Archive for February, 2014

Dumpster fire in North Topeka damages two nearby houses

By Samantha Foster
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 28, 2014

Firefighters stand Friday night in front of a dumpster where a fire started, destroying the dumpster's contents before spreading to the roof of 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road, on the left, and slightly damaging the home on the right.

Firefighters stand Friday night in front of a dumpster where a fire started, destroying the dumpster’s contents before spreading to the roof of 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road, on the left, and slightly damaging the home on the right.

A fire that began in a dumpster outside a North Topeka residence Friday night spread to the house and damaged the outside of another home, a fire official said.

Fire crews were called about 6:40 p.m. to the blaze at 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road.

At the scene, Capt. Kelly Adams said a family had been cleaning out the house after a relative’s death. The family moved items into a large green dumpster outside, he said.

Although no one had been at the home since about 4:30 p.m., Adams said, something inside the dumpster ignited, destroying everything in the dumpster before flames spread to the roof of the house.

The dumpster filled the space between 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road and the house immediately to its east.

Adams said the house at 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road sustained damage to its roof, which was blackened, but the fire didn’t penetrate very far into the structure.

The house to the east sustained paint damage, and a couple of its windows broke because of the heat from the fire, Adams said.

No injuries were reported.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One hurt in rollover crash in southwest Wichita

KAKE – Feb. 28, 2014


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A 17-year-old male has been hurt in a rollover crash in southwest Wichita.

It happened around 4:15 Friday afternoon, just north of 31st Street South and Seneca.

Witnesses said a driver was weaving in and out of traffic before losing control and rolling over. Fire crews extricated the driver from the car, and his injuries are not-considered life-threatening.

Authorities said that speed was a factor in this accident.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Training Day: Shawnee firefighters hone ice-rescue skills

Shawnee Dispatch – Feb. 28, 2014

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With highs well below freezing, Shawnee firefighters are taking advantage of the chilly winter weather to hone their ice-rescue training skills.

During the past several weeks, firefighters have been out at Shawnee Mission Park Lake practicing possible ice-rescue scenarios.

Sal Scarpa, Shawnee’s deputy fire chief, said because of the various water features located around the city, the fire department trains all operations personnel in ice rescue.

“There is always a concern about people falling through the ice because of the curiosity that some folks have with wanting to walk across a frozen body of water,” he said. “The challenge, of course, is that ice can be very deceiving. What looks like thick ice that can support the weight of a person in one area may be deceptively thin in another area.”

While firefighters don the latest equipment and gear to insulate them from the effects of the cold water, Scarpa said, everyone involved in the training gets cold.

While the training conditions are less than ideal, Scarpa said the training is invaluable as all operations personnel receive instruction and practice on various life-saving techniques.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

City to assume control of EMS

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Winfield Courier – Feb. 28, 2014

William Newton Hospital leadership met with Winfield city commissioners Thursday to request formally that the city take over management of Winfield Area Emergency Medical Service from the hospital. The change will go into effect July 1.

William Newton Hospital CEO Ben Quinton and WNH board of trustees president Tom Herlocker spoke to commissioners.

According to Herlocker, the hospital board will work with the commission and the city any way it can to make the transition as smooth as possible. The WAEMS garage at WNH will remain available to the city to house WAEMS vehicles, Herlocker said.

The transition will make WAEMS operations more efficient and ensure the service remains financially viable, while continuing to provide excellent emergency care, according to a joint press release issued by hospital and city officials. Hospital management, WAEMS and city leaders will keep working together to ensure a seamless transition of services.

Mayor Greg Thompson said preparing to take on WAEMS management has been challenging, but he thinks the city is at a point where it can make the transition successfully.

City manager Warren Porter said the overriding concern for city staff, hospital staff and the governing bodies of both entities is maintaining the quality of emergency medical service care.

“There will be a lot of change and discomfort at times, but the goal is that the patient won’t know the difference,” Porter said.

“It makes a lot of sense to do this, and we appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with Warren and his team working on this together,” said Quinton.

Once services are consolidated, WAEMS will be housed in the Winfield Fire Department building. All current Winfield firefighters are also EMT-certified. The city will also retain as many WAEMS paramedics as possible. The service will be overseen temporarily by Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll until a medical coordinator position can be established within the fire department to manage EMS, according to a previous Courier article.

Officials have been working to get the city proper credentials to operate an EMS service, including licensing by the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services and authorization to handle Medicaid and Medicare payments. Porter said in a previous Courier article that obtaining these authorizations should not be a problem for the city.

One issue with consolidation is staffing, including encouraging current paramedics to work for the city and making sure their pay and benefits as city employees mesh with what they have previously received. Another issue is finding space for ambulances and equipment, since there is not enough room at the fire department for the entire WAEMS fleet.

Most likely one ambulance would be located at the fire station and one at the hospital, with the remaining two in storage as they are now, Porter said previously. A possible firehouse expansion would have to be part of a long-term plan, as it is still too early to determine if one is needed, Porter said earlier.

Funding for WAEMS is provided by both the City of Winfield and Cowley County. The county gives the money to the city and the city gives it to EMS. The city is required to have an ambulance service.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Commission hears EMS report

By Cliff Ralstin
Humboldt Union – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 28, 2014

Allen County Commissioners heard a positive report on how the merger between the former county ran and Iola Fire Department/EMS ambulance services is going Tuesday, Feb. 18. Director Ryan Sell said things were going well with the merger.

Sell presented a detailed report on one Iola ambulance, Med 35, to demonstrate the reporting system and to show how things have progressed since the merger.

He noted Med 35 had handled 157 calls with the second Iola ambulance responding to 38 calls and the third unit going to five calls during January of this year. The third unit responds only when all other units in the county are on calls.

Sell said Iola had responded to 200 calls so far this year while the Humboldt based unit had gone on 60 calls and the Moran unit had been dispatched 55 times.

