KSFFA Regional Fire School – Belleville – September

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Belleville Fire Department
September 8-9, 2018
Location: Belleville High School

 

Friday Night – 6:00 p.m.

  1. 10-33 Spouse Class

Saturday Morning – 8:00 a.m.

  1. Extrication – 8 hours – Requires Full Turn Out Gear – Class approved for BEMS hours
  2. Wildland Fires – 8 hours
  3. Traffic Incident Management/Highway Safety – 8 hours – Class approved for BEMS hours
  4. Honoring Our Own – 4 hours
  5. KSFFA Skills Trailer – 8 hours – Requires Full Turn Out Gear & SCBA
  6. 10-33 Class – 4 hours

Saturday Afternoon – 1:00 p.m.

  1. Extrication, cont.
  2. Wildland Fires, cont.
  3. Traffic Incident Management/Highway Safety, cont.
  4. KSFFA Skills Trailer, cont.

Sunday Morning – 8:00 a.m.

  1. Defensive Driving – Class approved for BEMS hours
  2. Reading Smoke
  3. Grain Elevators

Sunday Noon

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer

For any questions contact Eric Voss, KSFFA 1st Vice President at firechief@concordiaks.org

  • These courses are offered at no charge.
  • These schools are open to all firefighters/EMS
  • The KSFFA furnishes medical insurance for all participants.
  • The KSFFA is not responsible for lost or damaged clothing or equipment.
  • If you desire to have Firefighter One or Two testing, this must be pre-registered through Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute.
  • The KSFFA offers fit testing with its porta-count machine at all regional fire school.

 

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First responders, staff greet Wichita students on 1st day

By Annette Lawless
KAKE – August 15, 2018

KAKE Video

Tens of thousands of students across Kansas are heading back to the classroom.

Wednesday is the first day for all students in Wichita Public Schools to head back to class. More than 50,000 students are expected to be a part of Wichita schools this year.

Administrative staff, like U.S.D. 259 Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson, greeted students at Brooks Magnet Middle School, near K-96 and Hillside. The school is Thompson’s alma mater, and says schools have a special place in her heart, especially with her mom being an educator as well.

“It warms my heart. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Thompson said. “I was up all night, just waiting and anticipating the kids to come back. We worked all summer long to prepare right now, this time, for our kids to come back.”

First responders helped cheer on kids to the classroom as well. They formed a long line, handing out high-fives to any person who walked by this morning.

“Well, you know what? These kids, sometimes they need motivation, and some of them don’t,” said firefighter Leo Leongson. “They’re happy to be here. We’re happy to be here, so it’s all good to go.”

The firefighters and police officers were joined by Real Men, Real Heroes; it’s a non-profit that provides mentors to schools across Wichita.

 

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Damar Fire Department receives grant

Plainville Times – August 2, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – August 15, 2018

The Damar Community Historical Foundation presented a check in the amount of $3,860 to the Damar Volunteer Fire Department July 21. The money will be used to purchase a commercial high-pressure power washer that will be used to clean fire equipment following use. The money came through a grant from the Heartland Community Foundation made possible from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Pictured from left are Jim Desbien with the Damar Foundation, Kenny Newell, and Ryan Wells with the Damar Fire Department.

 

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Father, Son Dead In Kansas Flooding

NewsOn6.com – August 15, 2018

NewNewsOn6.com Video

A father and son are dead after flooding near Elk City, Kansas. The bodies were found inside a car on a road just northwest of the reservoir, according to Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Rick Whitson.

Whitson said the father and son were found in their car with the windows still up. They have been identified as Dennis Clark Catron Sr., 72, and Dennis Clark Catron Jr., 39, of rural Elk City.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said their car was swept off the road in heavy rainfall on CR 2950 south of CR 5400.

Crews were looking for a third person in Independence, Kansas. They found a truck on its side in a ditch at CR 4500 and CR 5000 with the windows rolled down, but the person wasn’t inside.

News On 6 has learned the man is alive. The sheriff’s office said he walked away from the truck and lost his cell phone. He has been located Wednesday morning.

Heavy rains late Tuesday and early Wednesday north of the Oklahoma-Kansas state line closed roads, stranded cars, led to evacuations – and led to the flooding deaths.

The emergency manager said Elk City received 11.5 inches of rain. Firefighters responded to 40 to 50 water rescues in Independence, emergency management reports.

They also responded to a structure fire that may have been caused by lightning.

The National Weather Service reports the Verdigris River in Independence, Kansas has crested at 31.6 feet which is considered minor flooding, but they expect it to go down significantly in the next 24 hours.

The radar shows that Independence had 7 to 8 inches of rain overnight and up to 12 inches just northwest of town. Montgomery County is still under flood warnings.

There are also reports of a tornado in the Elk City area.

 

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Gaylord and Athol Fire Departments receive grants

Smith County Pioneer – August 2, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – August 15, 2018

For the past several years Central Plains Coop has participated in a matching grant with CoBank. This year Central Plains Coop donated $1000 to both the Gaylord and Athol Fire Departments, with CoBank giving each department $2,500. Central Plains Coop has patrons and employees that are on both fire departments and depend on them to protect property and lives. “We are thankful for the work that these two departments do for us. It is important to us that we help maintain those departments” stated Sean Cravens, Central Plains Coop Manager.

CoBank believes that improving local communities is important. The grant funds given to both fire departments will go towards updating equipment or adding equipment to meet the needs of the community.

 

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I-435 closed in both directions in Lenexa, Kansas, due to fatal crash

KSHB – August 15, 2018

KSHB Video

I-435 is closed in both directions between 87th Street and Midland Drive in Lenexa, Kansas, due to a fatal crash.

Police said the interstate would remain closed for several hours, affecting morning rush hour traffic.

Drivers are advised to use Shawnee Mission Parkway, K-7, or K-10 to get around the closure.

41 Action News crews on the scene learned a pickup truck and a semi were involved in the crash.

The two vehicles collided head-on.

The driver of the pickup died. The semi driver was OK and able to talk to police on the scene.

 

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Fire station makes progress

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – August 15, 2018

Photo by David Dinell

There has been an almost overnight transformation at the site for the new Fire Station 81 at the southwest corner of Woodlawn and Madison as a series of pre-formed panels have been put in place. A special crane that can lift the panels, each weighing 12,000 to 37,000 pounds, was brought in for the job. “It makes the building come together quickly,” says Ian Williams, onsite job supervisor for Snodgrass Construction, the general contractor. In a few days, the panels take care of what otherwise would take weeks to complete, he says. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2019.

 

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National Night Out

Derby Informer – August 15, 2018

Photo by David Dinell

Lt. Zach Young helps Jackson Garner, 3, handle a fire hose.

 

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Multiple accidents result in injuries and one fatality

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – August 15, 2018

Photo by David Dinell

Area first responders were kept busy on the morning of Aug. 8.

