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Six new fighters were pinned Tuesday. Photo by Jim Headley


Four city of Maricopa employees were honored Tuesday evening as the city presented their 2018 City of Maricopa employee excellence awards at the regular meeting of the Maricopa City Council.

Human Resources Director Fernanda Osgood said 13 employees were nominated this year.

“They were all highly qualified, she said. “It was actually was very tough for the executive committee to come to a decision of who the winners will be.”

Margeux Edwards, was selected for her excellence as a non-management employee; Mike Riggs, as mid-management employee; Jorge Del Ruo, for public safety; and Kathy Irwin, as a part time employee. A total of 13 employee nominations were received this year. The city’s employee award program began in 2013.

Tuesday, the city also pinned six new firefighters, Adam Wilson, Jeffry Fuller, Jay Boss, Benjamin Foster, Anthony Ruiz and Benjamin Blanco.

In other matters Tuesday evening, the city council approved changes to the city’s Chapter 8 Business Regulations. The changes were necessary because the city is eliminating the need for business licenses, except for “adult” based businesses.

The matter was quickly approved with no discussion and goes into effect on Jan. 1.

The city is creating a business registry to replace the business licensing. Learn more about the registry here

The council voted to approve a new Geographic Information Systems Technician position to help the city easily have information needed to map utilities and infrastructure accurately.

The council approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the State of Arizona and the City of Maricopa for design and construction of improvements that add four miles of fiber backbone infrastructure for City of Maricopa use.

The council accepted an US Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) STOP School Violence Prevention Program award in the amount of $147,365 with a performance period of two years.  The city has a matching component for each year.  A matching requirement of $49,122.00 has been budgeted in the coming year.

Perlman Architects are designing the planned administration building for the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department.

It been a decade in the works, but the construction of a new Maricopa Fire/Medical Department administration building has finally arrived.

The new building is colorful, bright, big and inspired by the community it will serve.

Rodolfo Lopez, Maricopa senior planner, told members of the Heritage District Advisory Committee Thursday evening they were there to vote on the elevation proposal for the facility. The proposed building will be south of Fire Station 575, which is on the west end of Edison Road.

“Our main criteria for reviewing this is to make sure that the elevation incorporates the colors, materials and the type of elements within the building,” Lopez said.

The committee gets early looks at developments coming into the Heritage District, which comprises a specific area of “old” Maricopa.

Gerrald Adams, with Perlman Architects of Arizona in Phoenix, told the committee the project is part of the campus with the fleet building and the fire station. The new admin building is budgeted at $5.6 million, paid for in part by funds from Arizona Department of Transportation after the state purchased the previous admin site on State Route 347 at Garvey Avenue to build the overpass. Fire/Medical Department personnel currently work out of modular buildings on the north side of Edison across from Fire State 575.

Adams showed a PowerPoint presentation detailing the new site plan, architecture, floor plan and landscaping, and presented detailed information about the building’s elevation due to it being in a flood plain.

The site will also include a memorial to firefighters, according to Adams.

“The public can enjoy the experience at the same time they are coming to visit the fire station and the fire admin facility. It is a general office. It is offices for senior staff and leadership. It has a community room, training room, break area, an outdoor courtyard and a warehouse,” he said.

The historic look of the building mattered to Adams and to fire department leaders.

“One thing we were challenged with is to respect the railroad and the history of Maricopa. We looked at the original Maricopa depot from the 1920s and ’30s and incorporated that using modern materials like those used on the fire station. It is a tribute to the railroad days of the roundhouse and the railroad days in Maricopa,” Adams said.

Adams said hopes are that construction can begin on the building in June or sometime in the summer and that it would be completed in six to eight months.

Members of the Heritage District Advisory Committee approved the plan for the new administration building 4-0 with two of the six committee members not present.

Gerrald Adams presents concepts to the City’s Heritage District Advisory Committee. Photo by Jim Headley

Photo by Jewel Leonard

While a fatal house fire continues to be investigated in Tortosa, Maricopa Fire Department will host an “After the Fire” program Wednesday at City Hall.

