Archive for September, 2013

Job Opening – Saline Co Emergency Management – Deputy Director


Deputy Director 

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Job duties include:
1.  Assists in the planning, directing and coordination of all activities, falling within the responsibilities and duties of the department, using his/her knowledge of theories and practices relevant to emergency and disaster management; ultimately leading to the effective preparation for, response to and recovery from any effects of an emergency or disaster.
2. This position involves clerical, communications, supervision of subordinates and volunteer personnel, as well as assuming a leadership role in emergency operations during a crisis and disaster response; which requires the ability to distinguish between and reconcile the economic, political and social forces that impact the environment in which the employee will function.
3.  Assist in the development, review, revision, and implementation of the Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP).
4.  Maintain general knowledge of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State of Kansas   regulations, policies, and administrative procedures.
5.  Prepare and maintain reports as needed.
6.  Maintains proficiency in homeland security issues.
7.  Assists with the promotion of public safety and awareness through contact with the general public, media, schools, organizations, etc;
8.  Designated Radiological Defense Officer for Saline County by maintaining a Radiological Defense Officer’s certification issued by Kansas Emergency Management.
9.  Performs routine preventive maintenance checks on all department equipment.

 Minimum Qualifications:

  • Three years experience in emergency management, Military or other emergency services preferred.
  • Thorough knowledge of advanced office skills and managerial practices are required.
  • Must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Some college with an emphasis on management in emergency services, emergency management or a related field of expertise is preferred
  • Thorough knowledge of personal computers and server based operation with special emphasis on PowerPoint, Word and Excel is required.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills required.
  • Familiarity with emergency response systems, disaster management principles and practices, FEMA regulations and policies are preferred.
  • Experience in more than one facet of emergency services is desirable.
  • Must have a valid driver s license and insurable under SalineCounty s fleet insurance policy.
  • Must be available to travel to attend training courses and emergency preparedness conferences.
  • Must obtain within 24 months of appointment, certification as an Emergency Manager as per the Division of Emergency Management specifications. 

Salary range: $2,984.23/mo at Step 1 – $4625.38/mo at Step 20.

For a complete job description contact:

Marilyn Leamer, PHR, IPMA-CP
Human Resource Director

(785) 309-5812 

VN: 129113SA      Close Date: 10/20/2013

Please apply at

Basic Firemanship Registrations


Just a reminder that we are less than 3 weeks away from the Harvey County ESA Basic Firemanship training on October 19th at the Newton Fire Training Grounds. Please check with your staff and have them register as soon as possible to help with planning. I have attached the registration documents for you to provide your staff. It is going to be a great opportunity for a full day of training that you won’t want to miss.

2013 Registration-Flier

Training Authorization Letter



Russell C. Buller
Director of Emergency Services
Hesston, Kansas

Camper Blown Over at Wilson Lake, Two People Slightly Injured

By David Elliott
KRSL – September 30, 2013

A Jayco camper blew over onto its side early Saturday morning at Wilson Lake’s Otoe Park, temporarily trapping two people inside.

According to a recent police report, the incident was reported at about 2:30 AM Saturday and happened because of strong winds from a storm.

The trapped subjects, a male and a female, whose names have not been released, reportedly received minor cuts and bruises. According to the Wilson State Park Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Office, the woman was transported by ambulance to Russell Regional Hospital, but was treated and released.

Along with Park Rangers, Russell County Sheriff’s Deputies, Russell County EMS, the Russell City Fire Rescue Unit, Lucas Firefighters and Dorrance Firefighters responded to the scene.

Crews respond to report of a house fire

KSN – September 30, 2013

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Saturday afternoon Wichita fire crews responded to a call of a house fire at 221 S. Hydraulic.

The fire chief tells KSN a passer-by saw smoke coming from the home and called 911. When crews arrived they located the fire in the living room and had it under control quickly.

No one was inside the home at the time. The cause is still under investigation.

Bus Extrication Training At LKQ

By Ariana Cohen
WIBW – September 30, 2013


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The harsh weather didn’t stop firefighters from working outside and learning new things.

Fire Chief Forrest Walter from Mission Township Fire Department says  several fire departments like the 190th, Auburn and the Mission Township held a joint training day for bus extrication at the LKQ lot.

Fire Chief Walter says firefighters learned stabilizing and cribbing a bus and also how to help those needing to be rescued in times of chaos.

Chief Walter says the real life situations like the school bus scenario used in Saturday’s training are more beneficial than watching a video.

Collision Into House Sends One Topeka Man To Hospital

By Sarah Plake
WIBW – September 30, 2013


A Topeka man was sent to the hospital after driving into a house Saturday evening.

Shawnee County Dispatch got the call around 6:30 p.m., that a black car struck a house at 823 SW MacVicar.

According to officials on the scene, the man driving was heading west on Hazelton Court when he veered off the road into a resident’s backyard, missed a pool, and came out on the other side of the fence, crossed MacVicar and crashed into the house.

He was transported to Stormont-Vail Hospital and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police are still investigating why the car drove off the road. They said they think the issue might be medical.

Alcohol was not a factor.

Fire Department takes lessons to schools

Great Bend Tribune – September 30, 2013

Great Bend Fire Department Firefighter Michael Reifschneider dons appropriate gear to battle a grease fire during a practice session.

Great Bend Fire Department Firefighter Michael Reifschneider dons appropriate gear to battle a grease fire during a practice session.

Great Bend firefighters are planning a show and tell for elementary school students during October’s Fire Prevention Month. It promises to be a really big show.
Captain Luke McCormick, a member of the fire prevention committee, said for the first time ever the firemen will use a live fire to help educate children about its dangers.
“It’s a very visual effect,” McCormick said, noting it has taken the professionals lots of rehearsal and experimentation to make sure the stunt is safe. It utilizes a stove donated by Great Bend Appliance, a frying pan with lid, some oil and a small amount of water.
“We’ll simulate a grease fire and show them how easy it is to put out with a lid and how dangerous it is to add water,” he said. He explained that the demonstration will take place on a trailer outside each school.
McCormick admitted that sometimes it is a thin line between advising children not to do something and teaching them how to do it. He feels confident that the
appropriate message will be shared.
“We want parents to be aware of what we are doing so they understand when their kids come home talking about it,” he said. He added that parents are welcome to attend.
Firefighters will also explain to students the dangers of using a microwave oven, teach the stop drop and roll technique if they should ever catch on fire and send home information about designing a home fire escape plan.

House fire near Mt. Vernon and Oliver in Wichita

By Robert Marin
KWCH – September 30, 2013

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Two dogs die in a house fire in southeast Wichita.

Crews were called to the 2000 block of S. Elpyco around 8:45 Friday evening. That’s in a neighborhood near Mt. Vernon and Oliver. When crews arrived they found smoke and flames coming from a home.

