Out of 40 applicants, the Payson Fire Department has selected a new firefighter/paramedic.
Tyler Cline, a lifelong resident of Tonto Basin, started with the fire department July 24 and has already responded to a large house fire in Chaparral Pines and several medical calls.
Cline, 26, a former firefighter with Tonto Basin for five years, said he is excited to work full time for Payson after serving as a reserve firefighter since 2007.
Although the testing process was not easy — recruits have to pass a written test, multiple physical tests as well as two interviews — Cline said it is gratifying to have a paid position with a larger department.
Cline first became interested in firefighting after his brother Jarrett Cline, a full-time firefighter with PFD, suggested he volunteer in Tonto Basin.
“I took classes and decided that is what I wanted to do,” he said.
With two cousins serving as firefighters out of state, the field is quickly becoming a family affair.
“I like helping people and there are not too many jobs like this,” he said. “I consider it a chance to give back to the community.”
Fire Chief Marty deMasi said they had 40 applicants, a small number given the current economy.
After weeding out those who did not meet the qualifications, eight recruits remained.
“He came out No. 1 on the list,” deMasi said. “He knew our system and we know what we are getting into with him.”
Cline said he plans to work with the PFD throughout his career.
“I think this is one of the best departments in Gila County,” Cline said.