Archive for August, 2013

Oxygen tank explosion cause of fire

By Earl Watt
Liberal Leader & Times – August 30, 2013

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A fire that destroyed a mobile home at the Oklahoma state line was caused by an oxygen bottle explosion, according to the fire Beaver County Fire Marshal.

“The fire marshal did his investigation at 7 p.m. last night,” Beaver County Sheriff Reuben Parker, Jr., said. “He is sure it had something to do with oxygen bottles.”

The ignited bottle started a fire that consumed the home of Curtis and Lori Phillips. The fire resulted in a total loss.

The couple were severely burned in the fire and were transferred to the Via Christi Burn Center in Wichita.

Parker said there were several ways the oxygen bottle could have exploded.

“An open flame, a cigarette, a gas stove, or if the oxygen is running and the mask is off, and it fills the room with oxygen, something as simple as a heater kicking on could ignite it,” he said.

The Turpin and Seward County fire departments responded to the scene and doused the flames, but earlier this morning Turpin returned to the scene to discharge hot spots that had reignited.

Curtis Phillips was not conscious this morning in the intensive care center on life support, and Lori Phillips was in and out of consciousness but unable to speak due to medical equipment providing air to her lungs according to the victim’s brother Larry Phillips.


A house fire that completely destroyed a mobile home near the Oklahoma state line on Highway 83 Wednesday afternoon has claimed the life of Curtis Phillips while Lori Phillips clings to life at the Via Christi Burn Center in Wichita.

Curtis Phillips, 58, sustained third degree burns on 66 percent of his body and suffered severe burns to his lungs.

Phillips was being maintained on life support Thursday until medical staff informed his brother Larry Phillips and sister Joy Beasley that recovery was not possible.

Phillips was removed from life support and died within the hour.

He had no children.

“When I saw Curtis sitting on the back of a truck while his house was on fire, I thought he would make it,” Larry Phillips said. “But once they got him there and removed the damaged skin and scoped his lungs, it was too late.”

Larry Phillips, the managing editor of the Leader & Times, responded to a scanner call to cover a fire at the state line not knowing the house was that of his brother.

He arrived to see the house engulfed in flames but his brother and common law wife outside. The couple had been removed by onlookers minutes before the entire house was consumed in flames.

The couple was transported to Southwest Medical Center and later flown to the Wichita burn center.

“We were positive that night,” Larry Phillips said. “They were trying everything they could, keeping his blood pressure up, his heart beating. He was on a ventilator — on life support.”

But the next morning, after doctors had a chance to evaluate the severity, the decision was made that the injuries were too severe for recovery.

“Several doctors came in and social workers, told us that recovery was not possible,” Phillips said.

As immediate family, Phillips and Beasley had to make the decision.

“Naturally, it was heartbreaking,” Phillips said “In this business, I have heard about it from friends and strangers, but it is an ordeal when it is your decision to make. We decided to shut down everything except pain medication. Within the hour, he died.”

Lori Phillips showed better signs for a possible recovery. She only had second degree burns on 9.5 percent of her body, and the damage to her lungs was not as severe.

“She had inhalation and tissue damage,” Larry Phillips said. “They were able to use a saline solution and flush some of the debris out. She is a part of the family, and we are praying for her.”

Curtis Phillips was transported back to Liberal for an autopsy. He was then cremated. A funeral service time has yet to be determined.

Child suffers minor injuries in early-morning school bus crash

By John Boyd
KWCH – August 30, 2013

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A school bus carrying ten students was involved in a crash near Haysville Friday morning.

Emergency crews were called to 79th Street South and Seneca, where the Sheriff’s Office tells us a bus was headed east and failed to yield to a vehicle on Seneca.

The bus, which was carrying students in the Mulvane school district, turned in front of the other car and was struck.

One child suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The driver was cited for failing to yield the right-of-way.

Following instructions for rescue

Ellis Review – August 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

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Dustin Vine of the Ellis Volunteer Fire Department gives instructions to Tim Kohlrus, Jim Metzler (both of the EVFD) and Kammie Weber (Victoria Fire Dept.) as they prepare a rescue drill near the Ellis Recycling Center. The drill was held Saturday, and was a training opportunity for the Regional Rescue Team, which includes fire department members from rural Ellis County, such as Ellis and Victoria, as well as from Hays. “It is noteworthy how well Ellis City Fire is working with other departments,” Ellis Fire Chief Denis Vine said. Vine also noted there is still a vacancy on the Ellis department. Photo by Nickole Byers.