What: After the Fire
When: Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall
Who: Maricopa Fire Department
Info: John.Storm@Maricopa-AZ.gov, 520-510-5585

Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez said information is still being gathered by MFD and Maricopa Police Department about the Sept. 26 fire on Nina Street, and the cause is unknown. Angel Coffman, 19, suffered fatal injuries. Two other adults and a toddler were rescued.

“What we do know is the area of origin occurred at the first floor of the two-story,” Rodriguez said. “Pinal County Animal Control recovered and removed four deceased pet animals from the home. The Red Cross did assist the family to temporary housing at a nearby motel.”

Wednesday’s program starts at 6:30 p.m. It will emphasize fire prevention, safety and fire department operations related to the Nina Street fire. The public is encouraged to attend and ask questions.

MFD administrators and crews will be on hand to provide insight into fire prevention and what residents can do to reduce the chance of fire. Residents are specifically asked to check their smoke detectors and replace old batteries, have and practice an emergency evacuation plan and identify a meeting-reunification area.

The Nichols family visited Station 572 to thank crewmembers who helped save the youngest member of the family. Submitted photos

A Maricopa family thanked a crew from the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department for heroics that saved an infant’s life.

The incident occurred in March, and the little girl has been recovering ever since. This week, Joshua and Katrina Nichols brought Ella, now 1 year old, to Fire Station 572 to meet the crew who worked so diligently to keep her alive.

Today, Ella officially will be adopted by the Nichols family.

Ella was born at 30 weeks, Katrina Nichols said, “after being exposed to illegal substances in utero. She required excessive resuscitation.”

Because of her rough start, she has chronic lung disease and cognitive delays and needed a tracheal tube and gastrostomy tube. At 2 months old, she finally left the hospital and moved into a foster home for “medically fragile” children.

Josh Nichols, a respiratory therapist, met Ella during his brief assignment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital during the winter. Already the father of four, including adopted and special needs kids, Josh fell in love with Ella.

The Nichols family was soon her foster family.

Ella has a pulse oximeter and apnea monitor to measure her vital signs as she remains fragile. March 20 just after midnight, both monitors alerted Katrina Nichols to the fact Ella wasn’t breathing.

“Needless to say, it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me,” Katrina said.

A 911 dispatcher guided her through the technique of infant chest compressions. First responders arrived within five minutes and took over.

Firefighter/EMT Shayleen Parris, Captain/EMT Dan Ashton and engineer/paramedic Tom Reid with Ella. Submitted photo

Katrina described Ella going into full cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and said the baby “was gone” for 16 minutes, “but they didn’t give up.”

“The doctors think that she had a mucous plug blocking her airway, which caused all of the resulting issues,” she said. “After her cardiac arrest, she went on to have seizures and ended up in a coma for a week.  It was very touch and go for a while, we didn’t know how things would turn out or what the extent of her new brain trauma would be. But by the grace of God, she had no new damage and we were able to bring her home 26 days later. It has taken some time, but she is getting back to herself again. She still has muscle tremors from time to time and may not get her vision back. But she is here.  She is a fighter. She is smiling.”

The Nichols family returned to Fire Station 572 to thank the crew that had a hand in keeping Ella alive. Three of the crew – Captain/EMT Dan Ashton, engineer/paramedic Tom Reid and firefighter/EMT Shayleen Parris – were at the station.

“They saved our daughter’s life and we couldn’t be more grateful,” Katrina said. “They remembered her instantly. She is hard to forget. We shook their hands, hugged them and thanked them face to face. It was emotional for all of us, I think.”

A home caught fire early Saturday morning in the Villages, but no injuries were reported.

Three adults and two children were at home in the 43600 block of West McClelland Court. according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado. Maricopa Fire/Medical Department received the call at 3:26 a.m.

“The house was fully engulfed from the garage area,” Alvarado said. Six Maricopa engine companies responded along with units from Phoenix and Chandler.

The cause is under investigation.

Photo by Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded Tuesday to an accident involving two vehicles on John Wayne Parkway.

The incident occurred in an intersection near The Shops at Maricopa Fiesta. Emergency crews were still assisting a passenger in a silver-colored sedan at 3:15 p.m.

A digital community alert sent by the Maricopa Police Department warned afternoon motorists to expect delays. Injuries are reported.

