The Salt River Fire Department (SRFD) crew from Lehi Station 292 lent support to the Prescott Fire Department on Saturday, July 13 as part of the statewide Fire Service Mutual Aid System, where fire departments around the state coordinate to help each other in fighting fires. The SRFD crew staffed one of Prescott’s five stations for a 24-hour shift.
In a statement given by SRFD Fire Chief Dave Bunce during the SRFD Awards ceremony a few days prior, he announced that the crew was going up to help out fellow firefighters during their time of mourning. On June 30, 19 members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting crew died while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. He thanked the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council and Administration for their support and desire to help the Prescott community during this difficult time.
Firefighters Bobby Scabby, Lee Grant, Greg Mason, Dustin Zamboni and their newest addition, a brand-new Rosenbauer fire apparatus (fire truck), left for Prescott at 4:40 a.m. to arrive in time for a 7 a.m. meeting and briefing with members of other fire departments from Nogales, Mesa, Glendale and Gilbert.
“We received our assignments and where we were going to be stationed, and filled out paperwork,” said Capt. Scabby. “We were stationed about 10 miles north of the city, right next to an airport. We ran two calls during the 24-hour shift. It was different running in an area we didn’t know, but we had one of their captains there with us, so it was OK.”
The SRFD firefighters used cell phones and Google to help them find the address or location of the calls they received.
“We would Google it and find the address, and that’s how we would find our way around,” said Scabby. That day, “There was a funeral for one of the 19 [Granite Mountain Hotshots], and when we got a call they asked us to turn our sirens off as we passed the place where the funeral was being held, which was a couple of miles from the station we covered.”
Scabby said it was an honor to serve the people of Prescott. He explained that the firefighters helping in Prescott is the same as when you lose someone and people around you want to know how they can help.
“I think the fire service is like one big family. It was a humbling experience to go and help them out. Even the international firefighters wanted to know what was going on and how they could help,” said Scabby. “We were there for 24 hours and made some pretty good friends. It makes you feel good knowing [that] if something bad happens, all these communities and organizations come together. Not even a month earlier, we lost a Phoenix firefighter. [That] was a smaller scale [loss], but it was the same effect—all the organizations came together to support the Phoenix Fire Department and the family. It is kind of neat to know that there is that support out there.”
Because the SRFD crew only received two calls during their shift in Prescott, they had a chance to talk to some on-duty firefighters from Prescott, building new friendships and of course enjoying the cooler weather.
“It felt very rewarding and it was an absolute privilege to do it,” said Mason. “It was beautiful up there—it was like a retreat, to be there with the other guys and to talk to them. We would go back up there if they asked us to in a heartbeat.”
As the crew went around the town, they noticed that everyone was appreciative of them being there. Local residents thanked them for coming up to Prescott and serving their community.
“I am glad the Community let us go up there and cover a shift,” said Capt. Scabby. “We weren’t sure if it was going to happen, because it had to get authorized by the Community managers and Council to take Community resources to cover another city.” The only other time this has happened was in 2002, when the SRFD helped out with the Rodeo-Chediski Fire.