At about 5 a.m., at K-15 and 47th Street South, a two-vehicle collision resulted in the death of Merrill Atkins, 81, of Derby. A driver was headed east on 47th Street when a northbound vehicle driven by Atkins struck it. The driver of the eastbound vehicle was injured, but not critically. A passenger in Atkins’ vehicle was seriously hurt. Atkins was taken to Wesley Medical Center where he passed away at 10 a.m, according to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 10:15, there was another collision, also involving a vehicle on K-15 and also at an intersection. This one was at Baltimore/K-15 and Madison in Derby and resulted in an SUV being flipped on its side.

Two people were taken by county EMS to the hospital for further treatment. One woman was described as having critical injuries at the time. No update was available on her condition.

Several people working nearby responded to the scene and helped, along with first responders.

Derby fire responded and treated the victims until they could be transported.

Jean Garinger, who owns and operates an American Family Insurance office at the northwest corner of the intersection, said she heard the crash and came out to see what she could do to help. She fetched a chair from a nearby business for one of the injured individuals.

There was no immediate word as to its cause and police continue their investigation. “It’s going to take some time to piece this together,” says Police Chief Robert Lee.

Police are interviewing witnesses who have some video.

“We’re still investigating the accident and reviewing video,” he said. The video has been “helpful,” he said.

Lee said there was a driving violation and the police have a pretty good idea who is at fault, but are not able to state that right now.

A few bystanders at the scene pointed out equipment on the traffic signal arms, but Lee said those are motion sensors that change the lights, not cameras.

Some bigger cities have video cameras at intersections, but Derby officials haven’t believed in the need for them at this time, he said.

The intersection remained blocked for a good part of the late morning as officials investigated and cleaned up the scene.

About an hour after that incident, there was another accident on Rock Road, just north of DHS. There were no serious injuries in that incident in which one vehicle rear-ended another. Derby Fire responded to it. Since most of the other officers were tied up, Derby’s assistant police chief, Brandon Russell, worked on it until other help could arrive.

 

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Salina Woman Killed in Crash

Todd Pittenger
KSAL – August 15, 2018

A Salina woman was killed in a single vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 29-year-old Michelle LaPierre was driving a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, headed east on Crawford Street in the westbound lane of travel. She made an evasive maneuver, steering vehicle to the south.

The car left the road, struck a culvert and overturned.

LaPierre, who was not buckled up, was killed in the crash.

The crash happened at 2:05 Tuesday afternoon, 2/10 mile east of Holmes Road on Crawford Street, or 2/10 mile east of the west Salina City Limits.

 

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Local student wins ride to school on fire truck

By Deneysha Richard
WIBW – August 14, 2018

WIBW Video

Mark Webb started his morning very early, he had a special ride for the first day of school.

“He was up at 4:45 this morning because he couldn’t go to sleep, he was so excited!” Roxanna Webb, Mark’s mother said.

The Meadows Elementary second-grader won a ride to school on a firetruck after winning a National Night Out auction hosted by the Topeka Fire Department.

Firefighters greeted Mark at his home in Ward-Meade, and he soon made his way to a grand entry into class made complete with fire truck and police escort. Webb says the truck ride inspires his future goals.

“I want to be a firefighter when I grow up,” he said.

The part he’s most looking forward to? “Lights and sirens,” Webb said.

Meadows Elementary principal Nicole Johnson said her student’s real win is the bond created between youth and first responders.

“It’s a great way for us to reach out to our community and let our kids see that the fire department as a resource that’s here to support them and I don’t know that you can top that, ” she said.

Think your kid missed out? You may have to wait for another opportunity, as the auctioned ride was a one-time event held to raise money for charity.

 

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Rural Saline County man loses estimated $900 in hay bale fire

By Leslie Eikleberry
Salina Post – August 14, 2018

Photo by Saline County Sheriff’s Department

A rural Saline County man is out an estimated $900 after 18 hay bales caught fire during a thunderstorm Monday afternoon.

Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said this morning that emergency personnel were called to the 4000 block of East Cloud approximately 2:58 p.m. Monday for the report of a hay bale fire. The fire was contained to 18 bales owned by John Thelander. Total loss was estimated at $900.

Soldan said a lightning strike is believed to have started the fire.

 

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Cars catch fire in storage lot

By Leslie Eikleberry
Salina Post – August 14, 2018

Photo by Saline County Sheriff’s Office

A vehicle fire late Monday afternoon resulted in the loss of an estimated $4,800 for a local towing company.

Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said Tuesday that emergency personnel were called to the 1300 block of North Ohio where three vehicles inside a fenced-in wrecker storage lot were on fire. The vehicles, which had been impounded in the lot owned by A&A Towing since at least March 2018, included a 1994 Chevrolet Blazer, a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe, and a 2001 Mazda Millenia. The vehicles were parked close together, he added.

Soldan said the towing company estimated the loss at $1,600 per vehicle.

The cause of the fire was undetermined, he said.

 

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Wyssmann named interim chief for McPherson Fire Department

By Brooke Haas
McPherson Sentinel – August 14, 2018

McPherson’s Fire Department Chief Jeff Deal is hanging up his gear on Sept. 21 and Deputy Chief T.J. Wyssmann will be taking over as interim chief for the department.

Wyssmann was appointed to the post Monday morning during the McPherson City Council’s regular meeting at the city building on 400 E. Kansas Ave.

He said he has “big shoes” to fill.

“The city commissioners and mayor appointed me as interim a month in advance for us to make the transition process of Chief (Jeff) Deal retiring as easy as possible,” Wyssmann said. “I think that Chief (Jeff) Deal has done a tremendous job for the community and the fire department since he’s been here. He’s been a great mentor and I’ve appreciated everything he’s done for us.”

“You always hope that as a chief when you retire that you have an internal candidate to pick up the ball and run where you left off, and I think Chief Wyssmann will do an excellent job with that,” Deal said.

Wyssmann has been with the McPherson City Fire Department for 16 years.

“This is something I’ve been working for throughout my career. I figured I would eventually get to this stage, but I didn’t know it was going to be in McPherson; and I’m really happy I have that opportunity here and I don’t have to go somewhere else for it,” Wyssmann said.

Now that Wyssmann has been selected interim, however, he is still performing the duties of a deputy chief until that role is filled.

“Right now I’ll be pulling a double duty. We currently do not have anyone to fill that old role. So we’re going through a whole bunch of processes there. We’re going to have to find another individual either within or outside that will step into my old role,” Wyssmann said.

Deal said that now is the time move onto the next phase in his life.

“There is an affective level that every chief goes through and at some point when you realize you no longer can be as affective as you want or once were, then you need to recognize that it’s time for you to get out and let someone else push the train up the hill. I pushed this train as far as I can get it, and now it’s someone else’s turn to get it up the hill,” Deal said.

