Guadalupe Celebrates New Firetruck Purchased With Aid From Indian Communities

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 7:26am
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 8:21am

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Guadalupe residents push a firetruck
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
Guadalupe residents participate in a "push ceremony" to celebrate the addition of a new fire truck to the town's public safety fleet on Jan. 30, 2018.

In the 1800s, when firetrucks were fire wagons, firefighters would wash down their horses at the end of the day and push the wagon back into the garage with members of the community.

Wednesday in Guadalupe, townspeople carried on that tradition, called a "push ceremony," placing their hands on a shiny red and chrome firetruck as it backed into station 241.

Captain Dennis Dominguez has worked at the Guadalupe Fire Department for 15 years. “With the fire truck we got all brand-new equipment," he said, including a new computer and radios. "It’s just a stress reliever, coming in in the morning and knowing that everything is gonna function and work properly.”

Dominguez says the old truck had a lot of mechanical problems. He says now they’ll be able to focus on the important stuff like emergencies.

“Instead of making sure the tires are all aired up every morning," he said. "That there’s no fluids leaking everywhere. That the radios are all operational.”

The Guadalupe Fire Department is a member of the Valley Automatic Aid system, where all Valley agencies agree to respond to an emergency if they are the closest unit.

In addition to Guadalupe, the Fire Station services parts of Ahwatukee Foothills and Tempe.

Fire Chief Wayne Clement says the new pumper truck was produced by a company called E-ONE in Florida. Clement says the trucks take about 12 months to build.

new firetruck at the Guadalupe Fire Station
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
Children got to sit in the driver's seat of a new firetruck at the Guadalupe Fire Station after a dedication ceremony on Jan. 30, 2019.

“It has a 500-gallon water tank. It has a 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump on it. It has seating for six firefighters. It is staffed daily with four firefighters, two paramedics and two EMTs,” he said.

Clement says about 80 to 85 percent of their calls are for medical services.

Barbara Valencia lives in Guadalupe and has served as a vice mayor in the past. She says as the community ages, more people will need emergency services. “Just this week, my neighbor is elderly, she lives by herself, she was having some breathing problems or something and so they responded and took care of it,” Valencia said.

She says strengthening first responder resources is important for the community. “I’m glad that they’re partnering up with the tribal communities, and that forms a very good relationship in our area.”

Guadalupe couldn’t afford the $567,000 firetruck on its own. Mayor Valerie Molina said repairs to the old fire engine were breaking the budget.

“Our old engine was having issues with breaking down a lot, so it was really time to get a new truck,” she said.

Molina says the project was several years in the making, but the town was able to secure the funding from the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the Tohono O’odom Nation.

Robert Miguel is chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. “Guadalupe is a part of our family" he said, "as far as Indian nations being united.”

Miguel says compacts made with the state of Arizona in 2002 allow for a certain percentage of gaming funds to be directed to communities in need.

“Just seeing some of the issues — you know, poverty-wise issues, and to help them just come up to standards as far as medical needs," Miguel said was the reasoning behind the aid. "And just looking at the kids today," he said, "it was well worth it.”

Captain Dominguez looked on as little children from the town took turns sitting in the driver seat of the new truck and dazzling the lights. He said he's still impressed by sight of a firetruck. “Ever since I was a little kid," he said. "When I wake up in the morning, I know I’m coming to work and I’m very excited. I enjoy it.”