Saturday Coffee With the Chief

Sonoita Elgin Fire District (SEFD) Chief Marc Meredith will host “Saturday Coffee With the Chief” on March 4 from 10-11:30a.m. at the station. All are invited. Also, soon there will be a web-based opportunity for all residents of Sonoita and Elgin to set up a personal profile through Community Connect. More information on this will be available in the near future. 

Elgin Bridge: Can SEFD Vehicles Safely Cross It?

There has been some confusion and alarm in the community caused by AshBritt truck traffic hauling the containers used to construct the container wall along the Arizona Mexico Border in recent months. The trucks had been crossing the Elgin Bridge, which has a posted weight limit of ten tons.

Residents have been concerned about the structural integrity of the bridge following the recent heavy use. At the Jan. 23 SEFD Board meeting, and in a follow-up interview with the PRT on Feb. 3, Chief Meredith clarified whether the bridge’s posted weight limit affects SEFD’s ability to operate.

“All ambulance and rescue vehicles are under the weight limit and may cross the bridge at all times,” said Chief Meredith. “The three [SEFD] fire trucks are at around 20 tons when loaded with water and are way over the limit for the bridge. They must avoid the bridge when responding to a fire. This is standard procedure for the department and does not pose a problem. While fighting the 2022 Bridge Fire, the SEFD trucks obeyed the restriction and traveled SR 82 and the Upper Elgin Road to reach the wildfire near the bridge.”

New Amendments to Fire Code

Three amendments to the International Fire Code were adopted by the SEFD Board at the Jan. 23 meeting. 

“The IFC is a one size fits all, and our community, being very rural and geographically widespread, has special needs not covered by the IFC,” said Chief Meredith. “These amendments are in the best interest of our community to help keep everyone safe.”

General Requirements, Section 307 – Open Burning, Recreational Fires and Portable Outdoor Fireplaces, Section 307.3 Extinguishment authority” was amended to read: “When open burning creates or adds to a hazardous situation or a required burn permit for open burning has not been obtained, the fire code official, fire chief or designated representative is authorized to order the extinguishment of the open burning operations.” 

“Fire Service Features, Section 505-Premises Identification, Section 505.1 Address Numbers” was amended to add: “Address Numbers. New and existing buildings shall have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. Address numbers shall be in accordance with Santa Cruz County, AZ address display requirements. Address number shall be maintained at all times.”

“Section 506-Key Boxes. Section 506.1 Where required” was amended to add: “All commercial establishments, new and existing, will comply with this requirement.” Section 506.1.1 Locks was amended to read: “A Knox Box lock shall be installed on gates or similar barriers if they present restricted entry, or adjacent to the primary entrance door for the occupancy, whichever would be encountered first when accessing the property unless an approved alternative location is permitted by the fire code official, fire chief or designated representative.” 

“The Knox Box is the best standard for commercial properties,” said Chief Meredith. “There is one key to open all boxes. Each box contains the keys pertinent to accessing the property. There will also be an annual check-in with all commercial folks. We believe that it is in the best interest of our business folks to keep tabs on them to help keep them safe.”