Deal said he’s been honored to be a part of so many good changes that have happened in the fire department during his tenure.

“I’ve been privy to a lot of incredible changes in the fire service and I’ve been allowed to bring some amazing things to the table which I’m very proud of,” Deal said.

Deal said the people he works with have inspired him through the years.

“These guys don’t make a lot of money, and they definitely don’t do it for the fanfare or the glory. As a matter of fact, you’ll find most firefighters shy away from the glory — that’s not in our nature. There’s something about firefighters. It’s a different breed of people. It’s their attention to service… it’s truly inspiring,” Deal said. “The fact that I got to hang out with those people for 25 years, and that those people are my friends, is amazing. When you go into a burning building with someone, there’s a close-knit bond. Your lives are in each other’s hands. Some of my greatest memories are the friendships I’ve forged over the years.”

Deal plans to be an adjunct instructor after he retires.

“I’ll be teaching some courses for different colleges. I’m very excited for this next phase in my life,” Deal said.

 

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Light The Night for Fallen Firefighters

Every October, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) sponsors the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, the official national tribute to those firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. This year’s Memorial Weekend will be held October 6-7, 2018 in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The weekend includes specialized activities and group sessions and culminates with a Memorial Service on Sunday morning. Thousands attend the programs and services each year.

As dusk turns to dark, landmarks across the country will glow in respect to the fallen and their families for Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters. This nation-wide lighting is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, as part of the weekend.

Lighting of your fire department in red during the Candlelight Service on October 6th, or any time during the week of October 1st, would be an additional symbol of support and comfort to the families and co-workers of those being honored. Please click here to let us know that you will join this extraordinary display of recognition.

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New chief and training facilities for Hays Fire Department

By Margaret Allen
Hays Daily News – August 14, 2018

A new Hays Fire Department training facility at the old Frank Stremel Softball Fields on Old U.S. Highway 40 and Chetolah Creek will make a huge difference for the region’s firefighters, says Hays Fire Chief Ryan Hagans.

“This will be a dedicated place to go for live fire training and to practice technical rescue skills,” Hagans said. “We will use it quite often. It’s where we’ll do most of our training at. And we’re going to open it up to all the fire departments in our region.”

The new three-story drill tower of 40-foot steel shipping containers will be constructed with doors and walkways and stairs. That will allow the department’s 22 uniformed firefighters to practice technical skills such as search and rescue, advancing fire hose, and repelling with ropes while carrying heavy gear and a couple hundred pounds of fire hose. Now Hays firefighters won’t have to wait for old houses scheduled for demolition to open up to practice running hose through a house, breaching walls or pulling down a ceiling.

“It’s just going to increase our training capabilities,” said Hagans, who was promoted from interim fire chief earlier this month when Gary Brown retired.

The department will share the facility with firefighters from area towns and from rural departments throughout northwest Kansas. Currently when new firefighters are hired, firefighters have to wait for training to open up somewhere in Kansas. With the new facility, Hagans said, Hays firefighters can help train area firefighters in Hays on an as needed basis.

The tower, with three 40-foot steel shipping containers on the first floor, two on the second floor and two 20-foot containers on the third floor, should be completed in February or March 2019 by Illinois-based American Fire Training Systems Inc. Dirt work has started for a 100-foot by 125-foot concrete pad.

A separate live burn building is going up adjacent to the tower. The 40-foot container will simulate the interior of a building, but with movable walls so the configuration can be changed. Made of steel, the department can fill it with wooden pallets and hay and light it on fire, Hagans said.

“We’re hoping to have a large weekend fire school on an annual basis,” he said, noting he’ll contact the Kansas State Firefighters Association and the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute at the University of Kansas in hopes of working more closely with them to provide training to departments in western Kansas.

“If other departments need us to help with training we’ll definitely provide it for them,” he said. Leon’s Welding & Fabrication in Hays is constructing the building, which should be done by the end of September, he said.

Both training facilities will require water line, which will be installed by the city of Hays Water Resources Department. Hays firefighters hope to do their first live burn in early fall.

Training prepares the firefighters for an average of seven calls a day. Those can range from running with Ellis County EMS to assist by lifting patients onto cots, moving furniture or assisting with patient care, to putting out fires, or working with Ellis County responding as a search and rescue team during tornadoes, building collapse or other emergencies.

“We’re seeing an increase in calls, but it’s mainly due to medical emergencies,” he said.

Some aspects of firefighting have changed since Hagans started with the department 15 years ago in 2003.

Homes are made of more combustible materials and also collapse more readily. They burn hotter and faster than houses built previously.

“So we have to change what we’re doing to be safer,” he said. “We have to be faster and more careful. It’s more dangerous than it was 40 to 50 years ago.”

The Dane G. Hansen Foundation in Logan provided the bulk of the money for the new facilities, with a $272,000 grant. City of Hays budgeted $63,000 for waterline and hydrants, with a remaining $50,000 from the fire department.

Hagans said the department’s firefighters typically work a shift that is 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Every third weekend they have Saturday and Sunday off. That’s a typical schedule for firefighters in most departments, said Hagans, who’s been with the department since he was 29, so firefighters are accustomed to it.

“Being a firefighter is a way of giving back to your community,” he said, “it’s a calling that you have.”

Under his new leadership the department will continue working on building to change with the times, Hagans said.

In announcing his appointment, City Manager Toby Dougherty said Hagans “has served admirably as deputy and interim chief, and I am confident he will excel as chief.”

 

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Wichita firefighters concerned about possible budget cuts

KWCH – August 14, 2018

KWCH Video

Tuesday morning, members of the Wichita City Council will review the city’s 2019-2020 budget.

Some Wichita firefighters worry they could be impacted by potential cuts.

Matt Schulte, the president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 135, says the department needs more resources not less.

“Our injuries have been through the roof already. Firefighters getting hurt because we’re working so hard trying to keep the lid on that it’s showing up,” said Schulte.

He says the city wants to stop using the large fire engine the department uses in east Wichita.

“We have on record of the manager saying last week there’s gonna be a squad put out there instead of an engine, well, you can do more with an engine, and those are big homes. Lots of big homes,” said Schulte.

A squad is a pickup truck with water and skid pump. It’s cheaper to use but Schulte says it’s not as effective when you have big fires.

He also says Tuesday’s budget proposal will include eliminating 10 firefighter positions.

The union has been vocal not wanting to see budget cuts and encourages citizens to contact Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Last month, he said the city is evaluating the best use of useful resources to meet safety standards.

He said the city also wants to be a good steward of tax dollars, but Schulte says now is not the time to cut back on firefighters.

