Council Won't Commit Fire Service To Remote Subdivision

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The Payson Fire Department will soon be extending its fire service to a nearby community.

The Payson Town Council authorized Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi to enter into a service agreement with the Rim Ranch Club, but opted not to approve an agreement with the developers of the Canyon River Ranch, to be built in the current location of Doll Baby Ranch.

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During the Willow Fire in 2004, firefighters cleared a perimeter after Doll Baby Ranch was threatened by the blaze.

The Rim Ranch Club is about five miles east of Payson, and Canyon River Ranch will be approximately six miles west of Payson.

Council members wanted to know what it would mean to the town's fire services if the fire department was busy handling an emergency at the Canyon River Ranch subdivision.

DeMasi said, the department would only provide services when it was not busy in Payson.

Mayor Bob Edwards said, there is always the possibility that services would be needed in the town while the department was at Canyon River Ranch.

DeMasi said, the town has an agreement with other nearby fire districts contracting for help if his department was busy at another location.

Council member Andy Romance wanted to know if the department would respond to an emergency in another community if there were no agreement in place.

The fire chief said the department would respond on a case-by-case basis if this was to arise.

Romance then wondered why an agreement would be needed if the fire department was going to respond anyway.

Council member Mike Vogel also opposed the idea of providing fire service to a subdivision as far away as Doll Baby Ranch.

"I think it's too far out," he said.

DeMasi conceded that if there was a major emergency at that location, members of his department would be out there for a while.

He added that the residents of Payson would always be given priority over any other subdivisions.

The department would not send all of its personnel to this subdivision to handle an emergency, he said.

Edwards said no one knows when an emergency could occur in Payson.

"If you are out there and something happens in Payson, (the emergency) is not going to wait," he said.

The council then voted unanimously to approve fire service only to the Rim Ranch Club Development.

Barbara Underwood, a former Payson Planning and Zoning commissioner, asked the town council in a public comment session to reconsider its stance, adding that if a major fire was to happen in the Doll Baby Ranch area, it could make its way into the Payson town limits very quickly.

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