Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Sept. 19

Kayenta Township buys new fire truck

The Kayenta Volunteer Fire Department proves to be a critical asset to the community, operating with the full support of the Kayenta Township.

At one time, area businesses and entities, such as the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA), the Kayenta Unified School District, the local grocery store and other organizations paid fire dues in order to pay for the operation of the fire department.

Andre Cordero, Kayenta Township town manager, said the work the volunteer firefighters do for the township is irreplaceable and crucial.

"We recently finished painting the fire department building and we are happy to give support to such an essential part of our community," Cordero said.

Volunteer Firefighter Capt. Odie Peshlakai said the Kayenta Township purchased a fire truck for the department. The department can now respond to calls within an 80-mile radius. He explained that becasue of a mutual agreement with surrounding communities like Monument Valley, Utah, and Bluff, Utah, the fire department can now respond to emergency situations in those communities as well.

"The fire department can go without calls for several weeks, then all of a sudden be handling back-to-back calls for a couple of days straight," said Peshlakai. "The types of calls vary from search and rescues, to accidents, to fires."

Peshlakai said last week, the fire department responded to a roll-over involving a truck hauling a stock trailer full of cows on U.S. Highway 160 near Dennehotso, Ariz.

"We had to cutoff the top portion of the stock trailer to release the trapped livestock. About five cows were dead and six were injured," said Peshlakai. "We were on the scene for about seven hours."

Firefighters immediately contacted Clyde McBride, director of the Career and Technical Education Program at Monument Valley High School, to assist the firefighters.

"They were able to save two cows that night," Peshlakai said.

Kayenta resident April Slivers recognized the sacrifices the volunteers make.

"All the volunteer firefighters aren't paid, they do this all on their personal time," said Slivers. "What would happen if they weren't here? Who would put out fires? They are an integral part of the community."

Peshlakai acknowledged the efficiency of his personnel.

"My crew saves lives, they don't hesitate, they're capable of thinking on their feet and are able to make quick decisions and turn tough situations around," Peshlakai said.

The fire department is seeking volunteers. More information is available from the Kayenta Township at (928) 697-8451.

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