Interim Fire Chief Enjoys Job In Small Community

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Mike Weller never envisioned that one day he would be a firefighter, let alone be selected as the interim fire chief for the Houston Mesa Fire Department.

On March 16, Weller was chosen as the interim chief to replace Chuck Jacobs who resigned.

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Mike Weller

Weller has been a firefighter with the Houston Mesa department for about nine years.

"I just wanted to be an (emergency medical technician)," he said. "I talked to the chief, and he explained that there was a need for firefighters, so I went to firefighting school."

Weller said there is never a dull moment as the interim fire chief or firefighter in a small community.

"No one calls 911 when they are having a fun day," he said.

When Weller isn't putting out fires, he enjoys preventing them through the Firewise program.

Helping people clean lots in preparation for the fire season is a necessity, he said. Half of the community has been treated so far.

Weller, who worked for Motorola in Phoenix for 30 years, knew where he wanted to go after retiring.

"I worked there for 30 years and retired to be a firefighter," he said.

His wife's parents had property in Mesa Del Caballo, so there was a place where they could go to retire.

The Payson area has been one of his favorite places ever since he was a child.

The Payson area, with all of the pine trees, reminds him of Washington state, where he grew up.

"I have always enjoyed living where there are four seasons," Weller said. "Being an outdoors person, this is great."

Mesa Del is 1.8 miles from Payson and the fire department often aids other departments when the need arises.

He said, since being named the interim fire chief, he has received a lot of correspondence from other nearby fire districts.

Weller will serve 90 days as the interim fire chief while its board looks for a full-time fire chief.

Weller could be a candidate.

"I (will have to) decide whether I want this job full-time or not," he said.

Weller is married to Sherry, the chairperson of the fire board, and has three stepchildren.

Profile

Name: Mike Weller

Hometown: Spokane, Wash.

Age: 57

Occupation: Interim fire chief for Houston Mesa Fire Department and parts counter manager for AutoZone

What brought you to Payson? Weather and topography

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Shut up and listen and keep an open mind.

Three things you want people to know about you: I say what is on my mind. I am truthful and honest.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Racecar driver

Favorites:

Book: The Bible

Song: Bob Seger songs

Food: Mexican food, home-cooked American food and Italian food

Recreational activity: Four-wheeling and fishing

Vacation spot: Hawaii or the tropics

Hobby: Astronomy

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