Private company plans fire protection, emergency services outside of fire district boundaries

A private company is making plans to provide fire and emergency medical services in outlying areas of Mohave County that are outside boundaries of fire districts.

Representatives from Mohave Basin Fire Agency have talked to property owners along Stockton Hill Road north of the Hualapai Valley Fire District and in the White Hills community north of the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District.

"We have been looking for different parts of the county that need fire protection," said fire chief Dave Marks, who lives in the Stagecoach Trails ranchettes near Yucca.

Marks, who has 20-plus years of experience in the field, currently provides fire protection for free for his neighbors, said Robert Cole, a veteran firefighter who serves as his press spokesman.

Marks also owns a company, Southwest Fire Protection, that provides emergency medical services, fire protection and theft prevention at construction sites in San Diego County and elsewhere.

Mohave Basin envisions buying land to build a fire station to serve a nine-mile stretch of Stockton Hill Road that begins in the south at Cactus Wren Road, Cole said.

The area has about 400 homes, he said.

The company also plans to keep its vehicles at the community center and on land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management in White Hills, Cole said.

White Hills has about 200 homes, he said.

Cole said Mohave Basin would supply a 3,000-gallon fire tender truck, a 2,500-gallon firetruck and a 250-gallon medical rescue truck at both locations.

One to two firefighters would man both locations 24 hours a day.

Besides fighting fires, Mohave Basin would provide emergency services to stabilize sick or injured people until an ambulance or helicopter arrives to take them to a hospital, Cole said.

Crews will stabilize broken limbs and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if necessary.

Mohave Basin would not provide the service to White Hills, Stockton Hill Road or other areas unless at least 40 percent of the homeowners sign up on a monthly basis, Cole said.

The company plans charges based on square footage, such as $12 to $15 a month for a single-wide mobile home and $15 to $20 for a double-wide.

"That is why we are trying to get people involved," he said.

He said Mohave Basin would respond to fires and "life-safety emergencies" affecting nonsubscribers, and then bill them for the service.

White Hills residents Diana Mina and Kim Stewart expressed cautious optimism regarding Mohave Basin's plans.

"I think it is a good idea," Stewart said.

"I just don't think it is going to be able to fly."

Mina said the service would be "fantastic if they do what they are supposed to" and staff the fire company.

She added many residents of White Hills are seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford $15 to $35 per month.

Mina said it took Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department about an hour to respond to a house fire in October or November 2000.

The boundaries of Lake Mohave Ranchos are four to six miles from White Hills, Chief Dave Estenson said.

He said it takes about 25 to 35 minutes for Lake Mohave crews to respond to a fire in White Hills, depending on location.

Lake Mohave Ranchos charges $2.60 per $100 in assessed valuation, and serves 144 square miles, Estenson said.

Asked about Mohave Basin's plans, he said, "It's good for the community if that is what the community wants."

Chris Warren, who lives in the Cactus Wren area, said she was unaware of Mohave Basin's plans, but likes the idea of having a company providing fire protection.

"It sounds like a real good idea because we have no water out there," Warren said.

She said she hauls her own water and has an underground tank that stores 2,500 gallons.

Cole said, "Anything we provide is better than what they have right now and usually cheaper than the fire district rate."

Cole said Mohave Basin will try to recruit volunteer firefighters as well as volunteers who would do service work on fire engines and provide coffee at the stations.

"Our big thing is prevention," he said.

"We are going to teach CPR and first aid."