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MFMD

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

Most-read stories related to police, fire and emergency events:

  1. Murder-suicide suspected in couple’s death

A Maricopa couple was found deceased May 7 from what Maricopa Police Department suspects was a murder-suicide. The 69-year-old husband and the 67-year-old wife were found dead from apparent gunshot wounds after a report of gunshots heard in the area. The woman was apparently suffering from terminal cancer.

  1. MCSO: Fatal crash caused by passing in oncoming traffic

A fatal crash Sept. 5 on State Route 238 was likely caused by one of the vehicles trying to pass a commercial truck in the path of oncoming traffic, Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials said. The vehicles collided when both drivers made evasive maneuvers, meeting head-on on the shoulder, killing both drivers and injuring two teens in one of the vehicles.

  1. 2 teens die after crash on Papago

Two teenagers died after a minivan they were riding in struck another vehicle and rolled over Oct. 29. The second vehicle allegedly ran a stop sign at the Ralston Road and Papago Road intersection when the minivan struck the car and ejected one of the teens. Five of the six passengers in the van were transported to the hospital where the 16- and 17-year-old boys, both of whom were wheelchair-bound, later died.

  1. MPD arrests man on multiple child molestation charges

An area handyman accused of sex crimes involving a minor was arrested by Maricopa Police Nov. 28 for his alleged inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old child. Ronald Bragonier, 54, was arrested after the victim notified authorities of multiple incidents that occurred earlier in 2017 in multiple cities and states.

  1. Maricopa teen charged with assault after ‘bragging’ on social media

A Maricopa teen was arrested Oct. 7 on multiple charges stemming from an alleged assault he bragged about in video posted to his Facebook page. Willie Lofton, 19, allegedly started multiple fights at Copper Sky Regional Park several days before his arrest. He then went back to one of the locations of the fights and began filming blood stains on the ground and on his shoes.

  1. Road rage caught on video leads to charges

Charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace were filed against two Maricopa motorists June 27 when an incident of road rage was captured on video that went viral on social media. James Kingery was filmed by another motorist allegedly punching Holden Elsea through the open window of his vehicle at an intersection on John Wayne Parkway. Elsea then reacted by striking the rear window of Kingery’s vehicle with a tire iron or similar object.

  1. 2 dead in crash on SR 347

A man and a woman died as the result of a three-car collision on State Route 347 Oct. 28, just north of Riggs Road. DPS said the deceased male was driving the vehicle that struck two others stopped for a red light at Riggs Road. He was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered “major head trauma,” while a gravely injured woman was transported to Chandler Regional Hospital where she later died.

  1. Maricopa family grieves loss of 4 children in Illinois fire

A Maricopa mother lost her four oldest children in a residential fire Nov. 21 near the city of Dixon, Illinois. The children, once residents of Maricopa, moved to Illinois to live with their father and stepmother, who also perished in the blaze. Tragically, the family also suffered a loss in 2013 when their 4-month-old son died from sudden infant death syndrome.

  1. 3 charged in armed robbery at Maricopa ATM

Three suspects were arrested for armed robbery Nov. 21 after a cellular phone stolen during the heist was tracked by law enforcement. The three allegedly approached a woman sitting in her car at the Bank of America ATM around 12:30 a.m. One suspect allegedly pointed a gun at the victim, robbing her of $260 and the phone. The trio was arrested roughly two hours later by Chandler PD.

  1. Vehicle crossed over median before fatal crash

Two men and a woman, all members of the Gila River Indian Community, were killed Nov. 29 after the vehicle they were in, heading southbound on State Route 347, crossed over the median north of Casa Blanca Road, rolled over into oncoming traffic and was struck by a semi. One other passenger in the Ford Ranger survived the crash and was transported to Chandler Regional hospital, while the driver of the semi was uninjured.


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.

MFMD photo

Maricopa Police and Maricopa Fire/Medical departments are investigating a suspected case of arson after a car caught fire in The Lakes around midnight Tuesday morning.

The vehicle was parked in the driveway in front of the garage at the home on West Park Hill Drive. Witnesses said the car was doused in accelerant and set on fire by unknown subjects.

The homeowner tried to extinguish the flames and was burned on his arms and legs. He was transported to a hospital for treatment. Other members of the family and pets were treated before being allowed to return to the house, which had residual smoke.

Photo by Mason Callejas

The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department extinguished a mobile home fire in the Heritage District Monday morning.

MFMD responded en force to a call concerning “light smoke and a little bit of fire” coming from the attic of the residence on Condrey Avenue at about 10:30 a.m.

Battalion Chief Ken Pantoja said four trucks rapidly arrived on the scene and firefighters were quick to extinguish the blaze. Despite the damage to the home, he said, no one was hurt, which is the best they can hope for in a structure-fire situation.

“The guys [firefighters] did a good job, got [the fire] put out pretty quick, in the first couple minutes,” Pantajo said. “No injuries, it was a good outcome.”

Though there were no injuries, Pantoja said the family will likely be temporarily relocated due to the damage.

“Now we’re doing a salvage overall, and working on occupant services, getting the people somewhere to stay because the house is not livable at this time,” Pantoja said.

The official cause is unknown, Pantoja added, though considering its location in the attic area, the likely the culprit is electrical wiring.

Photo by Michelle Chance

The City of Maricopa, along with the Fire/Medical Department, hosted its fifth annual Water Safety Day Friday at the Copper Sky Aquatic Center. Families learned the “ABC’s of water safety” from MFMD’s Carlos Schulz, as well as other drowning prevention tips from the department including CPR training.

The ABC’s of water safety are:

A: Adult Supervision

“If adults have direct, eye-to-eye contact (with children), it’s almost impossible for a young one to drown,” Schulz said.

B: Barriers

“The more difficult it is for an infant or child to get into a water source, the less likely it is to drown,” Shulz said, adding, alarms on a pool fence and the back door can save a child’s life.

C: Classes

“All parents should know CPR,” Shulz said. “If they haven’t taken the CPR class recently, they may need to enroll in one so that as the standards change they stay up-to-date on the newest things.”

The City of Maricopa Community Services offers a CPR and first-aid class once every month. For more information visit http://www.maricopa-az.gov/web/mfd-operations/ems

 

MFD personnel gather to work an accident scene on John Wayne Parkway. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A four-vehicle bumper-to-bumper crash on John Wayne Parkway backed up northbound traffic Friday afternoon as first responders worked the scene. City of Maricopa Fire/Medical and Maricopa Police Department personnel were on site quickly after the accident just south of the intersection with Edison Road to evaluate any injuries and move traffic out of the area.

MPD cited inattention by the driver of a big box truck as the cause of the domino-effect impact. That truck ran into the back of a pest-control pickup truck, which hit the back of an SUV, which in turn hit another SUV, which had stopped for a red light at the intersection. A 14-year-old in the front vehicle was transported to a hospital as a precaution for neck pains.

Some fluids were detected leaking from the pest-control vehicle but were determined to be unharmful to the public. MFMD personnel used soaking agents to clear those and other liquids left at the scene. The accident was cleared by 1:30 p.m.