La Plata district fire department members return to service after COVID-19 quarantine

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
San Juan County Fire Department District 1 helped answer calls for service in the La Plata area while District 4 members were quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19.

AZTEC — After two weeks of quarantine, the San Juan County Fire Department District 4 members are back on duty. The county says that adjacent districts assisted in ensuring there was no gap in service for the La Plata area while the volunteer firefighters were quarantined.

The firefighters were exposed to COVID-19 on Jan. 4 and each member was tested and quarantined for 14 days ending on Jan. 18.

County spokesman Devin Neeley said in an email that “at no time was District 4 without fire and EMS response.”

He said there were six calls for service originating in the District 4 boundaries within the two week time frame, and emergency responders spoke for all six calls.

The adjacent districts, District 1 and District 2, handled all of the calls in the La Plata area through a mutual aid system. This system automatically calls for assistance from surrounding districts, the paid county staff or departments. District 1 is also called Valley Fire and serves the Kirtland area while District 2 serves the Flora Vista area. One of the six calls was just outside of Farmington City limits and the Farmington Fire Department responded to that call.

New Mexico COVID-19 updates:State passes 3,000 deaths; official says vaccine supply ample

San Juan County District 2 firefighters from Flora Vista extinguish a fire, Saturday, March 29, 2014, between Farmington and Flora Vista. District 2 filled in to assist with calls in the La Plata area while District 4 members were quarantined.

“San Juan County Fire Department has robust plans to continue to protect the citizens of San Juan County and stands ready to respond to any emergency with no interruption,” Neeley said in the email.

“Those plans were revisited in March of 2020 to make sure they were adequate in a pandemic, and the uninterrupted response over the last two weeks proves that the plans work.”

The San Juan County Fire Department has more than 200 members who provide fire and emergency medical services, and the department is actively recruiting new members in a variety of disciplines.

COVID-19 COVERAGE:Updates on the number of cases in area

 “It is our job to protect the citizens of San Juan County, we have continued to do just that in the face of a pandemic, and will continue to do so, despite any obstacle,” said San Juan County Fire Chief John Mohler in a statement. “I want to commend the men and women who devote a portion of their lives as volunteers to this county and their neighbors. Their steadfast and unwavering commitment is what makes a real difference in this world.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 505-334-1180 or visit sjcfd.net.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e