The Mesa del Caballo Fire Department, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is now the Houston Mesa Fire Department.
The volunteer fire department changed its name to better reflect the communities along Houston Mesa Road it now serves Freedom Acres, Wonder Valley and Beaver Valley, in addition to Mesa del.
"We've become a much bigger district than we were when we serviced only Mesa del, so the new name is an inclusive one that takes into consideration our new territory, said Frank Hansen, the department's fire chief.
The new Houston Mesa Fire Department covers an area beginning at the town limits on Houston Mesa Road to the second crossing of the East Verde River.
"We cover that area for traffic accidents, and we have a mutual aid agreement with forestry that we will jump on any fires out there for initial attack," Hansen said. "We go anywhere up to about a mile into the forest on either side of Houston Mesa anywhere we can reach with our vehicles."
Because the name change was a first for a Gila County fire district, it took some time to accomplish.
"We had it to pass it by the lawyers and get their OK," Hansen said. "We're in the process of changing all our legal documents, and then we'll change over the vehicles.
"It will take some time because there is some cost involved.
"As a matter of fact we just got our class A uniforms and we ended up getting generic patches."
To introduce area residents to the new Houston Mesa Fire Department, two open houses are scheduled for this weekend on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Beaver Valley Fire Station #32 and on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Mesa del Caballo Fire Station #31. Both events will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It's just an opportunity for residents to meet the crews at the two stations and view their apparatus and equipment," Hansen said. Fire prevention and wildland fire information will also be available, along with knowledgeable authorities to answer any questions about local fire regulations and the status of the area-wide fuel reduction program.
In addition to demonstrations of the "Jaws of Life" rescue tool and other sophisticated equipment, an emergency medical helicopter is scheduled to visit both open houses. A blood pressure and blood glucose station will also be available at both sites.
Refreshments will be available all day, with free hamburgers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 472-7908.
The new Houston Mesa Fire Department is actively seeking additional personnel to serve in a variety of capacities.
Individuals 18 or older and in reasonably good health are invited to join the department.
For more information, call 472-7908.