Archive for November, 2013

Hotel training ground

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – November 29, 2013

Leavenworth firefighters Zach Chamberlin, left, and Matt Chastain carry a dummy out of a back door Wednesday at the former Nights Inn building. Firefighters were using the building, now owned by the city of Leavenworth, for training. Also shown is Mark DeMaranville, one of the firefighters who was overseeing the training.

Leavenworth firefighters Zach Chamberlin, left, and Matt Chastain carry a dummy out of a back door Wednesday at the former Nights Inn building. Firefighters were using the building, now owned by the city of Leavenworth, for training. Also shown is Mark DeMaranville, one of the firefighters who was overseeing the training.

Leavenworth firefighter Kevin Valencia, right, speaks with fellow firefighter Matt Chastain Wednesday outside of the former Nights Inn building. Firefighters used the building for training. Chastain pretended to be a downed firefighter inside an old hotel room and was dragged from the building.

Leavenworth firefighter Kevin Valencia, right, speaks with fellow firefighter Matt Chastain Wednesday outside of the former Nights Inn building. Firefighters used the building for training. Chastain pretended to be a downed firefighter inside an old hotel room and was dragged from the building.


City officials plan to tear it down. But for now, the former Nights Inn building makes an ideal training location, a Leavenworth Fire Department official said.

Firefighters were training at the old downtown Leavenworth hotel Tuesday evening and again Wednesday afternoon. And more training may be conducted this weekend.

“This is an opportunity we don’t get very often,” Leavenworth Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lingenfelser said.

He acknowledged that the Leavenworth Fire Department has a training tower. But he said the old hotel has more rooms than can be set up in a training tower. And the rooms in the hotel still have furniture that had to be navigated as firefighters practiced searching for people in trouble.

The former Knights Inn, located at 101 S. Third St., recently was purchased by the city of Leavenworth from a bank in Tennessee for $592,500. City Manager Scott Miller said the property was purchased with hope it can be developed, possibly for a new hotel.

The building has been vacant for some time after the Nights Inn went out of business.

Members of the Leavenworth Police Department and Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office also have trained at the old hotel in recent days.

Fourteen members of the Leavenworth Fire Department participated in Wednesday’s training. Lingenfelser and Mark DeMaranville, a health inspector and training officer, were on hand to oversee the training.

Several dummies, or “victims,” were placed in an 11-room section of the second floor of the hotel. The area was filled with theatrical smoke.

Responding firefighters had to search a smoke-filled hallway and rooms for the dummies, which then were carried from the building. Sometimes, firefighters had to use their tools to force hotel room open doors.

At one point, Lingenfelser asked a firefighter to pretend to be in trouble inside one of the hotel rooms.

“We threw a twist into it,” he said.

The firefighter activated a distress alarm, and a two-man rapid intervention team was sent into the building.

Matt Chastain, who played the part of the downed firefighter, said he was dragged down a flight of stairs as he was pulled from the building.

“It wasn’t bumpy,” he said. “It was just an odd feeling.”

Firefighters carried hoses into the building, but they didn’t pump any water during the training.

Had Wednesday’s fire and rescue situation been real, Lingenfelser said, there would have been a request for assistance from other agencies such as the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department.

Lingenfelser said Leavenworth Fire Department officials plan to use the building for other scenarios.


Olathe house fire causes $200,000 damage

By Matt Campbell
Kansas City Star – November 29, 2013

An early morning fire Wednesday caused an estimated $200,000 damage to a house and its contents in the 900 block of East 126th Terrace in northern Olathe.

Officials said the fire started with an electrical wiring problem in the garage. Three adults and three dogs were in the house at the time of the 4 a.m. fire. They were alerted by a smoke detector and were able to evacuate.

Marion County home burns as firefighters run low on water

By Sia Nyorkor
KWCH – November 29, 2013


A Marion county family’s house catches fire and as crews work to put the fire out, they start running low on water.

Firefighters used more than 30,000 gallons to fight the flames but then had to stop to conserve the city’s water supply, even though the fire was still burning.

It’s not what James LeValley expected to hear as he watched flames rip through his home.
His home caught fire early Thursday morning in Burns, Kansas.  LeValley says seven people were asleep when someone started screaming.
“She come hollering through the house.  My bedroom is right here, just right off the front door and she came running into my bedroom and said the house is on fire,” said LeValley.
He got every one out safely and went back in to grab coats and blankets.  The former fire fighter says his skills kicked in and he went on the defensive.

“I went back in with the garden hose to get a better attack on it. It broke through the roof or broke through some place else and it just engulfed from there and I just got out because it was more than i could handle with my garden hose,” he said.
When crews arrived the house was engulfed and flames were coming from the ceiling.  As they were putting them out, they started running low on water.
“The city people came down and said we need to try and conserve and at that time we could so we did, they said we were low, we weren’t out,” said Chief Barry Black, Burns Fire Department.
Crews came back out around lunch time with the go-ahead to put the hotspots out. As investigators work to find out what caused the fire, LeValley knows he and his family are at a total loss. but he’s thankful this Thanksgiving day: everyone made it out alive.
“By the time we would have known it here in the other side of the house, there might have been a good chance that we wouldn’t have made it out,” said LeValley.

He didn’t have insurance and the house may be a total loss. His family is working with the Red Cross.

Eligibility List – Consolidated Fire District #2

Consolidated Fire District #2 (CFD2) will be accepting applications for the position of Beginning Firefighter from December 1st – 16th,2013.  Applications can be picked up between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the CFD2 Administration building located at 3921 W. 63rd Street in Prairie Village, KS 66208 or downloaded from our web site at  The application process is for the purpose of creating an eligibility list for 2014 and does not imply that we have or will have a firefighter position open in 2014.

Mandatory qualifications for the position of Firefighter I are as follows:

ü  Current driver’s license

ü  At least 18 years of age

ü  Firefighter’s Entrance Exam score of 75% or higher

ü  CPAT Certification that is current at time of application

ü  Firefighter I Certification from the National Pro Board or the International Accreditation Congress.

ü  EMT Certification, Kansas or Nationally Registered EMT.  Must be current at time of application and first day of employment, if hired.

*Kansas License must be Transitioned EMT: (EMT (new), AEMT or Paramedic)

*National Registry must be Transitioned NREMT, Transitioned NRAEMT or Transitioned       NRP

  • Letter of recommendation (optional)

Completed applications and proof of required certifications must be received by the CFD2 Administration Office no later than December 16th at 5:00 p.m.

CFD2 Administration Building
3921 W. 63rd Street
Prairie Village, Kansas 66208

Contact Linda Marshall or Kelly Kuhl at 913-432-1105 with any questions.

Post welcomes new fire chief

By Jan Dumay
Fort Leavenworth Post – November 27, 2013

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Fort Leavenworth’s new fire chief, Bill Maciorowski, has been interested in firefighting since he was a 16-year-old high school junior and volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Avoca, Pa.

“I was involved with the Boy Scouts at the time,” he recalled in his office Nov. 25 at Fire Station No. 2. “There were Scout leaders with the fire department so we got involved with them. That’s what sparked my interest. Then I found out I could get paid by the Air Force to do the same job, so I joined the Air Force as a firefighter.”

He ended up staying 20 years with the Air Force — 12 years as a military firefighter and eight years as an Air Force civilian firefighter.

Now, at 46, his 30-year stint in firefighting remains his passion. Before coming to Fort Leavenworth last week, Maciorowski served for three years as the deputy fire chief at Fort Lee, Va. Before that, he was the assistant fire chief at Fort Drum, N.Y.

“It’s not just a job,” he said of firefighting. “It requires constant training and dedication to the job. Once you’re hooked on it, it generally becomes a lifelong career and passion. We had a reunion last year with supervisors and they asked me if I was still as gung-ho as I was when I was a young airman. And I said, ‘Yes, I still am.’ I’m very passionate about fire service.”