This is a developing story.

Photo by Michelle Chance

Photo by Jason Nelson

A group of teenagers spent June 30 becoming certified babysitters through a free city program.

The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department offered the Child and Baby Safety certifications to nine young people who submitted essays for admittance into the class in June.

“These kids are our first line of safety and it is important that we give them the tools necessary to succeed,” said MFMD Prevention Specialist Jason Nelson.

After the six-hour class, the teens received their certification and a CABS card.

A fire destroys a house in Alterra. Photo by Michelle Chance

A house caught on fire in the 44900 block of West Buckhorn Trail in Alterra Monday afternoon. There are no reports of injuries.

Workers were load testing a new air conditioning unit being installed at the house when the fire broke out, according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.

The fire spread to the roof, where flames were visible. Up to four people were evacuated from the house. Firefighters with Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded to the scene around 3:45 p.m. Units were also dispatched from Chandler, Sun Lakes and Casa Grande.

With increased winds, firefighters went into defensive mode to protect surrounding homes as the roof fell in.

A few teens will receive free certification in babysitting safety through a new city program.

What: MFMD Child and Babysitting Safety Class
Entrance application: One-page essay
Deadline: June 25
Eligible participants: Young people (ages 11 to 15)
Cost: Free

The City of Maricopa Fire Community Service Department is donating the certifications for its Child and Babysitting Safety (CABS) program in June to 10 young people ages 11-15.

Acceptance into the program requires the submission of a 1-page essay “describing who you are and why you want to be a certified babysitter,” according to a MF/MD press release.

Submissions must be sent via email to Jason.Nelson@maricopa-az.gov by June 25.

Those selected into the program will attend a six-hour class on June 30.

Participants will receive a CABS certification, good for two years, from the American Safety and Health Institute.

“The program provides fundamental information in the business of babysitting, proper supervision, basic caregiving skills and responding properly to ill or injured children or infants,” according to the news release.

Teens will learn the business side of babysitting, safety and injury prevention, leadership skills, playtime tips, basic care-giving skills and first aid.

Photo by Michelle Chance

After a busy week battling structure fires, the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department will hold a presentation on the site of the recent residential fire in Senita.

What: After the Fire presentation
Who: Maricopa Fire/Medical Department
When: June 18 at 7 p.m.
Where: 43267 W. Maricopa Ave.

The “After the Fire” program will take place June 18 at 43267 W. Maricopa Ave at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public.

“This program is an opportunity for the fire department to emphasize fire prevention, home and life safety and fire department operations in conjunction with the recent structure fire in the Senita subdivision,” MFMD Assistant Fire Chief John Storm wrote in a press release Tuesday.

Fire crews responded to reports of the garage fire June 6. Residents and a few pets made it out safely.

Storm said the residents are staying with family nearby as fire investigators examine what sparked the blaze inside the garage.

“Fire Department administrators and crews will be on hand to answer all questions and provide valuable insight into fire prevention and what Maricopa residents can do for themselves to reduce and eliminate the chances a fire may occur at their residence or business,” according to the release.

MFMD has responded to three structure fires in Maricopa neighborhoods since June 6.

Photo by Michelle Chance


A home in Tortosa caught fire Tuesday afternoon and threatened neighboring houses.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded to Cartegna Lane after neighbors reported smoke. One neighbor tested the door handle of the building and discovered it was hot.

The homeowner was not home at the time. Three dogs were in the back yard, apparently having escaped through a dog door. No injuries have been reported.

Deidra Campbell, a neighbor, said she saw the smoke on her way home and was one of the first to report the fire. At first, she thought it was blowing dust and later a small brush fire.

“When we got closer to the entry to Tortosa, we could tell it was different,” she said. “We waited in the median and called from there.”

MFMD hit two houses with water in the 35000 block of West Cartegna.

Fire Chief Brady Leffler said by the time firefighters arrived, the fire had burned through the stairwell, cutting off access to the second floor.

“They backed out; they went defensive, which is to protect exposures and things like that,” Leffler said. “They’ve got it under control now.”

He said the fire was contained to one house.