“It takes more people to service those large areas when there’s that many people, and we’re already behind the eight ball on the east side of town because we need more units, we need another station out there,” said Schulte. “We need another station out west because we’re just not meeting our response time goals. We’re not sure why we’re shrinking the fire department during this time.”

Schulte says when it comes to eliminating positions, no one is getting fired. He said when firefighters retire, no one will be hired to replace them.

Again, the city will hold a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday at 9.m.

The current proposal totals more than $600 million.

 

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Pink Heals truck visits Wichitans fighting cancer

By Carly Willis
KSN – August 14, 2018

Bella Bush, the Wichita 7-year-old fighting brain cancer got a surprise in her driveway on Monday evening.

The “Pink Heals” fire truck visits those fighting cancer and with the help of a local non-profit, the truck and its crew visited the Bush family.

“It’s pink,” Bella squealed.

A local non-profit helped make the surprise happen. Chris Klausmeyer lost his brother, Mark, to cancer. Since then, the family has established “Cause for Klaus,” adopting two local families per year to provide financial assistance to during the patient’s battle with cancer.

“We got such great love and support for my brother that we decided to give it back and we wanted to keep it local,” Chris Klausmeyer said, “It’s very nice to be able to touch people’s hearts in a way that we were all touched when my brother was going through the cancer.”

Bella got to sign “Nicki,” the Pink Heals firetruck and all the firefighters helmets.

The Pink Heals truck and crew made an additional stop in Wichita at Fire Station 21, where Curt Mohr was greeted by family, friends and firefighters.

Mohr is recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor. He is a 24 year veteran of WFD.

 

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Valley Falls trailer home ‘total loss’ after fire

By Tiffany Littler
KSNT – August 13, 2018

A Valley Falls trailer home is a total loss after catching fire.

It happened at 204 Walnut St. just after midnight.

The Valley Falls fire chief said those inside heard a “popping” noise and were able to safely escape.

The fire is believed to be caused by improper disposal of smoking materials at an outside area near the trailer.

There is no damage estimate at this time.

The Red Cross is helping the family.

 

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Hiawatha Fire Department receives grant

Hiawatha World – August 13, 2018

The Kansas Forestry Service has awarded a grant to the Hiawatha Fire Department for the purchase of radios.

The department was awarded nearly $5,000 through the Volunteer Fire Assistance Cooperative Fire Protection Program. The grant is 50/50 with the City of Hiawatha providing half the funds.

Two 800 MHz radios will be purchased and allow the HFD to communicate more effectively with local and state first response and public safety agencies who use 800 MHz radios.

“The radios will be an asset to the department to stay up to date on calls, as no member of the department utilizes 800 MHz radios,” said Fire Chief Ryan Shockley.

The grant was written by retired Fire Chief Gary Shear and Public Relations Officer Jordanne Shockley.

The Department and the City Commission would like to thank the Kansas Forestry Service for the grant.

 

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Fire damages 3 apartments in Olathe, displaces 5 residents

By Zoe Brown
KCTV 5 – August 13, 2018

Photo by Olathe Fire Department

A fire displaced five people on Saturday in Olathe.

The Harrison Square Apartments at 801 S. Harrison caught fire just after 10 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were coming from a second-floor apartment.

Firefighters quickly attacked the fire, which damaged three apartments and displaced approximately five people. The American Red Cross and Mission Southside are helping them.

Fire investigators are working to determine what caused the fire and calculate a damage estimate.

Two firefighters were taken to a local hospital for minor medical issues.

 

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Team of chaplains ready to help local first responders during stressful times

By Kathy Hanks
Lawrence Journal World – August 13, 2018

Paul Taylor and Sgt. Kristen Channel are pictured Aug. 9, 2018, at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center in Lawrence.

It had been a rough weekend for first responders in Lawrence.

First, they rescued a 1-year-old and his mother, after she allegedly drove a vehicle into the Kansas River. Then, the next day, they recovered the body of a 5-year-old girl who had also been a passenger in the car.

At times like these, Paul Taylor and six volunteer chaplains are a quiet force standing alongside law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency service crews offering help as needed. Sometimes, all that is necessary is for them to place a hand on a shoulder.

It’s a ministry of presence. Essentially, chaplains are just there and supportive for both the victims and first responders.

Sometimes people forget first responders are human and have emotions, said Sgt. Kristen Channel, with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

“We have to have outlets for what we see and deal with,” Channel said. “Our chaplains are a great resource, they are there for us, they know what we are going through, they know how to counsel and provide resources we might need at the time to make it through stressful and emotional events.”
Always helping

Taylor is a familiar face with first responders, having arrived in Lawrence as a paramedic with the Douglas County Ambulance Service in 1981.

He trained at Southwestern College in Winfield back in mid-1970, when an ambulance looked more like a station wagon and often served a dual function as a hearse.

In 1995, Taylor retired as a paramedic and spent the next 20 years serving as a full-time pastor at a Lawrence church.

By 1997, the Douglas County Ambulance Service merged with the fire department and became Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical. That’s also when Taylor returned as a volunteer chaplain.

“They started having difficult things happen, and I started as the fire department’s chaplain,” Taylor said.

There had been a house fire in North Lawrence, and a 5-year-old child died.

“It was one of those circumstances which was very difficult,” Taylor said. But at the time, there wasn’t a chaplain or someone to debrief the firefighters.

By 2005, he also began serving as chaplain for 911 dispatch, providing education and support for when they dealt with crisis calls.

Sheriff Ken McGovern asked Taylor to serve as volunteer chaplain with the sheriff’s department in 2009.

“Sheriff McGovern had a vision and was very instrumental in the chaplaincy program as it is today,” Channel said. “He had the foresight to realize the need was growing and we needed to grow the chaplain corps.”

It has gradually grown to seven chaplains, including Taylor. They now also serve the Lawrence Police Department and the underwater search and recovery team.

Taylor came on staff full time with the sheriff’s department three years ago. The other six chaplains remain as volunteers. Taylor’s duties are twofold: one part involves serving as an administrative training officer, helping with the hiring of corrections officers and working with the patrol officers; the other is serving as chaplain.

“It’s more about officer wellness and prevention to enhance the quality of their lives as they go through the stressors inherent in their difficult jobs,” Taylor said.

Chaplains are there to serve everyone — the people in crisis and the first responders. They go along with the officers to deliver traumatic news to families.

“We never impose. We always meet people on a practical level, person to person,” Taylor said. Sometimes, they will offer to make phone calls or meet whatever need a person in crisis might have. “Occasionally, we will offer to pray and we have rarely ever had someone turn us down in those situations.”

However, they never push their faith.

“We never come with an agenda,” Taylor said. “We come in and are allowed to serve as the people and first responders want us to.”

There are times when all seven chaplains are needed for an incident, such as the time there was a drowning at Douglas County Lake just north of Baldwin.