As chief, Maciorowski will lead 51 Fort Leavenworth firefighters. His job will be to make sure he takes care of them by ensuring that they have the proper tools, equipment and trucks to do their jobs safely, he said.

“They get along very well,” he said. “They have a lot of pride in the organization and pride in the installation.”

Maciorowski, who said he loves the historical setting of Fort Leavenworth, is not new to the post. He attended the Civilian Education System’s Basic Course at the Army Management Staff College two years ago.

“I was out here and able to check out the area out here,” he said. “I like the area and the Kansas City area.”

He said he would take a couple months to learn the policies and procedures at the department. He is impressed with what he has learned so far.

“I’m just excited to be here,” he said. “There’s a great team of people here in this fire department. I’m just happy to be part of their team and am looking forward to continuing my career here.”

He praised Assistant Chief of Operations Bruce Davis for filling in as interim fire chief since this summer, when former Fire Chief J.T. Adair retired.

“Since July, he’s been running the show here and has done a fantastic job of holding down the fort until I could get here,” Maciorowski said. “He’s been a tremendous help to me and the department.”

For his part, Davis said Maciorowski would bring a new perspective to the department.

“I think it will be a good thing for someone from the outside coming in with a fresh set of eyes to see how to do things and then improve going forward,” he said.

Sears supporting local heroes of the WFD

Winfield Courier – November 27, 2013

Sears owner Ron Godsey, left, uses a Craftsman bottle opener to open a bottle of Coke held by Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll. For every bottle opener sold, $2 will be donated to the WFD. A rendering of the new playground at Island Park is on display in the front window of Sears and can be seen in the background. (Avery Osen/Courier)

Sears owner Ron Godsey, left, uses a Craftsman bottle opener to open a bottle of Coke held by Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll. For every bottle opener sold, $2 will be donated to the WFD. A rendering of the new playground at Island Park is on display in the front window of Sears and can be seen in the background. (Avery Osen/Courier)

The Winfield Sears store will be conducting a fund drive to raise money for the Winfield Fire Department this Christmas season.

Sears Holding Corporation acknowledges that local fire departments give back to their communities daily and wants to present an opportunity to give something back. The Winfield Sears Hometown Store is supporting the Winfield Fire Department by raising funds to improve resources for training, equipment and financial support where these local heroes need it most.

“In years past, we have sponsored a food drive,” said Ron Godsey, Winfield Sears owner, “but this year, we are raising funds for the local fire department.”

This is a nationwide event in which all Sears stores are participating.

“This is perfect timing for us since the Winfield Fire Department has been instrumental in helping to design the new playground at the park,” Godsey said, “and we’re very grateful for their assistance.”

There are two ways to contribute. Sears will sell Craftsman bottle openers for $9.99, and for each one sold, $2 will be donated to the fire department. In addition every customer will have the opportunity to add $1, $2, $5, or $10 to their purchase and 100 percent of that money goes to the Winfield Fire Department as well.

Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll said the money will go toward fire education in the community and provide funds for free smoke detectors.

The program began Nov. 23 and ends Dec. 31.

“I hope everyone in Winfield comes by and donates something to show their support of these local heroes,” Godsey said.

Take this opportunity to say thank you to the Winfield Fire Department for their service to the community during the holidays.

Fire damages unoccupied house

Salina Journal – November 27, 2013

An unoccupied home in central Salina was damaged by fire Tuesday afternoon.

Salina Fire Marshal Roger Williams said a Westar employee smelled smoke just before 1 p.m. and started searching for its source. He located a fire at the back of a house at 122 E. Beloit.

The Westar employee called 911 and turned off electrical power, Williams said.

The fire apparently started on the outside of the house, underneath two solar heating panels, Williams said.

Williams said he suspects the fire might have started in a blower motor.

The most significant fire damage was in the attic, Williams said, with little damage to the living areas.

Williams did not have a dollar estimate of damage. He also did not give the name of the owner of the house.

Fire crews make quick work of late night apartment fire

By Mike Frizzell
Lawrence Journal World – November 27, 2013

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical crews were called to 922 Kentucky Street shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a fire inside an apartment.

Police arrived on the scene just about 90 seconds after the call was dispatched and they were quickly able to learn that the building had been evacuated.

Firefighters arrived on the scene of the two story building and upon entering they located a fire inside apartment number three. Crews had the fire knocked down in about five minutes.

After checking for extension to the basement, second floor and attic, crews reported the fire to be under control just before 11:30 p.m..

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighter Funeral Announcement

Captain/Safety Officer Dwaine Esau of the Walton Volunteer Fire Department passed away unexpectedly yesterday Monday the 25th while at work.  He has been a member of the Walton VFD since 1972.  He is survived by his wife Becky, sons Josh, Adam and his daughter Briana.  Funeral services will be held Saturday at 1400 hrs at the Bethel College Mennonite Church, 2600 College Ave. North Newton Ks.  Visitation and viewing will be Friday evening at Petersons Funeral Home in Newton.  A memorial has been set up in care of the Walton State Bank for the Walton Volunteer Fire Department.  Any questions can be directed to Training Officer Dean Davis 316-727-6862.

PFD crews donate to Safehouse

By Andrew Nash
Pittsburg Morning Sun – November 26, 2013

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Safehouse would likely have a Thanksgiving meal even without the help of the Pittsburg Fire Department. But to most people, it wouldn’t seem quite right.

“It really wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving meal. We wouldn’t have a turkey and a ham. We’d still celebrate the holidays, but it wouldn’t be as special as this makes it,” said Rebecca Brubaker, Safehouse executive director. “There’s a big difference between turkey loaf and turkey.”

Thanks to members of the Pittsburg Fire Department, those staying at Safehouse won’t have to find out about that difference. Monday, PFD firefighters donated plenty of food, including a turkey, a ham, and many of the fixings to Safehouse for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

“This is a deal where the firemen pitch in $30 a year,” said PFD Capt. Rich Wood. “The fund takes care of charities. It takes care of Safehouse, and it takes care of the shopping we do with kids here in a few weeks. Also, if we have a major house fire, we’ll use the fund to kick in a few gift cards and help the families get back on their feet and going again.”

As for the donations to Safehouse, Wood said the PFD has been helping them for close to 15 years. He said that as the calendar approaches Thanksgiving, the PFD calls to find out how many people are staying at Safehouse.

But it’s not strictly just about the food — it’s also the sense that the holidays aren’t spent alone.

“The most important thing is the way the residents feel that the community cares. Anytime you’re not at your house, it doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving. So it’s really nice to have that support,” Brubaker said.

The Thanksgiving meal at Safehouse is not exactly a public gathering — right now there are likely to be more than a dozen at the shelter over the holidays. However, it’s a sight to see for those who help at the shelter.

“They all band together. The women that are in the house work together and take turns doing different parts of the meal. It’s like a large family there. Some have been there quite a while,” Brubaker said.

As for the firefighters who helped keep the turkey loaf off the table, it’s just a way they can further help those that need it.

“It’s something we enjoy and we’re helping the community,” Wood said.


R.V. explosion injures Chanute man

By Jimmy Potts
Chanute Tribune – November 26, 2013

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A Chanute man has a long road of recovery ahead of him after an R.V. explosion left him with burns severe enough to require hospitalization.

Patient Information Officials at the University of Kansas Medical Center confirmed Chanute resident Charlie Harding is in their burn unit, but could not elaborate any further due to patient confidentiality.

Officers from the Chanute Police Department closed off sections of Garfield and Steuben Sunday evening while firefighters rescued Harding.

In an email sent from Chanute Fire Department Lt. Tim Riggs, he states, “There was one patient transported to [Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center] by [Emergency Medical Service]. We are unaware of the patient’s condition, location and extent of injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

Although the cause remains under investigation, Harding’s neighbors said the fire started after a propane tank attached to his R.V.’s heating unit exploded when he tried to light it.

After arriving at Neosho Memorial, hospital officials later transferred him to the University of Kansas Medical Center Burn Unit in Kansas City.