Merger seen as ‘doable’

By Steven Schwartz
Iola Register – August 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

Iola City Administrator Carl Slaugh has been playing the middle man between Iola Fire Department workers and Allen County Emergency personnel in efforts to smooth out any wrinkles in the EMS merger between the two entities.

“We’ve got to make accommodations,” Slaugh said. “There are still a lot of issues to work out.”

He said he has discussed multiple topics with both sides. Concerns include the difference of pay scales between the city and county, work shifts (the city works a 24 hour shift, the county a 48 hour shift), facilities, revenue and certification requirements for the workers.

According to the city’s discussions, Slaugh said “everybody will have to be trained as a firefighter would be stationed outside of the city limits.

There are currently 19 city personnel and 18 county personnel (the county also has part-time positions equal to two full-time positions). Under the proposal, the county states there must be “approximately” 33 employees under a joint service.

“(Cutting personnel) is really the only way to save money,” Slaugh said.

The county will contribute $750,000 per year for the services, which Slaugh believes is not going to fully cover expenses—especially if facilities in Humboldt and Moran need to be updated.

But, Slaugh said the city is willing to work with the county to make the merger happen—they just haven’t had the chance to discuss the details. The merger proposal is listed on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting.

“I think it’s doable,” Slaugh said. “We wouldn’t have come this far if we weren’t confident we could make it happen.”

Williams Energy Grant Program benefits Windom Fire Department

Monitor Journal – August 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 203

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Randy Heinrichs, Operation manager of Williams Energy Conway presents a check to Troy Smyres, Volunteer Fire Chief of the Windom Fire Department. Also pictured from left are: Tyler Whorton, Williams Conway Safety Spec; Dan Stephenson, Williams Conway underground supervisor; Randy Heinrichs, Williams Conway operations Mgr; Troy Smyres, Williams Conway Frac Opt tech and Windom Volunteer Fire Chief; Doug Peters, Williams Controls Tech Spec and Windom Fire Volunteer; Ryan Barta, Williams Corrosion Tech and Windom Fire Volunteer.

Williams Energy tries to donate to Emergency responders each year in the areas Williams operates. Williams has operations at Mitchell, Conway and operates the Overland Pass Pipeline that runs through the area. The money is for general operating purposes. Williams has many employees from the Little River/Windom area and wants to support the employees communities.

Post celebrates National Night Out

Ft. Riley Post – August 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

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Fire department researching engine manufacturers

Junction City Daily Union – August 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

Junction City Fire Chief Kevin Royse and Battalion Chief Rick Rook have been working together to identify possible ways to save money on much-needed fire engine purchases.

Royse and Rook recently attended a fire engine manufacturers convention in Chicago to research possible deals, which include purchasing several new engines from one manufacturer.

“We have not identified the manufacturer yet,” Royse said during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. Already down two of its trucks because of mechanical issues and planning to use a grant to fund most of the purchase of a new aerial ladder truck, the fire department is looking at close to $2 million in new vehicles.

The recently-awarded FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant will cover $760,000 of that total for an aerial truck, but the grant requires the city to match at least $84,444.

Though it could save the city money, a purchase agreement with one manufacturer would require the commission’s OK to waive a bid process.

Commissioner Mick McCallister told Royse to keep the commission updated.

“(We’re) open to the idea,” he said. “We need more information.”

The 2014 budget allotted two mills for the fire reserve, which is expected to provide funds for the new trucks, likely through a lease-purchase agreement.

Lineman electrocuted, another shocked in Barber County

By John Boyd
KWCH – August 30, 2013

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A 20-year-old lineman dies after being shocked in Barber County Thursday.  It happened on Northstar Road just north of Curry Lane.

Barber County Sheriff’s officials say they received a 911 call stating someone had been electrocuted.  As crews were responding to the scene, they were advised that two men were hurt.

20-year-old Dakota Holt of Coulee Dam, Washington was rushed to an area hospital where he died from his injuries.

29-year-old Michael Rowan of Garden City was taken to a local hospital, then flown to a Wichita hospital for treatment of burns to his face, hands and feet.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, Track Utility was setting a pole when wind picked up and twisted the pole out of the grapple arms of the truck.  The pole fell and struck a power line above the area the men were working.  The pole was secured by a chain which kept the pole from falling to the ground.

Authorities say no signs of negligence were found.