He also said a rotation of personnel between stations has been established with all employees having worked in all locations. “Everybody’s worked everywhere,” he told commissioners.

Nine former county employees have transitioned into the countywide department with 75% of basic firefighting training being completed. Sell said once basic training is completed the trainees will be issued bunker gear and be able to respond to fire calls. The department is still two employees short of a full staff.

When asked about maintaining a Type I service, Sell said, “we have a 24/7 Type I in all three cities”.

Out of county transfers was another point that many outside of Iola city limits questioned prior to the merger. He said the same transfer schedule prior to the merger was being used but discussions were taking place on a new method of rotation in which the first run of the day would rotate between cities.

It was stated that Iola is averaging eight medical calls per day with an average of 2.5 hours per call from callout to the conclusion of reporting.

He also discussed quality control measures within the department covering a multi layered review system that has new checks and balances built into the process.

Near the end of the report Iola City Administrator Carl Slaugh said Iola has projected a loss of $413,000 for the 2014 year. He said the Iola council was reviewing the situation.

It was asked if start up costs attributed to the merger was a factor in the number. Sell said roughly $30,000 was set aside for merger costs but those numbers were not figured into the numbers Slaugh was quoting.

Slaugh did say the merger was going well and gave kudos to Sell for making the transition as seamless as possible. Sell will be making monthly reports to the commission.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Gary Edward Hurlbut


McDonald fire dinner success

Rawlins County Square Deal – Feb. 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 28, 2014

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The McDonald Fire Department had a freewill offering dinner Feb. 20 at the fire building in McDonald. Members of RFD #3 and the McDonald City Fire Department served guests biscuits and gravy, desserts and drinks. Rural Fire Chief Dan Hubbard said about 150 people were served at the dinner and the initial estimate of funds raised is $11,300. The money will be used toward educational classes for the firemen as well as new equipment. The sausage for the gravy was donated by Gordon Crowdis and the biscuits were donated by Judy Fisher. Top photo–Albert and Annie Antholz are served by Ron Bell, Heath Antholz and Randy Miller. Bottom left photo–Charlie Poore eats dinner as David Bannister serves him his drink. Bottom right photo–Daniel Hubbard and Hallee Antholz enjoy ice cream and cake. Hubbard said they were really pleased with the turnout and appreciated the community’s support.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Truck stuck in mud burns

Kansas Chief – Feb. 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 28, 2014

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Fire last Thursday night, Feb. 20, destroyed this Chevrolet truck. It was mired in a muddy corn field about one-quarter to one-half mile south of the Monument/Mineral Point road junction near Doniphan.

Troy firefighter Matt McKittrick said the truck apparently overheated after becoming stuck off-road. He said there was fire damage to the cab and engine areas, and the gas tank had ruptured. The vehicle was still burning when firefighters arrived on the scene.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Area firefighters battle fires west of Winfield, east of Arkansas City

By Foss Farrar
Arkansas City Traveler – Feb. 28, 2014

Two rural grass fires occurring in quick succession Thursday afternoon kept firefighters from Arkansas City and surrounding communities busy.

The first blaze broke out at 4459 262nd Road, said Ark City Fire-EMS Department Capt. John Scott.

Skyline Road becomes 262nd Road west of the city limits.

Firefighters battled the blaze for about an hour before reporting it under control, Scott said.

They left the scene about 3 p.m., when the second call came in.

“Just as we had the (262nd Road) fire under control, another one broke out east of town,” Scott said.

“One of our grass trucks was also dispatched to the second fire.”

The second grass fire was at 34154 U.S. 166, northeast of Grouse Creek Road and near the Cowley State Fishing Lake.

Scott said six trucks responded to the fire on 262nd Road, including two command units, two grass fire trucks and two tankers.

The Winfield Fire Department dispatched one of its tankers.

The fire burned about 4 acres of grass land owned by Charles McDonald, he said.

“We don’t know what started it,” Scott said. “It started in a hedge row adjacent to his land and progressed northwesterly through his field, setting 11 hay bales on fire.”

Embers from the round hay bales set another field on fire about 100 feet northwest of the hay bales.

The fire on U.S. 166 was a 1 1/2 or 2 miles east of Cowley 1, Scott said.

Ark City firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Chautauqua County and Dexter.

An ACFD fire report was not available Thursday night, he said.

According to police scanner reports, firefighters were battling several grass fires in multiple canyons along U.S. 166.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

House fire claims life

Phillips County Review – Feb. 26, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

For a number of years as a volunteer Logan firefighter Mark Runnion responded to scores of alarms and has fought to keep his friends and neighbors and their property safe.

Early Saturday morning the worst fears of his fellow firefighters came true when they responded to a call of a fire in Logan at 2?28 a.m., and upon arriving realized that it involved one of their own, Mark Runnion.

What they found at the site of the fire, 305 West North Street, was Runnion’s home fully engulfed in flames, and that Mark had not appeared at their sides to help fight the blaze.

Putting their full efforts into extinguishing the fire, the firefighters then quickly conducted a rescue operation into the home.

Upon entering the home, they found Runnion inside, and that he had succumbed to injuries suffered as a result of the flames.

The fire’s cause is currently being investigated by the Phillips County Sheriff’s Department and the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. No further details are available at this time.

Services for Runnion, who was age 45, was held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Logan High School.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Woman critically injured in S. Wichita house fire

By Lauren Seabrook
KWCH – Feb. 27, 2014

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One person has been taken to the hospital after a house fire in south Wichita.

Crews responded to the scene in the 1900 block of South St. Francis around 6:20 p.m. Friday. Firefighters arrived to find flames showing from the home.

“They called me at work and they told me my house was on fire and you need to get back to the house like real quick,” said homeowner Vincent Wimes.

Wimes grew up in the house and took it over when his mom died in 2005. “I first thought I was dreaming,” said Wimes. “I didn’t even think it was real. I was like I’m going to wake up anytime. This is not really happening. I was in shock more than anything.”