In a post to Harding’s facebook page from his cousin, Kaycia Justice, she wrote that Harding was up and walking Monday evening, severe burns to his face and left hand.

Harding lost all of his possessions in the fire and Justice is asking anyone who is willing to help by donating clothes, coats, shoes or money to purchase clothing items to contact her on Facebook.

Firefighters also battled an electric fire Friday evening at 1103 S. Malcolm.

The fire began around 9:45 p.m. and caused no injuries.

Every man a tiger

Clay Center Dispatch – November 13, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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Firefighters show how to use extinguisher

By Randy Fogg
Moundridge Ledger – November 14, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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Sadie Carter, age 5, knows what to do if a fire starts up.

“When there’s a fire, call 911,” Carter said.

Firefighters with Inman Fire Department District No. 5 had a booth at the Inman Wellness Center’s Health Fair, Saturday, November 2, which took place at the center. Firefighters were teaching members of the public to proper way to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.

She noted that it was not easy using a fire extinguisher.

Pastor Dwight Carter, Sadie’s dad, said it was a good idea for firefighters to teach the public the correct technique for using an extinguisher.

“I think it’s a good thing for the adults to learn,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of adults who haven’t used a fire extinguisher.”

Schroeder agreed, “It’s amazing how many people haven’t used a fire extinguisher. It’s good to make people think about it.”

In using an extinguisher, Schroeder said many people will forget to pull the pin out of the handle. With the pin in place, the extinguisher will not work.

“They get excited and forget that step,” Schroeder said. “It’s an important part.

“It’s obviously important to know how to use one,” he added.

The department had the equipment on hand to teach the public the proper technique to follow. Schroeder said they got the equipment on loan from National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA) in McPherson.

There was a screen which showed an electronic fire. The firefighters had two special fire extinguishers that people could use. Instead of chemicals, these extinguishers shot out electrons that showed up to see where they were aiming with the fire extinguisher.

Schroeder said the electronic fire was designed to behave like how a real fire might. A person might put out part of the fire, but then the embers would start back up.

“It allows them to try and put out a fire in a situation that is not life threatening,” Schroeder said.

The firefighters told people to follow the PASS list of actions:

  • Pull the pin;
  • Aim low at the base of the flames;
  • Squeeze the handle; and
  • Sweep side to side

Like an actual extinguisher, the electronic versions would run out of “chemical” that could be squirted out.

Schroeder said the demonstrations went well, and people were interested in learning how to use an extinguisher.

In addition to the firefighters, there were another 14 booths at the health fair.

Wood-burning stove starts structure fire in St. John

By Terry Spradley
St. John News – November 26, 2013

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A wood-burning stove was the culprit in a structure fire at 311 W. 9th Street in St. John a little before 7 p.m., Monday night.St. John firefighters responded to the fire that the reporting person said was started by a wood-burning stove inside the residence. Fire was just breaching the eaves and attic of the residence when firefighters arrived. By 7:30 p.m. the fire appeared to be under control. Firefighters are still on scene. The house suffered extensive smoke and water damage.

Firefighters receive thank you dinner

By Norma Martinez
Bird City Times – November 14, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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The Fire Department’s Amish Haystack meal was a big hit and a big change of taste for a dinner meal. No one went home hungry after eating a plate full of meat, fresh vegetables, and condiments.

Servers started everyone off by piling fresh mashed potatoes on the plate and topping them with hamburger cooked and lightly seasoned with taco sauce. From then on, everyone was on their own as to what and how much they wanted to stack, haystack style, on top. Large bowls of chopped lettuce, cauliflower, radishes, celery, onions, chopped hard boiled eggs and green peppers were lined up and down the counter. All this was seasoned with your choice of Ranch or Dorothy’s dressing, and then topped with a thin cheese sauce.

One hundred pounds of potatoes were peeled, and 55 pounds of hamburger were cooked, and it was heaped onto about 150 plates.

The idea for this came from Wendy and Loren White. When they lived in Iowa, this was a popular meal to serve to a bunch of hungry people. Tina Sager made all the large assortment of pies. Dana Wright made a decorated cake for the fire department. Donna and Dennis Wright broke out their ice cream freezers from the Thresher Show and made homemade vanilla ice cream.

One they were through serving everyone, Cody Beeson presented Ned Smith, Dan Bowers and Dave Hickert with mirror plaques for their over 30 years of service to the fire department.

Cody Beeson introduced the three men as filled with bravery and resolve to get the job done, no matter the cost. They have dedicated a large part of their lives to protecting Bird City and Cheyenne County, he said, facing many hard moments and overcoming a lot of difficulties to get the job done.

Over the years, they have braved the weather, outdated equipment, and overwhelming odds, to be a protector of their community. They have left children and wives at home alone when tornadoes are near, and left their crops in their fields to protect their neighbor’s crops. Many times, they responded to the pagers, missing family gatherings or holiday meals because circumstances keep no calendar and know no clock.

“Each of these men, Ned, Dan and Dave,” Mr. Beeson said, “have put in 20 plus years as a Bird City Volunteer Firefighter”. This meant twenty plus years of sleeping with a radio near the beds, and giving their time to the community they live in.

As Mr. Beeson looks at the time frame of when they started on the department, one thing stands out: How much they have worked to improve the department. A lot of badly needed new equipment was purchased in mid to late 1970’s, at about the time these young men joined the ranks. Improvements in training and communication were made in the 1980’s, and a new building was built in the 1990’s. In the 2000’s, a training room was built, and security for firefighters hurt in the line of duty was established.

A lot of these improvements were paid for by generous members of the community and municipal funds, but the driving force behind them were the goal oriented members of the fire department at the time of the improvements. Dan Bowers, Dave Hickert and Ned Smith were dedicated to their duties as firemen through all these changes. Their contributions to improving the fire service in Bird City are priceless.

1947 American LaFrance Aerial – One Hundred Foot Challenge

By Steve Moody, Fire Chief
Newton Kansan – November 26, 2013

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She was parked on the west of the hose tower.  The rays of the sun were shining down through the open cab upon the black leather seats.  The truck was stabilized by an arm on both sides with giant threads which appeared to be adjustable if you had a giant wrench.

The ladder was extended upwards almost to the edge of the sun. I was told the driver aimed for the sun when he extended her, but in her old age she had developed a slight arch when extended the full one hundred foot.  So, the ladder tip ended up just to the left side of the sun.

Next to the base of the ladder on both sides were two red tubes that looked like grenade launchers.  These were the hydraulic cylinders that raised and lowered the ladder.

If I wanted to be a firefighter, my task was simple.  I needed to climb to the top, touch the tip, then climb down.  All in less than ten minutes.

But, there’s something strange about climbing a gigantic ladder – especially a crooked one – that’s sticking straight up into the air.  And stranger yet, it’s not leaning against a supportive structure – like a building.

All kinds of thoughts go through your brain.  What if one of those tiny support arms fails?  What if one of the hydraulic cylinders holding up the ladder sprouts a leak?  Thoughts turn to fear.

The palms began to perspire.  The heart beat increased – both in rate and intensity.  And, I got a big lump in my throat.  Did I really want to be a firefighter?

Yes, was the answer.  But, it wasn’t a deep manly yes – it was more like a grade school girl yes.

So, I climbed up to the turntable.  As I stood at the base the very top wasn’t quite visible. I was just about to change my mind when the time keeper asked, “Are you ready?”  Right before I gave the “thumbs up”, I told myself the death would at least be instant.

The first fifty feet went fast.  A hand rail on both sides gave me a sense of security.  This wasn’t too bad after all.  But the ladder started to narrow.  And then the side rail was no longer.

The sun was getting closer as the ladder skinnied down to what seemed to be a size that fit my preboarding child like voice.  I had reached the curve point.  And it made me feel like there was a super magnet pulling me towards the left.

It was at that point the time keeper shouted, “Five minute mark!”  I refused to look down.  Up, up, up another sixteen feet.  The red painted tip was now in reach.  I stretched my arm until I feared it would disconnect from the socket.  Slowly my fingers encircled the rung.