Eagle Scout project spruces up Osage City with fresh coat of paint on fire hydrants

By Wayne White
Osage County News – August 30, 2013

As part of his Eagle Scout project, Don Curtis, right, puts the finishing touches on a freshly painted fire hydrant, with the assistance of volunteer Caleb Love. Photo thanks to Rick Potter.

As part of his Eagle Scout project, Don Curtis, right, puts the finishing touches on a freshly painted fire hydrant, with the assistance of volunteer Caleb Love. Photo thanks to Rick Potter.

Osage City residents have been noticing that many fire hydrants around town have a new coat of paint. Don Curtis, a Scout in Troop 106, Osage City, has been heading up the recently completed painting project as part of obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

Curtis said he organized several crews of volunteers, made up of fellow Scouts, troop leaders and parents, to paint 49 hydrants. The original goal was to paint 28 hydrants, but with those being completed sooner than expected, and with extra paint, more hydrants were painted. Curtis said the crews started in the downtown area, worked down Sixth Street, then along Seventh Street, and finished with hydrants around Osage City’s schools.

He said the success of the community service project depended on his volunteer crews, but he also appreciated assistance from Don Bailey and Dan Romine, OCFD No. 2 Fire Chief, who helped with the project’s logistics. The city of Osage City provided paint for the project.

Curtis said the hydrants were not all painted the same colors, with the tops of the hydrants painted according to a color code that designates the pressure of each hydrant. He said most of the hydrants appeared to have not been repainted since their original installation, and many have been in place for decades.

He said the project helped him complete the requirements to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, which he expects to receive in an Eagle ceremony later this year.

Curtis is a senior at Osage City High School.

Smokin’ on the Smoky

Time is running out to get signed up for the Smokin’ on the Smoky BBQ competition hosted by IAFF Local 782 & FOP Lodge 68 both from Salina.  The bbq competition will be held in Salina September 27 & 28 in Oakdale Park.  Visit or This year all proceeds are benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  We have a great weekend planned with a German car show, Live music from 2 local bands, and a beer garden all planned.  Come on out.  Email me if you have any questions.   Chris Rios @

Wabaunsee County Fire District No. 6 receives fire department grant

Wabaunsee County Signal – August 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

The Wabaunsee County Fire District No. 6 has received State approval for a Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant this year, according to Kansas Forest Service Fire Management Coordinator, Ross Hauck.

Wabaunsee County Fire District No. 6 will receive $1,865.00 of the total. According to Fire Chief Gary Ringel, Wabaunsee County Fire District No. 6 will purchase a pump and motor for the tanker truck to assist with extinguishing grass and structure fires and other emergencies.

Two people seriously injured in south Wichita rollover

KSN – August 30, 2013

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Two people were seriously injured Friday morning in a rollover.

It happened just before 8:30 on South Broadway at the John Mack Bridge.

According to authorities, a man was heading southbound on Broadway when he hit the railing and flipped.

A woman was pinned inside, and firefighters had to break the window to get her out.

A man inside managed to crawl out of the vehicle.

Both were taken to Via Christi on St. Francis to be treated for their injuries.

Miller presented lifetime award posthumously

Sterling Bulletin – August 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

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Chy Miller, former Director of EMS Education at Hutchinson Community College, was the recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

The “Honoring Our Own” awards banquet took place on Saturday, August 10 at the Wichita Marriott during the KEMSA Annual Last Blast of Summer Conference.

Miller’s children were present to accept the award.

Nominated for this award by multiple nominators for several reasons, while Miller didn’t work in EMS for 40 or 50 years, the last several years he spent in EMS, he was continually shaping EMS professionals and molding Kansas EMS into a model for the profession across the nation.

One nominator wrote, “His passion and zest for GREAT EMS education became his professional passion and because of that there are hundreds if not thousands of EMS providers giving great patient care, serving their community and molding the next generation of EMTs and Paramedics in Kansas and beyond. (Miller) set the standard for a program that others try to emulate.”

Miller entered the world of EMS shortly after graduating from Sterling High School in 1990 and worked hard to become a Paramedic. Like many new “change the world paramedics,” he worked for several agencies including Pratt County EMS, Arkansas City Fire/EMS and McPherson EMS.

Miller eventually became the Program Director for EMS Education and Department Chair for Public Safety at Hutchinson Community College. He held that position at the time of his death.

Miller was also a past president of KEMSA.

This is the first time this award has been presented posthumously to someone who only lived 41 years.