No people were home at the time, but three dogs were inside the house. Firefighters on scene say two of the dogs died, and the third was taken to a veterinarian.

Investigators believe the fire started in a back bedroom of the home, but they have not pinpointed a cause yet. Damage is estimated between $50,000 and $60,000.

Damaged fire station drive still a quandary for county officials

By Tammy Helm
Fort Scott Tribune – September 30, 2013

The Bourbon County Commissioners continue to grapple with which entity is responsible for repairing a hole in the Garland Fire District’s driveway that may lead to an extensive repair of a storm water drain system.

On Friday, Second District Commissioner Barbara Albright said she went to look at the driveway and also spoke to a representative from the Southeast Kansas Planning Commission about grant possibilities for the work.

On Monday, Road and Bridge Coordinator Jim Harris showed photographs of the damaged area and said repairs could be as simple as filling the hole with rock. On the other hand, the hole is next to a grate where storm water runs into a steel pipe. There is a wall between the hole and the pipe, which Harris said could cave in as soon as the hole is disturbed.

On Monday, the consensus of the commissioners was that the storm water drain system was not the county’s responsibility, nor is the fire district’s driveway. At that time, Albright suggested the fire district could look into obtaining a grant from the SEK Planning Commission. Later, she said grants are available for storm water systems.

“It takes quite a bit of time and money to start the grant process,” Albright said Friday.

She said the first step is to hire an engineer who can determine what the project will entail and the cost.

Albright asked whether Eagle Road, which runs through Garland and past the fire station, is the county’s road since Garland is not incorporated. The drainage system runs along the edge of the road, Albright said.

“So if I live out in the county and there’s an issue with my driveway, is that the township’s responsibility or the county’s responsibility?” County Attorney Terri Johnson asked.

“If you’re out in the county, we would have put that whistle in, and whenever we do that, you make the initial payment and we provide the gravel, do the work and maintain that forever,” Commission Chairman Allen Warren said. “We didn’t do anything here. We didn’t put in that drain system. The bottom line is, who’s responsible? Who’s paying for the engineer? Who put in the pipe?”

Albright said she wonders why the county can’t have an engineer look at the site.

“And I think you’re starting to get us involved,” Warren said.

“Hypothetically, let’s say there is an issue with the water system. Who does it?” Albright asked. “The township? The county?”

“My question is, who’s going to pay for it?” Warren asked. “I don’t know that answer.”

He also said he wonders if the drain system was installed to assist the fire district.

Commissioners also discussed whether the fire district has an optional route for getting the tanker out of the building. Johnson said the district needs to block the entrance because of liability issues with the hole.

Albright said she would like to have an engineer spend a half hour looking at the site.

“Just an eyeball,” Albright said. “Not a study. Just look at it.”

Johnson said the commissioners need to “step away from this situation” and decide what their standard is for such issues.

“I’m OK with an engineer and limit the engineer to 30 minutes,” Warren said. “You’re going to get what you pay for.”

He added that the commissioners will have the final say on the engineer’s report.

Crews Battle Late Night Garage Fire Near Apartment Complex

WIBW – September 30, 2013


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Crews were battling a late night blaze near an apartment complex Saturday.

A storage garage near 12th and Topeka Boulevard caught fire late Saturday night.

Fire crews say that when they arrived the first three unites were fully engulfed in flames.

The fire broke windows and melted blinds in the adjacent apartment building. No one was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Residents say this is the second time the garage has caught fire in three weeks.

Auto accident involving four vehicles

By Ashlee Mayo
Winfield Courier – September 30, 2013

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An accident involving 4 vehicles happened just prior to 6 p.m. Saturday evening at the crossroads of KS-360 and Wheat Road in Winfield.

The Winfield Police Department blocked off the section of the bypass between Wheat Road and Broadway to re-route traffic.

According to Road Sergeant of the Cowley County Sheriff’s Department, Sean Skov, on the scene prior to the accident there were no fatalities. There were 8 victims of the accident, one was airlifted to Wichita by EagleMed, one was taken by Winfield Emergency Medical Services to William Newton Hospital. The remaining victims were taken by private vehicle to the hospital for further treatment.

Winfield Police Department was still investigated the cause of the accident.

Authorities Confirm Pipe Bomb Found In Baxter Springs

By Liz Holliday
KOAM – September 30, 2013

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Authorities find a small pipe bomb in a vehicle near a body shop in Baxter Springs, Kansas early Sunday morning. According to the Baxter Springs Fire Chief, the bomb was located near the intersection of Fifth and Central Avenue in the early hours of the morning.

The area was completely roped off from the public, and authorities say the bomb was taken off site to detonate and dispose of it around one a.m. Sunday morning.

Police are still investigating the situation, but say no one was injured during the incident.

RV fire on I-35

By Jason Johnston
Emporia Gazette – September 27, 2013

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A firefighter with the Lebo Fire Department extinguishes an RV fire Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, on Interstate 35 at milepost 141 near Neosho Rapids. The cause of the fire is unknown. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the fire.

Guns & Hoses game Oct. 13

By Chris Hunter
Salina Journal – September 27, 2013

The eighth annual Guns & Hoses flag football game between the Salina police and fire departments will raise money for two families battling cancer. Police Investigator Ricardo Garcia said the game will start at 11 a.m., Oct. 13, at Salina Stadium. Garcia said donations can be made at the gate to help the families of two people battling cancer.

Northwest Kansas fire crews douse vehicle fires in Trego, Ellis counties

Hays Daily News – September 27, 2013

There were two vehicle fires in Trego County on Thursday, and another one this morning in Ellis County, according to authorities.

At approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, a semi was pushed by high wind into an abandoned vehicle on Interstate 70 at mile marker 142, Trego County Rural Fire Chief Larry Eberle said this morning. The collision ruptured the semi’s right fuel tank, he said, and sparks from the crash caused the fire.

Eberle said trucks and tankers from Trego and Ellis counties responded to the blaze, which burned approximately 160 acres of mainly stubble field before it was contained two hours later.

Eberle said there were no injuries to the semi driver or to firefighters battling the blaze.

Eberle said at approximately midnight, another semi caught fire at mile marker 122 in the county, but he did not yet have other details on that fire this morning.

Ellis County Rural Fire Director Dick Klaus said the Victoria department responded to a vehicle fire on an exit ramp near Victoria this morning, but it was extinguished before units arrived.

Too tall

Hays Daily News – September 4, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 27, 2013

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A Hutchinson Fire Department ladder truck sits parked after striking an overhead bay door Tuesday at the fire station on East Avenue B. Photo by Lindsey Bauman.

Justin “JC” Church


Teen taken into custody after fatal house fire

Hutchinson News – September 27, 2013

A 14-year-old boy was taken into custody Thursday evening on suspicion of deliberately setting a fire to his Hutchinson home that killed his mother and sister.