Looking down at the pea-sized time keeper he appeared to wave his hand.  That was enough acknowledgement for me.

The speed of the trip up the ladder was liken a turtle stampeding through peanut butter.  The one down the ladder was liken a rabbit being chased by a beagle. Within what seemed like seconds I was standing next to the time keeper.

All that remained was to ensure he saw me reach the top. And he did.

We all go through challenges in life.  In many ways facing and overcoming those challenges is what molds us.

My career as a firefighter began with a “One Hundred Foot Challenge.”

Giving Thanks

By Linda Mowery-Denning
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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About a half-dozen people stood up Sunday night to thank Ellsworth County’s first responders for the work they do to protect residents from fire, injury and other calamities.

Another 100 or so listened to the tributes and later joined the first responders in prayer.

The event organized by the Ellsworth County Ministerial Alliance filled the garage of the Ellsworth Fire Station.

The almost hour-long tribute opened with the sound of a high pitched community page, a dispatcher’s call to duty and a skit in which first responders from different agencies answered a call for help. Included were representatives from the police, sheriff’s department, Emergency Medical Service, Kansas Highway Patrol, Ellsworth County Medical Center and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Ellsworth County’s emergency management director Keith Haberer was master of ceremonies.

“What you saw here tonight was teamwork,” he said following the skit. “It’s each person doing their own job for the same goal–and that is to save lives.”

At the urging of Haberer, people in the audience took the microphone to share their experiences: the care and consideration of emergency medical technicians as they responded to an elderly woman who had fallen and hit her head on a kitchen counter: the calm professionalism of Ellsworth firefighters and others as they pulled a driver and her young passenger from a wreck that could have ended tragically.

“The main thing is to say thank you…Just pat them on the back and say thank you for the job they do,” said Ellsworth County resident Earl Jones.

The event ended with first responders forming a circle in the front of the garage and the audience surrounding them for a prayer provided by Amy Jo Hawley, pastor of Ellsworth’s First Presbyterian Church.

“God of power to protect and save, send your blessings on these servants, who generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary and compassion in all their work…”

The prayer was written on cards so people could take them home.

“We wanted something to pull everybody together,” said Exie Barber, pastor of the First Assembly of God Church and a volunteer firefighter.

He said the goal of Sunday night’s gathering was two-fold; express appreciation to the county’s first responders and show residents how well everyone works together, regardless of job or agency.

“We’re very blessed in that aspect,” Barber said.

He said he was pleased with the turnout and expects the appreciation event to continue. The next time Barber said he hopes to attract more first responders from other Ellsworth County towns.



Propane tank Explosion occurs northwest of Madison

By Dustin Michelson
Emporia Gazette – November 26, 2013

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A Lamont man was injured in a propane explosion and semitrailer fire Monday morning northwest of Madison.

The Olpe Fire Department, the Madison Fire Department and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office responded to 538 Road 20 after the fire was called in.

Ratcliff Propane Owner Travis Ratcliff, 46, was filling a propane tank attached to a semitrailer, according to a Sheriff’s Office release. Escaping vapor from the connection between the tank and a brass fitting ignited and exploded.

Ratcliff was thrown 15 to 20 feet from the trailer, his clothes on fire. He was able to roll and extinguish the flames.

Ratcliff was taken by personal vehicle to Newman Regional Health in Emporia to be treated for injuries.

He suffered minor burns to his face, singed facial hair and bruising. He was admitted overnight for observation.

The semitrailer, owned by David Farthing, 53, of Olpe, had been made into an office and storage for oil drilling equipment.

Farthing estimates $45,000–$50,000 loss in oil drilling equipment that was stored in the semitrailer.

Concerns raised over dispatch

By Alan Rusch
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz discussed concerns regarding his dispatch service at Monday’s meeting of the Ellsworth County commission.

Commissioners said area fire chiefs questioned at the November 12 meeting why they were not receiving nightly test pages. Concerns were also raised that on another occasion, law enforcement was dispatched on an emergency call while fire departments and emergency medical personnel were not.

The fire chiefs suggested dispatch personnel needed more training.

Ploutz was out of town on training November 12 and was unable to attend the commission meeting.

Commissioner Terry Kueser asked Ploutz if there was a basis for the fire chiefs’ concerns.

Ploutz said when he has been at the sheriff’s department at night he has heard dispatch send out the test pages. On several occasions, he has sent out the pages himself.

Ploutz said if the fire chiefs have a problem with the sheriff’s department, they should put their concerns in writing, provide specific times and dates, sign it, and send the letter to him so it can be addressed.

“Otherwise, I’m not going to do anything,” Ploutz said.

Ploutz said if the fire chiefs aren’t carrying their pagers, they aren’t going to hear the test page.

“I’ve always taken care of things when they were brought to my attention,” Ploutz said.

Ploutz said he is actively recruiting additional dispatchers since he is short-staffed.

“You have this board’s support for whatever you need,” Kueser said. “Dispatch is vital to the county.”

Lindsborg Fire Prevention

Lindsborg News Record – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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Atkin family loses home in fire

By Becky Reeves
Coffey County Republican – November 22, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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Jay and Susan Atkin and their daughter, Rachel, are homeless after a fire Tuesday night completely destroyed the family’s house at 425 11th Road, west of Burlington.

The family was not home at the time of the fire, which was discovered by a passerby. The individual called 911 at 6:27 p.m. and reported a house on fire.

“Gridley firefighters, the first on the scene, found the house totally engulfed in flames,” said Fire Chief Randall Brown. “In addition to fighting the house fire, there were several fires outside the structure, such as lumber Jay was going to use to build a deck and garage, brush piles and other items. All we could do was fight it defensively.”

Brown said Burlington and New Strawn firefighters also responded, along with medical units and law enforcement. Equipment brought to the scene included two pumpers, three tankers, a rescue truck and two brush rigs. Twenty-two firefighters battled the blaze. Burlington and New Strawn firefighters left at 8:52 p.m. and Gridley firefighters left at 10:07 p.m. Items were left smoldering in the basement.

The dwelling was a three-story wood frame home on a basement. According to the Coffey County Appraiser’s Office, the original structure was built in 1918. The Atkins have been remodeling the home since 2000. The appraiser’s office valued the home at $27,990 for tax purposes.

“The last person left the home Tuesday at 4 p.m.,” said Chief Brown. “Jay had set off bug bombs and came into town. I cannot say that was the cause of the fire, but it is highly possible.”

The dwelling and contents are insured. The Atkins’ insurance company has provided them with a room at a local motel.

Chief Brown said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Garnett Fire Prevention

Anderson County Advocate – November 12, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

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Fire destroys homes of famed baseball player, Cherryvale residence

By Allen Smith
Independence Daily Reporter – November 12, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2013

Local and area firefighters battled two structure fires, one that left a Cherryvale family without a home and the other destroyed a home in rural Coffeyville once occupied by a baseball hall of famer.

Cherryvale firefighters, with mutual aid from the Independence Fire Department, responded to the Phillip Hopkins residence at 311 N. Neosho, Cherryvale, where an apparent electrical fire caused extensive damage to the residence.

Cherryvale Fire Chief Chad Russell said the blaze was reported at 7:29 a.m. Monday and firefighters were at the scene within two minutes. The home received heavy damage from fire and smoke.

The Hopkins family are reportedly staying with relatives.

The Independence Fire Department responded to Cherryvale with its ladder truck and an ambulance.

The ladder truck, according to Fire Chief Rusty Baker, was placed at the front of the house just in case it was needed, and eventually used to assit in the salvage and overhaul of the structure.

At approximately 6:43 p.m. Sunday, firefighters from the City of Coffeyville and the Dearing Division of the Montgomery County Rural Fire District No. 1 responded to a structure fire at a home that used to be occupied by the late Walter “Big Train” Johnson. The structure was located on old E. 8th Street across the road from Walter Johnson Park.