Timken Fire Department news

Rush County News – August 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 30, 2013

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The winner of the 12-gauge over/under shotgun given away at the Timken Volunteer Fire Department picnic on August 10 is Ryan Burton, La Crosse. Pictured are (left to right) Brent Tuzicka, Ryan Burton and Timken Fire Chief Jim Holopirek. The gun was donated by Brent Tuzicka of 4-Corner Liquor and the Timken Fire Department. The 1/2 beef and processing donated by Holopirek Cattle was won by Rita Pivonka.

Highway Patrol names pilot in airplane crash

By Jason Johnston
Emporia Gazette – August 29, 2013

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The Kansas Highway Patrol released the name of the male pilot today who sustained minor injuries in Wednesday’s airplane crash west of Emporia.

James Zerkel, 82, who lives near Joplin, Mo., was flying a Challenger Experimental Light Sport aircraft from Herington Regional Airport to Joplin when the plane went down about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, said Master Trooper Chris Markham of Troop G.

“At this point, it appears to have been caused by mechanical failure,” Markham said.

Zerkel was able to get out of the aircraft, which was in a creek east of Road B5, and he walked to West U.S. Highway 50, Markham said. He sought medical treatment on his own.

An ambulance with the Emporia Fire Department transported Zerkel from Road C and Highway 50 to Newman Regional Health.

Earlier reports indicated the aircraft was an Ultralight Challenger, but Markham said the plane was actually called a Challenger Experimental Light Sport aircraft

The crash is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office also assisted with the incident.

Rescue drills

Manhattan Mercury – August 19, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 29, 2013

Manhattan Fire Department crews drag a practice dummy from the structure at the old Kentucky Fried Chicken at 901 N 3rd St. as part of a practice drill that began Monday. The exercise gives the department the ability to train in an actual structure. Photos by Rod Mikinski

Manhattan Fire Department crews drag a practice dummy from the structure at the old Kentucky Fried Chicken at 901 N 3rd St. as part of a practice drill that began Monday. The exercise gives the department the ability to train in an actual structure. Photos by Rod Mikinski

A firefighter adjusts the pressure of a hose before entering. Buildings at 308 and 321 Vattier St. will also be used in training. A new KFC will be built in this location after demolition. No real fire was used during the training exercise.

A firefighter adjusts the pressure of a hose before entering. Buildings at 308 and 321 Vattier St. will also be used in training. A new KFC will be built in this location after demolition. No real fire was used during the training exercise.


Fire damages horse barn

Parsons Sun – August 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 29, 2013

Fire damaged a horse barn in rural Parsons Sunday night.

Fire District No. 9 firefighters were called at 7:16 p.m. Sunday to the fire in rural Parsons. Osage Township firefighters also responded to the Scott Gofourth home.

District No. 9 Fire Chief Rob Gartner said a 20-by 50-foot horse barn was covered in flames when firefighters arrived.

No horses were in the barn, but about 300 bales of hay were destroyed, Gartner said.

About a dozen firefighters responded initially and District No. 9 firefighters remained on scene until about midnight Sunday to put out hot spots, Gartner said.

The fire cause is undetermined, though Gartner said it didn’t appear to be suspicious.

A damage estimate was not available.

No injuries were reported.

Bill for burning sparks a flame

By Terry Spradley
St. John News – August 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 29, 2013

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An issue over billing prompted County Commissioner, Shane Stimatze to call for the termination of EMS Director, Steve Moody, which in turn sparked a fire of support for Moody on social media.

Stimatze caught some off guard at Wednesday’s County commissioner meeting calling for Moody’s termination after a series of executive sessions with Assistant Fire/EMS Director Nick Lauffer.

Stimatze moved to terminate Moody and appoint Lauffer to the director’s position, but he did not get a second, and the motion was tabled until the August 21 meeting.

According to Lauffer, there was an issue on billing over a controlled burn that got out of control. The incident and the bill were approximately two years old. He stated to the best of his recollection the landowner, Doyle Wilson, had allegedly not taken the proper measures to contain the burn area and county firefighters had to be called when the burn got out of control.

Policies were put in place in 2011 that allow the fire department to issue a bill for services when a burn is started without prior authorization or when proper measures to contain the burn have not been followed and firefighters are called to extinguish the blaze.

The policy was put in place to try to decrease the number repeat out-of-control intentional burns the department responds to each year.

