Magdalena’s volunteer fire department will get a much-needed expansion to its facility, thanks to action by the Village Board of Trustees at its June 27 meeting.

Mayor Richard Rumpf said the new bay will be required for future needs of the fire department.

“We anticipate getting another truck, possibly a ladder truck,” Rumpf said. “We could use a ladder truck for fires in buildings that are spread out, like the school, where you can reach up high and come down on the fire. It would also help our ISO rating, and that helps with homeowner’s insurance.”

The fire department currently has two Class A pumpers and a small utility truck.

“With those, we can respond to grass fire as well as structure fires,” he said. “We also maintain a full-service ambulance.”

The majority of calls are for emergency medical service.

“That’s mostly true across the nation,” he said.

A fire department captain, Rumpf attributes fewer structure fires to stricter building codes and more public awareness.

Magdalena’s volunteer firefighters in bunker gear pose with one of their two pumper trucks.
Courtesy photo

The department boasts 11 volunteer firefighters, including Fire Chief Jeff Joseph, and EMS coordinator Jim Nelson, an EMT-1.

“We’re always looking for people who want to volunteer,” Rumpf said. “It’s an issue across the country, getting people to volunteer. ‘Somebody else is going to do that,’ people might say. Well, one of these days there may be no ‘somebody else.’”

The department covers not only Magdalena but also “Highway 107, clear down Highway 52, to the Catron County line. We help Alamo and Riley, too. There’s a large area that depends on us.”

“We’re constantly upgrading our equipment,” Rumpf said. “The next upgrade, hopefully, will be new self-contained breathing apparatus for all units. We’re putting in for grants from the state fire fund for that.”

“We had submitted plans and requests for bids to three companies,” Rumpf said. “We received only one quote from Larry Vigil of Lar-Co Construction of Socorro.”

The addition on the existing concrete slab will be constructed to the tune of $54,400.

“It’s a metal frame building with metal siding, insulated and heated,” Rumpf said. “A door on each end for the truck and a regular door on one corner.”

“It was designed by an architect and signed off by an engineer,” he said.

Trustee Donna Dawson moved to approve the expenditure, provided the materials and labor costs “do not go over $60,000.”

The money comes from State Fire Fund and is distributed through the Fire Support Bureau, which provides assistance to local fire departments in preparation of Insurance Service Office (ISO) surveys.

The board also:

  • Approved hiring Collier Nelson as assistant village clerk. Nelson thanked the trustees and said he was looking forward “to working here and learning how to improve flow.” The village is advertising for the clerk/treasurer position.
  • Rumpf said the New Mexico Finance Authority has approved another police vehicle loan but did not approve a loan application for a backhoe. Rumpf said he will check it out and possibly resubmit the application.