The 115-page report into the cause and aftermath of burns sustained by a Sedona Fire District firefighter was released this week and shows human error was a contributing factor.

The report centers on an incident that took place Oct. 27 at Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon. A barbecue propane tank exploded, injuring Capt. Matt Fleece and causing damage to the exterior of the fire station.

“I see it as a freak accident that a number of people could have prevented had they known what the lack of a heat shield and tank stored underneath the barbecue could have done,” Asst. Chief Jeff Piechura. “The report does a really good job of showing how we got to that point through the chain of events.

Even though he knew this day was coming, Gary Johnson said one is never truly prepared for retirement.

“I’m not getting done with all the stuff I had hoped to have done by now,” he said, with a grin. “With any job, you always have stuff in the queue. I was pretty optimistic a month ago that I’d get everything done. But it’s started to sink in to some degree because I’m having to pay attention to the date. It will really set in when I get up on that first Monday and realize I don’t have to go to work today.”

For the last 39 years Johnson has worn a variety of hats for the Sedona Fire District including that of fire marshal, a position he’s held the last five years. He will be retiring on Thursday,
Jan. 5, during a walk-out ceremony that’s expected to be emotional for not only him but his fellow firefighters.  

The smiles on their faces said it all.

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Santa Claus and five of his helpers made one Sedona family’s Christmas better than they could have ever expected.

For several years, city of Sedona staff members have chipped in money and gifts to brighten a less-fortunate family’s holiday season. The Sub for Santa program isn’t a formal city activity, but rather is initiated and coordinated by city employees.  

There’s nothing that says Christmas quite like a group of toddlers in adorable candy cane outfits.

Precious Stones preschool and after-school program held a Christmas play that acted out favorite holiday traditions and a Nativity on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Parents, grandparents and more gathered to see the kids perform inside Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, which is the church under which the school is run.

Imagine looking over the edge of a 27-story building. Now imagine rappelling down the side of it.

For three Sedona professionals, this will soon be a reality and all for a good cause.

For the second time in a month, a former Sedona city councilman has died.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Dennis Rayner died in his sleep after a long battle with cancer, his wife Marlene said. In late October, former councilman Dan McIlroy died as well.

“He always kept me laughing,” Marlene said of her husband of 52 years. “He always tried to keep my spirits up, despite everything he was going through. It’s been a very rough year.”

Pulitzer Prize winner James Steele came to the Elks lodge to discuss the election.

The Sedona Elks lodge held roughly 50 people on Thursday, Nov. 17, to hear Steele share his insight on the recent general election. The event was hosted by the Verde Valley Chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Steele covered how the election may impact the economy, through taxes and foreign policy.

The Sedona Fire District firefighter injured last month in a propane tank mishap is making strides toward being released from the hospital.

“His progress is slow and steady as he works with his doctors and therapists to do what’s needed in order to get better,” SFD Chief Kris Kazian said of Capt. Matt Fleece. “It’s going to be a long road but he’s in good spirits and taking everything in stride.”

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