Archive for October, 2013

Dive team trains at Clinton Lake

By Liz Zamora
Channel Six News – October 30, 2013


Members of the Douglas County Underwater Search and Recovery Team trained in Clinton Lake. Officer Mik Shanks has been on the dive team since 1988, after the dive team became part of the sheriff’s office.

“We’ve been lucky to evolve to a really top notch team in this region and it’s been great to be a part of that,” said Shanks.

On Wednesday diving down to 18 feet, the water was 50 degrees and the visibility was down to zero.

“In lakes around here we can’t see anything, so when we drop down, we can’t tell the difference if we’re closing or opening our eyes and that makes it that much more dangerous for things like entanglements,” said Detective Dean Ohman.

The team recently helped the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department look for evidence in the Corey Brown murder investigation. Brown disappeared  January 3, 2012. His body was found two days later five miles west of Lecompton. They didn’t find evidence but found a car, a safe and an urn that authorities believed held ashes.

Earl Barnes of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical has been on the team for several years. He says the team members have become very close.

“It’s a very dangerous business that we’re in so you have a lot of trust in each other and part of that is developing a camaraderie,” said Barnes.

Deb Porter is the only female member of the dive team. She called herself a water baby.

“If we are able to close a case or give a family member back a loved one, then that’s what it’s all about,” said Porter.

The dive team is comprised of members of the Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence-Douglas Fire Medical.

Crane damaged in morning fire

By Nick Sloan
Kansas City Kansan – October 30, 2013

A fire at a local railroad yard in Kansas City, Kan., resulted in $700,000 worth of damage to a crane.

Firefighters responded to 720 S. 38th Street in KCK just after 8 a.m. Wednesday morning on a fire call.

After arriving, they discovered a large railroad crane on fire.

“Crews were informed crane was being used to load semi-trailers onto railroad transport cars when the crane caught fire,” said Craig Duke, KCKFD Deputy Chief. “The crane operator was able to exit crane control compartment safely. Crews were able to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes.”

No one was hurt in the fire.


Oil well explodes during lightning storm

Leavenworth Times – October 30, 2013

An oil well exploded and became engulfed in flames following a lightning strike this morning in northern Leavenworth County, according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office.

The incident was reported at 4:36 a.m. today at 22312 Happy Hollow Road. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters from multiple departments responded to the fire as well as Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

The oil well is owned and operated by Daystar Petroleum. Employees of the company responded to the scene and turned off the oil well, according to the report.

A propane tank was too close to the fire and could not be shut off. The tank was allowed to burn off its gas for the safety of the firefighters.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is expected to visit the site to assess the damage, according to the report.

Medic unit for sale

See below for information on 1993 Ford ambulance for sale by Anderson County Fire Department.

medic unit info

Anderson County Fire and Emergency Management
Office: 785-448-6797
Cell/Text: 785-448-4194
Fax: 785-448-1695

Firefighting first set for Holcomb

By Scott Aust
Garden City Telegram – October 30, 2013

For the first time ever, the Holcomb Community Fire Department will be hosting firefighters from across the state for a fire training school through the Kansas State Firefighters Association Nov. 16 – 17 at Holcomb High School.

Bill Knight, Holcomb Fire Chief, estimated anywhere from 125 to 200 firefighters from fire departments around the state will attend the fire school on Nov. 16 and 17.

The association offers fire schools several times a year across the state. Holcomb and its fire department, which consists of 20 volunteer firefighters, are probably the smallest communities and department to host one, Knight said.

“It’s state of the art training, not just for volunteers. We expect all of Garden City’s firefighters to be there, and we’ve received confirmation from several of the smaller surrounding towns that they’ll be there,” Knight said. “This is really world-class training for out west here. It’s offered quite often in the eastern part of the state and the major cities, but very seldom out here in small towns.”

Gary Newman, Holcomb mayor, said hosting the fire school is a positive event for the city, bringing some recognition to the department.

“It’s an honor to be able to host it. With so many fire departments and personnel coming through, it speaks highly of Chief Knight’s involvement at the local and state level to be able to host it,” Newman said.

Newman said it also should help bring some economic benefit locally, mostly to the county, but also to businesses in Holcomb like Ron’s Market, which might get a boost with so many people coming to town.

Training will include both classroom and hands-on training in defensive driving, responding to railway emergencies, wildland fires, oil tank battery fires and grain elevator fires. There will also be a live burn trailer and a new Kansas University fire skills trailer on hand.

One of the classes Knight looks forward to his firefighters taking is responding to railway emergencies, a class Knight took a couple of years ago and wanted to bring to Holcomb’s fire school. Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is bringing in an instructor to offer a detailed class about railroad emergencies.

“Not only will it help with people who have BNSF right of way in their district, but any train engine is set up the same way, by law, for the kill-switch locations, how they work, how they operate, the identification of tank cars,” Knight said. “Just from the silhouette of the car, you can tell whether it’s high pressure, low pressure, and things like that.”

One of the things the public can come out and look at, Knight said, is the brand new Kansas University Fire and Rescue Institute firefighter skills trailer, which will be making one of its first appearances anywhere in the state on Nov. 17 at Holcomb.

The KU skills trainer is built into a 50-foot semi-trailer and offers training in forced entry, ventilation, sprinkler and valve training and a lot of other hands-on training never before offered in a mobile classroom. The specially designed training trailer includes a glass-breaking room, wall-breaching room and forcible entry door.