Sam Vonachen, 14, faces charges of aggravated arson and the murders of Karla Vonachen, 47, and Audrey Vonachen, 11. The Reno County District Attorney’s office said it will file a formal juvenile offender petition in juvenile court.

According to District Attorney Keith Schroeder, investigators determined the fire was deliberately set, with evidence indicating that an accelerant was poured around several rooms on the first floor of the house and ignited.

Dispatch received the 911 call at 12:17 a.m., Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes said. Fire Station No. 2, on the corner of 20th Avenue and Main Street, is a block from the house but by the time the crew arrived on the scene the fire was fully involved, including the front porch.

“Crews were able to pour large amounts of water on the fire and knocked the fire down so they could go inside,” Forbes said.

Firefighters were able to enter the house and on the second floor they found the mother and daughter together in the bedroom. While Audrey died at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center shortly after the fire, her mother, Karla Vonachen, was taken to Via Christi Hospital in Wichita in critical condition. She died later in the day.

Forbes said at first it was believed Sam was in the house, but he was found unharmed. The father was also unharmed.

A large investigative team had gathered at the house Thursday afternoon, including the Office of the State Fire Marshal, investigators with the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Hutchinson Police Department.

Forbes said they assembled a bigger team because the fire involved a fatality.  He said it was important that the investigators leave nothing unturned, examining every wire in the house and any other items they find.

“They are experts in the field and they begin looking at accidental causes for the fire from lamps and wiring,” Forbes said.

A neighbor, Cody Swanson said he heard a commotion about midnight and people yelling. When he stepped outside on his porch and looked west, he saw flames leaping from the house at 4 E. 19th Ave., a block away.

Buhler USD 313 Superintendent Mike Berblinger confirmed that Audrey was a Prosperity Elementary School sixth-grader. He said the school would have counselors in place and a “great plan to help our students and staff.”

“Our counselors are well-trained every year for helping our students work through tragedies,” he said.

Berblinger said people who want to help the family should contact either the district or Prosperity School office. Prosperity Elementary School Principal Randy Doerksen said the school was keeping the family in their thoughts and prayers.

Fire Protection Agreement – Win/Win Approach

By Steve Moody
Stafford County EMS – September 27, 2013

The leaders of Stafford County and its three core cities – Stafford, St. John  and Macksville – signed an agreement today that will provide better fire  protection for county residents at a decreased cost for everybody.

Before this agreement the county had one lone pumper truck that was housed at  the joint fire station in St. John.  The problem with having only one centrally  located truck is the response time to any structure fire in the eastern or  western parts of the county would be very lengthy.

This problem could be addressed by buying two more of these trucks.  One  could be housed at the fire station in Macksville and the other housed at the  fire station in Stafford.  There were two problems with that approach.

First, these trucks are extremely expensive to purchase and maintain – even  if you buy a used one.  And, second is the fire stations in both of these cities  have no room for an additional truck.

So, this was the fire protection problem the county faced, but the cities  also faced problems with fire protection costs.

A little over four years ago the county landed two substantial fire  protection grants.  One of the grants was used to buy a breathing air system  including air packs and a fill station to re-fill the air pack bottles.  The  second grant was used to buy firefighter coats/pants/boots – also known as  “turn-out gear.”

Since the county’s firefighters are the city’s firefighters – and vice versa  – everything has been shared.  But, the question had never been answered as to  whom would pick up the cost of these items when they needed replaced.  Hoping to  hit another grant for the same items is unlikely.

The answer to these problems was, “We should expand the sharing of our  resources.”

Here’s what was done.

The county agreed to shoulder the ongoing costs of the air pack system and  the turn-out gear.  And, the cities agreed to respond within a north/south  corridor county wide with their pumper trucks.

One additional thing was done.  The city of Stafford has a back-up pumper  truck that is subpar to the county’s truck.  Instead of trying to sell the  truck, the county is letting the City of Stafford use the truck as their backup  pumper.  There is a military truck type agreement whereby the truck’s ownership  will remain with the county, but the maintenance will be shouldered by the City  of Stafford.

Be sure and thank your governmental leaders for improving and reducing the  cost of fire protection through partnership.  This sharing of resources is a  great example for other communities in our nation to follow.

Two dead after car crash in Overland Park

By Andrew Lynch
FOX 4 News – September 27, 2013


Two people have died as the result of injuries sustained in a two-car crash at 79th and Mastin on Thursday afternoon. One of the vehicles, a Mitsubishi Eclipse, was being test-driven by 19-year-old male driver at the time of the crash.

Overland Park police stated that the victims are married, the man was 86 years old and the woman was 80 years old. Their names will be released at a later time.

Police said that the Eclipse was traveling southbound on Mastin when that driver ran a stop sign at 79th. The vehicle stuck the victim’s white Cadillac Deville that was traveling eastbound.

An 18-year-old male passenger in the Eclipse was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, the driver was not seriously injured. Investigators are returning to the site of the crash on Friday to take more measurements and determine whether charges will be filed or not.

HazMat Program Director vacancy announcement

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has an opening for a Full-time Unclassified HazMat Program Director.  This position plans, organizes and directs all activities of the Hazardous Material Response (HazMat) Division.  Works with the Staff Development Specialist II to create and deliver quality hazmat training programs statewide.  Represents the State Fire Marshal at numerous fire service functions.  Serves on committees, advisory boards and work teams to promote hazmat awareness and educate people about the capabilities of the hazmat response program.  Acts as consultant to the State Fire Marshal on issues of hazmat.  Develops position requirements for response team members and ensures contacting entities have adequately trained and equipped personnel to meet their contractual obligations.  Ensures all valid requests for assistance are responded to within designated time frames and in accordance with applicable federal and state laws that govern the activity.  Develops evaluation standards and periodically evaluates each response team’s effectiveness.  Requires statewide travel with some requiring overnight stays.

Full time, unclassified with benefits, Rate of Pay – $52,312.00 annually.

Minimum Requirements:  Two years’ experience in planning, organizing and directing the work of a department, program or agency.  Extensive knowledge of chemicals, their flammable or harmful properties, interactions and criteria for their transport.  Ability to supervise; coordinate program activities with other agencies and jurisdictions; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; use tack and diplomacy in dealing with people; keep records; prepare reports and formulate division budget.  Possess three years of experience in managing, administering and/or supervising human, financial, physical or informational resources and five years’ experience working in some facet of hazmat program administration or response.  Must be familiar with all federal and state laws and regulations applicable to hazardous materials; the handling and transportation of, and handling of incidents involving hazardous materials.  Education may be substituted for experience as determined relevant by the agency.

Licenses, Certifications & Registration:  Must have a current, valid Kansas driver’s license.

Performance Standards:  To be successful, the expectation is that a candidate will be able to competently perform the routine tasks of the position with limited supervision within six (6) months of hire date.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 4 STEPS.

STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form at

STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form at

STEP 3:  Submit your online application to the Fire Marshal.