“It was March and a young man had drowned,” Taylor said. “It was really cold and difficult conditions. They were unable to locate the body, and the team was on the scene for several days.”

The victim’s family had gathered there and it became a team effort between the chaplains and the sheriff’s office to help support the family.
In good times and bad

Taylor admits there are times when a chaplain needs someone to be there for them. That’s when they turn to each other.

“We strongly encourage our chaplains to practice the same wellness principles that we encourage others to do,” Taylor said. “It’s not enough to know it, you have to know it and practice it.”

Taylor counts on his family, faith and trusted friends, including the other chaplains, to see him through the rough times.

“We debrief each other when we go through difficult calls,” Taylor said. “We are human.”

He said the currency in emergency service is trust. Taylor said he has heard first responders say, “Just having you here makes us feel better.”

From the law enforcement perspective, Channel said they went many years believing they were not to show any emotion.

“You were not supposed to have feelings,” Channel said. “You were expected to go from traumatic call to traumatic call and basically just suck it up and deal with whatever stressful situation.”

It has only been the last several years that law enforcement agencies are realizing officers and deputies can’t handle every tragic situation without feeling emotion. Taylor said statistics show law enforcement officers have four times the risk of dying from their own hand then they do a felon.

“Suicide is more than double for law enforcement than the general public,” Channel said.

She said she believes those numbers reflect not having the opportunity to discuss what they experienced.

“They just returned the next day and went back to work. Agencies are realizing that law enforcement has to change the way it practices and handles its officers dealing with tough calls,” she said.

Channel said she believes McGovern has been very good at providing the resources necessary to deal with what happens, which she says leads to a staff that is healthy — emotionally, mentally and physically.

“The chaplains program has been great for that,” Channel said.

Chaplains aren’t around just for major traumatic events.

“There is not just a hard side,” Taylor said. “We will do weddings and funerals. Our motto is ‘With you in good times and bad.’”

In the rhythm of their day, they might be a sounding board for somebody or they may see someone else who wants them to pray with them, or someone might ask for counsel. But other times, it’s just a hand on the shoulder, or offering a bottle of water, a warm blanket, or standing quietly alongside a grieving person.

“We are here to serve,” Taylor said.

 

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Wichita man says trip to the gas station saved his life

By Porsha Riley
KAKE – August 13, 2018

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Johnnie Arthur never thought a trip to the gas station would save his life.

“I’m glad I wasn’t there,” he said. “I’m thankful; I’m real thankful.”

But he says that’s exactly what happened when a faulty battery charger he recently bought exploded in his garage after he took a break from working on his car to run and get some gas.

“I just went to the station to get gasoline for a four-wheeler that I was working on. Ya know, I just put it back together. It didn’t have any fluids in it, and I plugged in that charger so it’d have plenty of juice to start it with and it blew up,” Arthur explained. “It was plugged in maybe ten minutes and it blew up.”

The fire not only destroyed his garage but also his RV, swimming pool and damaged nearby power lines.

“They had a loss of power to the house; the lines were burnt through,” Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Doug Winter stated. “Damage was fairly severe to the garage.”

But rather than stress about what happened, Arthur says he’s counting his blessings and focusing on fixing the damage.

“We got a lot of work to do,” he said.

The fire happened Saturday afternoon around 5 p.m. near 32nd and Wellington. The fire department says despite the damage, they got the fire out within half an hour.

 

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Students, firefighters have a blast

Hutchinson News – August 13, 2018

Photos by Torie Reynolds

Hutchinson Fire Department brought some fun for students at Central Christian Preschool this week. Firefighters from Station 7 sprayed their hose and canon for students to play. The event was one of the last big activities of the summer camp program.

 

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No injuries in southwest Wichita house fire

KSN – August 13, 2018

Wichita fire crews responded to a house fire at a home in southwest Wichita Saturday morning.

The fire was in a home in the 500 block of W. Shirk, near S. Palisade. It happened a little before 11:00 a.m.

When fire crews arrived to the scene they saw smoke coming from the front of the house. Battalion Chief Sid Newby said crews were able to search the home quickly and find the source of the fire was coming from the kitchen.

Newby said no one was inside the home at the time and no one was injured. However, several puppies were found and rescued from the home. They are doing just fine, said Newby.

Authorities are not sure if the home is currently being occupied.

 

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Wellington fire responds to structure fire Thursday evening

Wellington Daily News – August 13, 2018

At 7:34 p.m. Thursday evening, Wellington Fire/EMS responded to a reported structure fire at 223 W. 10th. Upon arrival found smoke coming from the lower level of a two-story home. Upon entering the structure, they found fire spreading from the stove up the wall and across the ceiling. The fire was quickly contained but the house suffered heavy smoke damage throughout. Three cats were found in the home and firefighters attempted CPR/oxygen but efforts were unsuccessful. The structure owned by Mike and Donette Cypert suffered damages of $30,000. Mayfield Fire, Fire District 9 (Belle Plaine), Oxford Fire provided mutual aid assistance.

 

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Fire engulfs cabin at Camp Aldrich

KWCH – August 13, 2018

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A fire destroyed a small hunting lodge at Camp Aldrich near Great Bend.

The Claflin Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at Trail’s End Lodge shortly before 6 a.m. Friday.

Officials say the Camp Ranger noticed flames coming from the building when he began his shift.

No one was injured and the camp was not in use at the time.

A preliminary investigation indicates electrical problems may be the cause of the fire. The initial estimate of loss is placed at $165,000.

Every year, Camp Hope is held in June at Camp Aldrich. The non-profit organization aims to provide children with cancer a safe haven in the summer.

This is the second fire at the camp in the past few years. In 2014, the community center was destroyed.

 

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Residential Fire Causes Apartment Evacuation

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – August 13, 2018

At 4:23 pm Thursday the Liberal Fire Department was dispatched to 901 Millwood Circle for a report of heavy smoke issuing from apartment #201. First fire units arriving on scene noted smoke from the attic and eaves of the building and confirmed a working fire in apartment #201. Firefighters were able to quickly make entry and extinguish the main body of fire in the kitchen area, but discovered that the fire was also extending into the wall space and attic area. The fire was declared under control within 20 minutes of arrival. Due to the extent of the fire it required a significant amount of salvage and overhaul to locate and extinguish all remaining hot spots and smoldering material.

Liberal police officers were able to safely evacuate all neighboring apartments that were occupied at the time of the fire and were able to locate and remove a dog from the upstairs rear apartment adjoining the fire apartment. No injuries to any occupants, pets or emergency responders were reported from the fire. However the fire, smoke and water damage rendered four apartments uninhabitable. The American Red Cross responded and will be offering assistance to all those displaced by the fire. Liberal FD investigators were able to determine the area of origin for the fire. The cause at this time is believed to be accidental and electrical in nature. All fire units were cleared from the scene and returned to service at 6:42 pm.