The KSFFA also will have a live burn trailer on site in which fires can be started.

“Firefighters gear up in all their safety gear, go in, observe the fire’s behavior and what different types of water pressures, water patterns will do to knock the fire down, keep the fire under control, prevent a flash over or a more dangerous situation,” Knight said. “While the general public wouldn’t be able to go in, they can sure come by and visit the facilities. This is the first time KU has brought this trailer out here. It’s brand new.”

In addition to firefighters, the school has a couple of classes that also will benefit EMTs, such as defensive driving and firefighter rehab. Knight said following a house or grass fire when firefighters have been on scene awhile, they often go to firefighter rehab, where EMS provides oxygen and checks their vital signs. Defensive driving is training Knight requires all Holcomb firefighters to have once each year.

“Those are big trucks. I get a bunch of 19 to 25 year olds driving them. It’s extremely important,” he said.

Fire school classes are free, paid for by the KSFFA and sponsors. School participants planning to go through the KU skills trainer trailer need to pre-register through KU’s website, , or by calling (866) 804-8841.

For more information about the fire school, contact Knight at (620) 277-2250 or (620) 275-5858, or by email at .

School Schedule


Lightning hits rural home

Great Bend Tribune – October 30, 2013

Lightning struck a house Monday night at 237 SE 40 Road, following the cable TV line into the house.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said firefighters were dispatched to the rural home at 10:59 p.m., but there was no fire.
Sheriff Brian Bellendir said the occupant, listed on the call log as Donna Williams, was home at the time and could smell smoke. The lightning strike left the cable red hot, and made a small hole in the roof. Everyone exited safely.
At 7:26 a.m. Tuesday, Great Bend firefighters were dispatched to SW 60 Road and SW 60 Ave., where a power pole was on fire.
There were no fires over the weekend, but there was one false alarm on Saturday, caused by a malfunction, and two false alarms on Sunday. There was also a natural gas leak Sunday afternoon at 1015 Wilson St., caused by a limb falling on a meter as people were cutting trees.
GBFD made five ambulance runs last Friday, two Saturday, two Sunday and had a busy day Monday with 11.

1 hospitalized after north-side fire

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – October 30, 2013

One person was hospitalized for what a fire department official said was “severe smoke inhalation” after an early-morning blaze at a North Topeka home.Topeka Fire Department crews were sent at 4:51 a.m. to a house at 1229 N.W. Van Buren on a report of a house fire.

Fire department Shift Commander Mike Thompson said at the scene that first-arriving crews found flames and heavy smoke coming from the front room of the one-story house.

The front door was locked, so fire crews kicked in the door to begin attacking the fire.

Crews had the blaze under control in a matter of minutes, but not before it had ravaged the inside of the home.

One person was reported to have been inside the home at the time of the fire. That person, a man, escaped out the back door of the residence.

Thompson said the  man was taken to a local hospital by American Medical Response ambulance for treatment of smoke inhalation. The man was walking around before he was taken to the hospital.

Crews initially used water that was transported to the scene by two truck companies to fight the fire.

Thompson said a fire hydrant only about 50 feet from the home wasn’t usable because crews couldn’t remove a nut on top of the hydrant.

Crews had to hook up to another fire hydrant about two blocks away and  hand-drag the hose to the home.

Thompson said crews “never ran out of water” during their attack on the fire.

A fire investigator had been called to the scene, but as of 6 a.m. there was no word on a possible cause of the fire or an estimated dollar loss.

“Weez” Vernon E. Duntz, Jr.


Local donor’s vehicular gifts help firefighter ‘crash’ course

By Kristen Roderick
Hutchinson News – October 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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The word “HELP” was written in the snow Friday on a beat-up red Ford car.

Firefighters surrounded the vehicle, prepared to spring into action at a moment’s notice. The extrication equipment was ready as firefighters assessed the damage.

It can happen at any time in any weather, and on Friday afternoon, Hutchinson firefighters got a crash course on extricating accident victims from a vehicle.

The training uses vehicles donated by Silas Enterprises owner Ed Manche. Any time the fire department needs a vehicle, Manche is there–no questions asked.

“He donates his time, gas and vehicles to let us cut them up for free,” Jason Holland, Hutchinson Fire Chief of Training, said. “Any time we want something, he’ll send it to us.”

He will take the time to drive a vehicle to the Hutchinson Fire Department’s training center or he will place a vehicle outside the gates of the automotive recycling business, at 11th Avenue and Chemical Street, like he did Friday.

Hutchinson Fire Capt. Gary Baudoin said Manche donates about six vehicles a year. He’s donated all types of vehicles for at least 20 years.

Firefighters aren’t friendly to these vehicles. They cut them up, set them on fire and do anything else that could happen in an emergency.

They have to be prepared for everything.

On Friday afternoon, they turned the beat-up red car into a convertible. It’s what they might have to do to get accident victims out of the vehicles. This training is vital to have a faster response in critical moments.

They couldn’t do it without Manche’s support.

“He helps us keep our skills sharp by donating cars,” training captain Tim Pitts, said.