“It worked,” Lauffer said. “We haven’t had to go back out there since.”

Lauffer stated, Wilson had been billed at the time of the fire, but had not paid in the two years since. He also stated that Stimatze had recently asked the department if they would consider rescinding the charges.

Moody agreed to rescind the charges and presented a letter to Wilson stating such for the County Commissioners to approve at a prior meeting.

Moody stated the letter was given to a subordinate to be sent out the week before he left on vacation. That did not appear to have happened and in the interim Wilson received another bill.

When asked about the matter, commissioner Fairchild said he could not comment on the matter since the discussions had taken place in executive sessions and referred reporters to the draft minutes from the meeting.

He did comment later that as director, Moody should follow up on every duty he gives his employees to make sure they get them done.

According to draft minutes from the commissioners’ meeting, Moody and Lauffer, reported to the board about Wilson receiving another billing and the letter to forgive the bill. Wilson was previously contacted and apologized to by Moody. Moody thought that the bill was issued through the treasurer office, when it was actually sent through the EMS/Fire office.

Moody started as Stafford County EMS director in May of 2009. Since then the department has consolidated several duplicated services and is currently one of the only county departments that is operating at a profit due to grants, transfers and other initiatives.

Shortly after the story broke online it topped the list for most read and commented on with several posts supporting Moody.

Erlene Chism Halzle posted, “When we had the fire, Steve was right there and made us feel like it was going to be alright.”

“What possible motive could Stimatze have?” Ginger Varn Sanders asked in her post. “Steve is the best EMS director we have had in a long time and he has skill levels we need.”

Another post from Betty Eisenhour read, “When our daughter had to be transferred to a larger facility for more extensive care, Steve took care of her, and was extremely professional. When I have had questions he is always ready to answer or hunt the answers down.”

And yet another post asked, “How do we go about “ousting” the county commissioner?”

RV fire

Linn County News – August 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – August 29, 2013

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An RV traveling in the southbound lane on U.S. 69, north of the Butler/K-52 east exit, caught fire on Monday, August 19. Linn County Sheriff’s Department, Linn County Fire, Kansas Highway Patrol and KDOT responded to the call. Flames quickly engulfed the vehicle, leaving little behind for emergency response officials to sift through. Fire Chief Doug Barlet said, “The vehicle burned to the point that we did not try to do an investigation to determine what caused the fire.”

Inspecting businesses to hydrants part of community’s safety

By Giseelle Arredondo
Liberal Leader & Times – August 29, 2013

Fireman James Jacobs inspects a hydrant Friday morning on South Clay Ave.

Fireman James Jacobs inspects a hydrant Friday morning on South Clay Ave.

Firefighter Warren Headrick inspects Salty Dog with owner David Hawkins Friday morning. Headrick noted that the fire extinguishers need to be elevated to where they can be seen and must also be properly labeled. The fireman also inspected the building’s plug-ins and made sure that no ceiling tiles were missing all in less than one hour. L&T photo/Giseelle Arredondo

Firefighter Warren Headrick inspects Salty Dog with owner David Hawkins Friday morning. Headrick noted that the fire extinguishers need to be elevated to where they can be seen and must also be properly labeled. The fireman also inspected the building’s plug-ins and made sure that no ceiling tiles were missing all in less than one hour. L&T photo/Giseelle Arredondo


For “Shift B,” a day begins at 6:50 a.m. or a little before with firemen Warren Headrick and Andrew Huelsman reading the log book, a journal of the happenings of the entire day for other shifts prior to theirs.

By 7 a.m., the rest of the men gather in the kitchen and drink coffee while Headrick and Huelsman inspect the trucks. The men check every compartment, every tool of the trucks. If there is a problem with any of the trucks, they report it.

Once cleaning and inspection is completed, the firemen drive down to south station to work out at 8 a.m. for one hour in the basement.

The men get drenched in sweat by doing Insanity, a DVD program that claims to be the hardest workout program ever put on DVD, and other workouts using a treadmill, doing stairs, carrying a hose, squats, bench press and push ups.

At about 9 a.m., The firemen get done working out at the south station. They “clean up,” change back into uniform. It is then time to go back to their own stations.

Headrick climbs into a fire truck and drives back to headquarters.

He waves at everybody on his way there.

“Wave. Wave at those guys right there,” he said, with a laugh.

“Wave at her too,” Headrick continued.“Wave at them. Aw, they weren’t looking.”