Johnson is said to have lived in the home for a period of time during his baseball career up until the time his wife died 1930, according to the Kansas State Historical Society.

According to the report from the Coffeyville Fire Department the second floor of the residence was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene.

Once the Dearing department arrived, command of the scene was turned over to Dearing firefighters.

Capt. Bob Roesky said Coffeyville firemen stayed on the scene to assist with the salvage and overhaul of the property.

The cause of the Coffeyville blaze is still under investigation.

The South Coffeyville, Oklahoma Fire Department also responded to the Coffeyville fire.

Officials Say Fire Intentionally Set Inside Vacant Topeka Home

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – November 26, 2013

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Around 9:30 p.m. Monday night fire crews reported seeing smoke and flames coming from 2435 S.E. Minnesota Ave. Several fire companies quickly got the fire under control, but not before the home sustained heavy damage.

Fire investigators later determined the home was vacant and that the blaze was started by someone inside the kitchen. Loss is estimated at five-thousand dollars.

Six finalists to replace retiring Littleton Fire Rescue chief named

By Phil Tenser
ABC 7 News – November 26, 2013

Six candidates, including a current division chief, are being considered to take the helm of the Littleton Fire Rescue Department after the current chief retires.

John Mullin, who became chief in 2004, will retire on Dec. 31. Littleton City Manager Michael Penny announced Monday that these six people are candidates to replace Mullin.

– Christopher Armstrong, former division chief, City of Miramar, Florida

– Joseph Bruce, chief, North Metro Fire Rescue, Arvada, Colorado

– Gary Curmode, chief, Sedgwick County Fire District 1, Park City, Kansas

– Jack McArthur, chief, City of Yuma, Arizona

– Thomas Solberg, director of fire service training, Montana State University

– Wayne Zygowicz, division chief, Littleton Fire Rescue

The candidates will all be interviewed on Dec. 9. The city said the process will include interviews with five panels, including department directors, existing command staff, other staff members, fire department partners and a group of citizens.

4 Dead, 3 injured in 2nd fire near Central and Webb

By Adam Pulley
KSN – November 26, 2013


Wichita Fire Department crews say 4 people have died in an early morning fire at a mobile home park in the 600 block of N. Goebel, near Central and Webb.

They were called to the scene around 3 a.m., with reports of several people stuck inside.

They were able to save three people from the home, they were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

The fire was actually the second fire at that mobile home park in the same night. A mother and child were taken to the hospital after the first fire, which happened around 11:00 p.m. Monday night.

We have a crew at the scene and will have the latest updates on Kansas Today starting at 4:30am.

El Dorado firefighters douse car fire

El Dorado Times – November 25, 2013

Two firefighters were surrounded by smoke as they try to pop the hood of the vehicle to have better access to the fire. Photo by Kent Bush

Two firefighters were surrounded by smoke as they try to pop the hood of the vehicle to have better access to the fire. Photo by Kent Bush

The El Dorado Fire Department responded to a car fire behind McDonalds Saturday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. An apparent gasoline leak led to a fire that consumed a blue Firebird. The glass in in the windows was popping as parts of the engine were consumed by the fire.

Semi truck accident, fire erupts

Dodge City Globe – November 25, 2013

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A fire has erupted south of the Boothill Casino, a source from the Dodge City Fire Department said the fire was caused by two semi trucks involved in an accident, one carrying a gasoline tanker but at this point details are not clear. The fire department is currently trying to fight the fire.

KCK Rotary Club honors KCK Fire Department officials

By Nick Sloan
Kansas City Kansan – November 25, 2013

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The Kansas City, Kansas Rotary Club, at its November 12th luncheon, recognized this year’s Public Safety professional from the Kansas City, Kansas Fire

Annually the Club recognizes outstanding public safety professional from the Fire department.  This is a program of the Kansas City, Kansas Rotary Club to show appreciation to individuals that do so much to protect our community.

The head of the Fire department select outstanding an individual from their department to receive this award for their dedication and service to our community.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Firefighter Jose Rodriquez.  He is a prime examples of the great men and women who are protecting us every day.

Fireman Rodriquez was introduced by Fire Chief John Paul Jones.

The Chief shared several stories highlighting Fireman Rodriquez’s professionalism and heroism.

No injuries, damages reported in furnace fire

Winfield Courier – November 25, 2013

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Two Winfield firefighters douse smoldering logs removed from a furnace that caught fire late Sunday afternoon at 9677 N. 75th Rd. The fire resulted in no damages and no injuries. The home, owned by Ira and Louise Underwood, is heated by a furnace located in the basement. The Winfield Fire Department responded to the scene. The wood-burning furnace was not properly ventilating the smoke through the chimney, which caused a build up of smoke in the basement, according to Captain Stuart Cassaboom with the WFD. There was no damage to the furnace unit. (Ashlee Mayo/Courier)

Spontaneous combustion cited in fire at Wichita dry cleaners

By Amy Renee Leiker
Wichita Eagle – November 24, 2013

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A basket of clothing that ignited is being blamed for a fire that led to $30,000 in estimated damage to a south Wichita laundry and dry cleaning business, a Wichita Fire Department official said Saturday.

Fire crews fought black smoke pouring from the door of Lee’s Cleaners, 1110 W. 31st St. South, after they arrived at the strip mall that houses the business around 1:45 p.m. Saturday. No flames were visible from the exterior of the building, but Acting Battalion Chief David Voss said those inside the neighboring Cricket Wireless store were evacuated as a precaution. About nine fire vehicles responded.

Investigators blamed the fire on the “spontaneous combustion” of clothing, Voss said; the flames were contained to the business’ interior. Roughly $20,000 worth of dryers and other electronics were damaged by smoke and flames, while the building sustained about $10,000 in damage, he said.

No one was hurt. Fire crews were rolling up hoses and packing away gear so they could leave the scene about an hour after the fire was reported.

Firefighters practice a life-saving skill

By Randy Gonzales
Hays Daily News – November 24, 2013

Firefighters braved sub-freezing temperatures Saturday morning to learn techniques that might save a life.

Members of the Ellis County Rural Fire Department from Co. 4, Co. 5 and Co. 6, along with members of the Hays Fire Department and a couple members of the Trego County Rural Fire Department, were gathered at Hays Auto Parts, 1862 250th Avenue, to learn vehicle extrication techniques using Jaws of Life and other tools.

The Kansas representative for TNT Rescue Systems, from which Ellis County recently purchased updated Jaws of Life tools, provided training, as did the owners of Five Star Fire Training, North Fork, Idaho.

“The biggest thing, what we’re going through right now, is not only using new tools, equipment, but also giving them a good comparison of the information that they already have on a new car,” said Joshua Rogers of TNT Rescue Systems.

Rogers had the firefighters practice old and new techniques on an older vehicle, then do the same on a newer vehicle, which has stronger steel that older Jaws of Life tools can’t cut through.

“For a long time, just about any rescue tool could cut just abut any car,” said Janet Haddon, administrator of Five Star Fire Training.

However, in recent years, auto manufacturers were wanting lighter cars with better fuel economy that still have stronger steel to meet crash test ratings requirements.

Manufacturers started using Boron, an additive to the steel. It makes the steel lighter — and tougher.

“The terminology used now is ultra-high strength steel,” Haddon said.

In 2008, a leading car extrication instructor said the Volvo XC90 could not be cut through using extrication tools. Since then, Five Star Fire Training figured out how to do it, and started going around the country teaching firefighters how to cut through ultra-high strength steel used in new vehicles. Volvo helped out by supplying vehicles, Haddon said.

Rescue tools need a combination of speed, strength and blade design, such as the ones recently purchased by Ellis County.

“The tools that Ellis County just purchased are some of the best on the market,” Haddon said. “They’ve really taken the time to research what it is that’s needed to tackle these metals.”

Chris Muench, a member of the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, said the training would prove helpful.