Rossville Fire Prevention

Topeka Metro News – October 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Augusta Fire Prevention

Augusta Daily Gazette – October 12, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Halstead Fire Prevention

Harvey County Independent – October 17, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Phillipsburg Fire Prevention

Advocate of Phillips County – October 17, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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KCK fire department investigation fire at vacant home

By Nick Sloan
Kansas City Kansan – October 29, 2013

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A fire caused about $40,000 worth of damage to a home at 2930 Delevan.

The fire was reported to the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

No one was hurt by the fire.

According to KCK Fire Department Deputy Chief Craig Duke, the fire remains under investigation.

“Crews on the scene within two minutes reported heavy fire and smoke coming from the rear of a one-story residential structure,” Duke said. “Crews were informed by neighbors that structure was vacant.”

The fire department later confirmed that the home was indeed vacant.

Onaga Fire Prevention

Onaga Herald – October 17, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Trashed alarm brings out firefighters

Ark Valley News – October 17, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

Valley Center firefighters and police responded to the Valley View Apartment complex on East Main Street October 14 after receiving a report of a fire alarm sounding in the basement storage area.

Authorities found there was no emergency. They discovered an old smoke alarm that was thrown away and was going off because of a low battery.

Big crowd attends Larned Fire Department open house

By Mark Zwink
Larned’s Tiller & Toiler – October 15, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Whether it is the old or the young there is something about the charm of going to the local fire station.

That was the case late Saturday morning as the Larned Volunteer Fire Department showed off its polished self for one and all during their open house during a brilliant sunshine splashed fall day.

While the firemen offered up free hot dogs, beans, chips and drink, it seemed everyone–no matter the age–were interested in viewing the Larned Fire Department’s fleet of fire engines. Most of the wide-eyed youngsters, in tow with mom and dad, also had a chance to sit in the front seat of the department’s oldest fire engine which was parked in front of the station.

With local citizens quizzing Bill Clapham, Larned Fire Chief, and other firemen/woman about the station’s fire engines, Clapham was also busy setting up tours inside the fire station of a ‘smoke house’. The house, led in tours by firemen, offered youth and adults advice on how to navigate a ‘smoke filled room.’

The Larned/Pawnee County Fire Department is made up of around 20 all volunteers staff. The firemen/woman meets three times each month to conduct business, school and work nights.

October is National Fire Prevention Month. The Larned Fire Department use the month to visit all USD 495 schools and acquaint the students about fire safety.

The month of October also ushers in colder weather. The fire department urges all residents to now check your floor furnaces, fireplaces, your chimneys and the batteries in all of your smoke detectors.

Wallace Herman Juhl


Students win a fire truck ride

St. Marys Star – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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The week of October 7th marked the annual Fire Safety/Fire Prevention week. Students at St. Marys Grade school participated in the annual Win a Ride to School on the Fire truck competition. This year students had to work together with their parents to create fire escape plans for their homes. Students who turned in their escape plans were put into a random drawing. Five students from St. Marys Grade School rode the truck to school on Thursday, October 10th. The entire student body and staff greeted the winners as they rode in. Pictured: Left to Right, Fireman Josh SinghDhillon, Zoey Murphy, Kristin Anderson, Emma Zemek, Abbi Mayhew, Benedict Keenan and Fire Chief Ray Barthley.

Harper, Anthony got better fire insurance ratings

Harper Advocate – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

Lower numbers are a good thing in golf and insurance ratings. Recently both the City of Harper and City of Anthony received word that their fire insurance rates had been improved.

After an inspection by the Insurance Services Office which grades fire protection in communities and is the grading scale for the setting of insurance rates, both towns got a better rating.

Both Harper and Anthony were rated as a Class 5. After the inspection both were lowered to a Class 4.

Depending on your insurance carrier, this could lower fire insurance rates on commercial properties.

Grading is done on a 1 to 10 basis. Nationwide there are only 5019 Class 4 departments and only 2953 better class departments in the nation.

The grading includes the fire department, water flow and storage for fires from fire hydrant system and the 911 dispatching service.

Both departments received an 8B classification for property within 5 miles of a fire station which is a better rating than in the past.

The 8B is a special classification that demonstrates a superior level of fire protection than class 9 in rural areas.

The class 4 rate extends into the rural area within a designated footage from a fire hydrant.

Both fire departments have bettered their rating consistently the past 50 years. Harper was a Class 8 in the late 50’s.

Harper Fire Prevention Week

Harper Advocate – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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County buys AED’s

Harper Advocate – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

Harper County Commissioners who have been proactive this year for public safety added a plus to that record last Tuesday as they purchased eleven new Automatic External Defibrillator units for emergency services in the county.

The machines are able to “shock” a heart back into rhythm during Cadiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) efforts.

A unit was purchased to put into each Sheriff’s vehicle, one each for every fire department in the county and one for the EMS Director.

Use of the units along with CPR gives a heart attack victim an increased chance of survival.

Bad day in demolish land

Harper Advocate – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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New fire chief settles into job

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – October 29, 2013

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Even though Leavenworth’s new fire chief is new to the city, he said firefighters basically are the same everywhere you go.

And Gary Birch knows firefighters. He’s been around the fire service for most of life.

Growing up, his was a firefighter. And Birch himself has now worked in the field for 37 years.

As the new chief, Birch said his job is to make sure Leavenworth’s firefighters have what they need.

Birch, 56, also said he has a responsibility for the safety of the people of Leavenworth as well as visitors to the city. And Birch said he’s big on customer service.