Wimes feels lucky he and his children were not home at the time of the fire. But he says two other people were. “My friend was staying with me and his girlfriend. I guess she was asleep or something like that and she didn’t know the fire was going on and that’s how she ended up getting burn,” said Wimes.

Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Sid Newby says that woman was critically injured. “Crews came in, did a really good aggressive interior attack along with a search and found the occupant and got her out quickly,” said Newby.

Newby says crews gave the woman medical care at the scene, then transported her to the hospital.

With extensive damage to the front of the house, and throughout the inside, Wimes worries there will not be anything left to remember the life he had in the home.

“I’ve got old china, pictures from my mother, old pictures from my childhood, everything. I mean kids clothes, everything is gone. We’ve got to start all the way over.”

Investigators don’t yet know what caused the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters busy with brush, kitchen fires

By Kristen Roderick
Hutchinson News – Feb. 27, 2014

Hutchinson firefighters were busy Thursday afternoon with a one-acre grass fire and a small kitchen fire.

No one was injured.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., firefighters responded to Fourth Avenue and Hidden Meadow Lane for the grass fire. The fire was extinguished in about 10 minutes, according to Deputy Fire Chief Doug Hanen. Firefighters did not find a cause.

At 5:39 p.m., crews were dispatched to the 1100 block of E. 20th for a structure fire. Upon arrival, there was light smoke and a small kitchen fire.

This fire was also extinguished in about 10 minutes. Damage was estimated at $7,000 to $10,000, and it was contained to the kitchen.

There was one person in the home at the time of the fire. The cause appears to be unattended cooking, according to Hanen.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire breaks out at northeast Wichita housing complex

KWCH – Feb. 27, 2014


Two people were hurt after a fire broke out at a northeast Wichita housing complex.

Crews were called to 3939 North Comotara, near 37th and Rock, around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. They found heavy smoke showing from the building.

Two people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. It is unknown what may have caused the fire.

The fire caused about $75,000 in damage.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Pay issues will be addressed

By Aly Van Dyke
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 27, 2014

The city’s resource allocation study also will tackle compression issues, particularly those related to the fire department and the repercussions of eliminating overtime for shift commanders and battalion chiefs in November.

City manager Jim Colson declined to go into details about the compensation review, noting the full data-set hasn’t yet been collected.

“This story’s way too early,” he said.

Compression is when subordinates make equal to or more than supervisors. The city generally tries to keep a 10 percent pay gap between promotions.

Base pay to battalion chiefs in 2011 and 2012, on average, was 12 percent to 14 percent higher than the base salary of captains, their immediate subordinates, according to payroll data provided by the city. The gap jumped to more than 20 percent in 2012 when comparing total compensation.

For 2013, the average fire captain earned $79,366.40, while battalion chiefs earned $93,353.03 in total compensation — a 15 percent difference.

Last year, the nine shift commanders and battalion chiefs earned a total of $118,823.44 in supplemental pay, compared to $145,000 the year prior.

Ending overtime was accompanied with one other compensation adjustment: The addition of payment in lieu of Kelly Days for the nine employees — a work week adjustment amounting to payments between $185.58 and $201.11 per paycheck.

Although the removal of overtime pay and Kelly Day addition were meant as a temporary solution, both will stay in place, Colson said. The temporary nature of the changes relied upon findings from the compression review study, allowing for further adjustments to be made if necessary.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Medical, police report 2013 response times

By Stephen Montemayor
Lawrence Journal World – Feb. 27, 2014

Response times to structure fires were about a half-minute off Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical’s goal last year, while the Lawrence Police Department reported faster response times for emergency calls.

Fire Medical reported responding to structure fires in 6 minutes, 58 seconds on average, higher than the agency’s goal of 6.5 minutes. The Police Department averaged 4 minutes 16 seconds for the highest-priority calls, Police Chief Tarik Khatib said.

The police department’s goal is to come in under five minutes — a figure slightly less than the 2012 average of 5 minutes 25 seconds achieved by the 29 police departments that participate in an annual Benchmark City Survey, Khatib said. Overland Park and Olathe’s Police Departments also participated: Olathe’s average response time for the highest priority calls was 4 minutes 46 seconds in 2012 and Overland Park’s was 6 minutes 25 seconds.

Fire Medical’s response time goals are inspired by standards set by the National Fire Protection Association, which sets a goal of four minutes or less for first responders at both medical emergencies or structure fires and eight minutes or less for full response, said Paula Phillips, Fire Medical analyst. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical’s benchmark factors in street patterns and traffic.

Phillips said that the agency is looking forward to upgrades this year that will include a visual “countdown timer” marking the time elapsed after the beginning of a call and the option for crews to update dispatchers with the push of a button. For police, emergency communication and radio system upgrades set for August will allow officers to see call information before the call is even dispatched, allowing officers an occasional head start on a high-priority call.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

McPherson optometrist in serious condition after rollover

Hays Post – Feb. 27, 2014

A well-known McPherson optometrist was injured in a one-vehicle accident just north of Hutchinson on Wednesday night.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Jerry Leopold, 61, was northbound on Kansas 61 when he swerved to avoid a slower vehicle.

His SUV went into the median and rolled several times. Leopold had to be extricated from the vehicle and was then airlifted to St. Francis Regional Medical Center.

He is listed in serious condition. The accident happened approximately 8:30 p.m. near the K-61 and 43rd Avenue overpass, 1 mile north of Hutchinson.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Officials Uncover Possible Meth Lab In North Topeka

By Chris Fisher
WIBW – Feb. 27, 2014


Local authorities spent some of the morning going through a North Topeka mobile home after uncovering a possible meth lab.

Topeka Police, Shawnee County Sheriff Deputies and the Topeka Fire Department arrived at the home in the1900 block of Lyman Road, in the Meadowood Mobile Home Park just after 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

Shawnee County Dispatch said “some” people have been transported to the law enforcement center, but would not specifically say how many.