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Daniel Rauch said officers were able to contact the homeowner, and he was on his way to the scene.

It is the third house fire reported since June 6.

Photo by Michelle Chance

Firefighters are battling a blaze at a home in Senita. According to Maricopa Fire/Medical Department, three people and two dogs safely made it out of the house on Maricopa Avenue.

The fire, which caused billowing smoke over the neighborhood, apparently started in the garage. The cause and ignition point are not yet known. A car parked in the driveway was partially burned. The call came in at 3:06 p.m.

A cat was rescued from the house.

Photo by Michelle Chance

A report of trouble in a house on Portarosa Drive in Glennwilde brought out both Maricopa Police Department and Maricopa Fire/Medical Department Monday.

The home’s occupant spoke to the police without incident.

“We made phone contact with him and he came out,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said, “but units smelled smoke and called fire to check the house out.”

MFMD spokesman Capt. Brad Pitassi also said his department had been called to the location on a report of someone with difficulty breathing.

Officers initially thought smoke might be coming from a bedroom after the house was cleared and the man was being transported to the station, but nothing was found.

MPD blocked the street to traffic. There were no injuries reported.

A near head-on collision on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway Thursday resulted in a flipped vehicle and a trapped driver but no life-threatening injuries, according to Maricopa Police Department.

The incident happened after 6 p.m. east of the intersection with White and Parker Road.

MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said a westbound vehicle crossed over the center line and hit an eastbound vehicle.

“The westbound vehicle from the impact lost control and flipped over,” Alvarado said. “The driver of the westbound car was trapped.”

That driver was extricated by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department. While that work was going on, MPD shut down traffic between White and Parker Road and Murphy Road. The roadway was reopened around 8 p.m.

“The driver of the westbound vehicle was cited for failure to maintain one lane and transported to Chandler with non-life-threatening injuries,” Alvarado said. “The driver of the eastbound car was not injured.”

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Emergency personnel responded Tuesday to a call of a near drowning in Desert Passage. Photo by Michelle Chance

Emergency crews responded to a drowning call in the Desert Passage subdivision Tuesday afternoon.

The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department and an American Medical Response Transportation ambulance arrived around noon at a residence near the 40200 block of West Art Place.

MFMD Capt. Jay Evans said an 8-year-old boy was in stable condition after his parents reported the child being under water for approximately less than 10 seconds while they were swimming together.

Evans said the parents were concerned about secondary drowning after the “slight submersion,” but after an evaluation by medics, the child’s vitals were found to be in good condition.

The child was not transported to a hospital, Evans said.

Photo by Mason Callejas

A garage fire threatened a home at 46058 W. Morning View Lane.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez, two people were in the house and made it out safely. There is still a search for four animals.

The fire call came in at 10:09 a.m. It was initially reported as a vehicle fire. A dozen fire and medical units responded to the scene. Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said 11 MPD units responded.

MFMD Assistant Chief John Storm said the American Red Cross and a local church are provided aid to the residents.



Firefighters in Maricopa Fire/Medical Department’s Ladder 571 assisted local veterans April 10 with a very tall order. John Anderson, director of American Legion Riders Bernie G. Crouse Post 133, said firefighters replaced a worn cable that anchors the American flag to a pole outside the center. Old Glory is the centerpiece for numerous flag-raising ceremonies at the vet center every year. The next is scheduled for May 1.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Members of the media were introduced to the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department’s latest major upgrade to their fleet Tuesday. MFMD’s public information officer, Capt. Brad Pitassi, gave tours of their new 100-foot Pierce ladder truck which serves not only as a multifaceted tool for fighting fires, but also for responding to medical emergencies. The truck, Pitassi said, which helps the department better serve the community, should be part of the MFMD fleet for 15 years or more.


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Maricopa Fire/Medical Department want a preplan in place for commerical areas in case of major fires.

Maricopa City Council approved a transfer from the city’s contingency fund Tuesday to pay for a fire preplan for as many as 96 commercial buildings around the city.

The $48,000 expense will bring Maricopa in line with other fire departments in the Phoenix metro area in better preparing firefighters responding to major fires in the city.

“Right now, when people come in, as well as our own commanders, they come in blind,” Maricopa Fire Chief Brady Leffler said.