STEP 4:  Submit additional required documents to

Include your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents.

Required Documents:

Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal

Cover Letter


College Transcripts

valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate

send to Brenda Schuette,

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

NOTE:  If you lack any of the required experience and want us to consider relevant education, you must provide copies of your transcripts/certificates before the closing date.


Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website at .  Your application will be considered incomplete if not submitted within 48 hours after the job posting closes.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  Applicants are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Recruiter Contact Information:

Name:  Brenda L. Schuette
Phone: 785-296-0654

Agency Information:

Office of the State Fire Marshal
700 SW Jackson, Suite 600
Topeka, Kansas   66603

How You Will Be Evaluated:  Once you complete and submit your application materials, they will be reviewed to ensure you meet the minimum and any special requirements.  Next, your application will be evaluated and rated based on preferred qualifications for the position.

What to Expect Next:  After your application is evaluated and ranked, you may be contacted for a possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome after the selection process is complete.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer



Grass Fire I-70

Hays Post – September 26, 2013

Larry Eberle with the Trego County Rural Fire said that the fire was the result of a 2 vehicle accident.  He said a semi truck was heading westbound on I 70.   As the truck went around a curve in the interstate, strong winds pushed the truck into an abandoned car resting on the shoulder of the road.  The semi left the roadway and the fire spread from there.

The resulting blaze quickly spread a mile north across a wheat stubble field, thanks in part to the strong winds.  The fire began spreading into the milo field to the west, but crews quickly contained it in all directions.  Three units form Ellis County Rural Fire and one from Trego County responded.  The semi truck driver was not injured.

Smoke odor forces evacuation of Wichita medical building

By George Lawson
KFDI – September 26, 2013

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A building at Wesley Medical Center was evacuated for a short time when a smoke smell was reported on the top floor.   The odor was reported on the 6th floor of the Wesley Medical Arts Tower, near Hillside and Murdock.

A number of fire trucks were sent to the building, but battalion chief Rich Harris said it turned out to be more of an exercise than an emergency.    He said an electrical problem caused the odor, and there was no fire or any serious damage.

The odor was reported around 11 a.m. Friday, and employees were allowed back into the building by noon.

Disaster drill

By Chris Hunter
Salina Journal – September 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

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Three bodies laid Thursday about 50 feet from where firefighters from the Salina Airport Authority’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting station sprayed foam and water on an airplane that supposedly had crashed.

As the foam covered the ground and the water moved toward one of the bodies, Salina Airport Authority Director Tim Rogers tapped the man on the shoulder and told him he should move, so he wouldn’t get wet.

Up jumped the man in his 20s, and he moved about 20 feet away from the foam. The others followed suit, moving away from the foam and water then getting back down on the ground.

So much for being dead.

While the drama playing out on the tarmac Thursday morning wasn’t exactly realistic, Rogers said the possibility of a plane crashing at the airport is very real, and it’s important for first responders to be prepared.

“We want first responder agencies to practice for an actual aircraft accident at the airport,” Rogers said.

He said Thursday’s exercise was a requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration; airports must hold exercises every three years to be certified.

“We have spent the better part of the last year making changes to the airport’s emergency response plan, having discussions and planning this exercise,” Rogers said.

Involved in the exercise were the Salina Fire Department, the airport’s firefighting station, Kansas Highway Patrol, Salina Police Department, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Salina Regional Health Center; Saline County Emergency Management, Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Red Cross and others.

Hannah Furbeck, director of Saline County Emergency Management, said the incident fulfills everyone’s training needs.

“We are killing five birds with one stone,” Furbeck said. “It is cost effective, and you have to practice with your partners.

The Incident

Furbeck said the incident was designed as a plane crash that would test the capabilities of different first responders.

According to information provided by the airport authority, the crash involved Blue Sky Flight 55, which had 27 people on board. The plane was supposedly flying from Salina to Kansas City and crashed about 8 a.m. while attempting an emergency landing, killing three and injuring several passengers.

A mock news release indicated that the passengers included a “local community group traveling by plane to Kansas City before continuing on to Argentina for a mission trip.”

Firefighters treated the injured at the scene and moved the bodies of the three dead passengers. The injured were taken to Salina Regional Health Center for treatment.

Media were allowed near the scene while firefighters treated five of the injured. ARFF firefighters continued spraying the plane, which was brought from Crisis City.

“Getting out and participating in this exercise and making the communications systems and interacting between agencies makes us better,” Rogers said.

Rogers said planes have crashed at Salina Regional Airport in the past, but he couldn’t remember the last one. He said there have been only minor injuries in recent years.

“Airports have accidents, just like our streets, highways, and the training that was put into practice helps first responders practice,” Rogers said.

Fixing issues

While first responders worked, monitors watched the exercise and took notes, Furbeck evaluated the performance after it was over.

“We try to practice how we play,” Furbeck said. “We do what we would in a real event. We can plan around the table all we want but until you do it, you cannot find what is wrong and needs to be fixed.”

Rogers said real-world incidents, such as a recent plane crash in San Francisco, help the airports develop the exercises.

“We study accidents and other events because it serves as a reminder,” Rogers said. “We learn from other locations and events to learn not to make those mistakes here. You try to do better for when your time comes.”

Roger said practicing helps the first responders, but it is hard to tell what will happen when a real event occurs.

“A simulated exercise tests written-down protocols that are to be implemented,” Rogers said. “Even in a simulated exercise, there is some sense of confusion or someone doesn’t understand their role or how to accomplish their task. That is what these exercises test. The difference between an event like this and the real thing is more stressful and confusing. We do this to get better.”

Stockton’s new fire truck has arrived

Stockton Sentinel – September 19, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

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Through donations from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Stockton Car Show and other fundraisers, a total of $45,000.00 had been raised to help with the purchase of a new fire truck for the City of Stockton. The remainder of the money ($63,000.00) for the fire truck was paid for out of the Stockton City Gifts Funds, with the loan to be paid back over the next four years at a rate of .25% interest.

The 2013 Ford F-550, 500-gallon tank brush unit truck was ordered last November 2012 and arrived in Stockton on Friday, September 6, 2013. Weis Fire of Salina built the truck.

This vehicle adds to the City’s feet, which includes an existing brush truck, two pumper trucks, two water tankers and one rescue truck.

The truck is equipped with a front mount monitor that can be activated by the driver. This means that the department can start putting out a fire before the volunteers even step out of the vehicle since the nozzle can be directed to start spraying out a stream of water from the 500-gallon tank. The updates also include a rear pump monitor, LED signals and floodlights mounted on the cab and in the back, and fire hoses that are made of lighter material, making them easier to handle.

And it didn’t take long to see how the new fire truck worked since it was called out on Saturday, September 7th for a grass fire.