Liberal Fire responded with a total of 16 personnel, three engines and the ladder truck. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, Southern Pioneer Electric, Black Hills Energy Liberal Water Department and American Red Cross.

 

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Kids learn more about Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office with camp

By Natalie Dattilio
WIBW – August 13, 2018

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It was a day of fun, adventure and learning for kids in Jackson County!

The Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office invited the Lifestar helicopter to drop in Thursday on their 17th annual Day Camp.

More than 300 6- through 12-year-old’s learned more about the sheriff’s office, along with emergency medical services and fire departments.

Sheriff Tim Morse says this is a good chance to build long-lasting relationships with kids in the county, which has come in handy down the road.

“We go to a situation, we go to a scene, we’ve already got friends, we’ve already made relationships with the kids,” he said. “And those kids turn into adults and we’ve actually, some of our employees have started out at day camp.”

The kids also got to go fishing, canoeing, boating and practice archery.

 

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Carbondale house fire destroys home; no one hurt Thursday

WIBW News Now – August 9, 2018

A Thursday morning house fire in Carbondale completely destroyed the home.

Units from Carbondale, Overbrook and Burlingame were called in when the blaze was found just after 4 a.m. in the garage of a home at 324 Melody Lane in Carbondale. No one was hurt.

The Kansas State Fire Marshal was called in to investigate. The fire started in the garage, but the cause is undetermined. Damage is estimated at $140,000.

 

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Metro firefighters spend the week training for water rescues on Olathe Lake

By Nicole Diantonio
FOX 4 – August 9, 2018

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Metro firefighters need to be prepared for all emergencies whether on the ground or in the water.

That’s why the Olathe Fire Department has spent all week practicing different water rescues, including boat rescues, helping distressed swimmers and practicing self-rescues.

Wednesday’s training brought firefighters to Olathe Lake where they ended up helping in a real-life emergency, though this one was on the ground. Crews were called to a motorcycle crash near the lake that sent the driver to the hospital with minor injuries.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the water rescue training in the video player above.

 

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Grinnell Middle School damaged in fire overnight

By Michelle Ross
KSN – August 9, 2018

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A fire damaged a middle school in the town of Grinnell overnight. That is in Gove County.

KSN has learned the fire started around midnight. Several fire departments were called to the school.

When fire crews arrived, flames could be seen coming out of the roof in the gymnasium area.

Officials called in firefighters from area departments to put out the flames.

Crews were still on the scene of the fire this morning. There are no injuries reported.

Crews are still investigating the full extent of the damage and how the fire started.

 

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Frank J. Kennedy

Frank J. Kennedy, 87, died Saturday, July 28, 2018 at the Sunflower Memory Center at the Topeka V.A.

He was born February 16, 1931 at Emmett the son of William L. “Bill” and Agnes C. Reilly Kennedy. He attended Holy Cross Catholic Grade School and graduated from Emmett High School in 1949. Frank served in the US Air Force from January 25, 1956 until July 30, 1959.

Frank owned and operated Kennedy Oil Company in Emmett from 1959 until he retired in 1993, although he was at the station every day for many years after he officially retired. He was very active in the Emmett community. He had served as mayor and on the city council. He was a member of the fire department and had been fire chief. Frank was a past member of the Lions Club and had coached baseball in the 60’s. He was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church and served on the church board.

On September 14, 1955 he was united in marriage to Phyllis J. Carr in Albuquerque, NM; she preceded him in death on December 17, 2015. Frank was also preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Eugene and Betty.

Survivors include his children, Joe (Brenda) Kennedy, Debby Fischer and Bill Kennedy all of Emmett; his grandchildren, Chris Kennedy, Adam (Amy) Kennedy, Lacey (Tim) Niehues, Amanda Morgan and Markie (Matt) Berry; great-grandchildren, Landon , Quinn, Abigail, Chase, Kinley, Marek, Liam and Nora.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 A.M. Friday, August 3, 2018 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Emmett. Inurnment with military honors will be in the Holy Cross Cemetery Emmett. The family will receive friends from 5:30 until the Rosary at 7:00 Thursday, August 2, 2018 at Piper Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made in Frank’s name and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple Street, St. Marys, Kansas 66536.

 

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Kansas teen dies after crashing head-on into semi

KAKE – August 9, 2018

Authorities say a 15-year-old Kansas boy died when sideswiped a pickup and then crashed into an oncoming semi.

The accident happened at around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday near Fort Scott, which is just west of the Missouri state line. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports Hunter Kovacic was heading north on U.S. Route 69 when his Ford Ranger crossed the center line, sideswiping a Ford F350 and then striking the semi head-on.

Kovacic, of Stark, died at the scene.

The 40-year-old driver of the semi was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The other driver was not hurt.

 

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Swimmer’s body recovered from Tanglewood Lake in La Cygne

By Karra Small
FOX 4 – August 9, 2018

A man has died of an apparent drowning at Tanglewood Lake in La Cygne, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Game Warden Jeff Cakin said they were called to the lake shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. The caller reported several people were swimming in the lake when the man didn’t resurface.

After nothing was discovered in the initial search, a recovery operation began around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The body of an adult man was discovered around noon. He will be identified pending family notification.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Department and Osawatomie Fire assisted in the search.

 

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Firefighters battle blaze at Joyland in south Wichita

KWCH – August 9, 2018

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Firefighters battled an early morning fire at the old Joyland Amusement Park in south Wichita.

Crews were called Thursday morning to Wassal and Hillside for a report of a fire.

When crews got on scene, smoke and flames were coming from the Wacky Shack building on the property.

Crews were able to contain the fire to that area and extinguish it in less than an hour.

Firefighters say no one was hurt. No word yet on what caused the fire.

 

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Second vehicle fire reported in Walmart parking lot

By Tammy Seimears
Emporia Gazette – August 9, 2018

Another vehicle fire has been reported in the Walmart parking lot.

At 11:15 a.m. scanner traffic indicated a white Pontiac Grand Prix located in the Walmart parking lot was on fire, with the fire presenting under the hood of the vehicle.

No injuries have been reported, but Emporia Fire Department personnel are reporting smoke coming from the hood.

 

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National Night Out draws hundreds for 24th annual event

By Joey May
Hiawatha World – August 9, 2018

Hiawatha Fire Chief Ryan Shockley greets young visitors at the fire trucks – set up in the Fisher Center parking lot – at National Night Out. The HFD provided fire hats and bags of educational fire safety and fun hand-outs for the kids and also let them climb inside the fire trucks to take a closer look. Photos by Josephine May

 

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City of Hays promotes Hagans to fire chief

Hays Daily News – August 8, 2018

City Manager Toby Dougherty announces the appointment of Ryan Hagans as the new Fire Chief for the City of Hays effective Aug. 8. Hagans has served as the Interim Fire Chief since Chief Gary Brown’s retirement from the Hays Fire Department.

