New Station in Sandia Pueblo, NM, Staffed by Bernalillo County Firefighters

June 7, 2024
While the station was built in less than a year, Pueblo tribal officials needed firefighters.

Gino Gutierrez

Albuquerque Journal, N.M.


Jun. 5—Prior to last Thursday, the Bernalillo County Fire Department had not added a new fire station to the North Valley area in more than 15 years.

During that time, Fire Chief Greg Perez said the department struggled to serve the people there properly.

"We've got a stretch of interstate that runs through this area. We have a large amount of calls to (Sandia) Casino and to ( Sandia) Pueblo itself," he said.

The need to add another station was glaring to both Perez and Pueblo of Sandia leadership.

With that in mind, the pueblo approached the state and asked for $195,000 to plan for the construction of a new fire station on pueblo land.

In August, the pueblo broke ground on the station at 10700 Apache Plume Drive. Funded by a mix of federal, state, county and pueblo money, the station was completed in less than a year.

However, while the building was in place, the pueblo lacked the staffing needed for the station.

That's when former Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuart Paisano approached Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca last year with the idea of staffing the new fire station with members of the Bernalillo County Fire Department. Morgas Baca, who called the opportunity to work with the pueblo a "huge honor," took the idea to Perez, who had experience with this type of inter-governmental arrangement. The county's fire department had entered into a similar staffing agreement with the village of Los Ranchos roughly 15 years ago, according to Perez.

"I worked together with former Gov. Paisano to formulate the inter-governmental agreement that had Bernalillo County providing fire and rescue service for the next five years," Perez said.

With the agreement in place and the fire station completed, federal, state, county and pueblo officials joined the public to celebrate the station's grand opening Thursday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was among those at the gathering and said the leadership and efficiency of the project are a beacon to the rest of the state about the importance of investing in public safety.

"Sandia is a leading example of their ability to complete (this fire station) in a effective fashion, thereby making everyone safer," she said.

The station is equipped with a new fire truck and ambulance and will be staffed by 22 Bernalillo County Fire Department personnel. To christen the station, those gathered participated in a push back ceremony, in which they pushed the new fire truck into the station garage and a water cannon wet down of the fire truck and ambulance. The station began taking calls Thursday afternoon.


(c)2024 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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