A hazmat crew was seen entering the home just after 10:15 a.m. and seen exiting only a few minutes later.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Water problems seen in Crestwood

By Foss Farrar
Arkansas City Traveler – Feb. 27, 2014

Arkansas City has sufficient firefighting capability to handle fires east of the Walnut River, city officials said recently.       

But a spectacular fire that destroyed a Crestwood home on a frigid day in late January underscores the need for a redundant supply of water east of the river.                    

The water dilemma

Only one 10-inch water main serves neighborhoods east of the river, including Crestwood, City Manager Nick Hernandez and Fire-EMS Chief Bobby Wolfe said in an interview Feb. 19.

They said that a second water line crossing under the Walnut River at East Madison Avenue would help.

So would a new standpipe, or water tower, in the Crestwood neighborhood.

If a second line were added, the two mains serving neighborhoods east of the river could be connected by a loop to serve all hydrants in that area, Hernandez said.

“We have loops in the (central areas of the) city, but we have just one line serving that one area,” he said.

But adding a second water main and a water tower in Crestwood would come at a high cost — more than $1 million, Hernandez said.

It would be cost prohibitive to install them now, he explained.

Firefighting tactics

At a regular City Commission meeting held a week after the fire, Wolfe announced a strategy the Ark City Fire-EMS Department plans to use to handle large fires east of the river.

A tanker-truck shuttle will be used to ensure that firefighters have a continuous water supply to douse big fires, Wolfe said.

“The longer a fire is burning, the more BTUs — British Thermal Units — are released,” Wolfe said. “You have to match the gallons per minute to the amount of BTUs per minute if you want to win the battle.”

Wolfe referred to firefighters’ battle to save a structure or keep a fire from spreading.

January Crestwood fire

Firefighters lost the battle to save the home at 1511 E. Chestnut Ave. after a fire broke out early Jan. 28 at the Crestwood house.

The blaze was reported by a neighbor shortly after 2 a.m.

Although they could not save the house, firefighters contained the fire within half an hour of their arrival at the scene, Wolfe said.

Thus, they won the battle to keep the blaze from spreading.

The primary factor that hindered their efforts, he said, was that the fire was detected too late for them to have a chance to save the structure.

“The biggest key is that nobody was there, there was nobody to report the fire from inside the house — and that’s a good thing, because they would have been in danger,” Wolfe said.

“That time of night, everybody’s in bed,” he said.

By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the blaze was venting though the roof, he said.

More than 50 percent of the house was engulfed in flames.

Overtaxing the supply

Firefighters reported that they had the blaze under control within 45 minutes of arriving at the scene.

But they continued to douse the smoldering remains of the house and its contents until mid-afternoon, to ensure that the fire did not spread.

The fire department’s continuous use of water that day taxed the water supply to residents east of the river, officials said.

“We tapped into the fire hydrant and robbed the water supply,” Wolfe said.

About 9:30 a.m. that day, city officials issued a low water pressure alert for residents living in the area east of the Walnut River.

According to a press release, the alert was issued due to “exhaustive use” of the East Chestnut booster station by firefighters battling the fire.

Fires burn faster now

Early detection of fires is more critical today than it was decades ago because of the way houses and furnishings are made, both Hernandez and Wolfe said.

“Old furniture was basically made of organic materials,” Wolfe said. “Rugs were cotton-based. Now things are petrochemical-based.”

Synthetic-based materials burn more quickly than organic-based materials, he added.

To illustrate the point, Hernandez and Wolfe showed a video of a test conducted by Underwriters Laboratories.

It can be viewed at

Depicted in the video are two side-by-side rooms in which small fires are ignited on a table.

One of the rooms has pre-1980 furnishings, while the other has modern furnishings.

A timer at the bottom of the split-screen image shows the amount of time that elapses before flashover occurs in each room. Flashover is the near-simultaneous ignition of most of the materials in a confined space — or the time when nearly “everything in the room ignites,” Wolfe said.

It takes only three minutes and 40 seconds for the room with modern furnishings to reach flashover, compared to 29 minutes and 25 seconds in the room with old-fashioned furnishings.

The video shows that, in general, firefighters face greater challenges and dangers when dealing with modern structures compared to older structures, Wolfe indicated.

“It’s not your grandfather’s fire or even your father’s fire,” Wolfe said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Gas odor elusive

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – Feb. 27, 2014

An odor of gas proved to be elusive this morning for firefighters and the Kansas Gas Service.

Pratt Fire Department was called to 109 East Sixth this morning after the family complained of smelling gas inside the residence.

Pratt Firefighters were unable to detect the odor and Kansas Gas Service found no trace of gas in the house. It may have been an odor from a floor drain or the sewer, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.

Firefighters were on scene about 20 minutes.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Johnson County Emergency Medical Services System introduces new trauma protocol

Gardner’s Edge – Feb. 27, 2014

Today, Johnson County EMS System Medical Director Dr. Ryan Jacobsen announced the County’s new trauma protocol which goes into effect March 1, 2014.

Based on the latest scientific evidence, the new protocol is aimed at improving care for patients with potential neck and back injuries.

At a news conference today, Dr. Jacobsen explained the new protocol and the research behind it, and area fire and EMS providers were on hand to demonstrate these new procedures.

Johnson County’s new procedures relate to how EMS providers care for pre-hospital patients with potential spine injuries. Historically, protocol mandated EMS providers in Johnson County transport any patient with a potential cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine injury on a Long Spine Board.

Under the new protocol, excellent spine care will be accomplished without transporting a patient on a Long Spine Board, utilizing the cervical collar and the ambulance cot.

The Long Spine Board will still be used to extricate and transfer patients to the EMS cot, but then the EMS provider will generally remove the board for transport. The new technique is expected to improve patient comfort and enable better airway care.

“This is an exciting change in EMS that challenges the current dogma,” states Dr. Ryan Jacobsen, Johnson County EMS System Medical Director. “We feel that this will be an improvement in our care of trauma patients and have received tremendous support from all of the stakeholders, locally, regionally and even at the national level.”