Fire Chief Jon Voss is excited about the new addition to the fleet, especially since some of the updates can take the place of a volunteer when manpower is at a minimum or needed elsewhere during a fire.

Hopefully, the first glimpse of the new fire truck for the public is during the SHS Homecoming Parade, but it is good to know that the vehicle is ready to roll when the fire alarm is sounded.

Jack Snavely

jack snavely

Jack L. Snavely, 77, Perry, died September 12, 2013, at his home.

He was born April 18, 1936, in Lawrence, the son of Elgin W. and Ida E. Hillman Crittenden Snavely.

Jack and Elizabeth Anne were married March 28, 1955. She survives of the home.

He is survived by his children and grandchildren, and a large extended family.

Mr. Snavely entered the U.S. Army in 1955 and, after many years of service, was honorably discharged.

He was an ordained minister. Later in life, his passion was to help children and families in need. He and his wife founded the Alpha Christian Children’s Home in Perry in 1972 where they served children in need for 33 years until they retired in 2005. He was active with Alpha’s board of directors until the time of his death.

He was one of the founding members of the Rural Township Fire Department, Jefferson County Fire District No. 3, formed in 1984, where he served as assistant fire chief for 16 years.

Private services were held September 14 at the Underwood Cemetery, rural Perry.

Close call

Russell County News – September 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

russell co fire 9262013

It was an early wake up call for Jenny Baldwin, 120 Cindy Drive, who woke up and could hear popping sounds and could also smell smoke, Friday, September 13 at 6 a.m. Thankfully, the electrical fire was determined to be caused by a power surge.

Commission reminded about liability insurance involving vehicles, equipment

Montgomery County Chronicle – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

County commissioners on Monday were reminded that the county’s liability insurance does not provide coverage to privately-owned vehicles of county employees, including rural firefighters.

Doug Buckles of Newkirk, Dennis and Buckles and Rob Gill of the Jim Gill Agency told commissioners that the county’s insurance also does not cover vehicles that are borrowed from other governmental agencies. Only vehicles that are owned or rented are covered under the county’s insurance package, the two insurance agents said.

The issue of insurance coverage was brought to light earlier in the month when commissioners learned that a member of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Department was pulling a trailer containing a generator belonging to the South Coffeyville Fire Department. The generator was used in the search and recovery of an Independence teenager who drowned in the Verdigris River.

The hitch on the generator trailer damaged the rural firefighter’s tailgate, causing more than $2,000 in damage.

However, the county’s insurance did not provide any coverage for the rural firefighter because the vehicle was a privately-owned truck and not one that was owned by Montgomery County.

Red Cross “Battle of the Badges”

Minneapolis Messenger – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

The annual “Battle of the Badges” between the Minneapolis Fire Department, EMT, and Law Enforcement was held on August 13 with 64 donors participating. Donors enjoyed root beer floats and hot dogs. Door prizes were drawn. The Minneapolis Volunteer Fire Department came out on top again as the winner’s with a vote of 27 to 24 Law Enforcement.

Louisburg Parade

Louisburg Herald – September 4, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

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Golfers Tee Off To Help Mayetta Fire Department

By Melissa Brunner
WIBW – September 26, 2013


Golfers burned up the links in an effort to keep their firefighters safer.

The second annual “Balls of Fire” golf tournament teed off at Firekeeper Golf Course Thursday.

Money raised from the event benefits the Mayetta Fire Department. Organizers say the department needs new bunker gear and other protective items.

The Mayetta Fire Department is staffed entirely by volunteers, with nearly two dozen active participants.

69 year-old man burned in northeast side nursing home

By John Wright
KFDI – September 26, 2013

Smoking while on oxygen left a Wichita man in serious condition at a hospital.

The fire happened about 6:23 Thursday morning at the Plaza North Senior Residences at 2113 North Madison. “He was smoking while on oxygen,” Fire Lt. Colby Robertson said.

Its believed the man was treated for smoke inhalation and 3rd degree burns to 10-percent of his body. Crews were able to get into the building with a key left for them.

” We got it as a check a fire that was out. The man called 911 and said there had been a fire, but he thought he had it out. ” said Robertson. The man was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis.

Emporia honors 25 city employees

By Jason Johnston
Emporia Gazette – September 26, 2013

The city of Emporia honored 25 employees for their years of service at a Wednesday ceremony in the Civic Auditorium’s Little Theater.

City Manager Matt Zimmerman handed out awards to employees who worked for the city 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.

Ten years

Brenda Bedolla, Water Department

Gary Burenheide, Public Works

Gary Cherry, Public Works-Sanitation

Debra Davidson, Emporia Police Department

Brandon Mendoza, Emporia Fire Department

Yvonne Richard, Emporia Municipal Court

Ryan Schmidt, Fire Department

Fifteen years

Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Beck

Eric Cammarn, Public Works

Underground Utilities Supervisor Gary Sadowski

Sgt. Lisa Sage, Police Department

Rebecca Samuelson, Engineering

Gerald Tucker, Parks Department

Twenty years

Damon Adkins, Parks Department

Joe Leiszler, Facilities

Sgt. Ray Mattas, Police Department

Richard Rhoades, Public Works

Sanitation Supervisor Keith Senn

Bill West, Fire Department

Twenty-five years

Patrol officer Jim Pritchard, Police Department

David Young, Fire Department

Thirty years

Manager Kenneth Adams, Emporia Municipal Airport

Capt. Larry Bess, Fire Department

Emporia Police Chief Scott Cronk

City Clerk Kerry Sull

Cat odor ‘remedy’ brings out firefighters, leads to exodus

Hutchinson News – September 26, 2013

A solution to get rid of cat odor caused the Hutchinson Fire Department to clear a duplex after carbon monoxide levels were increased.

Residents of the duplex in the 500 block of North Walnut Street share a basement. About 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters were called for an apparent structure fire. When they arrived, there was no fire, but charcoal that was used to create smoke to eliminate cat odor had raised carbon monoxide levels in the duplex, said Battalion Chief Rex Albright.

Firefighters cleared the duplex before opening it up to air it out prior to using their gas fan to get rid of the carbon monoxide.

“We will be here for a little while,” Albright said.

No humans or cats were injured.

Dewayne E. Kiser


First responders prepare at Crisis City

By Chris Arnold
KSN – September 26, 2013


Rescue professionals from across the state are getting the chance to train and prepare for when disaster strikes.

The second day of the sixth annual Kansas Technical Rescue Conference took place at Crisis City in Salina.
More than 125 students and instructors converged on the site to practice a variety of emergency rescue tactics.  The site simulated what would happen if a large building had collapsed.
Classes included Breach and Break, Shoring Operations, Cut and Burn and K-9 Search and Rescue.
Lieutenant Colonel Dirk Christian with the Kansas Army National Guard says that the event offers first-rate hands on training that you couldn’t get anywhere else.
“That’s the reason we built Crisis City about five years ago, so we can all come together in a place that is specially built to hold a conference like this,” said Christian.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Fire Captain Bill Schneider with the Olathe Fire Department.
“There’s nothing else like this in the state of Kansas and it’s our opportunity to come out here and train with the tools in a calm, nice environment,” said Schneider.
More classes will held on Thursday, including a rope rescue, as the three-day conference concludes.
Crisis City opened in October of 2009 and is operated by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.


