Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade to celebrate fortieth anniversary

Forty years ago this year, Placitas was a small community with no fire service and little thought to the need for it. In 1973, a tragedy occurred in the village of Placitas when a young man died as a result of a house fire. Following the fire, his friends gathered at the old Thunderbird Bar to discuss the event.

From that initial meeting came the idea for a fire department for Placitas. In commemoration of the visionary thinking of the founding members of PVFB, the current members are hosting an anniversary celebration and dedication of Station 42. The event will take place on August 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Founding members James Army, Skip Baron, Tom Griffin, Glen Harder, Winnie Maggiore, Tom (Slick) McCampbel, Piers Ramsay, Phil Stewart, Tom Threadgill, and Ellery Worthen will be recognized. Tom Threadgill, one of the founding members, served as the first Fire Chief for PVFB. In his honor, Station 42 will be dedicated to him.

Light refreshments will be served, and the general public is invited to attend. Station 42, the original fire station, built by the founding members, is located on Perdiz Canyon Road, which intersects Highway 165 at approximately Mile Marker 9. Parking is limited, and people are encouraged to carpool.

Fire station named in honor of Chief Tibbetts

The Sandoval County Commission has approved the renaming of the county’s newest fire station in honor of former Fire Chief Jon Tibbetts. 

A renaming ceremony took place on July 22 at the station, located just north of the intersection of NM 528 and NM 550 on the Santa Ana Pueblo. Officials from both Sandoval County and Santa Ana Pueblo have committed to speak at the event.

The station, currently known as Sandoval County Fire Station 21, opened in March 2012, largely through the efforts of Chief Tibbetts, who spearheaded the drive to raise funds for the $2.7 million dollar, state-of-the-art facility.

Chief Tibbetts died in a car accident barely three months after Station 21 opened. A special facility naming committee recommended renaming the station in honor of Chief Tibbetts. The County Commission unanimously accepted that recommendation at its June 6, 2013 meeting.

The facility-naming committee and the commission had to determine that naming the station in Tibbetts’ honor complied with the county’s Facilities Naming Policy. That policy says a person being memorialized must have made a significant impact and contribution to the community or on the county’s mission and purpose.

Santa Ana Pueblo officials also approved renaming the station.

“Chief Tibbetts, both through his work leading the Sandoval County Fire Department, and through the charitable work he did in the community, clearly met the criteria for having a building named in his honor,” said current County Fire Chief James Maxon. “That’s why, as a department, we sought permission to honor Chief Tibbetts in this fashion. Having his name on this station will be a constant reminder of all the good work he did for the citizens of Sandoval County.”

Benefit for Placitas Fire Brigade

The volunteer fire brigade in Placitas has a rich and colorful history, but there has never been a time when fire danger has been more real and the volunteers have been more appreciated. The afternoon and evening of August 3 will cap off a week of benefit fund-raising sponsored by Arte de Placitas in Placitas’s Homesteads Village Shopping Center.

On July 27, Arte De Placitas will begin the bidding on chairs—beautiful to bizarre—that have been lovingly painted and/or created by talented local artists (Jack Atkins, Bunny Bowen, Mary Carter, Jaymes Dudding, Doreen Goodlin, Bianca Harle, David Johnson, Jade Leyva, Louise Mancuso, Gene McClain, Andrea Nichols, Linda Poe, and Glo Smith). The chairs will be available for viewing and bidding during business hours for an entire week, with the auction final bids being placed at 3:30 p.m. on August 3. The entire sum from the sale of the chairs will be donated to the Fire Brigade.

The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, coolers, picnics, or snacks to Placitas Homesteads Village, and enjoy a community evening of music also to benefit the fire brigade. Between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., a surprise firefighter tribute will be presented. A local fire truck will be on hand. Non-stop music will begin at 4:00 p.m. and last into the evening with local musicians volunteering their talent and skills. Firemen helmets will be passed for donations. The music of John Bullock and John Davis, Michael Crowfoot, Sage, Claystone, and the Rock Zone will provide a relaxing afternoon and evening of tribute and thanks to those who are on call 24/7. Bring your neighbors.

Statue stolen from library

Sometime in early July, a bronze statue of a little girl reading to her dog was stolen from the patio of the Placitas Community Library. The statue, which was donated to the library by a local couple, was approximately two-feet wide by four-feet tall and weighed about seventy pounds [see photo to right]. Karen Cox from the library board contacted the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department to report the theft, but, to date, they have received no news of its whereabouts. If you have any information, or happen to see the statue, the library and its patrons miss it and would love to have it back, no questions asked. You can contact them at 867-3355 or

stolen statue

Firewise Placitas: looking for a few good volunteers

—Vicki Gottlieb, Firewise Placitas

Firewise Placitas is looking for a few good volunteers. A lot has been accomplished by a small group of volunteers; and more outreach, education, and events would be possible if the pool of volunteers increased.

So far in 2013, Firewise Placitas has brought you the Simulation Table presentation in March that helped citizens visualize possible wildfire scenarios in the Sandias, just six weeks before the May 2 Piedra fire ignited in our midst. The group has been educating Placitas about defensible space to reduce the risk of wildfire danger to homes. They also sponsored a field trip to a Village home with a leading expert to show participants how to make their properties defensible.

Firewise Placitas is also working in cooperation with the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District to assess applicants’ property for a pilot matching funds project for defensible space assistance. The group has arranged two Chipper Days to turn branches into wood chips. Also, on July 27, the group organized and held an Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation workshop.

Volunteers can assist Firewise Placitas with the following:

  • ordering and maintaining a supply of Firewise literature and accessories
  • helping staff flea market booth from May to October
  • writing grant applications
  • photographing and documenting activities (if you have a photo of the July 4 float, please send to email below)
  • learning to be a defensible property assessor
  • researching forest and watershed management
  • managing and preparing publicity and communication
  • participating in planning and delivery of activities as a Steering Committee member.

Firewise Placitas is working toward having Placitas designated a Firewise community. You could be a part of creating that community, while working with a diverse and fun group of individuals. Firewise Placitas has the support of the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District, Las Huertas Community Ditch, the Las Placitas Association, and the Earth Care Fellowship of the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

For more information, contact Vicki Gottlieb at 404-8022 or

SC offers fire residency program

The Sandoval County Fire Department is offering an opportunity to college students pursuing a degree in Fire Science or Emergency Medical Services: a chance to live and work alongside veteran firefighters and EMTs while completing their education.

The department is now accepting applications for the first class of the Sandoval County Fire Residency Program. The program is slated to begin this Fall at roughly the same time local colleges begin classes.

The department is looking for three individuals who are willing to live for up to two years in a dormitory-style room in the department’s newest fire station on Santa Ana Pueblo. The students will live in the station rent free, but they will be expected to commit themselves to several shifts per month alongside full-time firefighters.

Program participants also would be expected to maintain their regular class schedules and fulfill requirements for their degrees.

The application deadline is August 1, 2013. For details, stop by Sandoval County Fire Department Headquarters at 314 Melissa Road in Bernalillo, or call 867-0245.

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