By Rusty Bradshaw
Bay doors at all Sun City fire stations were inspected for safety in the wake of a child’s death at an East Valley fire facility.
Inspecting the doors is part of an agreement to inspect all the department’s equipment. John Deacon, Sun City Fire Department battalion chief, reported to the fire district board during the Feb. 13 workshop meeting he secured an agreement with a mechanic to do inspections of department vehicles and other equipment this month.
The doors got special attention following the Feb. 3 death of a toddler who was visiting a Scottsdale Fire Station 601, 19011 N. Miller Road, when the large bay door closed with the child underneath, crushing him.
“We want to make sure our equipment is installed and functioning properly,” Mr. Deacon said.
Scottsdale officials continued to investigate the incident, but no results were available at press time.
The child, relative of an on-duty Scottsdale firefighter, was at the station with family taking a tour of the facility. He was treated immediately on-site by paramedics then transported to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, 1919 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, where he was pronounced dead.
Concern for the bay door safety is a prudent measure, according to Dave Scott, Sun City Fire District board president.
“One might think it could not happen in a retirement community,” he said. “But a lot of residents have grandchildren they may want to take to a station.”
The safety factor is not limited to children, he added.
“Those doors are heavy and if they came down on an adult, including elderly adults, it could be just as bad,” Mr. Scott said.
The bay doors and sensors completed inspections early this week and were determined to be functioning properly.
Sun City has three fire stations — 131 at 17017 N. 99th Ave.; 132 at 11401 N. 99th Ave.; and 133 at 13013 N. 111th Ave. A new station is being built on the northwest corner of 111th and Michigan avenues in Youngtown that will replace the existing Station 133.
Jim Fox, Sun City fire marshal, said work on the new fire station is progressing well, with exterior walls built up to about 18 feet as of Feb. 13. The two-story structure will have three vehicle bays and be home to two engines and an ambulance. It will also have more living and dining space for on-duty firefighters.
Sun City fire officials expect the station to be complete sometime in July.
“We may not be in it that month as we will have to wait for the certificate of occupancy,” Mr. Fox said.
In addition to the inspections, the mechanic’s agreement will also give Sun City Fire and Medical Department officials the ability to make repairs to equipment if it is not possible for them to be done during regular business hours.
“This will give us the opportunity to have emergency repairs done if necessary,’ Mr. Deacon said.
Department officials will have Engine 132 inspected and, if necessary, repaired to prepare it to go into reserve status. The department received one engine that was being refurbished and put it back into service last week. They also put another refurbished engine, which had been damaged in a collision shortly after the refurbishment was complete, back into service last week.
“We have a small punch list for both trucks of adjustments that need to be made,” Mr. Deacon said.