Residents Tour Fire Station, Meet New Chief


Heber Overgaard’s new fire chief, Richard Upham, explains the importance of the closeknit coordination that the fire department has with the Forest Service to combat fire entering the community during an open house at the fire department Saturday, Oct. 2.

Heber Overgaard’s new fire chief, Richard Upham, explains the importance of the closeknit coordination that the fire department has with the Forest Service to combat fire entering the community during an open house at the fire department Saturday, Oct. 2.

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With another round of rain and lightning we received earlier this week, many welcome the precipitation to abate the fire hazard of dry undergrowth we typically see at this time of year. At times the storm was torrential and presented a road hazard to motorists on our local roads and highways. The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for this storm for the northeastern section of our state on Tuesday. Judging from the satellite imagery, our area received the large portion of those storms that rose northward and over the Mogollon Rim from the south.

The Heber Overgaard Fire Department had an open house Saturday, Oct. 2, where the public could come and meet the firefighters, the new fire chief, Richard Upham.

Many of the area residents showed up to find out about the services and have a tour of the recently finished fire station. At one part of the tour that volunteer Patti Maurer was giving, it was explained that with the heating of the emergency truck bay where the fire trucks and ambulances reside, “The trucks will be warm in any weather conditions to respond to an emergency and none of the water will freeze that may be used to put out fires or will cold intravenous fluids have to be warmed first to give to a patient being transported to medical facilities.” Recently an exhaust system was installed that hooks up directly to vehicles in the emergency truck bays so when the trucks in the bay sit at idle, the bay doors do not need to be opened to ventilate the truck exhaust. This especially helps in winter and so to not release the heat in the bays that keeps the fluids in the trucks in a liquid state.

The tour progressed to show the living quarters of the shift captains and firefighters. In the kitchen there are three refrigerators that one resident asked, “Why are there three refrigerators?” Patti Maurer responded that there are three shifts and each shift has their own refrigerator so the firefighters don’t take from another shift’s food. In the firefighters’ quarters, one can find beds that are shared by the firefighters as well nearby the shift captain’s quarters where the captain has a private room. All the hallways from the living quarters lead to the emergency truck bay. This prevents any time delay or confusion in the event there is a emergency callout. The Heber Overgaard Fire District covers a large area and not just Heber Overgaard proper.

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