2022 Staffing Significant Moves: LAFD shouldered a quite a few retirements within its ranks that of Steven Dawald, Tracy Stidham, John Napier, Michael Montoya and Travis Williams from fire operations that resulted in more than 120 years of LAFD experience leaving. In addition, Howard Hall retired from the administrative services team. As retirements settled, LAFD set to the work of promotions being Deputy Fire Chief Wendy Servey, Division Chief-Fire Marshal James Pepe, Captain John Bialy, Captain Colorado Cordova, Captain Ray Barela, Captain Sam Meyersick, Driver Engineer Ryan McNiff, Driver Engineer Dylan Mahoney, Driver Engineer Dustin Rogers, Driver Engineer Michael Manzanares and Driver Engineer Matt Rodriguez. On the administrative service team Norma Jean Valdez promoted to Security & Administrative Services Manager and Xavier Anderson promoted to Senior Management Analyst. New fire employees of Academy Class 30 (completed) and Class 31 (started) at the end of November combined will add 26 personnel to the uniformed ranks.
April 22, 2022 – June 15, 2022, Cerro Pelado Fire Assistance: LAFD provided assistance to fight the Cerro Pelado Wildfire, some 45, 605 acres. LAFD provided staged Water Tenders (2-3) and (2-3) Type 3 Brush Truck performed patrols with personnel working shifts to support Type I team activity and LANL Wildland Mitigation efforts on lab property ahead of advancing fire front. In addition, LAFD participated in the following activities to include daily operational and as needed community briefings, staffed Emergency Operations Center (EOC) positions, prepared for evacuation assignments along with providing routine emergency services for Los Alamos County.
May 26, 2022, New LAFD Fire Station 5 Construction On LANL Property Begins: The process began this year to start replacing the Los Alamos County Fire Stations – starting with the ones located on Los Alamos National Laboratory property built in the 1950s. The first to be replaced is Station 5 on West Jemez Road, near the back gate on N.M. 501. Station 5 is the first of three stations, owned by DOE, that will be constructed, Fire Chief Troy Hughes said. The other two will replace Station 1 near the vehicle access portal in TA3. This station will be replaced by two new stations. Station 1’s crew will be split between a new facility on Pajarito Road, near TA-63, and a second one between Los Alamos County’s Eco Station and Elk Ridge.
While DOE is planning to replace its fire stations, the County is making similar plans. While replacement for the County fire stations is scheduled down the road, Hughes said the capital improvement plan for future years was tentatively approved during this year’s budget hearings. The capital project plan provides $7.5 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2026 to replace fire stations 4 and 6. Hughes explained that funding for these two County owned fire stations will be sought from different sources to reduce the impact on local taxpayers.
The Hilltop House Is Razed: Action that was started by a Fire Marshal’s Order of the LAFD’s Fire Marshal’s Office citing unsafe buildings of the adopted fire code started and ensured community and firefighter safety remains a priority in Los Alamos County
LAFD Continues To Serve Beyond Los Alamos County: As daily operations can support, LAFD builds upon a tradition of helping neighboring fire departments when called. In August, LAFD Honor Guard, along with other department members provided support and coverage during Lt. Matthew King’s service. Lt. King served as a firefighter/paramedic for Bernalillo County Fire Department (BCFD) who died in a helicopter crash. Honor Guard members participated in the service, and a LAFD Engine crew covered emergency calls in the East Mountains for on-duty Bernalillo County Fire members so that they could attend the service. In October, LAFD Hazmat 1 with three personnel assisted Santa Fe Fire Department upon request on an unknown substance / package incident. Our ambulances responded to neighboring communities to assist with medical calls as many were short-staffed due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, as well as LAFD.