Hutchinson Fire Department investigates fatal house fire

Hutchinson News – September 26, 2013

(Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News) Hutchinson firefighters wait Thursday morning for the State Fire Marshall's office and the ATF to arrive to investigate a fatal house fire overnight on the northeast corner of 19th Avenue and Main Street.

(Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News) Hutchinson firefighters wait Thursday morning for the State Fire Marshall’s office and the ATF to arrive to investigate a fatal house fire overnight on the northeast corner of 19th Avenue and Main Street.

The Hutchinson Fire Department is investigating a fatal house fire on the northeast corner of 19th and Main that began in the early morning hours on Thursday.

On the Hutchinson Police Department’s report log, the fire was listed as arson.

Few details were available Thursday morning, but Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes said officials will release more information about the fire later this morning, after investigators from the department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Kansas Fire Marshal arrive to assist with the investigation.

According to the Reno County Appraiser’s Office, the owners of the home at 4 E. 19th are Steven and Carla Vonachen.


An 11-year-old girl died in a house fire in Hutchinson earlier today, and her mother has also died, Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder said Thursday evening.

Because of the deaths, fire investigators say they are investigating the fire as a possible arson, but they are not ruling the fire as arson yet.

The fire broke out at the northeast corner of 19th and Main Street early Thursday morning.

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Lincoln home burns

By Jyll Phillips
Lincoln Sentinel Republican – September 12, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 26, 2013

A fire at 701 S 5th Street in the early morning hours of September 10 kept the Lincoln City Fire Department busy for about five hours, and destroyed the home of Lincoln’s Bill and Joan Delmer.

Abby Liggett, 705 S 5th, woke up around 2 a.m., to a power outage. Finding no reason for the outage, Liggett contacted the Sheriff’s office to investigate, and possibly contact the city.

“Deputy Craig Shearer came to my house and checked the area. When I stepped out on my front porch, I looked at the house next door and saw smoke, then flames,” Liggett said. “The deputy, my boyfriend, and I started pounding on their doors to wake them up and get them out of there.”

The fire call went out about 2:15 a.m.

“It’s a good thing the Delmers got out of there when they did,” said Lincoln City Fire Chief Terry Stertz. “It could have been so much worse.”

Stertz said, while the fire is still under investigation, he is pretty certain it started at the electric meter, where power enters the home.

While some items may be salvageable, the fire took many of the family’s most important keepsakes.

“The house is not liveable,” Stertz said.

Crews clear smoke from St. Gregory Suites

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 26, 2013

Topeka fire crews removed smoke early Thursday from a downtown apartment building, with no injuries or evacuations reported.

Crews were sent at 5 a.m. to the St. Gregory Suites, 635 S.W. Harrison, on an automatic fire alarm.

First-arriving crews found light smoke on the second floor. Authorities said the smoke came from burned food in one of the units.

Crews ventilated the building of the smoke and cleared the scene by around 5:30 a.m.

Crop-Dusting Plane Crashes Near Ulysses

KAKE – September 26, 2013

A crop-dusting pilot has escaped unharmed after his plane crashed near Ulysses.

Grant  County Undersheriff Chad Harmon tells KAKE News the crash was reported around 6:30 p.m. near Grant County Road 5 and Road E.  Harmon says the plane went down in a nearby cornfield.

The pilot was able to escape safely and was not hurt.  The plane itself caught fire and was completely destroyed.

Undersheriff Harmon says the Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Creekstone: Conveyor system fire controlled

By Shane Farley
NewsCow – September 25, 2013


Heavy smoke and fire from a large conveyor system damaged portions of the Creekstone Farms Premium Beef facility in Ark City Wednesday.

Just before 5 p.m. fire crews were dispatched to the facility where heavy smoke was coming from the southeast corner of the building. The fire was under control within in an hour.

Little external damage could be seen, though it was clear the inside of the building was thick with smoke.

Fire chief Bobby Wolfe said that in addition to smoke and fire, crews also had to work around a large whipping conveyor belt. No significant injuries were reported, however, a firefighter was being evaluated after being exposed to ammonia.

The presence of ammonia and natural gas was a safety concern for firefighters and plant workers and added a complication to fighting the blaze, Wolfe said.

Initial reports indicated that fabrication, slaughter and ground beef departments would not operate Thursday.

Summers Lonely For Wildland Firefighter, Loved Ones

By Shelly Watkins
Harvey County Independent – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

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While firemen are away from home and working hard to fight wildfires all around the United States, their counterparts are working to keep the “home fires” burning.

Many women dream of marrying a man in uniform, but they have no idea what it is going to be like waiting at home for that man to return safe and sound.

A local couple who recently got engaged, Jessica Kieffer and Troy Mueller, know what firefighting means in a relationship.

Mueller grew up in Halstead and now lives in Hutchinson where he is a captain in the Hutchinson Fire Department. Mueller gained valuable experience in fighting wildfires in 1996 when he spent a season as a Wildland Firefighter with the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. Then in 1997, he began working for the Hutchinson Fire Department where he continues today.

Keiffer grew up outside of El Dorado. She moved to Burrton in 2008 and is currently working as a substitute teacher. “Substituting works great for us right now; it gives me the flexibility I need,” she said.

Keiffer and Mueller met at a Kevin Fowler concert in late 2007. The couple then dated for about a year, getting more serious in the spring of 2008.

Both have been married before and have children from previous marriages. They also have a 2-year old daughter together. Together the couple has a family of eight, with the six children ranging in ages from 2-14.

“When Troy and I got together, of course I knew he was a firefighter. It wasn’t until later that I learned he also fought wildfires, and there’s a big difference. Each summer since we’ve been together, he has gone on a fire assignment in a different state and is gone for about 16 days,” said Keiffer. “During the summer of 2011, he actually went on two assignments, first going to Georgia, being gone for 17 days, then later in the summer he went to Arkansas and was gone for 23 days. I go through about a million emotions.”

For Keiffer, the first year was very hard. “I had never known anything about wildfire or the people that fought them,” said Keiffer. Over the last five years Keiffer has learned a lot about the in’s and out’s of fighting wildfires. “I get sad the second I learn he has been called up for an assignment, but he is excited and already going through his checklist making sure he has everything packed and ready to go.”

During his travel time, Keiffer maintains a calm demeanor and thinking with a heavy heart about not seeing Mueller for weeks and wondering how good communications will be where he gets stationed.