The preplanning, he said, creates multiple maps that both MFMD commanders and outside emergency personnel can view when responding to fires. The maps contain locational information about hydrant, sprinklers, electrical breakers and gas shutoffs.

Preplan example

This information, he said, is lacking for almost all the city’s major buildings, public and private.

“Currently we don’t have any [preplans],” Leffler said. “We don’t have anything for [city hall], Copper Sky [has] nothing, the schools [have] nothing.”

MFMD recognized the need for such a plan roughly two years ago, Leffler said.  And at that time the department tried to do the preplanning themselves, however due to the complex nature of the planning, he said, they “failed miserably.”

“This is very technical, it involves the Phoenix [computer aided dispatch], and it also involves [geographic information system],” he said. “We tried doing hand drawings, we tried everything, so we reached out to people that do this for a living.”

The city is part of an automatic aid consortium Leffler said calls upon in the event of an exceptionally large incident or if MFMD is occupied, thus making this fire preplan essential.

Councilmember Henry Wade expressed concern about the burden of providing such information, asking if it should be up to the owner or occupant of a building to pay for such a plan.

In response, Leffler said the city currently does ask for certain information from developers, but the information lacks certain details and is never uploaded to Phoenix regional dispatch system for other departments to access.

The initial $48,000 of the contract with Phoenix based company, The Preplanners, would be spent to create the necessary documents for 96 buildings around the city.  An additional reoccurring $5,000 annual fee would be attached to the contract should the city decide to retain the company services to create additional fire preplans as the city grows.

Though not opposed to the idea of budgeting for a fire preplan, the $5,000 reoccurring fee is where councilmember Nancy Smith expressed concern.

“Here we are almost in March, we are going to be approving a brand-new budget in June and if this is part of that approved budget, at that point, then we move forward,” Smith said.  “And what I’ve lost is three months, but what we’ve gained is clarity in terms of the other must-have [expenses].”

The “must haves” she spoke of were the many similar, seemingly “crucial” expenses council sees requests for each budget cycle. And considering the reoccurring $5,000 expense, she said the matter should not rely on contingency funds.

In the end, council approved the measure 6-1, Smith voting against.

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Assistant Fire Chief John Storm gives an "After the Fire" presentation in Senita. Photo by Michelle Chance

A week after a Senita house fire displaced a family on New Year’s Eve, members from the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department held a public meeting to discuss the fire investigation.

Assistant Fire Chief John Storm, standing in front of the garage where the fire is said to have originally sparked, spoke to a small crowd Jan. 11.

The first rig on-scene arrived 4 minutes and 39 seconds after being dispatched, Storm said. MF/MD was later aided with additional assistance from Sun Lakes, Goodyear and Chandler Fire departments.

The blaze was controlled after 39 minutes.

“There is still no determination on the cause,” Storm said.

Deputy Fire Marshall Eddie Rodriguez said the majority of investigations reveal the sources of house fires are accidental.

Rodriguez is working with the homeowner’s insurance company during the investigation.

“The reason we do these investigations is not to place blame on anyone; we do these investigations to find what started this fire,” Rodriguez said.

MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said the most common cause of most garage fires is electrical.

To reduce your risk of garage fire, Pitassi recommends:

  1. If you use the garage as workspace, practice good workspace habits. For example, do not over burden electric outlets with multiple extension cords or power strips. Hire a qualified electrician to install additional outlets.
  2. Don’t store excessive amounts of flammables in the garage, like oil. Buy and store what you will use.
  3. Store flammable paints, solvents and gasoline in a back yard shed away from the home.
  4. Use a heat detector in the garage and fire detectors and alarms throughout the home.

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Emergency vehicles crowd onto a Desert Cedars street. Photo by Michelle Sorensen

A Desert Cedars neighborhood received a visit from haz-mat first responders Wednesday night.

A woman in her 60s and her 8-year-old granddaughter thought they might have been exposed to carbon monoxide after suffering from headaches and hearing home alarms chirping. They called 911. Two Maricopa Fire/Medical Department fire trucks and three support vehicles from responded to the home on Buckhorn Trail at around 6 p.m.

