Hellsgate will use grant funds to buy a new air compressor.

The Hellsgate Fire District can breathe a little easier knowing they have been selected for a $50,000 grant from the Gila River Indian Community.

Gila River chose Hellsgate’s critical breathing air compressor project from among many agencies requesting funding.

“This project will ensure that Hellsgate firefighters have the safest and cleanest breathing air possible for decades to come,” says Hellsgate’s Chief John Wisner.

Hellsgate plans to use the grant to replace a 1970s era diving compressor and aging filling station with a new state-of-the-art system. The new system will be located in the Star Valley fire station and supply the air that the firefighters breathe from air tanks they wear on their backs. Known as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), it uses a tank of air compressed to 4,500 psi which along with a series of regulators, hoses and a full-face mask allow firefighters to breathe clean air while in toxic environments. The system can supply air for up to 45 minutes on each tank, depending on how hard the firefighter is working.

Hellsgate received a FEMA Fire Act grant in 2016 to purchase all new SCBAs. Now this new compressor completes the department’s goal to provide the best equipment and safest air for the firefighters.

“I cannot express how happy I am knowing this critical goal has been reached as I leave Hellsgate,” said Wisner. “I also want to express my gratitude to the Gila County Board of Supervisors for their unwavering support of public safety and for accepting and passing this grant on to us.

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