The protocol was ultimately approved by the Johnson County EMS Physicians Committee of the Johnson/Wyandotte County Medical Society, made up of physicians specializing in Emergency Medicine, Trauma Surgery, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Cardiology and Anesthesia.

The new Johnson County protocol is in keeping with position statements from the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons and the National Association of EMS Physicians/American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Joint Position on pre-hospital immobilization published in 2013.

The Medical Advisory Council for the state of Kansas, comprised of EMS Physicians advising the KS Board of EMS, also supports this change.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Local firefighters update training

Ness County News – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

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A Firefighter I Training Class was held on Saturday, February 15, with 17 firefighters in attendance from Lane, Rush and Ness Counties. The class was held in Ness City. A crew from KU Fire and Rescue Training in Lawrence brought their skill training trailer to teach forceable entry, vertical ventilation, proper water supply hookups to sprinkler systems and self rescue techniques. There is no cost to the firefighters for the training. “It’s very good experience and training to have. There will be further training held March 4 and 6, with a grainbin entrapment trailer at BTI Ness City. Then on March 22, another interior firefighting training,” said Sean Sehl, Deputy Chief of Ness City.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Old school building lost to fire

By Kirk Anderson
Cimarron Jacksonian – Feb. 12, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

Firefighters from Cimarron and Ingalls were called out around 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 7, to fight a structure fire west of Ingalls.

According to Ingalls Fire Chief Brian Wehkamp, when fire crews arrived at the scene one mile west of Ingalls on US 50, they found an old schoolhouse completely engulfed in flames with flames coming through the roof. The building was being used by Jonagan Water Well Service for storage, and 10 firefighters from Ingalls and Cimarron fought for two hours to extinguish the blaze.

The building and its contents were a total loss. The cause of the fire was determined to be a faulty electric space heater.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters respond

Pratt Tribune – Feb. 11, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

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Pratt firefighters gather at the truck after answering a call at Dillons Monday morning. The call came in as a possible fire in the ceiling over the deli but an employee had overcooked something in a microwave oven producing a burning order. There was no fire and the building suffered no damage. Photo by Gale Rose.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Cherryvale man accused of arson

Independence Daily Reporter – Feb. 11, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

A 29-year-old Cherryvale man was arrested Saturday and is being accused of arson in connection with an early Saturday morning fire that destroyed the family residence located at 203 W. 5th.

Sean Patrick Page, 29, who lived at the residence along with his wife, Shanna and two children, was held in the Montgomery County Jail over the weekend for a bond hearing that was conducted today in Montgomery County District Court.

District Judge F. William Cullins told Page today the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office is expected to charge him with arson and set his bond at $20,000 cash or professional surety. Page has since been released on bond.

Cherryvale Interim Fire Chief Jesse Reed said the investigation into the cause of the fire has been turned over to the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office and would not comment on what led to Page’s arrest.

Chris Mercer, who is conducting the investigation for the Fire Marshal’s Office, today declined to comment on the matter.

The Cherryvale Fire Department received the alarm shortly before midnight Saturday and found flames coming from the front windows of the home. The Cherryvale department requested mutual aid assistance from the Independence Fire Department who responded and were there until approximately 2 a.m. Cherryvale officials remained at the scene until Saturday afternoon.

There was no one home at the time of the blaze, and there were no injuries.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Electrical fire burns home

Ottawa Herald – Feb. 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2014

No one was injured in a blaze that severely damaged an Ottawa home about 7 p.m. Friday on East Ninth Street.

The home at 935 E. Ninth St. was unoccupied when the blaze started, Jeff Carner, Ottawa Fire Chief, said.

“One of the occupants returned home and discovered the fire,” Carner said. “The fire apparently started inside the living room of the residence and caused an estimated $75,000 damage to the structure and contents.”

The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature, Carner said, adding there was no insurance on the home.

“The American Red Cross was notified and responded to assist the occupants with their temporary needs,” Carner said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Pittsburg Fire Department Equipment Replacement

By Bryan McLoone
FourState News – Feb. 27, 2014


The Pittsburg Fire Department will be spending more than $1 million to replace fire equipment. The city commissioners approved three fire department proposals last night. Fire Chief Mike Simons says the department will purchase a new truck, seven sets of bunker gear, and replace breathing gear and tanks. Chief Simons says the purchase of the items is possible because of the new half-cent sales tax in the city. The new equipment will allow firefighters to respond faster and safely to emergencies.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Scott City fire chief has been on call for the past 50 years

Scott County Record – Feb. 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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When a fire threatened the family business more than 50 years ago, Ken Hoover couldn’t have imagined the incident would lead to one of the longest careers in firefighting in Kansas.

At the time, Hoover was working in the family electrical business with his father and brother. The business was located at the southwest corner of US83/K96 highways in Scott City where it adjoined the City Café.

Shortly before midnight on December 30, 1963, a fire broke out in the café which eventually led to the building being razed to make way for First National Bank. If the fire hadn’t been contained it would have spread to Hoover Electric, which was located on the west end of the same building.

“We had a stove inside where the firemen would come in and warm themselves when taking a break from the fire,” says Hoover. “A week later (fire chief) Virgil Storm contacted me and said they were needing extra firemen. Since I’d helped the guys the night of the fire, he asked if I wanted to become a member and I figured ‘Why not?'”

Even though his brother, Harold, was already a member of the city department, Ken says it wasn’t something he had thought about until approached by Storm. On January 7, Hoover officially became a volunteer with the Scott City Fire Department. Seventeen years later, on March 3, 1981, he became the fire chief.

“It’s been quite an experience,” says Hoover, who is approaching 32 years as the city fire chief. “I’ve seen a lot of changes.”

The gear, the training and the scope of what’s expected of firemen has evolved significantly over the past half century.

