Local News

Tusayan Fire Chief Responds

July 18, 2011

By now must folks are aware that the Chanmber of Commerce and the Fire District have come under fire from the Town Council over a small camp fire lit during the 3rd of July celebration.The council's actions are not sitting  well with Fire Chief Robert Evans. After years of public service, the Chief is speaking his mind. Here is his letter:

Tusayan Residents,

This letter is in regards to the article published in last week Williams/Grand Canyon News paper. I feel that the statements made by the town manager are erroneous, if you look at the picture he took. Tusayan Fire spent the previous evening watering down that field just in case they did want to have a fire. At the time of the July 3, 2011 event it was a mud bog in that field, 3 hours of heavy and steady rain fell that afternoon prior to the event starting at 3 pm.
There was never any fire hazard at any time and the field in the picture is still muddy the following morning. The Grand Hotel staff emptied the dunk tank into the fire pit after the event was over. Tusayan fire had nothing to do with igniting this fire; we have assisted the Chamber of Commerce for 12 years. Tusayan Fire has assisted in setting up and taking down this event, along with cooking most if not all the food and this is the thanks we get from the current Tusayan town Council. We receive no money and little thanks for helping set up and take down this event.
Also if they would read their own resolution it states fires maybe permitted for community events. I find it amazing that they can go after the chamber of commerce and Tusayan fire, but the council member who runs Camper Village Camp ground has allowed fires there before and after the fire ban went into effect.
Tusayan Fire Department has gone to these fires and the campers have stated to us that the camp ground hosts “said it was alright to have camp fires “. Also it is not Tusayan fires job to enforce the fire ordinance, if the current city council wanted Tusayan Fire Department to enforce resolutions and local zoning codes they perhaps would give us a seat at the table or ask us what we thought of any zoning or resolutions they were considering. Tusayan Fire has not been a part of this process, or invited into the process of codes and resolutions. Every year that Tusayan Fire has been in existence and especially the last few years after the light parade they have always had a fire at the July 4 events fire ban or not.
 The town manager is the same person who came to my station last week and stated to us "this is where we play video games". He also made the statement that Guardian Medical transportation is a waste of gasoline as they come back empty after patient transports? The
Tusayan Town manager or one of the town councilmen made that statement to the Grand Canyon news. “That the fire was ignited as planned by Tusayan Fire Department”. To have a false statement printed in the Grand Canyon News Paper with the blessings of the town manager and the town council is libel and wrong! I find it also strange that councilman Blasi stated to TFD personnel on July 2, “that the fire is on private property and there should be no problem” I am personally appalled by his change of face on the issue, My other concern is that councilmen Al Montoya and Bob Blasi where in attendance at the July 3 event along with the town manager. Not a single one of these people approached me or the sheriff officer on scene and stated that they felt there was anything wrong with this fire?
The town council keeps stating that they have created a successful fire and sewer district, when in reality they had nothing to do with the successful creation of anything except animosity among the community, with their  “because we live here” rhetoric. What was once a nice place to live is a severely divided community with worse issues then before the town became incorporated.
 If the Grand canyon news wanted real investigative reporting maybe win bonuses and all expense paid trips by the corporate developers to current town council members “ and the because we live here folks". Do they have a political agenda, or are they making an issue of this fire due to the fact that a major corporate developer was not allowed to have a booth at this event to promote their political agenda?
This was supposed to be a celebration of America’s Independence Day not a political agenda event. Maybe free trips to Italy, and win bonuses when they won their council seats. I don't care if people think that was a clean election, but buying voters with free beer and food and promises of cheap housing is absolutely buying an election. Along with taking win bonuses and vacations on the developer’s money. I know this is a legal practice in the new American political agenda and cash payments are allowed and corporate free flights, food and lodging too. It still stinks and was not the America I grew up believing in.
Anyway I know the Town Counsel thinks Tusayan Fire is a waste of tax money. Hmm maybe we are a waste of money? We have run over 4000 Emergency medical and fire calls since 1999, who was out on the X-fire when it was threatening Tusayan. Not them! I find it very funny if you look on Tusayan Fires roster and you will not find any volunteers from any business in Tusayan. “Kind of stinks doesn’t it “That’s the support we get lip service. If they truly cared about the health and welfare of the local community and the visitors to the Tusayan/ Grand Canyon, they would surely show more support than just tax dollars if they cared at all about anything but profit. After the personal attack on the fire district most if not all the current volunteer and paid personnel are ready to call it quits and resign! The only way they will stay as volunteers and members of Tusayan fire is to have a public apology from the town council and the resignation of the member who made the allegations against the fire district. That is the least to be expected and is only right.
Thank You,
Tusayan Fire Chief Robert Evans