Hazardous materials technicians use meters to detect carbon monoxide in what turned out to be a false alarm. Photo by Michelle Sorensen

The two residents were assessed, and the hazardous materials technicians used meters to search for hazards.

“The air was clear and the woman was evaluated by our paramedics and refused treatment or transport to the hospital,” MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said.

The chirping alarm turned out to be a low-battery alert from the smoke alarms.

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As Maricopa firefighters check Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church for fire, MPD prepares a drone to fly over the building to look for smoke or flames. Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa Police Department used one of its newest bits of technology to assist the fire department in investigating a small fire at a church Tuesday.

First responders received reports of a small fire at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church around 9 a.m. Tuesday and were on scene within minutes.

MFMD on scene to contain the fire at the church. Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa Fire/Medical fire investigator Jason Nelson said firefighters were able to keep the blaze contained to a small closet. MPD spokesperson Ricardo Alvarado said the department deployed their drone in an attempt to help locate possible hotspots or areas where fire may be hidden from sight.

The drone, equipped with a state of the art forward-looking infrared camera (FLIR) system, flew over the building for more than half an hour using both its FLIR camera and full-spectrum camera to look for any latent fire.

Alvarado said the drone did not detect any areas of possible concern, indicating the fire was likely contained. The church’s sprinkler system was effective in stopping the spread of any flames.

Church secretary Patti Coutre said via social media, there was “no major damage, however church will remain closed until the insurance releases it and it is cleaned up.”

A woman did receive minor burns to her hands as a result of the fire, Nelson said. However, since the injuries weren’t considered serious, she chose to seek medical attention on her own.

Nelson said the exact cause of the blaze is still under investigation.


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Submitted photo

A garage at a Senita home caught fire this morning on Magnolia Road.

The “Vasquez Family Donation Fund” has been set up at Wells Fargo for the family, which lost everything due to fire and smoke damage. The children also need clothes and shoes.

Brian Vasquez, his wife and three children left the house safely. They noticed the fire after hearing a “pop” in the garage some time after 9 a.m. They had reportedly just turned on the heater.

The father opened the door to the garage and saw fire, then quickly closed the door. The smoke that entered the home at that time set off the smoke alarms.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded to the scene at 9:30 a.m.

“The fire extended to the garage and the attic,” MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said. “There was extensive smoke damage, all the way through from floor to ceiling.”

The Vasquez family, which includes children age 1, 2, and 4,  has lived in the home for three years. It was built in 2007. They have family nearby if the home turns out to be immediately uninhabitable. American Red Cross was also on scene to help situate the family.

Pitassi said two investigators were looking into the cause of the fire, which also destroyed a vehicle in the garage. He said the fact the house had solar panels gave fire crews a different challenge in the basic tactic of cutting a hole in the roof, but they were able to contain the fire.

Photo credits: 1 Scott Bartle; 2 PCSO; 3 submitted; 4 Will Wynne; 5 Nathan Corp; 6 PCSO; 7 PCSO; 8 submitted; 9 Michelle Chance

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This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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Members of Maricopa Public Safety Departments gave back to their community this season by donating gifts for the holidays. During the sixth annual Ride for Toys event Dec. 9, children and their families received rides aboard The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department and fire trucks in exchange for toy donations. With help from CERT volunteers, MFMD donated the toys, as well as a $500 check to F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank. Dec. 16, The Maricopa Police Department helped local children purchase gifts for their families during their annual “Shop with a Cop” inside Walmart.

A 96-year-old woman drowned in Maricopa Saturday morning.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department responded to an adult drowning call at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Senita subdivision.

MFMD Spokesman Brad Pitassi said the woman’s family initially found her in the pool. Once on scene, crews reported the woman was unresponsive.

“Maricopa PD is investigating, but the patient had an unknown downtime in the pool and she also had a do-not-resuscitate-order so she wasn’t revived,” Pitassis said. “It’s common for the elderly to have those be in our orders.”

Ricardo Alvarado, spokesman for the Maricopa Police Department, confirmed police are investigating the drowning.

“(The investigation) is typical in any drowning – adult or child,” Alvarado said.

