Hellsgate Fire District Unites Two Departments



Jan. 9 was an historic occasion in Tonto Village.

The boards of Diamond Star and Tonto Village Fire Departments agreed to merge.


The Tonto Village Fire District board meeting, held Jan. 9, immediately followed the Diamond Star Fire District board meeting. Both boards voted unanimously to merge Diamond Star and Tonto Village fire districts to form the Hellsgate Fire District. TVFD board from left to right: Rick Washburn (Chairman), Gloria Alliger (Clerk), Gayle Fitch (Treasurer) and Chief Gary Hatch.

At a regular Tonto Village fire board meeting, fire board members, Rick Washburn, chairman, Gloria Alliger and Gayle Fitch, clerks, voted by resolution to combine both fire departments.

The Diamond Star fire board had accepted the resolution earlier that day.

It was standing room only in the meeting room with Scott Flake, one of the original supporters of the merger of different fire departments in Gila County and Tommie Martin, Gila County supervisor.

Tommie applauded Chief Gary Hatch and his crew at Diamond Star Fire Department for bringing the merger to fruition.

Discussion was lively and the comments were wholly in support of the merging of the two departments.

Some of the speakers become teary-eyed, including yours truly, at the mention of where we were a year ago, and what we have today, including equipment that is up to date and volunteers who are now qualified to fight fires in the village, as well as wildland fires.

The five ‘certified' volunteer firemen from Tonto Village are now going on to become EMT-certified and go on to Firefighter II classes.

The name of the two fire departments is now ‘Hellsgate Fire District.'

Chief Hatch then named his officers: Nick Fitch will be first Lieutenant, Chad Stluka, second Lieutenant at the Tonto Village station and Rick Washburn first lieutenant and Jay Wagner second lieutenant at the Mead Ranch station.

Battalion Chief Chuck Jacobs of the Diamond Star station said that this merger is the first in northern Gila County.

My only other remark for this momentous occasion is, "hooray!"


Longtime residents, Ruby and Charlie Terry of Tonto Village II celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on Jan. 15. What a milestone for them. Your life together is an inspiration to us all. Happy anniversary, Ruby and Charlie.

Tonto Village III residents, Joan and Gary Norem will be celebrating their anniversary on Jan. 20. The Norems are assets to the village. They are always on hand when someone needs help. Have a wonderful day, Joan and Gary.

Pool results

Double D Restaurant and Saloon was busy Tuesday evening when some of the gals from Christopher Creek and Tonto Village took over the pool tables for their weekly nine-ball tournament.

Ethel Cain, was the gal who shot for first place. Christopher Creek gals, Nanci Olson and Patty Boeschling, played for second and third places. Congratulations to the winners.

Eight-ball pool shooters are needed for the Sunday tournaments played at 3 p.m.

Dust off those pool cues, and get yourself to the Double D. Maybe you can outshoot Cliff Landrum or Harvey Poyner.

Give it a try.

Linette Johnson

I received word that a former resident of Tonto Village III had passed away. Linette Johnson, 93, lived with her daughter, Diane Ham. They resided in the village for many years.

Linette passed away on Sunday, Jan. 13 in Mesa.

Memorial services for her will be at the Bunker Family Funeral Home at 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201 at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Condolences to Diane and her family for the loss of her mother.

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