“They’re a lot harder, so it’s going to take a lot more plan A, plan B, plan C, making sure we can get (occupants) out as quickly as possible,” Muench said of the steel in newer vehicles.

“The older tools, the blades aren’t hard enough; they don’t have the speed and generate the power,” Haddon said. “Ellis County is very lucky to be able to have a fire chief that is seeing forward, and seeing what they need — and not just now, but five years from now.”

Family ‘lucky to be alive’ after Shawnee fire

By Angela Hunsucker
KMBC – November 24, 2013

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More Photos

Shawnee firefighters battled a house fire near Interstate 35 and Antioch Road Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews were called to the 4800 block of Stearns Street about 4 p.m. after a fire in a garage spread to the home.

Firefighters said the homeowner had a leaf blower that quit working and he tried to get it going again using a propane torch.

“We saw the flames just coming out of the garage,” said witness Angie Hunsucker. “The garage doors had actually like blown off and were crumpled in the driveway.”

Everyone inside the home got out safely.

“This fire underscores the importance of knowing and using safety with equipment that uses flammable liquids,” said Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands. “They’re very fortunate to be alive.”

No firefighters were hurting battling the fire.

Damage was estimated at $150,000.

New wind farm already a windfall

By Scott Aust
Garden City Telegram – November 24, 2013

An agreement in March for Finney County EMS to provide standby services during the construction of the Buffalo Dunes wind farm project may end up to be a better deal than expected for the county. In late March, Finney County signed a contract with Renewable Energy Systems Americas, Inc. (RES) to allow the county Emergency Medical Services to provide on-site standby during the construction of the wind farm over the next 10 months. So far, the county has received about $245,180 in revenue from the wind farm contract, with a couple of months to go. Payments to the county are made monthly. “We expected to make some additional money. The commission would not have agreed to do this for the wind farm if we were going to lose money at county taxpayers’ expense. But I think we probably have done better than what was expected,” Randy Partington, county administrator, said. Partington isn’t sure yet how much of the revenue received so far is profit — that won’t be determined until the numbers are crunched at the end — but it’s safe to say revenues are at least meeting and possibly exceeding estimates. “It’s going to more than cover the cost for us to be down there. We will have some revenue — I don’t have a dollar amount — that will help,” he said. “I’m hoping it will help with some of the maintenance issues we’re having with our current ambulances that are breaking down quite often.” Ambulance issues have covered a broad spectrum of ailments the past several months. “It’s been tires, catalytic converters, starters. It’s everything, and we aren’t sure why,” Partington said. “We’re definitely looking at alternatives. Maybe a different type of vehicle next time. We don’t know if it’s the type of vehicle or what’s taking place. We just got a bunch of lemons, we don’t know.” Work started on Buffalo Dunes on April 1. The project is expected to be complete by Dec. 1. RES, the general contractor of the project, and TradeWind Energy, the developer of Buffalo Dunes, are building 135 wind turbines for the 250 megawatt Buffalo Dunes wind farm, which will cover more than 40,000 acres of land in Finney, Haskell and Grant counties by the time it is completed. RES is paying the cost of labor, supplies and equipment. Initial estimates indicated the county could see up to $175,000 in profit by the end of the contract, depending on how many hours EMS was on the site. The actual profit won’t be known for awhile, but it’s looking like the number may exceed estimates. It’s  possible enough revenue will be generated to allow the county to buy a new ambulance a year early next year without affecting property taxes. The county typically budgets for a new ambulance every two years, Partington said, at a cost of roughly $150,000. Revenue from the wind farm project goes into the county ambulance fund. Partington said the county commission may decide to do a year-end budget transfer to cover the cost of a new ambulance in 2014 if it decides to go that route. County Commission Chairman Dave Jones said the contract was an opportunity to help neighboring counties that didn’t have the manpower or equipment to provide that service. “It was a neighborly thing to do, and it turned out financially to be somewhat rewarding, so all in all I’m pleased,” Jones said. Jones and other commissioners had some doubts at first. “We didn’t quite understand, no one understood what the commitment was going to be. As a big project like that starts, they have time frames, a schedule and so on, and you hope to stay with it,” he said. “But you do have those lingering concerns if this thing gets strung out for a long time beyond schedule, it might create potential problems. But it turned out that it worked very well.” In March, the contract called for one regular EMS employee to staff the office whenever work was under way at the site, on 12- and 24-hour shifts through the end of January 2014. Finney County EMS currently has a technician on-site 12 hours per day, but over the past several months has had personnel at the wind farm around the clock, depending on the production schedule. EMS was there to respond if a construction worker were injured, prepare them for transport and call in other emergency responders from Grant or Haskell counties who would transport to a medical facility in those counties. Michael Paz-Torres, emergency management coordinator and one of two interim EMS directors, said that while at times EMS manned the site around the clock, individual personnel worked no more than 12 hours at a time. “We’re there to do immediate care,” Paz-Torres said. “One of those other agencies would come and transport them. We don’t pull from our coverage, city and county, to go down there and work. We still keep full coverage in Finney County.” No information was provided about the number or types of injuries EMS has seen. Paz-Torres said that information needed to come from RES. Attempts to contact RES officials for this story were unsuccessful.

HCC, city creating hub for fire training

By Darcy Gray
Hutchinson News – November 24, 2013

Hutchinson Community College and the city of Hutchinson are working together to make Hutchinson the site of a regional training center for firefighters.

Construction could begin as early as December on a new, 20,000-square-foot fire science building for HCC. The new building will be constructed next to the Hutchinson Fire Department’s command and training center at 3201 E. Fourth Ave.

There, students will be able to train alongside career firefighters, said Bob White, HCC fire science coordinator. Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes noted that having firefighter training for both the college and the city in one spot also will cut down on any duplicated efforts, thus saving taxpayers money.

“(Students) get a better opportunity to train with a larger fire department, and we’ll be looking at people who we might be interested in hiring, because we’ll be able to watch them over a period of time,” Forbes said.

“There are a lot of wins when you look at this.”

Leasing the city’s property for the new fire science building will cost the local college $1 per year for 99 years, according to Carter File, HCC vice president of finance.

The HCC Board of Trustees, in its meeting Nov. 14, accepted the lowest of four bids – $2.02 million from A&A Builders in Hutchinson – to construct the new fire science building, with money coming from the college’s capital outlay fund.

The new structure will replace the aging fire science building on HCC’s South Campus, located southwest of Yoder. The South Campus structure is a World War II-era government building the college purchased in April 1970 when it acquired 425 acres of land and buildings from the Air National Guard.

Once the new fire science building is constructed – it’s expected to be completed by September 2014 – the old building near Yoder likely will be razed, File said. Other programs will remain at the South Campus, however, including HCC’s production agriculture and livestock programs, an EMT and paramedic program, and OSHA and MSHA training, File said.

“It’s served us extremely well over the years, but it’s time for it to be replaced,” HCC President Ed Berger said of the fire science building on the South Campus. “Also, when you look at the synergy created by (HCC and the city) working together, I think we can make this a regional fire training center for this area.”

Gary Holler, vice president of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture in Wichita, described the plans for the new fire science building, which will include five classrooms and seven offices for staff. One of the classrooms will include tiered seating. The building will have a corrugated metal panel exterior and will feature a multipurpose room with a large seating area for conferences, measuring 50 by 50 square feet.

There also will be a new search-and-rescue room, measuring 27 by 60 square feet, where firefighters in training can build walls to simulate going into a house or business during a fire. Water vapor could be pumped into the room, simulating smoke in a fire, Holler said.

White said there are about 115 full-time students currently enrolled in HCC’s fire science program, although 232 people took at least one class from the program this semester. Students in the program can obtain a two-year degree in applied science, or 64 credit hours, he said, but firefighters already on the job go to HCC for continuing education or to earn a degree.

Forbes said the Hutchinson Fire Department’s training center already has drawn programs from the University of Kansas and a national fire academy, so having additional classroom space and a “hands-on drill site” will enhance training for the region.