“It depends completely on where I am, up there in the mountains it is rare to have service. But I try and call as much as I can. It is always great to hear Jessica’s voice and talk to the kids,” said Mueller. Both times that Mueller was gone this summer the couple was able to speak daily for at least a few minutes. “It was wonderful, those few minutes or even just a simple text can wash away all worry and fill me with complete happiness and pride, knowing he is doing such a hard, yet worthwhile job,” said Keiffer.

It’s around the time of his arrival on scene that the real anxiety sets in for Keiffer. “I begin to worry about his safety. I know that he is extremely good at his job but that nagging worry is always there,” she said.

Mueller’s absence not only affects his fiancé but also their kids. According to Keiffer, the five older kids do well when he leaves. “They know it is his job and that he’ll be home when it’s done. I think they have also learned a real sense of pride for what he does. However they begin to miss him as well and I get a lot of, “When will Troy be home?” from all the kids,” said Keiffer.

This summer was the first year their youngest daughter, Emily, began to understand what was going on. “We dropped Troy off at his rental car for his first assignment this summer in Colorado from June 26 until July 11. I spent a lot of time answering the question, ‘Where’s my daddy?’ or ‘When daddy be home?’ The second assignment was in Oregon and he flew out early on July 31 and was gone until August 21. We took him to the airport and saw him off on the big airplane (as Emily puts it),” said Keiffer.

Everyday became slightly harder on Emily. She threw extra tantrums and often refused to talk to her daddy when he called because she was upset at him for being gone. Emily often found comfort in the middle of each night by sneaking into bed with her mom. The family tried to stay busy this summer but often found it difficult due to the weather.

“I will say that this summer was among the worst considering the huge tragedy in Arizona for the 19 hotshots that were killed while fighting a fire. Near the end of each assignment I start to get very edgy whether I’ve been talking to him throughout or not, just because I’m frustrated being home without him,” said Keiffer. “I honestly think he is an awesome Captain for Hutch Fire Department, and the knowledge he has when it comes to wildfire keeps me in awe constantly. Many of the things he talks about I may not understand completely but I do know that he puts everything aside and is 100 percent in tune with all of his fire knowledge as he is out doing the job that he does best,” said Keiffer.

While he is away she stays busy with Emily, the youngest, and keeps their everyday life going with all the kids’ sports and other activities the kids might have. “Sometimes I sit and do nothing because I’ve just become exhausted from worry and being alone,” said Keiffer.

“Even though I’m very busy while I’m on assignment, I can’t help but think about Jessica several times a day,” said Mueller, “I miss her and the kids but I have to stay focused on the job at hand.”

Not only does this dangerous work take an emotional toll on the family, it affects their everyday life. There are other responsibilities that Keiffer takes care of while Mueller is risking his life to fight fires. “Troy is very organized so there isn’t a lot of extra work for me to do. I make sure all his mail is picked up and the bills get paid. Sometimes I may run small extra errands he asks me to do, like getting his truck ready to get new tires put on,” said Keiffer.

Living this lifestyle has many joys and it has its challenges. The couple have spent many hours talking about their future together and both of them can agree that “love conquers all” it conquers their fears and confirms their promises to each other.

“I have many fears about his work, mostly that some major accident could happen and he may get injured, but I have to trust in his abilities and know he is truly awesome at what he does,” said Keiffer.

As the time approaches when Mueller will be returning home from his assignments, Keiffer tries to maintain a positive atmosphere. “I begin to get excited a few days before he is to come home, and I try to keep my worries aside—for the kids’ sake. I don’t want them to worry as well. After two or more weeks I am overly excited at the thought of seeing his face and getting that huge hug and kiss that has been missing for what seems like forever. Then I try to reign in my pity and my emotions. I realize I have it easier than so many people, especially military families, because they are gone for considerably longer amounts of time and may have no communication at all with their families,” she said

“I love what I do, and I plan to continue my work, but coming home to my family is an amazing feeling,” said Mueller.

“Seeing his face the second he returns whether it’s at the airport or sitting on the front porch waiting for those last few miles to pass, the tears start to flow and I suddenly feel completely whole again,” said Keiffer. “He is my everything, and the pride I have in that man, simply overflows.”

Since he returned from his Oregon assignment last week, Mueller’s youngest daughter has been very demanding of his time. “I’ve had to fight with Emily for his attention,” laughed Keiffer, “but it’s OK because he is here. I can look over and see his smiling face, completely safe and I know I have about 10 months before I have to miss him like that again.”

The couple has planned their wedding for this fall. They will be getting married in Las Vegas on October 23.

Firefighters return for MDA fundraiser

By Allen Smith
Independence Daily Reporter – September 1, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

montgomery co fire 9252013

For just under three decades, the Independence division of the Montgomery County Rural Fire District No. 1, has been helping the Muscular Dystrophy Association fight neuromuscular diseases.

Friday night, just has he has for the past 27 years, longtime volunteer firefighter Harry Barker took his turn at holding a boot at the front entrance of the Independence Walmart Supercenter taking donations for MDA patients.

“I’ve done this for a long time,” Barker said. “It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s a way to help kids with this terrible disease. Hopefully, one of these days a cure can be found for muscular dystrophy.”

The past few years the local firefighters have been stationed at Walmart, a little safer venue than when the project started 27 years ago.

“We used to stand at the intersections at 10th and Main and Penn and Myrtle holding these boots, collect money while people are stopped at the stop lights. It was dangerous, but that was part of the excitement of it.”

“We had more participation in those days,” Barker said. “We had volunteers at each of the four crosswalks, in the middle of the street collecting money for MDA.”

“It was a little dangerous, but you just had to be alert and watch what you were doing,” he said. “However, several years ago we were asked to find other locations, maybe in front of retail outlets to do our project.”

“It is safer, especially now that we have cell phones to deal with,” Barker said. “Too many people drive and talk on cell phones taking their full attention from their driving. Someone could get hit these days a lot easier than in the past.”

Standing at the Walmart entrances work out well.

“We pretty much stand right here, the people come to us as they go in the store. It works out pretty well,” Barker said.

The goal for this year, according to Bill Caflisch, the fire chief of the Independence division, is $1,700.

“That’s the amount we collected last year,” he said. “We hope we can match…maybe collect more.”

In the past, local firefighters have taken the money they collected to Joplin, Mo., and participated in the MDA Labor Day Telethon held at KODE-TV.

Caflisch said Independence is the furthest community west in the Joplin MDA district.

He also indicated the MDA office in Joplin has closed, and the district director works out of her home.

“The KODE telethon has been discontinued, and its been moved to Springfield. We’re not going to Springfield, the money we collect here will be sent to the MDA officials in the form of a check to the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” Caflisch said.

He also noted the money raised in the Joplin district remains in this area in an attempt to assist those with the disease.

Barker said over the years he has seen some touching moments.

“I remember one year a boy who had muscular dystrophy wheeled himself up to me and said he wanted to donate some money to help other kids who suffer from muscular dystrophy,” Barker said.