“That’s what we’re here for, to serve the public,” he said.

Birch officially started as the new Leavenworth fire chief Thursday. He takes over the duties of chief from Mark Nietzke, who had been acting chief for about a year. Nietzke has resumed his role as an assistant fire chief.

Birch said he feels he’s well rounded in the fire service.

He comes to the Leavenworth Fire Department after serving as an assistant chief of the Bentonville, Ark., Fire Department for about year.

He also previously served in the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department for more than 26 years. And he was chief of the Liberty, Mo., Fire Department for seven years. He also served as chief of the Holt Community Fire Protection District in Missouri.

Leavenworth City Manager Scott Miller said Birch has great experience and is exceptionally qualified.

“I feel he’s going to bring new ideas to the Fire Department,” Miller said.

Birch said he likes northwest Arkansas, but he still has family in Missouri. And after moving to Arkansas, he found himself traveling back to Missouri more and more on weekends.

“So I started looking to kind of come back up this direction,” he said.

Birch said he feels very blessed to have been given the job as Leavenworth’s fire chief.

During a Fire Department meeting last week, Birch said he was asked if there are changes on the horizon. His response to that question is, “Well I just got here.”

But Birch said he knows the Leavenworth Fire Department has needs and he feels he can help.

Sterling Fire Department

Sterling Bulletin – October 24, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Paola Fire Prevention Week

Miami County Republican – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Students at Cottonwood Elementary got to meet some firefighters firsthand Thursday when volunteers Eric Barnum and Dylan Town showed off their firefighting equipment outside the school. The students learned to check the batteries in their smoke detectors and memorize their address in case they need to call 911.

The students also got their very own plastic fire helmets, and they even got to sit inside a fire truck.

“It’s basically like a big toolbox,” Barnum said. “We bring whatever we need with us.”

Fire department opens doors

By Charity Keitel
Osawatomie Graphic – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Fighting fires and saving lives is all in a day’s work for Osawatomie’s Fire Department, but prevention, safety and the desire to help the community is really what drives the force–which is why the department’s annual open house continues to inspire its members to work hard throughout the year.

“We use this as a training opportunity for ourselves,” Fire Chief DuWayne Tewes said Saturday during this year’s open house.

“And it’s also a chance to give back to the folks that support us.”

It’s not just the firefighters and their families who look forward to the annual event, he said. It’s a special time for the community as well.

“We actually have people start asking us in September, ‘When is it, when is it?’ A lot of people look forward to it,” Tewes said.

People such as Jessica Ludwick of Paola and her son Caden.

“He doesn’t usually open up like this,” Ludwick said of Caden.

“I think it’s the fire trucks.”

Or Brandy McCoole, who just moved to Osawatomie from St. Joseph, Mo. She and her kids agreed that the event was great for adults and even more so for children.

The children were given the opportunity to run and play and to interact with the trucks and equipment. Tewes said it helps familiarize the kids with the equipment, and it makes them less afraid to cooperate with firefighters during real situations.

More Than Trucks

Red, shiny and full of life-saving gadgets, fire trucks are one of the most noticeable aspects of a fire department, but they are by no means the only asset in Osawatomie’s arsenal.

The jaws of life, consisting of a spreader and cutter, aid in extractions, fire gear protects the firefighters from burns and smoke inhalation, and helmets, cameras and sonar are useful in all kinds of situations.

And in Osawatomie’s department, there is the additional water rescue crew and its myriad suits and tools.

“We are the only dive team in the county,” Capt. Brian Mersman said.

“We specialize in the dive–that is our one specialty.”

He pointed out objects on the dive table.

“We have an underwater camera that we just acquired within the last year. We’ve got a com system for our divers so that when our diver’s in the water he can talk to the land guy that’s tethered off,” he said.

Another object on the dive table was an ice rescue suit.

“It’s not a dive suit,” he said. “It’s for on top of the water–for rescue. When you jump in the water, you can’t even tell you’re in the water. It’s pretty buoyant so you float in it, and it’s completely contained.”

Always Ready

Whether it be for dive or swift water rescues, the department’s water rescue crew tries to stay in tip-top shape, mentally and physically, for any danger that might catch the community unaware, he added.

“We have a four-man dive crew, and we’re getting ready to certify three more for our dive team,” Mersman said.

“We go through PSD, which is Public Safety Diver, training, and we get certified through it.”

And the best part of working water rescue is the cooperative efforts between the other fire departments and police departments such as Johnson County or Overland Park Police Department, he said.

“We have a close working relationship with them. It’s real nice that the agencies can work together.”

The Osawatomie Rural Fire Department, which includes Fontana, is made up of men and women who volunteer their time to help despite the fact they have other fulltime jobs.

Every year, at the end of national Fire Prevention Week, the volunteers try to reach out to residents of the community to positively reinforce safety and fire prevention as a means to save as many lives as possible before danger ever hits.

“We all volunteer our time and efforts to help people–to fight fires. We’ve also got people who are EMTs on the department, too, so we have the first response there, too,” firefighter Ashley Ream said.

Tax Dollars at Work

By attending the event, children of all ages were able to appreciate the gleam of the fire department’s tools and gaining invaluable tips that could save them or a loved one.

