Tag Archives: morongo basin ambulance


Fire crews in the Morongo Basin had a busy weekend battling four separate fires.

About 4:30 afternoon Friday (February 19), fire crews were called to the 55200 block of Mi Casa Blvd in Johnson Valley. Initial reports said the resident was trying to put out the fire, and later reports that ammunition could be heard going off inside. Crews arrived to find a single-story home well involved with a heavy fire load and initiated a defensive fire attack. During the firefight, power lines fell, causing a life hazard alert and subsequent request for SoCal Edison service crews. Unstable interior structural conditions made overhaul difficult. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Firefighters were called to a fire in the 55200 block of Mi Casa Lane about 4:30 p.m. Friday, February 19. San Bernardino County photo
This single-family home in the 55200 block of Mi Casa Lane was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived February 19. San Bernardino County Fire photo
A Johnson Valley home was a total loss following a fire February 19. San Bernardino County Fire photo

A man was seriously injured in an early-morning fire in Wonder Valley Saturday (February 20). Firefighters were called to the blaze in the 84500 block of Amboy Road in Wonder Valley just before 3 a.m. where they found a single-wide mobile home on fire. A 64-year-old man suffered burns in the blaze and was transported by Morongo Basin Ambulance to Hi-Desert Medical Center, where he was then flown by helicopter to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for treatment of his burns. The fire is still being investigated.

A vegetation fire broke out in Joshua Tree about 4:40 Sunday afternoon (February 21). A passer-by reported that bushes were on fire in the area of Twentynine Palms Highway and Memorial Drive in Joshua Tree. The flames were estimated to be about 10 feet high. Firefighters found a small fire burning in a hedge of mostly dead oleander on the eastern edge of the Mentalphysics Center and brought the burn under control within minutes, with no threat to nearby properties. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although witnesses reported seeing homeless people and off-road motorcycles in the area earlier in the day.

And Morongo Valley firefighters were called to assist fire crews from Riverside County at a small vegetation fire near Desert Hot Springs at 6:40 Sunday evening. Winds were fanning the fire, off Indian Canyon, east of Highway 62, causing flames three to five feet high. Fire crews had the blaze out in about 30 minutes.

San Bernardino County Fire Department reminds residents and visitors that fire season lasts year-round and to use fire wisely and responsibly. For additional information about fire permitting or burn proclamations please visit the County Fire website at www.sbcfire.org


UPDATED Feb. 9; Daniel Haverty was not transported for injuries in the crash.

Updated 9:30 a.m. with additional information.

Two people were injured—one seriously—in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Landers Thursday. The CHP says about 1 p.m., Daniel Haverty, 24, of Landers, was driving a 2004 For Mustang, eastbound on Reche Road, east of Sage Avenue. After Haverty passed a vehicle that was in front of him, he made an unsafe turning movement and struck the raised embankment on the south side of Reche Road. The Mustang overturned multiple times. Haverty’s passenger, 25-year-old Martha Villareal of Landers, was not wearing her seatbelt and was thrown from the car. Villareal was flown by Mercy Air to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with traumatic injuries. Drugs or alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash.


It was a party for the Morongo Basin Ambulance Association on Wednesday as they celebrated outgoing Operations Chief/Paramedic Matthew Welsch. Reporter Cassidy Taylor snagged an invite to the event and introduces you to the new chief at the MBA…

Board Member Steve Wilson shaking hands with Matthew Welsch

Morongo Basin Ambulance welcomed new Operations Chief/Paramedic Antonio Cacace, and wished happy trails to outgoing operations chief Matthew Welsch last Wednesday. The MBA held a small ceremony in which they gave Welsch a plaque, thanked him for his service, and had him pin the new chief Cacace. For Cacace, the new position feels like home.

Board Member Steve Wilson reading plaque to Matthew Welsch

“Definitely this is probably the best place I’ve ever worked.”

Cacace also gave praise to Welsch, who served as chief since 2017, for all that he did during his tenure, speaking about how him and Welsch have similar views when it comes to the workplace and feeling like a family. 

Board Members gathered to say Happy Trails to Matthew Welsch

“He’s kind of fostered this place and grown it to be kind of along those family lines.”

Looking to the future, Cacace hopes to build on the work of Welsch and continue to serve the community.

“The community is benefiting from the positive environment that we have and excellent care and clinicians here.”

Matthew Welsch pinning Antonio Cacace

You can hear Cacace’s extended interview here:

“[In] this position, I have definitely come from the ground up. Actually, working in the EMS county for almost 30 years, came up, worked a rural company for about 13 years and then a big corporate company for another 13 years and came here, and definitely this is probably the best place I’ve ever worked, it’s very much of a family environment, everybody kind of looks out for each other that really kind of attracts me to just the employment environments. Just being able to be part of that. And now being able to kind of lead that, like, when we’re talking about Matt – Matt and I have a lot of history go back we have similar views. He’s kind of fostered this place and grown it to be kind of along those family lines. So, I’m real happy to be able to be here at MBA when it’s in such a good place, and to continue to grow – and to make sure that the community is benefiting from the positive environment that we have and excellent care and clinicians here. As far as moving to the future, [there are definitely] small improvements make here and there definitely to keep it on the right track to move the Basin forward and continue the good service that we offer to the community as well as improving what we already offer.”


Morongo Basin Ambulance has a new operations chief, effectively immediately. Tony Cacace was promoted to operations chief effective January 17. Cacace has been with MBA for three years. Matt Welsch, who was the operations chief for the past three years, will be moving with his family to Tennessee. Welsch with be staying on as MBA’s EMS coordinator and continuing education director through the end of April; he plans to fly back to the area twice before then to ensure that MBA has trained American Heart Association instructors.


A man was injured when he was hit by a Jeep in Twentynine Palms Tuesday afternoon. According to a Sheriff’s report, the unidentified man was in front of Starbucks at the corner of Highway 62 and Adobe Road when he was hit by the vehicle. The driver stayed at the scene and blocked the traffic lane to prevent other vehicles from hitting the man again. The man was taken by Morongo Basin Ambulance to Hi-Desert Medical Center as a precaution.