Hellsgate Fire Department Stays Busy



This past week has been a busy one for the Hellsgate Fire Department and the Fireflies Auxiliary and I don’t mean call outs either, although the firefighters had many of them including one on the same day as their open house Oct. 10. The fire trucks, along with many DPS vehicles and ambulances, responded to an accident on the East Highway 260 very near the Ponderosa Camp­ground. My husband and I passed it as we headed into Star Valley for the Hellsgate open house. All activities for the open house stopped to respond to the accident.

The Fireflies took up the task to set up tables and chairs in the hope that the firefighters would return to finish the task of setting up for the big event. The activities were a little late, but it was all worth it. The open house was a huge success and the families enjoyed the bounce house along with the face painting and the firefighters teaching the kids how to use a fire hose while they were all dressed up in the firefighting gear. The highlight of the evening was the car fire attack by the firefighters, which was really impressive. There was a huge blaze that warmed up the spectators, since it turned out to be a chilly evening. A big thank you to the coordinator Rick Heron for a job well done.


Hellsgate firefighters demonstrated how victims sometimes must be extricated from cars at the fire department’s recent open house.

Hellsgate Fire Department

The Hellsgate firefighters and the auxiliary were busy again on Saturday, Oct. 12 for the wedding of Hellsgate firefighter/paramedic Jeffrey Yunkans and his lovely bride Rachelle McGee. The setting for the wedding was at the historical Oxbow Saloon on Main Street. What a beautiful day it turned out to be for the couple. The weather was perfect for the outdoor ceremony, which featured the bride’s colors of purple and white balloons and bows on the seats. The aisle was set up with fire hoses for the wedding party — the whole setting was perfect. The fire department and everyone who attended wish Jeff and Rachelle an eternity of wedded bliss.

There will be a special class for all surrounding firefighters to learn how to operate all the fire equipment including the fire trucks. The class will be Oct. 25, 26 and 27. The class is called Apparatus Driving Course.

The class will be held at the Star Valley fire station on Walters Lane. To sign up for the class, contact Captain Rick Heron at www.hellsgate fire.org or call the fire station at (928) 474-3835.


The memorial service for the long-time resident of Tonto Village Richard Watson, will be held on Saturday, Oct, 19at the First Southern Baptist Church in Payson. The service will begin at 11 a.m. The address for the church is 302 S. Ash Street. That’s right behind Denny’s. Richard and his family were one of the first families to be permanent residents of Tonto Village many years ago.

Birthdays, etc.

Former Hellsgate Fire Board Chairman Larry Corey will celebrate his birthday on Monday, Oct. 21.

Hellsgate firefighter Bobbi Doss adds another candle on Oct. 22. Darlane Leonard of Tonto Village III has her birthday on Oct. 23. Darlane shares her big day with Hellsgate Battalion Chief David Bathke.

Karen Ochenbein will add another candle on Oct. 25.

On a personal note, our granddaughter Bethany McGrew of Yuma will also share her big day with Darlane and David on Oct. 23.

Happy birthday to each and every one of you, have a wonderful day.

Happy anniversary to Bill and Karen Fausz on Oct. 23. They will be married for 54 years on that day.

Bill and Karen are residents of Thompson Draw I and they are both staunch NASCAR fans. They attend all the races that are held in Arizona. Your life together is an inspiration to us all. Happy anniversary!

Get Well

Our local real estate agent in Tonto Village Deborah Sampson is not out of the woods yet, she is still in the hospital in the Valley. Our prayers are with her as she recovers. Get well soon. Deborah, we are all rooting for you and we are in your corner.


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