“We’ve been doing this for 11 years now, and one of the things we like is that it gives us a chance to show people what we do–or perhaps a better way to put it, what they’ve paid for,” Tewes said.

“All of it’s free,” Ream said.

“I think usually we have something like 200 people come through during the day. The kids really enjoy it because there’s a lot of stuff for them to do.”

“Every year, we have a great turnout,” Tewes added, saying that the bonus was that the kids retain a lot of what the firefighters have taught them throughout the week.

“It’s a great thing,” he said.


St. Marys Fire Prevention Week

St. Marys Star – October 16, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Downs Fire Prevention Week

Downs News & Times – October 24, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Fireman visits toddlers

Plainville Times – October 24, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 29, 2013

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Little River Red Brush Truck a welcomed addition

By LouAnn Cobb
Lyons News – October 11, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 28, 2013

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Following a brush fire in August 2012 in Little River that destroyed one home and severely damaged another, the LR Fire Department applied for and received a grant from the LR Community Fund to purchase an additional 6×6 Brush Truck.

“The truck was a gift to Little River from the Kansas State Forestry Department in Manhattan,” said firefighter Rusty Ramage. The grant, in the amount of $25,000, was approved and used to make improvements to the truck that included most of the equipment on the truck.

Renovations took place at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Inmates provided free labor to build and repair the Brush Truck. Their cost included materials only, Ramage said. They painted the truck in red camouflage.

In addition to the interior and exterior paint, improvements included new seat covers, all electrical and the attached Little River Fire Department sign and fire department symbol made out of metal-laser cutouts.

A special feature to the truck included a remote nozzle, mounted to the front, that can be operated from the inside of the truck’s cab, allowing water to go directly from the pump to the fire. The truck also has a fire hose on a reel and a 1200-gallon portable tank that is especially helpful during grass fires when extra water is needed.

The new truck will be housed in Little River but used throughout Rice County as well as surrounding counties when the need arises, Ramage said. All firefighters have received training on how to operate it.

To help cover the cost of the remote nozzle, LR Fire Department ill host a Hog Roast Sunday, October 13, beginning at noon at Holy Trinity Parish Hall in Little River. The public is invited and a free will donation will be accepted. The meal includes the hot dog, beans, chips and a drink. Proceeds will also be used by the LR Fire Department to purchase water and Gatorade that is much needed when fighting fires.

During the feed, tickets will be available for a raffle that includes seven guns (rifles). Winners will be announced at the event.

In September, Ramage took the red camouflage brush truck to the “Go Trucks Go” Parents as Teachers event held at the Celebration Centre in Lyons. It was a big hit among toddlers, big brothers and sisters, moms, dads and grandparents, who all climbed on board for a chance to sit in the driver’s seat.

Hidden under that seat is a small label that reads, “This truck built by the inmates of Ellsworth Correctional Facility.”

It took a catastrophe to bring about the change that “sparked” the interest in pursuing a grant that could be used for the purchase of the brush truck. The new addition will offer protection to the people of Rice County and beyond for years to come.

Norman Lee Shryer


FY 2013 AFG Guidance Materials Now Available

The Fiscal Year 2013 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application period will open next Monday, November 4. To help departments prepare, FEMA has posted the application guidance materials on the AFG web site. This includes the Get Ready Guide, Narrative Guide, Self Evaluations, Regional Workshop Presentation, Workshop Schedule, and what is new for the FY 2013 AFG program. AFG helps meet the needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated EMS organizations by funding equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other critical resources. Get ready for your application now.

Fire damages Guard House

Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – October 24, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 28, 2013

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The Fort Harker Guard House Museum didn’t receive significant damage during an October 18 fire–thanks in part to actions taken by Kanopolis mayor Cherie Sauers and her husband, Marty–both members of the Kanopolis Fire Department.

Sauers, who is also the president of the Ellsworth County Historical Society, owner of the property, was notified at about 11:30 p.m. She and Marty were among the first on the scene. As Marty shut off power to the building, Sauers began battling the fire with a sweatshirt.

Sauers said two unknown young people were driving by the museum, saw fire, and called authorities.

“Thank heaven for those two kids, and the Kanopolis Fire Department,” she said. “Without them, we could have lost the building.”

Sauers said the fire was caused by old electrical siring running down one of the building’s outside pillars into an electrical junction box in the balcony floor. Damage is limited to the southeast corner of the balcony, in the pillar, the balcony’s floorboards, and facia.

The interior of the museum was not damaged.

“It wasn’t bad, and it never got bad,” Sauers said.

Firefighters arrived on scene in under two minutes. Kanopolis Fire Chief Matt Munoz estimated the damage to be between $1,000 and $1,500.

“We’ve got to rewire these old buildings,” Sauers said.

Hillcrest students return after brief evacuation

By Peter Hancock
Lawrence Journal World – October 28, 2013

Students and staff at Hillcrest school, 1045 Hilltop Dr., returned to class this afternoon following a brief evacuation due to a nearby gas leak.

School officials reported smelling a gas odor around 11:42 a.m. Crews from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical Services and Black Hills Energy responded and determined the odor was the result of a break in a residential gas line about two blocks south of the school, at Oxford and Highland, where road and utility construction is being done.

Students and staff returned to the building after officials determined it was safe, the school district said. District officials said the school plans to notify parents of the evacuation.