“If we have an engine or ladder company training, then (students) will be welcome to join in,” Forbes said. “They’ll be able to schedule ride-alongs with our companies, like a 24-hour shift, to gain hands-on experience.”

“It’s a great opportunity to partner and use both institutions’ resources effectively,” Carter said of the collaboration between HCC and the city.

House fire does extensive damage

Great Bend Tribune – November 22, 2013

A fire at 1418 20th St. did extensive damage to the house, Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said. Firefighters  were dispatched at 2:42 a.m. Friday, for a possible window air conditioner on fire. They arrived to find smoke coming from the soffits.
“The  front door was forced open and (they) found fire in the center of the structure,” Napolitano said. “No one was at home at the time of the fire; however, there were some pets inside that succumbed to smoke. The fire started in the area of the floor furnace and extended up through a closet and into the attic area. Fire and smoke damage was extensive.”
The fire department was assisted the by the Great Bend Police Department, power company and the gas company.
Fire  Inspector Luke McCormick completed his investigation Friday afternoon.

Chapman Fire Prevention

Chapman and Enterprise News Times – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

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TransCanada Grant

Chapman and Enterprise News Times – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

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Vacant house catches fire in Winchester

Oskaloosa Independent – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

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Firemen called to dowse silo fire at Phillips feed yard

Vindicator – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

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District 11 fire and rescue was called to a silo fire Monday morning at the Jim Phillips feed yards on Highway K-16 east of Valley Falls.

Fire Chief John Gordon found a column of smoke rising from the 75-foot high silo. The silo contained about 55 feet of last year’s silage crop.

Gordon called the Oskaloosa Fire Department and asked for their help since they are equipped with a 75-foot ladder truck.

Oskaloosa firefighter Jared Bammes and District 11’s Greg Nellis were lifted to the top of the elevator by the ladder truck, opened a door to the metal roof, and began applying water to the interior.

Gordon said using both water and foam seemed to snuff out the blaze.

The call came in around 8:30 a.m. and the fire was out by 11:30.

Gordon said this was his first experience with a silo fire. District 11 used to be equipped with a ladder truck, but the ladder is no longer functional and attempts to purchase another similar used truck have not been successful.

“I hope we can get another one before too long,” he said.

Gordon had no idea how the fire would have started in the silo. “Maybe it was a lightning strike, but I don’t know,” he said.

The foam is a good fire retardant and helped a lot in extinguishing the fire.

“It should at $125 a bucket,” Gordon said.

A fireman from Osawkie caught a ride up with Bammes and the Nortonville Fire Department was also on the scene.

Repeated false fire alarms in Lyons will now cost you

By Lucky Kidd
Lyons News – November 8, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

The Lyons City Council voted 6-1 Monday to adopt a policy imposing a $480 fee if the Lyons Fire Department responds to more than one false alarm at a location in a 12-month period.

The policy, which has been under study for about two years and deals mainly with automatic alarms, comes in the wake of four false alarm calls being made to one business during September. City Administrator John Sweet said the fee is based on the $15 dollar per fee paid to volunteer firemen per run with a full roster of 30 firemen authorized by city code, along with a $30 administrative fee.

The no vote came from Councilman Cody Goforth, who voiced concerns about the amount of fee proposed, saying businesses would be at the mercy of their alarm companies. Goforth, who is also Rice County Undersheriff, added what scared him about the proposal was businesses might turn off their alarm systems, causing more problems for law enforcement. Councilman Garland Old, on the other hand, said the alarm companies can be held responsible for repeated false alarms, as provided for in their contracts.

Containing the blaze

Peabody Gazette Bulletin – November 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

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Area firefighters were called out Sunday afternoon to a structure fire on 110th Street, west of Nighthawk. An abandoned farmhouse was on fire and fully engulfed by the time crews arrived on the scene. Because of the high winds blowing across the area that day, the firefighters concentrated on containing the fire rather than saving the building. Fire departments from Peabody, Goessel and Hillsboro fought the blaze. Above, Ashley Sheridan of Lehigh kept overgrown grass and weeds wet at the edge of the blaze. The property is owned by Randy Eitzen. Photo by Susan Marshall.

Overloaded detention center elevator traps 17

Topeka Capital Journal – November 22, 2013

Seventeen visitors to the Shawnee County Juvenile Detention Center were stuck in an overloaded elevator for about 82 minutes earlier this week, an official said Friday.

One visitor, a child, was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to a Topeka hospital with anxiety issues, said Maj. Tim Phelps of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.

Phelps said 17 people, including two children, got onto the elevator about 7 p.m. Tuesday after visiting juvenile inmates on the third floor of the Juvenile Detention Center at 401 S.E. 8th.

Phelps indicated the elevator’s computer determined it was carrying more than its 2,100-pound weight capacity and froze it between the building’s second and third floors to keep it from falling. People inside then pushed a button that enabled them to communicate with a county department of corrections control center.

Corrections employees contacted the company that services their elevators, and service personnel arrived at the scene at 7:55 p.m., Phelps said.

He said all people inside the elevator were able to exit on the second floor by about 8:22 p.m. Corrections department medical staff then assessed their conditions.

The corrections department had the elevator tested before it was put back in service, and an inspection determined it was fully operational, Phelps said.

He said the corrections department plans in the future to be more careful about not letting people overload elevators.

He said that though jail officials were a bit concerned about the length of time the elevator service people took to responded, they showed up within the one-hour period allowed in the corrections department’s contract with the company involved.

Phelps said the jail staff chose not to call Topeka firefighters because they wouldn’t have been able to get the elevator moving and the jail already had medical staff present to assess the conditions of the people involved.

Fireplace fire damages house in south Wichita

By Stan Finger
Wichita Eagle – November 22, 2013

Thursday night’s harsh cold prompted a family in south Wichita to use their fireplace for the first time this season.

But they hadn’t had the chimney cleaned in quite a while, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said, and that led to a fire in the attic shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday at 1256 S. Kansas. The house, which was built in 1940, is near Lincoln and Hydraulic.

The fire caused an estimated $12,000 to the house and its contents — primarily in the attic space, Crisp said.

When you burn wood, he said, it develops soot and deposits creosote on the pipes inside a chimney.

“A little bit of creosote isn’t a problem,” Crisp said.

But if allowed to accumulate over the years, it will catch fire and cause the pipe to expand and create openings at joints.

“Fire leaks out into the wood framing in the house,” Crisp said. “You end up burning part of your roof off.”

Such fires are “totally preventable” by doing maintenance, he said. People with fireplaces can hire chimney sweeps to clean them or get do-it-yourself kits at hardware stores.

There was a working smoke detector that alerted the two adults and two children in the house to the fire and they escaped unharmed, he said.

Future fireman Spencer fights off defenders, injuries to make impact for KU

By Tom Keegan
KU Sports – November 22, 2013

Kansas offensive lineman Riley Spencer celebrates a touchdown by running back James Sims against West Virginia during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. Photo by Nick Krug.

Kansas offensive lineman Riley Spencer celebrates a touchdown by running back James Sims against West Virginia during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. Photo by Nick Krug.

If you have the misfortune of needing assistance because of a fire, an automobile accident, or a cat stuck in a tree and the firefighter who helps you out of your jam stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 305 pounds, thank him for his service.

And then thank him for his service to the Kansas University football program.

Riley Spencer, a fifth-year senior left tackle from Hesston, has doubled as a volunteer firefighter for the Wakarusa Township Fire Department, housed at 300 W. 31st Street.

A two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, Spencer wants to make a career of it and is enrolled in an Emergency Medical Technician certification class second semester at Johnson County Community College. He studied pre-exercise science at KU, graduated in August and is taking a full class-load this semester.

Before pursuing a career dream that burned inside most of us as children but faded because of one factor or another — mine is an intense fear of heights, replete with recurring nightmares — he has two very big goals he first will chase. He wants to win two more football games.

