Rural Metro resumes coverage for some in northwest Tucson

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rural Metro has assumed fire protection for areas northwest of Tucson after the failed annexation by the Northwest Fire District.

Another fire district could have agreed to help Rural Metro with covering those areas, but residents may still have some issues.

Monday night the board of directors for the mountain vista fire district met to consider filling in coverage, again, in the areas of Camino de Manana, Teal Blue Trail, and Tangerine near Moore.

After the Northwest Fire annexation fell through, Mountain Vista covered the area until this month.

"Our board made a decision that we would go along with that until either the annex occurred or October first whichever came first, October came first," said board Chairman Peter Archuleta.

The subscription based service Rural Metro has since stepped up to cover about 600 residents living in those areas.

"Ultimately the goal of all of us in the fire service is to make sure the people are protected," said Capt. Grant Cesarek from the Rural Metro Fire.

But there's one big problem, proximity.  Rural Metro station 80 will be responding to the northwest residents, but they're half an hour away.

"We're not going to be responding lights and sirens to those homes from thirty minutes away because of the fact we're going to put people in jeopardy doing that," said Capt. Cesarek.

Rural Metro says it will forgo the flashing red and blue even at the cost of longer response times.

"It will add on to our response time but the thing is that there are other fire stations that are closer to, and we need to be continuing with this cooperative effort," said Cesarek.

Mountain Vista considered a few factors Monday night before voting on whether they should stay out of the game or lend a hand.

Several board members said they didn't want to sacrifice service to their current clients.

They voted not to resume fire protection for those communities, leaving Rural Metro to serve those areas until the county finds a solution for permanent protection.

The Mountain Vista board did, however, vote to assist Rural Metro in major incidents.

A board rep will help define major incidents when he meets with Rural Metro at a later date.