Douglas County recommends registering mobile devices for better response in emergencies

By Stephen Montemayor
Lawrence Journal World – October 28, 2013

Douglas County emergency dispatchers are asking for help from residents to better pinpoint the location of 911 calls from mobile devices.

Dispatch centers can draw a 50- to 150-meter radius around a mobile call using information from the nearest cellphone tower. But getting additional information is a challenge, said Scott Ruf, Douglas County’s director of emergency communications. Typically, mobile calls reveal only the phone number and service provider.

In fall 2011, Douglas County became the first in Kansas to subscribe to a third-party service called Smart911. Residents can create a profile at, Ruf said, sharing as little information as their name and address or as much as information about vehicles they own, emergency contacts, whether a neighbor has a spare key and names and locations of bed-ridden relatives or those with special needs.

That information is made available to emergency dispatchers if they get a call from a registered mobile user. Ruf said Smart911 also offers an optional service in which details such as whether residence members need  refrigerated medication or use heart monitors is mapped for use by first responders in natural disasters.

About 7,000 Douglas County residents have created profiles, Ruf said.

At a time when concerns about surveillance by government and others are heightened, registering such personal, detailed information could be a tough sell for some. Ruf said that dispatchers with law enforcement or fire-medical personnel only share the information in profiles when a person who has registered with Smart911 calls 911, and then only while that call is active.

“You can put as little or as much information as you want in the profile,” Ruf said. “And (the profile) is managed by the citizen. … It’s not so officers can go search through and retrieve information.”

Ruf said 76 percent of all 911 calls came from mobile devices last year, a number he expects to approach 80 percent by year’s end. As mobile calls became the norm, area law enforcement began to advocate a way for residents to provide more information. The alternative can be emergency responders going door to door trying to locate a person in need in a busy neighborhood.

“Anybody with a cellphone should at least have their name and address attached so dispatch can respond to it,” said Lt. Steve Lewis, a spokesman for Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

Reed receives Volunteer Firefighter of Year

By Julie Clements
El Dorado Times – October 28, 2013

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Rodney Reed has volunteered with the El Dorado Fire Department for  nearly 20 years.

That dedication and time was recognized a week ago when he was  presented the El Dorado Volunteer Firefighter of the Year  Award.

To make things even more special, this wasn’t the first time he’s  received the award. Reed also received the award in 2011.

“I thank him for his dedicated service,” said Fire Chief Steve  Moody.

When asked what attracted him to becoming a firefighter Reed said,  “I followed in my dad and uncle’s footsteps.”

His dad served 20 years and was also a recipient of the same award.  And his uncle was a 25-year firefighter.

The award is based upon three criteria. The first benchmark is  “Number of Calls.” Reed responded to 38 structure fire calls for the year. Next  on the list is “Time Put in at the Fire Station.” Last, is “Attendance at  Training.” Reed made every single training meeting.

“I had the pleasure of serving with Rodney on the Rescue  Squad,” said City Commissioner David Chapin. “The City of El Dorado as a whole  is lucky to have Rodney. There’s no doubt about it.”

When asked about his most memorable fire in his career Reed quickly  named the Old Town Pizza fire in the 100 Block of South Main.

He was the first volunteer on scene and was part of the first entry  team. His partners were Captain (later to become Chief) Ken Nakaten and Driver  Jack Zimmerman. They made entry and tried to get a knockdown, but the fire was  more advanced than they realized. After hearing ventilation units start dropping  to the floor in the next room over, they knew it was time to vacate the  building. The building ended up being a total loss as was the building next  door.

City Manager Herb Llewellyn said the volunteers are a large part of  how the city is judged for its ISO, which is based on how many people show up to  a structure fire. The required number is 10 to 13 in a set amount of  minutes.

“We couldn’t do that with just our paid staff,” Llewellyn said.  “Volunteers help us get that ISO rating of three and if we ever move to 2 it is  going to be based on those residents and volunteers responding to a structure  fire.”

Reed’s wife Gaylene was present to hear Volunteer Liaison Lieutenant  Coby Spear make the announcement.

Rodney said of Spear, “He’s one of the best liaison officers we have  had – a great trainer.”

Kansas City, Kan., holds fire school for more than 250 firefighters

By William Crum
Wyandotte Daily News – October 28, 2013

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More than 250 firefighters from various fire departments attended this event. This three-day event was held at different locations in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, and this is the first time it was held mainly in Kansas City, Kan.

Firefighters have to constantly go through training. At the fire school they learned everything from truck operations to getting in and out of a burning building.

The event started on Friday, Oct. 25, and went until Oct. 27. Firefighters from as far west as Great Bend, Kan., attended this fire school.

The firefighters received training in the parking lot of the Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, at 65th and State Avenue, and at a house on Boeke in Kansas City, Kan.

Firefighter suffers injury while battling fire in KCK

By Nick Sloan
Kansas City Kansan – October 28, 2013

A Kansas City, Kan., firefighter suffered a minor injury while battling a fire early Monday morning.

Firefighters raced out to Forest Glen Apartments Office Building, located at 511 N. 64th Street, at around 5 a.m. Monday morning.

During the response, a firefighter suffered an injury to the hand. No one else was hurt.

“Crews were on the scene within four minutes and reported smoke coming from the basement level of an office building within an apartment complex,” said Craig Duke, deputy chief of the KCK Fire Department. “Fire was located in the basement area.”

