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Springville firefighters to provide annual breakfast event

May 26, 2017 03:06PM

Every moment of every day, Springville’s 68 firefighters stand ready to protect their community. During Art City Days, they’ll also be feeding them.

The annual Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast is set for 7 to 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 8, and from 6 to 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10.

“We’ve been doing it for so long, it’s expected,” Fire Chief Henry Clinton said. “People just show up; we have lines outside the door.”

A typical fireman’s breakfast is offered: Pancakes, scrambled eggs and fried ham with orange juice, chocolate and regular milk, and coffee for those who want it, the fire chief added. Tables are set up for diners inside the Fire Station, located at 75 W. Center in Springville. Cost for the meal is $5 for adults and $4 for children. Fire vehicles are moved outside and kept ready for callout at any moment.

The Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast helps provide support for the firefighter community and a Utah-based burn foundation.

“They get to eat in the atmosphere of the fire department,” Clinton said. Hanging on the walls is some of the emergency response equipment and some of the 60-plus pounds of gear a firefighter wears when responding to a call.

“We have no idea what’s coming next, and no idea what you’re called out to do,” Clinton said. “It could be extrication (getting someone out from being ‘stuck’). It could be suppression (dousing a fire). Or both. ... It could be a baby.

“We deliver lots of babies,” the fire chief continued. “It’s the distance to hospitals in Provo or Payson. Seems like the more babies a mother has, the faster they come.”

The Springville Fire and Rescue Department is staffed with 40 volunteer firefighters, 24 part-time firefighters and four full-time firefighters. The department has two fire stations in Springville and a total of 17 vehicles.

Clinton, with 35 years in firefighting, was a battalion chief for the Las Vegas Fire Department when he retired and moved to Springville not much more than seven years ago.

It wasn’t long before he was tapped as fire chief and tasked to transition the department from being a fully volunteer entity to a fully paid unit, with firefighters rotating on a 24-hour basis.

“We’ve made several incremental steps toward moving to 24-hour coverage,” Clinton said. “It’s at the will of the city council.” Volunteers save the city a lot of money.

For now, part-time professional paid firefighters work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the other 12 hours each day are manned by on-call volunteer firefighters.

They go on about 1,700 calls a year, the fire chief said. About 10 percent are “smoke and flame,” 80 percent emergency medical, and 10 percent miscellaneous. Over the last year, 11 calls were for “serious structure fires that required suppression,” Clinton said. “That’s about average,” the fire chief added.

One of the worst structure fires in Springville’s history was the arson-caused blaze of a 93-year-old LDS church on Main Street in 2006.

One of the biggest fires was in 2014 when sparks from fireworks’ sparklers lit dry brush and spread through Hobble Creek Canyon at the east edge of Springville. Within a day the fire had burned 140 acres and was 15 percent contained, according to a KSL news report.

Firefighters were called from Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Salem and Utah County along with a “hotshot” team, three helicopters, two airplanes and a Type 3 Incident Management Team of about 20 people.

In their training, Springville firefighters learn about on “wildland urban interface” fires, hazardous material, ice rescue, vehicle extrication and more, starting with 250 hours of initial firefighting training and 250 hours of emergency medical services training and continuing with hands-on classes twice a month.

“Putting the fire out and stopping the damage, that’s our main function,” Clinton said. “One thing binds all firefighters together: they’re mission-driven. They all want to save lives, fight fires and protect property.”

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