Hoover, 78, can recall that when firemen responded to the City Café fire they had no protective gear. The bunker gear that is common for firefighters today wasn’t available to local volunteers at the time.

And a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that is essential for firefighters when they enter a smoke-filled building didn’t exist.

“Back then you’d hold your breath, shut your eyes, enter a building and try to get done what needed to be done before you’d get choked up,” says Hoover.

Of course, firefighting equipment has improved.

At the time Hoover joined the department they had recently sold the 1926 Chevrolet hose truck. That’s the same vehicle which the Scott County Shriners drive in local parades.

In its place, Storm had built a new hose truck on a Chevrolet chassis.

The 1947 Mack pumper was replaced by a 1969 Boardman pumper which the department still uses. They also have a 1993 Pierce which is the primary pumper for city fires.

“We’re in the process of looking at replacing (the Pierce) in order to keep up with our certification,” Hoover says.

More Than Fires

Perhaps one of the biggest changes that Hoover and his fellow volunteers have gone through is the extensive training and added responsibilities that are required of firefighters.

Beyond fighting fires, they are also trained in high angle rescue (from grain elevators and other elevated buildings), vehicle extraction (Jaws of Life) and how to rescue individuals who have fallen into a grain bin. The Scott Co-op and Bartlett Grain conducted schools last year so their employees would know how to deal with a grain engulfment emergency. Local firemen also took part.

“It seems we get called out to a lot of accidents to rescue people from vehicles,” Hoover notes.

Regular Training

The training required of volunteer firemen is almost endless.

While firemen are required to have Firefighter I and II certification the local volunteers also have training meetings twice each month. In addition, regional fire schools provide training through the use of a burn trailer, how to deal with propane fires, and more.

“It puts a lot more pressure on firemen to know their equipment and to have the right training,” Hoover says.

Of course, maintaining an adequate number of volunteers is always a concern. When Hoover first joined the city department it had 11 firefighters in addition to 11 serving on the county department.

Those numbers have remained steady over the years with 11 on each department today.

“We’re fortunate to have a really good bunch of guys who enjoy doing this for their community and we’re lucky to have a lot of young guys involved,” says Hoover. “We try to keep the time away from the family to a minimum, but you have to make a commitment to do this.”

However, while there are city and county departments, both co-exist when it comes to sharing personnel as needed.

“When we get a call the guys don’t worry about whether it’s a city or a county fire. You never know who’s going to be able to respond, so everyone who’s available will show up,” Hoover points out. “City firemen will assist with a county fire and the county guys will help with a city fire.”

When it’s a county fire, Hoover will often remain behind at the fire station to handle emergency calls and to provide a link to those firemen in the field.

“That way someone’s in town should there be a city fire,” says Hoover. “There have been a few times over the years that we’ve had two fires at the same time. Fortunately, we’ve been able to handle those situations without a problem.”

According to county fire chief Vernon Storm, Hoover has another reason for staying behind at the communication center.

“When we get back to the station he likes to remind me that the city saved the county,” Storm joked while Hoover was being honored during Monday’s city council meeting.

Hoover is among several volunteers who dedicated a significant part of their lives to the local volunteer departments.

According to membership records and journals maintained by the department since 1927, Kenneth Rictor’s 55 years as a volunteer stands as the all-time record. He began as a member of the boy’s team in 1927 and didn’t step off the county department until 1982.

Virgil Storm and Harold Hoover were volunteers for 47 and 44 years, respectively.

Major Fires

Unfortunately, major fires are impossible to avoid. While property losses have been kept to a minimum over the past 50 years, two of the most significant fires leveled Helmers Motors (2006) and resulted in more than $1 million in losses and renovation costs to the vocational-ag building at Scott Community High School (spring of 2012).

“Helmers was probably the worst that we’ve seen. It was an extremely hot fire,” Hoover remembers. “Smoke filled the attic and we couldn’t get to it. It eventually swept through the roof and to the front where it blew everything out. We could see what was happening but there was nothing we could do about it.”

Even though the SCHS fire resulted in high property losses, most of that was from smoke and heat.

“When you do this kind of work it’s not always pretty. Sometimes there are tragedies, but that’s part of it,” says Hoover, who has no plans to retire in the near future.

“You do this because it’s important and you want to give something back to your community. This has been a part of my life since 1964. I can’t think of anything else I’d have done that would have had more meaning. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing and I still enjoy.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grass fire

Mulberry Advance – Feb. 7, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

Mulberry firemen responded to a grass fire on Monday, January 27, 2014, at 114 S. Elm St. Firemen were on the scene for approximately 45 minutes. The fire is suspected to have started from trash burning in a barrel.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Newly-pinned lieutenant is interim chief

Montgomery County Chronicle – Feb. 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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One final duty of Cherryvale Fire-Rescue Department’s former chief, whose last day was January 31, was presiding over a pinning ceremony on January 30 for promotion of one of his firefighter-EMTs to the rank of lieutenant. Departing Chief Chad Russell (right) pinned the lieutenant’s badge to Jesse Reed’s uniform. Reed is the interim chief until the Cherryvale City Council hires a new full-time chief. Russell had been the department chief for more than one year and had served more than 17 years with the local department before accepting a chief position in Andover, Kansas. At least two other firefighter/EMTs said they plan to go through the six week s of training in preparation for testing for their lieutenant badges. The next higher ranks are captain and then chief. (Photo by Donna Celaya).

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Colwich gets new look for old firetruck

By Fred Solis
Mount Hope Clarion – Feb. 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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The Colwich Fire Department got its “newest” truck for the bargain price of about $4,000.

The vehicle, a 1985 Quint Sutphen truck with a 75-foot ladder, recently received a new coat of livery and mechanical work at the hands of inmates at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

And reviews are favorable.

“It turned out wonderfully,” Colwich Fire Chief Brad Banz said. “We’re very impressed with the truck.”

