Peralta in need of volunteer firefighters

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In his report to the Peralta town council, Fire Chief John Dear noted that while the town hadn't had a structure fire so far this year, they did have a near miss.

The volunteers were at the fire station for a training the evening of July 13, Dear said.

"Everyone was geared up, and the trucks were running and we were getting ready to go to the school for some training exercises," Dear said. "We got a call for a structure fire, a storage shed, on Canbe road off Chughole.

"It took us two minutes to get there. If we would have had to respond from home, the fire would have most likely spread and we probably would have lost the home."

The chief said the cause of the fire was fireworks — the homeowner's son was playing with firecrackers.

In relation to that training, Dear said the volunteer department is down to nine firefighters.

"That's a low number, especially if some people leave town," he said. "People who volunteer need to be dedicated to the work, and not just wanting to drive the truck and run the lights and sirens. It's a lot of hard work and odd hours."

Anyone interested in being a volunteer firefighter for the Peralta department can contact Dear at 869-3330.

The chief also reported that they had cleaned and burned the vegetation around the fire station.

He also recently met with Bosque Farms Fire Chief Spencer Wood about acquiring some equipment.

"They recently received a grant for an air compressor and upgraded their air packs," Dear said. "Now they have a number of packs that are not compatible with their new system. He offered to transfer them to us, and there may be a small fee."

If the transfer happens, Dear said that would give the department at least 12 cylinders for the cascade fill system and a number of different face masks.

As of July 14, Dear said they had responded to a total of 97 fires and in June, there were 21 calls for service. Of those fires, Dear said 11 were illegal burns or grass fires.

Peralta resident Dick Wayne said he was concerned with the number of illegal burns.

"It seems excessive," Wayne said. "Are people unaware they need permission to burn and that you can't have a burn barrel?"

Dear said the state passed a law banning burn barrels in 1988. Wayne asked if violators were being fined.

Since the town doesn't have a burn ordinance of its own, Dear said, they weren't being fined yet.

"We have gotten the state, county and Bosque Farms ordinances, and we are going to try and make our own ordinance," he said. "Most people say they don't know, and once we inform them, as a general rule, we don't have any repeat offenders.

"We do keep track of the burns, and who we give paperwork to," the fire chief said. "Once we have an ordinance, the Bosque Farms police will issue citations."

Wayne said he thought someone in his neighborhood was well aware of the law.

"They burn in a barrel at night," he said.

Anyone wishing to burn must call the county fire chief's office at 866-2041 to check if it is a burn day for the county. That determination is made daily by the county fire chief.


Contact Julia M. Dendinger