay in our response time," said the commander. "Every time we go out we have to move equipment around to get to the pieces we need."

The new building will be large enough to house the team's three boats, six snowmobiles, a Sno-Cat, four all-terrain vehicles, a four-wheel vehicle, two 23-foot trailers and two more smaller trailers for transporting the team's gear.

"We hold the demolition derby each year to raise money for the equipment," said Pugliese.

In addition to equipment, the county's search and rescue squad is also human resource rich.

"We have five certified divers and all the equipment and four man-trackers," said the commander.

Pugliese explained that the man-trackers are trained to actually get down in the dirt and detect the presence of a person.

The team also has two dog handlers who aid in the searches.

On average the team is called out about 24 times a year, according to Pugliese. The team recently came to the aid of two men who were in Bruin Point to work on the microwave towers and found themselves stranded.

"The two gentlemen were from Georgia and were driving a rented subcompact," he said. "They tried to go cross-country in it. They ended up sideways on a hill."

The majority of the team's missions involve people who come to the area unprepared for the rugged terrain, according to Pugliese.

He said 20 percent of the team's saves are for locals, 20 percent for people from other parts of state and from around the nation and 60 percent are from the Wasatch Front area.

This week, Pugliese was involved with the airlifting of the two men whose plane went down near Desolation Canyon.

"We choreographed the helicopter going in and taking them out," he said.

He added that, while brothers were busted up, the men were very fortunate to be alive.

"Very rarely do we go to one of these (plane crashes) and be able to bring people home to be with their families," he said.

Pugliese said he wants everyone to know that without the support of the Carbon County Commission the project wouldn't have come to fruition.

"Mike Milovich has been one of the major supporters of us," he said. "Every time I go to Mike he is more than willing to help."

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