It makes sense that an offensive lineman would be well-suited for the risky and rewarding challenge of fighting fires. Firemen run into buildings when everybody else is running out of them. O-linemen run into massive defenders when the guy with the football is running away from them.

Firemen don’t perform their jobs for glory, they open holes for others, sometimes with axes, and they are in it to protect others. Blockers protect quarterbacks and open holes for running backs.

Firefighters run the risk of serious bodily harm in the line of duty.

Spencer, according to teammate Gavin Howard, suffered a torn ACL during 2012 training camp, played the season-opener with it and then shut it down to have surgery.

That was knee surgery number … ?

“Several,” was all Spencer would say. Football players are told not to discuss injuries. He wasn’t sure if that meant past injuries, so he played it safe.

I worked every quadrant of the strike zone, trying to get him to bite at one out of his comfort zone. He kept the bat on his shoulder, saying only, “It’s more than two and it’s less than 10.”

His career survived every one of them, the last one just in time to make an impact on the team.

Kansas started the season with Aslam Sterling at left tackle, then turned to Pat Lewandowski, before calling upon Spencer, who makes his third start at the position Saturday in Ames against Iowa State.

Spencer’s knees are saying hello when it’s almost time to say goodbye. Until “about a month ago,” Spencer said he was undergoing one to two rehabilitation sessions per day, five days per week, with each session lasting 60 to 90 minutes. He made an early-season start at right tackle and has upgraded the left tackle spot in a big way.

“I think everybody here would say they wish that their clock for the amount of time that they could play would have a couple of more minutes on it,” Spencer said. “But I guess I’m as much as possible trying not to think about that, and trying to enjoy the time that I have left to really not let these last two weeks of football get away from me.”

Howard feels for what Spencer has gone through with injuries.

“He was playing really, really, really well during (2012) camp before he tore his ACL,” Howard said. “Now I think  he’s finally getting back to where he was at the beginning of camp last year. Beginning of camp this year he was kind of hobbling around. Now I really feel like he’s playing like he was last year. Kid’s been injured every single year and I feel bad for him. He’s got the body. He’s a huge kid. It’s really good to see he’s playing at a high level now.”

He also has a body that fits his next career, Spencer said.

“Naturally, the people above me are going to want to specialize me in certain areas,” he said. “There are certain situations where you don’t want to send someone my size in, but when it comes down to it and you have, God forbid, another firefighter in an entrapment situation, it’s good to have someone my size.

“So it’s good to not just have small people and it’s good to not just have large people in your department. You do want to have some diversity in size as well as diversity in experience, so you have different available resources.”

And it never hurts to have someone who had every reason to give up on football “several” surgeries ago, but didn’t. Why did he stick it out?

“I think we have a whole lot of really good characters on this team,” Spencer said. “People who are really smart, people who are really caring and people who really like football. Being able to be around these guys has driven me through the entire time I’ve been here, through the tougher times and through the good times.”

People who are smart, caring and really like football. Sounds like every guy I’ve ever met in a fire station.

David C. Greidanus


Heroes in Training

Shawnee Dispatch – November 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

shawnee fire 11222013

Rose Hill family displaced by fire

By Ginger G. Golden
Derby Informer – November 20, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

rose hill fire 11222013

A Rose Hill family is counting their blessings to have all made it out alive after a fire destroyed their home this past week.

The fire started in the attic of the house in the 200 block of N. Main Street. The call came in at 10:13 p.m. Tuesday, November 12.

Owner Maggie Cooke said she had just gone to bed when the fire started. She, her husband and their two children, ages 11 and 9, made it out of the house.

Temperatures that night fell to below freezing.

“It was really cold to be outside in your jammies,” she said.

Butler County Fire District 3 in Rose Hill was assisted by Douglass’ Butler County Fire District 8, the Andover Fire Department and Sedgwick County firefighters.

Rose Hill Fire Chief Jim Woydziak said crews were fighting hot spots for over 12 hours before leaving the home shortly before noon on Wednesday.

“We believe the cause to be electrical in the wall upstairs near the furnace,” he said. “It was thought that it may have been a furnace fire, but after the investigation and looking at the furnace, it was not a furnace fire. It may have been the wires to the furnace, that we couldn’t say, but it was electrical inside the wall.”

The house was built in 1920. Cooke said the house was moved to its current location after that, but said she was not sure when.

“I have not sat down to make a damage estimate, but the house is a total loss,” said Woydziak.

Cooke’s insurance company temporarily put the family in an Andover hotel. Cooke’s parents, from Haysville, were at the house the day after the fire helping her clean up.

Firefighters called out for reported gas leak

By Jyll Phillips
Lincoln Sentinel Republican – November 21, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 22, 2013

lincoln fire 11212013

Lincoln firefighters were called to the intersection of Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue Thursday afternoon, November 14 when employees at local businesses smelled natural gas.

The odor was noticeable to city employee Mike Hanson who smelled it under the offices of Metz and O’Hare, 116 S Fourth. Kris Heinze, an employee at Wireready NSI also smelled it. Wireready is located at 106 S. Fourth.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. Launches “Salute to Local Heroes” Charity Campaign to Support First Responders

National Retailer Partners with National Volunteer Fire Council to Donate Funds through System-Wide Campaign Nov. 23, 2013 – Dec. 31, 2013
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) and its subsidiaries are partnering with the National Volunteer Fire Council to raise money for one local fire department for each of their stores’ communities as part of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.’s “Salute to Local Heroes” charity campaign. The objective of the campaign is to provide firehouses across the nation with critical funds to improve resources for training, equipment, and financial support where the local heroes need it most.
From Nov. 23, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013, Sears Hometown, Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores, and Sears Outlet customers and company employees will have the opportunity to donate towards their local fire department while making a purchase. All contributed funds will go directly to the local fire station for that store’s community. In addition, $2 from each Craftsman® Bottle Cap Wrench purchase will be directly donated to the chosen local department.
“Seven in 10 firefighters are volunteers, and their departments often struggle to make ends meet, especially in these challenging economic times,” stated Heather Schafer, Executive Director of National Volunteer Fire Council. “Fundraising campaigns like ‘Salute to Local Heroes’ are critical for volunteer firehouses to have the necessary resources to perform their duties safely and effectively while protecting their local communities.”
The campaign focuses on supporting first responders with funds that will go towards purchasing and maintaining the following:

  • Equipment including protective gear, rescue tools, apparatus, thermal imaging devices, etc.
  • Response certifications and training
  • Assistance and family support for injured responders
  • Building maintenance and refurbishments
  • Recruitment and retention programs
  • Junior firefighter programs
  • Firefighter memorials 
  • And other needed resources and programs

“We’re excited to align ourselves with an organization that will help us make a deeper connection within our communities, while positively impacting them as a whole,” said David Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., who added that community involvement is a top operational priority across all four store formats. He continued, “By partnering with one fire department in each town, we hope to make a greater impact on each of the selected firehouses.”
After the 2013 holiday launch, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. hopes to continue the partnership throughout 2014 to further benefit the local communities. Plans for any extended roll-out for 2014 will be released upon the completion of the 2013 holiday campaign.
About Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) is a national retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, and hardware. As of August 3, 2013, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,250 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and
In addition to merchandise, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. provide consumers with access to a full suite of services, including home delivery, installation, and extended service contracts.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. operates through two segments – the Sears Hometown and Hardware segment and the Sears Outlet segment. The Sears Hometown and Hardware segment’s stores are designed to provide customers with in-store and online access to a wide selection of national brands of home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, sporting goods, and household goods, depending on the particular store. The Sears Outlet stores are designed to provide customers with in-store and online access to purchase new, one-of-a-kind, out-of-carton, discontinued, obsolete, used, reconditioned, overstocked, and scratched and dented products across a broad assortment of merchandise categories, including home appliances, apparel, mattresses, sporting goods, tools, and lawn and garden equipment at prices that are significantly lower than manufacturers’ suggested list prices.
For more information contact: Jayne Levy, Fishman Public Relations, at (847) 945-1300 or or visit the corporate web site at

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