It took 15 minutes for the fire to be under control, Duke said.

The fire caused $15,000 worth of damage.



Collision With Deer Leads To Woman’s Death On I-70

By Chris Fisher
WIBW – October 28, 2013

A Manhattan woman was fatally struck after getting out of the vehicle she was riding in on I-70 due to an accident involving a deer.

The Kansas Highway patrol says Dale Colleen Williams, 35, of Manhattan died Sunday Evening about eight miles south of Manhattan in Geary County.

KMAN Radio reported that Williams was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Catherine Wood, 43, of Manhattan.

Wood was driving a 2010 Hyundai Elantra westbound on I-70 when she struck a deer.

Williams was out of the car when it was hit by Randy Jost, 57, of Ottawa.

The collision forced the car into Williams.

She was taken to Manhattan mercy hospital, but later died from her injures.

Kansas man hit, killed by car after accident involving deer

KAKE – October 28, 2013

A Kansas man was killed over the weekend when he was hit by a car following an accident involving a deer.

The accident happened just after 7 p.m. Sunday on I-35 near mile marker 163 in southeast Osage County. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a Toyota sedan was northbound when it struck a deer. The driver got out, leaving the car partially in the left lane and partially in the median.

Another car approached and moved to the right lane to avoid the other car. As that car went right, an approaching SUV tried to avoid the disabled car by turning left into the median. The SUV then struck the driver of the Toyota.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and has since been identified as 23-year-old Travis M. Sanders of Lawrence.

The 21-year-old driver of the SUV and his 22-year-old passenger, both of Leawood, were not injured.

Rollover accident on I-35

Emporia Gazette – October 28, 2013

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A non-injury rollover accident, involving a white Ford Explorer, was reported Sunday morning on Interstate 35 in Emporia.

Kyle Grokett, of Cottonwood Falls, was traveling southbound on I-35, east of the Prairie Street bridge, at 11:15 a.m. Sunday when he was distracted by an item in his vehicle, said Sgt. Ray Mattas, of the Emporia Police Department, during a phone interview this morning. The Explorer then left the roadway, entered the median, which caused it to flip over, landing on the roof in the northbound lane of I-35. The Police Department cited Grokett for inattentive driving.

One lane was closed during the accident. The Police Department investigated the accident. The Emporia Fire Department, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and the Emporia State University campus police assisted at the scene.

Students learn from firefighters to honor Fire Prevention Week

Photo by Katharina Mascareno
Herington Times – October 24, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 28, 2013

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Kindergarten students from Herington Elementary School listened to Herington Fire Department Capt. Tim Bettles speak about fire safety at HES during Fire Prevention Week festivities on October 10. They also learned what firefighters look like with all their equipment on and how the equipment works during the event.

Marquette Fire Prevention Week

Marquette Tribune – October 23, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 28, 2013

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Shawnee firefighters train with Bayer HealthCare

Shawnee Dispatch – October 23, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – October 28, 2013

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Members of the Shawnee Fire Department Technical Rescue Team recently joined with members of Bayer HealthCare Animal Health for a series of rescue training drills.

On September 27, firefighters and Bayer security and safety personnel constructed a series of exercises to simulate real life circumstances that personnel at the U.S. Animal Health headquarters may encounter that could potentially result in a rescue situation.

“Bayer takes employee and community safety very seriously. We recognize the importance of collaborating with local emergency personnel to ensure we are prepared for potential rescue situations and are proud to partner with the Shawnee Fire Department,” said Staci Gouveia, director of U.S. communications, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health. “Just as individuals and families should be prepared to handle a potential emergency, companies must have a plan of action, too.”

Low-angle rescue and confined space entries are a couple of scenarios that members participated in as a joint training exercise designed to enhance working operations and relationships. The training coincided with fire department familiarization tours of the Bayer facility in the month of September.

Two injured in three vehicle accident Saturday morning on K-61

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – October 28, 2013

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A three-vehicle crash late Saturday morning at the junction of K-61  and NE 30th Street injured two while two others escaped injury.

Injured in the crash were semi truck drivers Albert Timmerman, 61 of  Stuart, Neb. and Israel Rodriguez-Flores, 50 of Des Moines,  Iowa.

The accident occurred when a 2003 Toyota, driven by Brandy Sawyer,  37 of Frisco, Colo. was turning off NE 30th Street onto K-61 to head towards  Pratt and failed to yield, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol on-line crash  logs web site.

She pulled onto the highway directly in front of a southwest bound  2009 Freightliner semi driven by Israel Rodriguez-Flores, 50 of Des Moines,  Iowa. The semi attempted to swerve but hit the Toyota broadside on the passenger  side sending it into the north ditch and rolling over on its  side.

The semi went into a sideways skid. The cab and trailer rolled over  on its side coming to a stop across the entire width of the highway where a  northeast bound 2007 International semi, driven by Albert Timmerman, 61 of  Stuart, Neb. pulled to the right, trying to avoid the Freightliner trailer but  didn’t have enough room and collided head on with the back end of the  trailer.

Traffic was rerouted around the accident about three hours before  one lane was opened. It took another four hours to empty the overturned semi and  get the trailer and cab set up and removed from the scene. The trailer had 48  bags of soybean flakes that weighed 1,500 pounds each and all had to be unloaded  before the trailer could be set upright.The accident was reported at 10:47  a.m.