Colwich sent the truck to Ellsworth last August and came home with it earlier this week. A brake problem developed, though, and it had to be returned for repairs. The Ellsworth facilities and maintenance shop, which performs the work in its spare time, will tackle the job as soon as parts arrive.

“The lead inmate is very meticulous about working on stuff. He felt bad that he didn’t catch the problem to begin with, but there’s nothing they could have done about it,” Banz said.

When air leaked from the brake line, the truck’s emergency brake would set, Banz said. Once mechanics rebuild the valve, the truck should be good to go.

In addition to the new paint job (the truck is now red instead of green), the workers overhauled the hydraulics and generator. Colwich paid for the parts; inmates are paid $1 per day for their work. About six men worked on the truck.

“It would have cost at least $10,000 for mechanical work and the paint job,” Banz said.

The program at the correctional facility started about four years ago with an inmate that had mechanical experience from his service in the military and at other jobs.

The Ellsworth Fire Department took a weather-beaten truck to the shop that had been sitting out in the elements for about a year in northeast Kansas. The department asked the mechanics to take a crack at it, and after some tinkering, they had the clunker running again.

Now the men build trucks from the ground up, perform maintenance and paint the vehicles. They have a backlog of about a year and a half worth of work.

“They really worked with us,” Banz said. “They take great pride in what they do. We’re real excited about getting it back. The truck’s going to last for a while.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grass fire shuts down K-42

By Stan Finger
Wichita Eagle – Feb. 26, 2014

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A grass fire has prompted authorities to close K-42 southwest of Wichita on Wednesday afternoon because smoke has reduced visibility to zero, authorities said.

The fire was reported shortly before 1 p.m., with numerous grass fires reported from near MacArthur Road and points south, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. The Kansas Highway Patrol closed K-42 at McArthur as a precaution.

Authorities are investigating a report that the fires ignited after something was thrown out a window of a passing vehicle.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters respond to house fires Saturday, Monday

Butler County Times Gazette – Feb. 26, 2014

Douglas Fire District #8 responds to a house fire on Saturday in the area of Pine and Chestnut. The fire heavily damages the building.

Douglas Fire District #8 responds to a house fire on Saturday in the area of Pine and Chestnut. The fire heavily damages the building.

Douglass has seen three house fires in the last nine days, with the latest two occurring Saturday and Monday.

Butler County Fire District #8 (Douglass) received the fire call at about 8:24 p.m. Saturday. The caller stated there was smoke in the area of Pine and Chestnut.

“I responded to that area and a truck was following behind me,” said BCFD #8 Chief John Ford.

While they were in route, the caller said there was smoke in their house, but the fire was not in their house. They found a modular home set on a basement to the north of the reporting party on fire.

Ford said no one was at home at the time.

“Smoke was coming out of it very heavily, but no fire was showing,” Ford said.

He said when the crew entered the home, the fire got enough oxygen it increased in size and within three minutes the roof starting collapsing and they had to pull the crew out of the home.

The contents and structure were heavily damaged. The occupants had left about 30 minutes before the fire started. A single father and his three children reside in the home.

“At this point all we know is the fire potentially started in a bathroom,” Ford said. “The cause is still under investigation.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Then on Monday morning, the fire crew responded to a fire near the intersection of 200th and Shumway, near Douglass.

Deputy Chief Seth Glaves said they received the call at about 9:15 a.m.

Initial crews arriving on the scene saw smoke coming from a single family dwelling.

One person was home at the time of incident and did not sustain any injuries.

“Crews were able to get a quick knockdown on the fire and also removed two pets from the residence,” Glaves said, adding that the pets were OK.

The home sustained moderate smoke and heat damage throughout the residence. The cause is currently under investigation.

Mutual aid was provided by Butler County Fire District #3, Augusta Department of Public Safety and Butler County EMS during the Saturday fire. On Monday, mutual aid was received from Augusta and the Rose Hill Fire Department.

Grass fires concern emergency manager

By Charity Keitel
Osawatomie Graphic – Feb. 26, 2014

Grass fires are sweeping the county, Doug Barlet, emergency management coordinator, told Linn County commissioners Monday morning.

“We’re having grass fires regularly,” he said.

Barlet said there have been more than 55 grass fires since the beginning of January. Last year, there were about 200 to 300 grass fires for the whole year, he added.

Some of the grass fires were controlled fires and didn’t require the fire department’s intervention, but a lot of them were uncontrolled, he said.

To keep the firefighters as safe as possible while out on calls, he said some of the equipment will need to be replaced.

Barlet said he would like to replace the fuel pump in all six of the fire department’s Rangers because the pumps are about 10 years old.

Also, within the last few months, two of the pumps have given out, and he said he is concerned that the rest will give out in the middle of a call, causing more damage to the Rangers and injuries to the firefighters.

Commissioners voted, 2-0, to replace the pumps on all six Rangers for $200 per pump.

Later, County Clerk David Lamb said Joy Purkeypile, Extension director of Linn County, had sent a list of items needed to complete the paperwork for the recently approved Extension district between Linn and Miami counties.

He said the time limit for the protest petition was past and that completing the paperwork and getting the commissioners’ signatures was the next step.

However, the commission decided to review the situation further.

A bill that will take the spending authority away from the Extension districts and place it into the county’s direct control is being presented in Topeka this week by Sen. Caryn Tyson, Commissioner Vicki Leonard said.

She said she would like to hold off signing any paperwork until the commission learns more.

“I’m very much for taking spending out of the Extension district’s hands and putting it back into the hands of the county,” Leonard continued.

Commissioner Herb Pemberton agreed, adding that from what he understood, the bill, if passed, would provide a resolution to the no-cap mill levy, which is currently part of the Extension district being formed between the two counties.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

District 11 tax considered for ambulance service

By Clarke Davis
Jefferson County Vindicator – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

Concerned that the ambulance service will run out of operating funds by year’s end, the Fire District No. 11 board is considering adding a mill levy to the budget this fall for emergency medical services.

