Tags Articles tagged with "MFMD"


Yonatan Vasquez Vides (PCSO){

Yonatan Vasquez Vides, 25, was arrested Friday night after an altercation at McDonald’s was videoed.

A local woman who was at McDonald’s on John Wayne Parkway with her friends posted a video on a local Facebook group that allegedly showed Vasquez Vides trying to touch her friend. They reportedly didn’t know who he was. The woman began recording on her cellphone when another man, identified as Kieran Gallagher, attempted to get Vasquez Vides away from the table of girls.

The video supports the police report and shows a man purported to be Vasquez Vides begin to swing his fist at Gallagher. He allegedly hit Gallagher in the arm. After the initial contact, McDonald’s staff intervened. The suspect is then seen fleeing the scene through an exit door by the children’s play area. Police observed redness on Gallagher’s right forearm, but no further injuries.

According to the police report, Police were called and made contact with Vasquez Vides across the street at Fry’s Marketplace. Vasquez Vides requested to be seen by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department for a knee injury. While MFD Capt. Nathan Maxcy was evaluating the suspect’s knee, Vasquez Vides allegedly proceeded to kick him in the shin, leaving a red mark.

Vasquez Vides was placed under arrest and booked in Pinal County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault on fire/EMT personnel and assault.


City of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department firefighter Jared Hobson will compete on the History Channel’s reality show “Forged In Fire” on July 24.

This show selects the country’s top bladesmiths to compete in a variety of challenges recreating historical weapons. The outcome of the show is unknown until it airs.

Hobson is assigned to Engine 574 B shift and has been with the department for 13 years.

Jason Nelson spoke about the ways kids get in trouble on the Internet. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Protecting children from predators, bullying, sexting, identity theft, human trafficking and other Internet and social media-related trouble was at the focus of a presentation by City of Maricopa Fire Inspector Jason Nelson on Saturday morning at Leading Edge Academy. Nelson presented information on the latest trends and scams battled by cybersecurity measures. Maricopan Diana Schalow explained how her daughter Angela Russo was murdered after finding dates online.

by -
Photos by Kyle Norby

Professional Firefighters of Maricopa hosted its inaugural custom car show at Copper Sky on Saturday to benefit Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children and Firefighter Charities.

Carlos Schulz of Professional Firefighters of Maricopa at Fire Station 571. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Professional Firefighters of Maricopa are hosting their inaugural Custom Car Show April 6 at Copper Sky.

What: Custom Car Show
Who: Professional Firefighters of Maricopa
When: April 6, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Bowlin Road
How much: Free admission; $25-$35 to enter car
Info: PFFMCustomCarShow@gmail.com; 623-826-2816

The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Great Lawn, benefits Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children and Firefighter Charities.

“We’ll be collecting toys and monetary donations through the car show to help with other medical costs,” said engineer Carlos Schulz of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department. Firefighters are asking for new, stuffed toys to give the children of the Foundation.

Firefighters Charities provide temporary relief for families displaced by fire “until help from the Red Cross kicks in,” he said. The relief fund also assists families who may have had a death or a hardship.

The car show will have 25 class awards and five specialty awards. Entry is $25 for pre-registration or $35 the day of the show. There will be a $5 discount for anyone donating a new stuffed toy on the day of the event.

Schultz said specialty awards will be Best of Show, People’s Choice Award, Best Paint, Best Interior and Kids Choice Award. The event will be DJ’d, and there will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, food trucks and giveaways. The first 100 cars to enter receive a dash plaque.

This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Native Grill has not established a date for re-opening.

After more than three months of investigating, Maricopa Fire investigators really have no idea why a fire occurred at Native Grill & Wings in the early morning hours of Jan. 12.

According to a Fire Investigation Report authored by the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department Division of Fire Prevention, the 2 a.m. event was “a medium size commercial structure with no smoke showing.”

When crews entered the building, they found a “large stove fire,” which was quickly knocked down, and flames extending into the hood system, which were extinguished.

Eight units reported to the scene. The report described heavy smoke in the building. Gas services to the building were quickly shut off but fire crews had a problem shutting off electricity to the building.

“The electrical wiring above the ceiling hood [was] burned and hanging; fire crews checking for extension removed light fixtures around the area.  The service panel located at the west side of the building did not have an electrical main disconnect to shut power off. ED3 techs on-scene had to disconnect power at the transformer located west of the service panel,” the investigators report reads.

Investigators described the fire in detail in the report.

“The fire originated at the kitchen, the area of origin was at the most east portion of the kitchen heating appliances stove/grille,” the fire report states. “All the stove knobs appeared to be in different locations making it undetermined if the stove was in the on position or off. The manager indicated using pliers to turn the knobs. Fire extended up into the exhaust hood interior duct with extreme heat to the ductwork melting the outer insulation approximate 3 feet above the ceiling tiles.”

Some of the fire suppression system worked, and some of it did not.

“The fire alarm display showed kitchen hood system activated to dispatch the fire dept. Visual inspection of the manual pull station located at the northeast exit door not manual activated; the glass tube to the handle was still intact, never broke. A visual under the hood showed two of the temperature hood links did melt due to heat that should have caused the system to activate; but no release of the wet chemical initiated,” the report states.

Investigators noted two sprinkler pendants just outside the hood system that did not activate “due to insufficient heat,” nor did upright sprinklers above the roof trusses near the hood system ductwork.

“The majority of the flames traveled up into the exhaust ductwork and out the exhaust fan located on roof,” the investigators report states.

Investigators are just not sure what caused the fire that has kept Native Grill closed for the past three months.

“Investigators determined the cause as undetermined,” the report states. “According to interviews with manager, all kitchen employees shut the kitchen down at 11:30 p.m., then cleaned leaving around midnight. The manager Amy indicated to have checked the kitchen before closing the bar around 2 a.m.”

But investigators did find a problem in the fire suppression system. Nozzles in the hood system did not release any wet chemical. According to the report, one inspector found wet chemical bottles disconnected and the copper tube fitting that joined the two bottles was disconnected, prohibiting the system from working. The “flared nut” at the line was also found disconnected, possibly by a hand wrench.

“Undetermined time of system to be disconnected and inoperable,” the report states. “The last annual service date for the suppression system was November 2018. The last cleaning service was December 2018.”

The managers and owners of Native Grill said they did not know the suppression system had been disconnected, according to the report.

The owners of Native Grill remain unsure when the Maricopa restaurant might reopen. Hopes had been for a March and then an April opening, but it might be May before the restaurant is back. Native Grill & Wings operated the beer garden at Salsa Festival, and owners have been referring customers to other Valley locations.

Photo by Jim Headley

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, March 26, one of the older houses in Maricopa burned. The house, located at 44390 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway near the overpass construction area, burned through the wee hours of the morning, shutting down the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway until about 8 a.m. as Maricopa Fire/Medical Department investigated. No one was injured in the blaze.

A male resident was injured about 11 a.m. Monday when a fire and explosion occurred in the garage of a home in the 46100 block of Guilder Avenue in Maricopa Meadows. The man was treated at the scene by Maricopa Fire/Medical personnel. The cause of the fire was not yet released. Three propane bottle were known to be in the garage.

Photos by Jim Headley

by -
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.”

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

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.


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

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.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

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.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

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.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.