Zia Pueblo Tribal leaders join SCFR Chief to usher in a new era of safety

A Press Conference was held at the Zia Fire Station on December 14th, 2020 to honor a cost sharing agreement between the Zia Pueblo and Sandoval County. This agreement will help hire six new first responders that will cover the five County fire districts that run through many of the unincorporated areas.

Speakers at this event included:

Sandoval County Fire Chief Eric Masterson

Sandoval County Manager Wayne Johnson

Commissioner F. Kenneth Eichwald District 5

Zia Governor Fredrick Medina

Lt Governor Cecil ShijeTribal

Administrator Ken Lucero

Attorney Robert Medina

This agreement comes after the County Commission unanimously voted in October to approve the hiring of six full-time SCFR positions in light of the fact that the Zia Pueblo was willing to contribute $200,000 for this fiscal year and $250,000 for each subsequent fiscal year to help supplement the cost of the salaries. In total, the County is estimated to spend $680,000 to undertake this process. The new SCFR staff members will be housed at the Zia Volunteer Fire Department full time and answer calls from that location.

County Fire Districts being covered include:

  • Districts 3 (Zia Pueblo)
  • Districts 5 (La Cueva)
  • Districts 6 (Ponderosa/Jemez Pueblo)
  • Districts 11 (Regina)
  • Districts 15 (Torreon)

Other areas positively impacted include:

  • Village of Cuba
  • Village of San Ysidro
  • Village of Jemez Springs
  • Highway 550 from mm 14 – mm 100
  • US Highway 4 to the Los Alamos County Line
  • Thousands of acres of Forrest Service Land in the Jemez and Cuba Mountains

“Sandoval County is proud of its partnerships all around the County, “said SCFR Fire Chief Eric Masterson. “Collaboration is a key component to efficiency when it comes to Fire and EMS responses. This newly established, long-term partnership with Zia Pueblo that was unanimously supported by the County Commission will positively impact the citizens and visitors of Sandoval County. In addition to the enhanced services of Zia Pueblo, this crew will also serve the entire Jemez Corridor, 550 corridor, Cuba region, and more. This team will supplement the dedicated volunteers throughout the areas providing support and aid to all fire and EMS related call types. We are excited for this opportunity to enhance our services and appreciate the partnership opportunity with Zia Pueblo.”

According to Masterson, with the additional staff being housed at the Zia Volunteer Fire Station, response times can average 20 minutes faster than they are currently.

Sandoval County Commissioner, Kenneth Eichwald, said this will improve the fire and rescue safety for his district tremendously, plus also help a portion of Rio Arriba County.

“It is important to continue to improve the fire and rescue info structure for the entire area,” he said.

Four new apparatuses are expected to be added to this station in the next year, which include, a new water tender, and engine and a brush truck.