Hagans is a graduate of KU’s Certified Public Manager Program. During his 15 years with the Hays Fire Department, Hagans has held many positions including Firefighter, Fire Engineer, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Captain and Deputy Fire Chief.

In announcing the appointment, City Manager Dougherty stated, “Mr. Hagans has been a dedicated member of the Hays Fire Department since October 27, 2003. He has served admirably as Deputy and Interim Chief, and I am confident he will excel as Chief.”

 

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Woman dead after vehicle travels 80 feet through the air in KCK

By Daniel Barnett
KCTV 5 – August 8, 2018

Authorities in Kansas City, KS, say a woman has died after her vehicle flew 80 feet through the air and she was ejected Wednesday morning.

The crash happened just before 7:40 a.m. in the 1400 block of N Third Street.

Police say a four-door Honda was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

Officers say the vehicle was driving north when it left the road. They say the vehicle traveled 80 feet in the air and the woman was ejected from it, landing in a nearby creek.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have closed Third Street in the area. They say it will remain closed for multiple hours.

 

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Press Release: Structure Fire 503 Elm, Hays

At 12:27 PM, Wednesday, August 08, 2018, City of Hays emergency dispatchers were notified of a structure fire at 503 Elm Apt. A1. The Hays Fire Department, assisted by Ellis County Fire Department Company 5, Hays Police Department and Ellis County EMS, was immediately dispatched.

Arriving firefighters found a window air conditioner unit burning inside an apartment building. Firefighters had to force entry into the apartment. One hose line was used to control the fire. The fire was contained to the kitchen area of the apartment. After the fire was extinguished, firefighters used ventilation fans to remove the smoke from the adjacent apartments.

The most probable cause of the fire was a malfunction of the AC unit’s electrical outlet.

Six firetrucks and 19 firefighters responded. The last crew left the scene at 2:29 PM.

Thanks to the effort of alert neighbors that called 911 the damage was minimal. Your Hays firefighters would like to remind everyone of the benefits of having working smoke alarms in your home.

Ryan Hagans,
CPMFire Chief
Hays Fire Department

 

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Nicholas Hayden “Nic” Warner

Nicholas Hayden Warner, 27, passed away on Saturday, August 4, 2018 in Ponca City, Oklahoma. A Celebration of Life Service will be Monday, August 13th at 11:00am at the First Church of the Nazarene, 3167 South 10th Street, Independence, Ks. Visitation will be Sunday, August 12th from 5:00-8:00pm at the First Church of the Nazarene. His service will be a combined service with his two sons and father. These services are pending. Please check the Potts Chapel website at www.pottsfuneralhome.com for updated information. Memorials may be made to the Sycamore Rural Fire Department.
Nicholas Hayden Warner was born on November 29, 1990. He was the son of Brenda and the late Bill Warner. He was a 2009 graduate of Independence High School. After graduation, he moved to Wichita with his first wife, Tina Ellingson. They had a son, Corbyn Snyder Warner. On June 1, 2016 Nic married Kaylee Doub. Together they had a son, Hayden Warner, daughter Lainey Warner and expecting their second daughter Madelynn in November. Nic began his farming career at a very young age, working side by side his dad, Bill.
While in Wichita he worked for Rau Farms for 2 years. Then he moved back home to join Bill run the family farm, Warner Farms. He was a member of the Sycamore Rural Fire Department, recently serving as Assistant Chief. He had served the rural fire department since high school.
Nicholas’s biggest passion was his family, especially being a momma’s boy. He loved farming and K-State football. He had a natural ability to bring people together and to bring out the best in everyone. It never failed he always had a big goofy grin on his face and the volume of 110.
Those left to cherish his memory are his mother Brenda Warner, wife Kaylee Warner, daughters: Lainey and Madelynn, sisters: Jessica Boyle and Lisa Johnson, brothers: Matt Boyle, Blake Warner, Bryan Warner and Jason Hoy, maternal grandmother Bette Snyder and a large circle of aunts, uncles and cousins.
Preceding him in death were his father Bill Warner, sons: Corbyn and Hayden Warner, Maternal grandfather Bill Snyder, paternal grandparents Jim and Ann Roach and Wilbur Warner.

 

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Cattle Trapped When Truck Crashes

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – August 8, 2018

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Multiple animals became trapped when a truck hauling 65 head of cattle crashed southeast of Salina early Tuesday afternoon.

Saline County Sheriff Lt. Mike Smith told KSAL News at the scene that a semi hauling cattle was headed west on K-4 Highway. The truck crashed as the driver reached to get something. A couple of wheels dropped off the road and the load shifted. The truck rolled onto its side into a ditch.

The driver was not injured in the crash.

Multiple cows were able to safely exit the truck. Eight of them escaped from the crash sight and ran off into a neighboring pasture before a temporary pen was set up.

About two dozen cattle were trapped in the truck. The Salina Fire Department responded to the scene to help rescue the trapped cattle.

The majority of the cows trapped in the truck were able to be freed. A half dozen died in the truck.

The crash happened during the noon hour about a half mile west of Southeast of Saline High School, just west of Woodward Road, on K-4 Highway.

 

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Fire crews dispatched to nursing home Monday

By Wayne White
Osage County News – August 8, 2018

Fire crews were dispatched around 7 p.m. Monday, to report of a possible appliance fire at Osage Nursing Center, Osage City, but no fire was discovered.

According to a report from Osage County Fire District No. 2, crews from OCFD No. 2, OCFD No. 5 and OCFD No. 6 were dispatched to the nursing home located at 1017 Main St., for a report of a burning odor, believed to be coming from an electrical appliance.

Upon arriving at the scene, OCFD No. 2 firefighters located an overheated ballast in a light fixture. Responding automatic aid departments were cancelled. Department members were on scene for approximately 17 minutes, with no injuries reported.

Other agencies and departments that were on scene or assisted were Osage County EMS and Osage City Police Department.

 

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Wichita man dies after a collision in Cowley County

KSN – August 8, 2018

The Cowley County Sheriff’s office said a 47-year-old Wichita man died in collision Tuesday. It happened around 5:53 a.m. at 252nd Road and 51st Road.

Abdu Omer was traveling east on 252nd Road in a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt. The sheriff’s department said Omer collided with a 2017 Dodge truck driven by a 42-year-old Arkansas City man at 252nd Road from 51st Road

Omer was the only occupant in the Cobalt and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 42-year-old man and his 4-year-old passenger were transported to the South Central Kansas Medical Center by ambulance.

The case is still under investigation.

 

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Fire destroys neighborhood playground in west Wichita

KWCH – August 8, 2018

Kids in one west Wichita neighborhood will have to find a new place to play after a fire Tuesday afternoon.