Pratt County EMS transported Rodriguez-Flores and Timmerman to Pratt  Regional Medical Center. Their conditions were unavailable.

Sawyer and Rodriguez’ passenger Rosadina Rodriguez, 43 of Des Moines  Iowa, were not injured in the accident. All four involved in the accident were  wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.


Woman suffers smoke inhalation during two-alarm fire

By Mike Frizzell
Lawrence Journal World – October 28, 2013

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical crews were called to an apartment building fire in the 200 block of Pinecone Drive early Saturday.

The fire was reported just before 2:20 a.m. at 269 Pinecone Drive. A resident reported black smoke coming from the second story of the building, but did not know what was on fire. The residents of the address reported that everyone had made it out safely. Two dogs were said to still be inside.

Lawrence Police arrived on the scene and quickly confirmed that there was black smoke coming from the building.

A responding Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical division chief upgraded the incident to a second alarm response for additional manpower.

Firefighters arrived to find black smoke pushing from the second floor windows of the two story apartment building and began to make their attack.

Crews had the fire knocked down in just under 10 minutes and reported the fire to be under control about five minutes later.

Medics transported a 44-year-old female resident suffering from smoke inhalation, to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for treatment. No other injuries have been reported.

Firefighters located and removed one dog from the building and requested a representative from the Lawrence Humane Society be contacted.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Fire Officials Say Massive Church Fire Was Intentional

By: Sarah Plake/ Ariana Cohen/Justin Surrency
WIBW – October 28, 2013

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Topeka fire officials believe  massive fire that destroyed a local historical landmark to be the result of Arson. They have yet to release an official motive for the blaze.

Fire crews were working for hours on a massive fire near downtown Topeka Sunday morning.

Large clouds of smoke and flames could be seen billowing out of the church at 1600 Harrison when the Topeka Fire Department got the call around 8 a.m.

Shawnee County Dispatch said the building is fully involved in flames and crews couldn’t immediately get inside the building to find out the cause.

No one was inside the building and no one was injured.

The Shawnee County Appraisers Office lists the property’s evaluation at $28,000, but the loss associated with the damage is yet to be determined.

Topeka Fire Department, as well as Topeka Police Department, Kansas Gas Service and Westar Energy responded to the scene. A 13 News reporter counted 9 firetrucks at the scene.

The building was a local historic landmark, but Topeka’s city council voted in August to demolish it.

Flames blazed through the roof of the old Harrison Street church Sunday morning. Nearby residents say the fire spread throughout the building quickly.

“It was only in 2 corners, and then 5 minutes later it was everywhere all over the church, it was horrible, I’ve never seen anything like it before,”  said nearby resident, Anna Flores.

“Big flames and parts falling down from the church,”  says 6-year-old Joavani Urista when describing what he witnessed.

As heavy black smoke rolled out of the building, firefighters battled the blaze for nearly 2 hours. Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Huffard told 13 news the cause of the fire was unknown but nearby residents have their own suspicions.

“My mom claims that she sees homeless people in there, and we saw a guy that told us in about 3-4 weeks, we wouldn’t see the building,” said nearby resident, Kara Crumley.

“Homeless were people were living in it, and that’s probably how it started,” says Flores.

And a few hours later after the blaze was extinguished, crews partially demolished the building. Crowds gathered to watch the destruction, among them was Topeka City council member (District 1) Karen Hiller.

“This is my district, just visiting with neighbors who woke up to flames who are without power right now and cable,” says Hiller.

Now, scattered bricks and only a shell remain of the structure built in the 1900’s.

“I wish it wouldn’t have burned down because there is a lot of history in it,” says Flores.

The old building was home to the former Trinity Methodist Church. Fire officials told 13 news the church was abandoned and they only partially demolished the building to sift through the lower level to see if they found any bodies. Their investigation is ongoing.

Fire breaks out at abandoned motel

KSN – October 28, 2013

Fire crews continue to investigate what started a fire in an abandoned Wichita motel Sunday morning.

it started just after midnight in the 7500 block of W. Taft at the Value Place Motel.

Firecrews got the flames under control in about 15 minutes, but were hindered by debris left in the building.

“We had to get past a lot of debris just to get in the door,”  Wichita Fire Department Captain Robert Dusenbery said . “The hallways were really cluttered, there’s still a lot of furniture and things strewn about. So anything we have to go over and around to get in makes it tougher.”

Nine fire crews helped to battle the blaze.

Dusenbery said one room was completely destroyed and two others were damaged.

No word yet on a cause.

Fire ravages home in northern Shawnee County

Topeka Capital Journal – October 25, 2013

WIBW Video

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Firefighters Friday afternoon were battling a raging blaze that significantly damaged a house at 425 N.W. 48th Terr.

A Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center dispatcher said Soldier Township firefighters were called at 2:35 p.m. to the scene. Small explosions could be heard as flames leapt amid heavy smoke.

There didn’t appear to be any immediate injuries. A woman who lives in the house said everyone who had been inside got out safely. She said two people who were in the basement got out after one broke a window.

The woman said the fire started in the garage, adding that she woke up and “it smelled hot.”

Shawnee County appraiser’s office records show Darwin and Shirley Wooten since September 1989 have owned the house, which had an appraised value this year of $112,700.

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