Neighbors gathered in The Villages for a Monday presentation by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department after a house fire. Photo by Mason Callejas

The average response time for a Maricopa fire truck is 4-6 minutes.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department held a fire safety presentation Monday at a home in the Villages that was partially burned by a fire last week. Against the backdrop of the charred home, the department emphasized the importance of planning and early-alert systems, such as having evacuation plans, functioning smoke alarms and not being afraid to call as early as possible.

Speaking at the event, Battalion Chief Ken Pantoja stressed the importance of alerting the fire department as soon as possible. Given that fires can double in size every minute, the earlier the call comes in, the better, he said.

A rise in plastics and synthetic materials in everyday items such as carpets, furniture and appliances has accelerated the speed at which fire moves, he said.

“When I first started, we had about 20 minutes to fight a fire,” Pantoja said. “Now, we have 6-8 minutes.”

MFMD Public Information Officer Brad Pitassi additionally emphasized the importance of calling 911 earlier.

They, like most modern fire departments, have real-time information given to them, he said. When a caller alerts 911 dispatchers to the location of a trapped family member or details about the fire, they immediately send that information to the responding firefighters, giving them an edge when combating the blaze.

For the most part, Assistant Chief John Storm said, the fire was contained to one portion of the house due to the rapid communication between dispatchers and responders. Within 35 seconds the first truck was en route, and five minutes and 36 second later they were on scene.

Firefighters were able to use the real-time information relayed to them by dispatch to quickly react when they arrived.

The Professor was the only injury in the fire, needing oxygen from MFMD afterward.

Three out of every five fatalities that occur due to fire, Pitassi said, happen in buildings without smoke detectors.

“If you check your batteries, if you make sure your detectors are working and efficient and in the right position, you’re going to cut your chances of dying in a house fire by 50 percent,” Pitassi said. “Go home and check your alarms, please.”

MFMD officials also emphasized the importance of having a safe meeting place for your family to go during a fire, preferably on the opposite side of the street, away from the fire and out of the way of first responders.

They also suggested keeping trees and hedges trimmed so they are less likely to act as a catalyst for a fire, limiting its ability to spread from house to house.

The fire in the Villages only injured one victim, a dog named Professor who was successfully treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. Pantoja said MFMD received a grant a while ago that also allows them to treat animals with oxygen and other minor injuries.

MFMD Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez said the exact cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this article.

House Fire on corner of Alma & Griffis in Maricopa | September 26, 2017 | InMaricopa | Photographer Jonathan Williams

A mother and her two children safely evacuated their home in The Villages after it caught fire Tuesday afternoon, according to Maricopa Fire/Medical Department.

Brad Pitassi, MFMD spokesman, said crews received a call reporting the fire on Griffis and Alma drives around 3 p.m.

Officials are still investigating what caused the fire, but crews first on-scene said the blaze began in a second-story bedroom.

“Crews turned the corner and there was fire blowing out of the bedroom window,” Pitassi said. “They went inside, cleared the house, and there weren’t any residents inside of the house.”

Pitassi said the family’ two dogs made it out safely as well. Responding officers reported hearing fire alarms ringing as they entered the home, he said.

As crews worked to contain the fire upstairs, they discovered it had spread to the attic, Pitassi said.

“It was a very aggressive fire attack for that first crew that came in and they were able to stop that from extending deeper into the attic, so a really outstanding job there,” Pitassi said.

The “full response” fire received attention from every MFMD crew and automatic aid from two other fire departments in the Valley.

“As this fire was confirmed, then our dispatch center starts adding enough resources to it to be able to handle that problem. So Chandler (FD) did come down, we did have Sun Lakes (FD) that was en route,” Pitassi said.

The Maricopa Police Department closed Alma Drive at Edison Road for over an hour as first responders worked the scene.

Maricopa Fire Department Open House | Sept 23, 2017 | InMaricopa | Photographer Jonathan Williams

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department hosted an open house at Station 571 Saturday morning, giving tours of the building and equipment and especially its new ladder truck. Community members gathered at the station on Porter Road to meet fire personnel, including Chief Brady Leffler, and hear from Carlos Schulz and 571 Ladder Company about advancements.