Wasatch Fire District breaks ground on Station 51; ‘This is just the beginning’
As Heber Valley grows, so does the need for firefighters
The Wasatch Fire District broke ground Monday afternoon at the site of what will soon be Station 51, a building to be manned by firefighters 24/7 at 200 E. 1200 S., Heber City.
“Today marks a momentous occasion for us all,” Chief Eric Hales said during the ceremony. “It was a little over 100 years ago when the community members actually came together and started what was known as the Heber Valley Fire Department. It is based upon that tradition and that dedication to community that we are here today and trying to move that forward and build on that heritage.”
Wasatch Fire Board chair Steve Ferrell spoke about the changes he’s seen in the community. Fifty years ago, he reminisced, the volunteer fire department had to be ready for emergency calls regardless of what they were doing.
“You could end up being in a barber’s chair with half a haircut when an alarm went off,” he said. “That’s how much dedication we have in this community. And now we’ve got a full-time fire department. So we’ve got the same amount, if not more, dedication and expertise.”
Speaking to The Park Record, Hales said the facility will bolster the agency’s presence in the largest community the district serves, allowing emergency responders to be ready around the clock.
“When we open this station, we’ll be adding an additional five people per day to cover the Heber Valley,” he said. “Right now at night, we only have five people in the valley. After the station, we’ll have 10, plus the five at Jordanelle.”
With the growth of Wasatch County, Station 51 is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.
“Right now, the Wasatch Fire District, we cover 1,200 square miles with two staff stations,” Hales said. “Obviously, adding this station here will help us a great deal in Heber City proper, but we still have outlying areas like Hideout, like Victory Ranch in what’s known as the Benloch area off Highway 35. We still need a greater presence in Timber Lakes and Wallsburg. These are longstanding communities that deserve the same level of coverage as everybody else.”
Hales said the district hopes to have a presence in Hideout by 2026 and a station near Victory Ranch by 2028. Given Heber City’s northern expansion, he added that another station will likely be needed within the municipality.
“This is just the beginning of a long and growing capital facilities plans,” Hales said. “Over the next 10 years, you could see three to four stations.”
Matthew Christopher Hogel, of Heber City, and Mark Vincent Devine, of Arizona, are scheduled to be sentenced next month in separate kidnapping cases.
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