Firefighters Help Stranded Motorists


Happy New Year to all of my readers. Here’s hoping that 2010 will be a banner year for all of us.

This past year has been rough on many folks in Payson and the surrounding communities. Hopefully, the economy will improve enough to keep everyone’s head above water and that there will be jobs for all who want one, and that some of our stores will reopen.

This past Tuesday, my daughter and son-in-law just made it out of the area to head back to Yuma as it started to snow, and snow and snow. There were a multitude of vehicles from on top of the Rim to Star Valley that got caught in the snowstorm.

Calls were coming in fast and furious for the Christopher Creek and Hellsgate Fire Departments. Hellsgate Fire Chief Hatch had been listening to all the calls come in and decided that help was needed for the passengers in those vehicles.

Some of them had been stuck for up to eight hours. Chief Hatch and firefighter John Ceja helped to get the vehicles to Star Valley. Christopher Creek firemen also pitched in to help the vehicles that were stranded from Christopher Creek up to the Rim. A huge pat on the back to Nick Fitch, Jeff Shaw, Rob Jarvis, Dionne May, Scotty Vaneckhoutte and Fire Chief Electra Vaneckhoutte. Chief Vaneckhoutte estimated that they helped 150 vehicles and they worked about eight and a half hours.

Hellsgate firefighters took some of the people to the Southern Baptist Church. Pastor Roger Pike opened up the church for the people to get warm and some stayed the night, and some of them stayed with their cars and parked at the Circle K in Star Valley.

Chief Hatch called the employees and asked them to open up early, (around 4 a.m.) for the people to get hot drinks. Chief Hatch estimates that there were between 120 and 180 cars that were stranded.

The firefighters were busy helping the people for about 6 1/2 hours. A huge pat on the back for all the firefighters who helped rescue those people, some of them just about running out of gas trying to stay warm. Three cheers to all who helped. Hip, hip, hooray!

The people who come up to the Rim Country to play in the snow or to visit relatives must be prepared.

They need to be mindful of the weather conditions and stock the vehicles with extra water, blankets, a bit of food, plenty of gas and, of course, dress for the cold weather. Shorts or flip-flops are not acceptable. Friends and relatives, spread the word as much as you can so that there are no fatalities from being stranded for hours and hours!

Get well wishes

Pat Watson of Tonto Village I is undergoing another round of chemotherapy and radiation. Please keep Pat in your prayers for a good outcome for her to become cancer free.

Double D doings

There have been no pool tournaments this past week due to the bad weather. The games should start up again after the New Year holiday.

In the meantime, Ethel Cain will be hosting a “Stay Off the Road Party” on New Year’s Eve. No time has been set, just come in anytime, and enjoy the big fireplace and chatting with your neighbors along with something to drink to keep you warm.


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