A neighbor reported the fire in the Deer Glen neighborhood on Hickory Lane, near Central and 119th Street West, around 4:30 p.m.

Crews arrived to find the playground fully engulfed.

They said the playground mulch which is made up of ground-up tires made it hard to extinguish the fire.

The fire caused about $45,000 in damage.

The fire department says kids were playing on the playground earlier in the day but they don’t know if the fire was accidental or intentional.

 

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Engine for sale

$15,000 OBO. Miami County Fire District #1 is offering for sale a 1986 Pierce Dash pumper that is currently in-service. Unit has a 1250 gpm two stage Waterous pump and 500 gallon tank. Delivery date subject to arrival of a new unit within the next few months and is housed at 202 E. Wea Paola. Unit will not include all equipment shown. Unit is in excellent condition with recent pump tests, maintenance records and original manuals included. For questions please call Chief Andy Martin at 913-406-5543 for further information.

 

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Kansas man attempted to hit first responders with pickup

Hays Post – August 7, 2018

Law enforcement authorities are investigating a suspect for alleged aggravated assault.

Just before noon Sunday, the Ellinwood Police Department and Ellinwood Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the 300 block of east 4th street in Ellinwood, according to a media release.

They found a 1999 Chevy 2500 pickup found fully engulfed in flames parked near the alley.

The owner of the vehicle was uncooperative with commands from Firefighters and Law Enforcement to get away from the vehicle for safety concerns.

The owner then entered a second pickup that was parked close by and rapidly backed up towards the responders, nearly striking several Fire Department Personnel and one Ellinwood Police Officer. The driver then fled the scene driving erratically to the front of his residence and barricaded himself inside.

The driver came out of the residence a short time later where he was taken into custody by the Ellinwood Police Department.

The driver, Samuel Freeman, 62, Ellinwood, was transported to the Barton County Jail where he was booked in on four counts of Aggravated Assault, one count of Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, and Felony Interference with Law Enforcement.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Barn has brush with fire Monday morning

Ottawa Herald – August 7, 2018

Photo by Greg Mast

Ohio Township and Williamsburg-Homewood fire departments responded to a brush fire that got out of control Monday morning in the 2100 block of South Georgia Road. Mike Swartley, Williamsburg-Homewood firefighter, said the fire damaged a barn and an undetermined amount of grassland. There were no injuries or estimate of the damage, Swartley said.

 

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Fire dept. to acquire new pumper truck

By Jeff Gulley
Ottawa Herald – August 7, 2018

Photo by City of Ottawa

The Ottawa Fire Department expects delivery of its new pumper truck possibly as soon as next week. Fire Chief Tim Mathias said there will be more work to be done and equipment added after it arrives and the fire department staff will need to be trained. He told Ottawa city commissioners he expects the truck to be in service by the first of October.

Mathias and a group of fire department staff traveled to Appleton, Wisconsin, and visited Pierce Manufacturing where the truck is being built.

“There are over 400 completed trucks there,” he said. “If you’re a kid that likes fire trucks Appleton, Wisconsin, is the place to go.”

The commission voted to approve the purchase of the new truck earlier this year at its May 5 meeting. The city last purchased a pumper truck 17 years ago, according to Mathias. The new truck was purchased for $633,650.

Mathias told the commission that when they inspected the truck, there were a few things that needed to be added or changed.

“We did a final inspection that took us three days,” He said. “When this truck is built, we are given a core group of mechanics and body work folks and painters. They work strictly with the Ottawa Fire Department. We had some issues with it. They worked through it.”

Mathias said this was the first time he has been involved in the purchase of a fire truck.

He added the truck will have a slightly different look from the current trucks. The new truck will have a new design on the front door to better identify the truck is from Ottawa, Kansas. The truck is also a new style for the department. There are a lot more compartments. There is more room for additional equipment. There is also a 20 foot light tower on the top of the vehicle.

Mathias said the fire department is planning an open house and at that time there will be a blessing of the new truck. He told the council that during the event there will also be a ceremony to honor the truck it is replacing.

“It’s been a good truck for us and we will say goodbye,” he said.

 

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Salute the Badge: Online educator uses experience, electronics to save lives

By Chris Fisher
WIBW – August 7, 2018

WIBW Video

In the past 20 years, technology has significantly reduced the number of calls firefighters respond to each day.

That’s great news, however, there is one significant drawback.

The brave men and women we rely on when a fire erupts do not get the on-the-job training that they once use to.

Former first responder and Topeka Firefighter Rusty Greene is using his experience, and technology to fill in the training gaps, and most of the time he does it from the comfort of his own home.

“I’m able to work out of my living room, and I keep one set of computers for state training and everything else is for higher education,” said Greene.

When you combine all that technology, and Rusty’s four decades of experience, the concepts that come from this career paramedic and former Topeka firefighter’s virtual classroom far outreach what you can get from a textbook alone.

“One of the classes we teach is called ‘Instant Safety Officer,’ and I have no doubt that at some point that training kept someone from getting hurt or killed on a fire scene,” said Greene.

While talk like that can certainly come cheap, Rusty’s long list of credentials speaks for itself.

“Training, education and experience and I’ve done quite a bit of all of them. I’ve got almost 40 years as a public servant, and I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration and a number of training certifications,” he said.

Rusty has also served as an instructor, program manager and program coordinator with the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute since 2004, he’s sat on the Kansas State Board of Emergency Services for 16 years, and is the State of Kansas’ point of contact for the National Fire Academy.

It’s a very long list, but what is not included is all the life lessons he’s completed over the years, including a big one back in October of 1988.

“At the Seymore fire I was brand new. When we pulled up, I didn’t even realize there was a fire there. The smoke was banking down over North Topeka and we didn’t realize anything was going on until we were several minutes into the fire,” said Greene.

Greene says it’s the combination between his real-life firefighting experiences and the time in the classroom that makes what he has to offer so unique.

“Back in those days, we just went to work… there were several times I wandered off on stairwells, and got deep into the fire and wound up being by myself and was able to get out okay…”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case for those he was trying to help. Early in his career, Greene would keep newspaper clippings from all of the major calls he would work.

“These things are just full of sad stories. I try to put them behind me. I actually haven’t opened those books in a long time. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the help that you gave people instead of the loss that they suffered,” explained Greene.

Greene hopes sharing his perspective with students will keep them from having to experience the same amount of tragedy.

It’s valuable knowledge from a man who may or may not still be in his pajamas or dressed informally.

“Yeah, that’s one of the big advantages of teaching online. There’s not much a dress code, sometimes when we have online meetings or record lessons, we’ll put on a nice shirt, but it’s pretty casual when you’re at home.”

In addition to all the online courses Rusty teaches to first responders, he’s also a dive instructor, an “English as a second language” teacher, and he’s a certified massage therapist.

 

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