Firefighters Celebrate Groundbreaking

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Wednesday morning was "one of those days" for the Payson Fire Department.

A rollover on the South Beeline, another vehicle accident and a medical emergency were all called in at about the same time -- all before 10 a.m., when firefighters and town officials gathered at Rancho Road for a groundbreaking ceremony for the town's second fire station.

Fire Chief John Ross told the crowd that the Payson Fire Department receives 180 simultaneous calls a year, in which a second emergency call comes in when the primary crew is already out. The department responded to a total of 1,730 emergency calls in 1998.

Ross also said that the majority of calls for cardiac arrest occur in Payson North. The department responded to 20 of these emergencies in 1998.

Mayor Vern Stiffler said that the new station is one minute from his house in Payson North "and I like that."

The second fire station and additional personnel will help cut down on response time to the north side of town and even out of town, where many of the accidents occur, Ross said.

"This is a momentous event for the Town of Payson, not just within the town limits, but outside as well," he said.

Former Fire Chief Chuck Jacobs said the new fire station has been a long time coming -- a project that was started 10 years ago.

Payson's first mayor, Ted Pettet, who has been in the insurance business for 40 years, said Payson residents now have the opportunity to have lower insurance rates. "We've come a long way," he said. "We tried to find the best place in Payson. This is near the airport and everything."

Town Manager Rich Underkofler credited the Masons for offering the land, which was part of the property where the Masonic Lodge is located, at a price below market value. He said the 4,600 square-foot steel building should be completed sometime in October. Construction will cost $420,000.

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