“Roll down your window, and tell her smoking will kill her,” he joked. “That stuff is nasty. Do you smoke? I smoke 10 packs a day.”

“Look, there’s James (Jacobs),” he said as soon as he spotted another fire truck turning onto 15th Street.

Once at the station, Capt. Jose Torres noted how busy the men are on shift duty,

“We stay pretty busy all day. People in the community will say, ‘You guys just stay in your stations, and sleep all day,’” which he added, “I wish. That would be awesome. Play video games all day.”

So the men don’t play video games?

“No, like right now, we have the guys doing inspections. Each month, we have one guy doing inspections and another guy is testing hydrants. And then after that, next month, they switch depending on what their job is and what’s going on. We stay pretty busy. The guy that was in here earlier (Jacobs) is getting his physical but he’s at the airport and he’s in charge of doing all of the runway checks there. We’ll go there after lunch, so that we can see the planes come in.”

Torres emphasized that they really don’t have time to play games.

“Sometimes we don’t even have time to sit down, get a bite real quick,” he said.

Huelsman added, “Head back out.”

Torres continued, “We stay busy on most days. We do all of our maintanence. All of our cleaning,”

Torres then sent out the guys for inspections.

“You guys can go get started on a couple inspections, and I’d do at least the Salty Dog, and when you guys come back, James can go do some hydrants.”

“You ready?” Headrick said and he quickly made his way to a truck.

On the road, Headrick noted when the shift is off duty they “hang out at each other’s houses, have cook outs. Stuff like that.”

During inspection of Salty Dog, Headrick noted he checks that the plug-ins are where they are supposed to be. A cord connected into an extension that is itself plugged in the wall is unacceptable. It’s a hazard.

Any corrections that need to be made, Headrick records it in an iPad.

He also checks that the fire extinguishers are elevated from the floor and that they are properly labeled.

“We help them not get sued,” Headrick said.

Ceiling tiles must also all be in place and not missing.

Any problems with the restaurant are recorded and rechecked after a certain period of time.

Headrick noted that if there is a problem, “someone will get sent back out in a year.”

Inspections of water hydrants and inspections of buildings continue until noon.

Even though the men can do a task by themselves, sometimes other firemen tag along, too.

The firemen work together and help each other out in any situation.

Fireman Scott Helberg from south station teamed up with Jacobs to inspect hydrants Thursday.

How many hydrants are checked per day depends on how many are assigned each month. The number is also affected by any calls or emergencies.

There are 80 hydrants for this month, with 49 pending inspections still needed to be completed in the next 15 days.

“Sometimes two, sometimes one. You never know how may inspections per day,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs walks up to a water hydrant, unscrews a couple of caps, attaches a couple of tubes, twists the top of a hydrant and a bunch of water gushes out onto the street.

He then checks the static pressure and residual pressure and submits the information in an iPad. Hydrants are rated as to their pressure, volume of flow and then caps are painted and color-coded.

Jacobs said that checking hydrants is pretty simple.

“Pretty much get paid to hang out with your friends,” he said, with a laugh.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in an L&T series looking at the day in the life of a Liberal firefighter while doing shift duty.

Firefighters conduct confined-space training

By Susan Thacker
Great Bend Tribune – August 29, 2013

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The swimmers are gone and the water has been drained from Great Bend’s Wetlands Aquatic Facility, so firefighters took the opportunity Wednesday to do some confined-space training at the city water park.
Capt. Luke McCormick said all three shifts of firefighters have now received this specialized training in rescue work under extreme conditions. If necessary, he said, they could pull a victim to safety through an opening as small as 14 inches in diameter.
Barton County has provided funds for a Technical Rescue Trailer with a variety of equipment that could come into use after a natural or man-made disaster such as a building collapse or someone trapped in an oilfield tank. Firefighters can cut a trench through hardened concrete or use a tripod, winch and ropes to rescue someone from a cave or other confined area.
There are two types of rescue stretchers. “The Sked stretcher allows us to wrap a victim up, like a cocoon,” McCormick said. The LSB, or long spine board, is similar but provides more rigid support for cases of suspected spinal injuries. Both are needed for technical rescues involving confined spaces or high angles.
This was the first time firefighters have used the municipal pool for the training, McCormick said. “They’ve got an underground cavern where water recirculates in the water park features.” Access to the underground area is through a trapdoor under one of the shelter umbrellas. For firefighters, it simulated a manhole.
There are also protective suits, breathing gear and air monitors. Firefighter Tony Lees said the training included sampling the air for the level of four gasses: hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), oxygen (02), and the lower explosive level (LEL) of flammable gasses.
“The area for working on a patient is small,” Leeds said of confined-space training. The firefighter may have an air line, rope and communication line attached to him, and can’t get tangled up.
In the future, McCormick said, the Great Bend Fire Department hopes to build its own underground training area, or prop room, that is even more realistic for advanced training at any time of the year. Fire Station No. 2 already has a tower where firefighters can practice moving through a smoke-filled prop room.

