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Sunland Park Fire encountering multiple incidents at the Border Wall

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico -- According to a tweet from the SPFD, they have been responding to several incidents involving Border Wall injuries.

Officials at the department said they responded to four separate incidents related to Border Wall near Anapra on Thursday.  

The Chief of the Sunland Park Fire Department, Daniel Medrano, said they have been unusually busy.

Additionally, several of the patients received injuries to their lower extremities. One person was also rushed to the hospital with serious heat stroke symptoms.

Medrano told ABC-7 that most of the calls they receive involve heat-related incidents or migrants who have fallen from the Border Wall.

Medrano said the department is currently understaffed, but he says they can handle migrant-related calls.

Last year SPFD responded to 225 migrant related, so far this year the department has responded to nearly 130.

Officials said the department experiences an increase in these type of calls during the summer months.

Chief Medrano says they have taken measures to address the migrant situation. Each vehicle in the department has a refrigerator filled with water bottles.

“All of my fire trucks have refrigerators in them, so we carry bottles of water not just for firefighters on-call, but also for migrants.”

Additionally, the department has one all-terrain vehicle. Chief Medrano said that vehicle was converted to use for migrant-related calls.

“It is very rugged, a lot of sand, where a normal truck cannot access. This is a 4-wheel drive Polaris we did have to retrofit this. This was used to be for parades to assist with first aid, now we carry equipment in the back. Now I also use my brush trucks to access them because I can't get personnel there in a firetruck,” the chief said.

The department would like to add more vehicles to their force, but aren’t financially able to right now.

The current vehicle they use is 20 years old. He said it is no longer serving their present needs.

As for training that is involved to get migrants down from the Border Wall, Chief Medrano said the training isn’t anything glamorous.

“We do have rope rescue training, nothing high angle, where we are hanging off the rope, but it is to secure the injured person in our gurneys, so we can control their descent a little better with ropes,” Medrano said.

Public Affairs Agent for the El Paso sector Carlos Rivera said this fiscal year they have performed 400 rescues both on land and water.

Rivera said the majority of migrants in El Paso that are apprehended are trying to avoid detection and instead are smuggled into the U.S.

He said migrants are willing to take more extreme risks.

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Rosemary Montañez

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