“He was in an electric wheelchair and said he wanted to help other kids with muscular dystrophy and put his money in my boot, that was touching. Brought tears to my eyes,” he said.

“That’s why we do this…you never know what you’re going to see. Things like that young boy wanting to help others is what this is all about…makes it all worth it,” Barker said.

Partial Roof Collapse Impacts Three Buildings

By Jason Jump
Kingman Leader Courier – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

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kingman fire 9252013b

A partial roof collapse last Friday on the building housing the Kingman Humane Society’s 2nd Chance thrift store has the board scrambling to regroup.

President of the Humane Society board Tamara Simpson said while this is a setback for the newly reorganized group, her board members are looking at this as an opportunity to start with a fresh slate.

“Everything so far up to this point has been a positive influence,” Simpson said of the group’s restructuring process. “All of our new board members are positive and gung-ho. We’re motivated to take the (thrift) shop, as well as the Humane Society and put it on a positive track and expand it.

“We do not have intentions of stopping. We intend to re-open in a new location and start from scratch and basically on a whole new sheet of paper.”

Simpson said the process that eventually led to the partially collapsed roof started back on August 15 when the chimney fell over onto the roof causing damage that eventually allowed rain waters to flood the back portion of the building.

A cleanup company was contacted to take care of the water that had accumulated. Once their work began Simpson said she started to see the north wall starting to bow. A few days later cracks in the brick wall could be seen.

The roof collapse did cause damage to the building to the north where the Oil and Wind Room was located. It is thought that some damage could have also occurred to the building to the south of the thrift store which the Nu 2 U thrift store uses as a processing center.

All three businesses are currently closed as insurance personnel assess the damage.

Tom Archer, with the city’s building and zoning department, said the collapse is in the hands of the owners of the three buildings at this point. He said the city will give the owners time to work with their insurance companies to come up with solutions.

Simpson said the Humane Society was already looking for a new place to go even before the roof caved in on their store. She and another volunteer had made plans to return to the store on Saturday morning to start packing after they had spent much of the morning in the building on Friday.

The store’s content is all but a loss for the group as well, according to Simpson. She said that 50-75 percent are definitely not salvageable. She said there is a possibility the contents in the very front of the store could be saved if the group is allowed back into the building at some point.

Simpson said a disaster relief fund has been set up at Citizens Bank of Kansas, where those wishing to help the Humane Society regroup can make monetary donations.

Simpson asked residents to hold off on physical donations at this point, because there was simply nowhere for the donations to be stored.

Electrical fire damages house near Valley Center

By Chris Strunk
Ark Valley News – September 5, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

A home south of Valley Center suffered heavy damage in a fire that likely started because of an electrical malfunction.

Wichita Fire Lt. Kelly Zane said the fire at 5466 N Charles on September 1 started in an exterior wall where the electrical service enters the home. Crews had to wait for Westar workers to disconnect electricity to the house before they could attack the fire.

Damage to the home was estimated at $20,000 and $15,000 to the contents. No one was hurt. The fire was reported about 4 p.m.

Fire and rescue departments called to be utility players

By Michael Buhler
Conway Springs Star Argosy – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

The emergency landing of an airplane near Cheney Lake—a plane that originally was thought to have landed northeast of Conway Springs—has brought renewed attention to the many roles that local fire and rescue departments have to play in their communities.

Fire and rescue departments in south central Kansas almost literally have to be the jacks-of-all-trades, ready to respond to anything at anytime.

“I always make a joke that if somebody calls 911 and they can’t direct it toward police or EMS, it goes to fire,” Conway Springs Fire Chief Mike Erker said. “But that’s the way it is. I think it’s because we’re maybe a little more diverse than police or EMS, and that we have more equipment. In our fire training we have more diverse training. If a plane goes down it’s on fire, and if there are people injured or trapped, they need rescue.”

Jim Patterson of the Viola Fire Department echoed Erker’s sentiments.

“There are so many things you have to watch for,” Patterson said. “You can’t always be prepared or you’d not be able to afford the equipment. We try to do a lot of training. For example, the technique of simple extrication out of a car wreck can be used on a lot of other things.”

Patterson said that the Viola Fire Department has not seen an exceptional number of extraordinary incidents, saying that “we’ve been lucky.”

“The only thing that we’ve had lately was a truck rollover on K-42,” Patterson said. “It took a lot more resource than one department had. We had to get help and do a lot of thinking outside the box. There also was a plane crash out by Suppesville about 25 years ago, but that was over and done with the moment it hit the ground.”

Erker said that the Conway Springs Fire Department has had a few incidents outside of “traditional” firefighting, including some things in the agricultural realm.

“We had a plane incident one time which was similar to the one up by the lake last week,” Erker said. “We’ve had quite a range of problems, including a grain elevator fire and tornadoes. The grain elevator fire stands out. It was as bad or as devastating as a tornado, and it was above what we were trained for at the time.”

Scott Spinks, the chief of the Argonia Fire Department, also says that fire and rescue departments have to be prepared for things across the board.

“We have to be ready for typically pretty much anything, from a crop duster crash to rescue and vehicle extrication,” Spinks said. “Sometimes we have to be ready for search and rescue, such as when people get lost in the woods near the Chikaskia River. Sometimes people wander away from accidents and we have to find them. Tornadoes are a big thing, especially with storm season coming up again. It can be pretty interesting.”

Two of the more recent storms to hit Argonia also have stood out to Spinks.

“We had power lines down and had extensive damage throughout the town,” Spinks said. “We had gas leaks during the storm. We have quite a variety here in Argonia. One of the big things that also stood out was the night of the April 14 tornado in 2012. One of the unusual things we came across were tree limbs that drove into the side of propane tanks.”

Truck catches fire after crash in KCK

FOX 4 News – September 25, 2013

kck fire 9252013

One person was in serious condition after a two-vehicle crash at 7th and Parallel on Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the scene at about 9:15 a.m. and found a person trapped inside, and a pickup truck in flames.

Firefighters had to bring out their extrication tools to pull the person out of one of the vehicles.

The victim was taken away with serious injuries.

Fire department responds to car fire

Jewell County Record – August 29, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 25, 2013

On August 14, at around 2 p.m., the Mankato Volunteer Fire Department was called to an automobile fire on N. West St. in Mankato. The car, registered to Todd and Gina Jeffrey, was a total loss. The cause was undetermined and the fire was confined to under the hood of the vehicle.

Fire destroys abandoned house

KSN – September 25, 2013


An empty home is no longer standing after a late night fire Tuesday.

Crews were called to the home near 119 th St. West and Kellogg around 10:30 Tuesday night.

They found it completely engulfed in flames and were not able to fight off the flames.

There was no one in the home and it is believed to be deserted.

Investigators said there wasn’t any electricity going to the house and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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