House Fire On South Everett Kills One

KAKE – August 29, 2013


At least one person has died in a house fire on South Everett Street in southwest Wichita.

Fire Captain Stuart Bevis says that crews arrived to find that three occupants escaped. A 25-year old female, a 2-year old female and an 8-month old female were all taken to Via Christi hospital with minor burns and smoke inhalation.

A 1 1/2-year-old boy was found dead on the couch in the front room. The coroner’s office will be conducting an autopsy and the case will remain under investigation until the autopsy is complete.

Firefighters were called shortly before midnight.  Initial reports indicated several people were trapped in the house, including a baby.  Dispatchers are not sure at this point if the dead person is that baby.  But at least three people were rescued from the home.

Hospital and police chaplains were called to the scene to help the family cope with their loss. Police used search dogs through the house as a part of their investigation.

Fire crews were able to bring the situation under control within 20 minutes. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but crews believe there is $50,000 to the structure and $10,000 to the contents. The house is a total loss.

Crews extinguish Finney County hay-bale fire

Garden City Telegram – August 29, 2013

A large hay-bale fire kept fire crews busy late Sunday in southern Finney County.

The fire started about 5 p.m. Sunday at 5005 Road No. 22, which is about two miles west of Pierceville, and it burned for at least a couple of hours, according to Finney County communication officer Timmy Snead.

Information on the damage assessment and the cause of the fire was not available Tuesday night.

Accident Leaves Truck Dangling Above Topeka Highway

KAKE – August 28, 2013

topeka fire 8282013


An accident at a busy Topeka highway interchange Wednesday afternoon left one vehicle dangling more than 30 feet above I-70.

Officers were called at 4 p.m. to I-70 and 75 on reports of an accident. WIBW reports a trailer hauling vehicles tipped over on the overpass.

Multiple vehicles fell to the ground below. But one was dangling from the edge of the overpass.

No injuries were reported in the accident. I-70 was reopened to traffic by 4:40 p.m.

Hays Fire Department Awarded Grant that could help You

Hays Post – August 28, 2013

Pictured L to R: Hays Fire Fighters Tyler Brungardt and Lucas Everett, Walmart Manager Mike Kohnz, Walmart Associate Dawn Malott

Pictured L to R: Hays Fire Fighters Tyler Brungardt and Lucas Everett, Walmart Manager Mike Kohnz, Walmart Associate Dawn Malott

The Walmart in Hays has awarded a $1000 grant to the Hays Fire Department.  The money from the grant was utilized to purchase smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are available at no cost to members of the community.

Mike Kohnz, Wal-Mart Store Manager, told Hays Post that they receive around 25 – 30 applications for funds from the Hays store each year from Northwest Kansas through their grant system.

“Out of our store funds here, we’ll do smaller things in the $50 to $100 range.  When we get into the $500 and over range, we go through our grant system.  The actual bigger grants come out of our home office, but the profitability we have here at this store is what allows for that.”

The fire department submitted an application online and described what the money was to be used for.  About a week later, they received the grant and came out to Wal-Mart to purchase smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Hays Fire Fighter Lucas Everett told Hays Post that the fire department applied for the grant and were approved approximately a week later.

“We purchased approximately 38 smoke detectors and 20 carbon monoxide detectors to distribute throughout the city of Hays.  We give those out to people that are elderly, disabled, or low-income families.  We’ll come to your home to install them, and we’ve been doing this program since about 2006.”

Everett says the department has distributed about 1500 smoke detectors and 420 carbon monoxide detectors since 2006. Residents wanting some of the detectors can call the fire department and firefighters will come out and install them. He also added that this supply should last at least 6 months.

Dawn Malott, a Wal-Mart Associate of 28 years, said that any group wishing to apply for funds for any not-for-profit or charitable use can visit  She says that there has always been a grant system, but the budget for the grants from the Hays store has grown over the years thanks to the profitability of this location.

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