District treasurer Earl Stevens presented figures at the Feb. 12 meeting that show significant reduction in the bank balance since January 2011.

The cash account dropped 41 percent from $64,000 to $37,000 in January 2012. It continued to decline 16 percent to $31,000 in 2013 and then dropped 55 percent to $14,000 last January.

“At this rate we won’t get through the year,” Stevens said. “I think it should be a point of discussion before we’re out of business.”

Ambulance director John Gordon cited rising operating costs as one factor, but put most of the blame for the shortfall on the inability to collect for a large number of the ambulance runs.

He estimated that there is at least $20,000 to $30,000 in overdue collections on the books and was uncertain as to how much of that would ever be collected. The district uses attorney Rick Johnson to assist in collecting past due bills. There is also another $20,000 outstanding but not considered delinquent.

Gordon said the ambulance is required to transport a patient regardless of their ability to pay and many of them have no insurance and no ability to pay. Many of the transports are drug abuse related.

“There’s a drug problem in this town,” Gordon said.

The ambulance made a call recently to a residence under the warning that it was a “dangerous environment” and had to wait 15 minutes for a sheriff’s deputy to arrive on the scene to escort them.

“In this particular case there was no medical necessity to be transported by ambulance,” Gordon said. “A city police officer could have taken him to the hospital for an evaluation.”

Board member and city councilman Shawn Jepson said they need to talk with local police and search for ways they can help each other to reduce costs.

Gordon said the ambulance service has always worked with people who struggle to pay the bill.

“It’s a generational thing,” he noted. “We have older people who paid the bill off at $5 or $10 a month, but they got it paid. A lot of younger people today won’t even make an attempt.”

Gordon said it is also a matter of hard times when people don’t have the money. He said there have been four bankruptcies filed and a couple of accounts were over $7,000 each.

Gordon explained that Medicare will pay about half of the bill for an ambulance run while those with supplemental insurance pays for the rest. However, Medicaid and some companies under KanCare pay only a small amount of the bill or nothing at all.

Ambulance trips are billed out with costs ranging from $650 to $800 depending on the case and the amount of drugs used.

Jepson told Gordon that the ambulance service would come under more scrutiny if it began to take tax money. He encouraged him to think about all the ways money could be saved and be sure “there’s no fat.”

Stevens suggested paying part of Gordon’s salary from fire department funds. He is currently paid entirely from ambulance funds although he spends a great portion of his time in administrative work as the fire chief.

Stevens also wanted to clarify that the bank balances were not affected by the recent ambulance purchase. The $42,000 for another ambulance was borrowed from the Firemen’s Relief Fund.

The District 11 ambulance service was founded in 1983 and Gordon first joined the staff in 1986. It operated solely on donations for a decade before the service began to accept insurance payments. It has never been funded by tax dollars.

The board discussed the fact that no ambulance service operates at a profit and District No. 11 is a rarity in that it is not supported by tax dollars.

It’s believed the law allows a fire district to tax up to 3 mills for emergency medical services. Should the board decide to levy a tax for that purpose it will be during the budget process in July or August and undergo a public hearing. The size of the district includes all of USD 338 plus more than a dozen sections of land in Atchison County and the Blue Mound area. One mill is expected to raise somewhat less than $20,000 annually.

District No. 11 made 231 ambulance calls in 2012 and 209 in 2013. Gordon said he had 14 calls in January and on the 12th day of February had already made 10 runs for this month.

The district is using the DeLisa’s Medical Billing at Delphos to do its monthly billing.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Councilman questions firefighters’ grocery runs in trucks

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

Topeka City Councilman Richard Harmon questions whether Topeka firefighters should be driving their big red fire trucks to the grocery store.

Council members Chad Manspeaker and Sylvia Ortiz don’t have a problem with it.

The council talked at its Tuesday evening meeting about the use of fire trucks for purposes not related to fire response.

The matter came up as the council considered and then approved the purchase for $609,500 of a new rescue truck for the department.

Harmon, who maintains a law office at 2201 S.W. 29th, told fellow council members that at least once a week he sees one of the Topeka fire trucks parked in the lot at Dillons, 2815 S.W. 29th.

Harmon asked, “Is there any way we can keep this in the station and use a less expensive vehicle to go to and from the store?”

Fire Chief Greg Bailey responded that the fire department encourages its firefighters, who work 24-hour shifts, to plan out their day in advance.

“If they have to go to the store, we ask them to try to coordinate that with returning from an alarm response,” he said.

Bailey said the fire department was concerned about any public perceptions that it wasn’t using its resources efficiently.

“I’m fully aware and accept the responsibility of making sure our firefighters aren’t misusing resources,” he said. “I appreciate your concern, and we’re all over that.”

Bailey said that when firefighters returning from calls make stops at grocery stores, Dairy Queens or G’s Frozen Custard & Yogurt, the department encourages them to “get out and know your neighbors” and “be a part of the community.”

Councilman Chad Manspeaker recalled how, when he went on a ride-along with some Topeka firefighters, they had stopped at G’s on the way back to the station from a call.

Manspeaker said he and the firefighters “talked to probably 10 or 15 people.”

He said he saw that as being a positive thing because when the public interacts with firefighters, they see them as being “people”.

Manspeaker added that firefighters need quick access to their trucks if they are out in public because if they get a call, “I want them to be able to get in that fire truck and get to that fire.”

Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz also spoke in support of letting firefighters take their trucks to the store to ensure they have quick access.

She said the city needs to better educate the public about “exactly what the fire department does.”

Tuesday’s discussion included a question from Councilwoman Elaine Schwartz about whether the fire department could use smaller vehicles instead of the big trucks to go on first responder emergency medical calls. Most of the department’s calls are first responders.

Bailey said the department was looking into whether using smaller vehicles for first responders was a viable option.

“It’s not as simple as it may sound to actually do that,” he said.

Bailey said he didn’t know what the final outcome of that inquiry would be.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Unusual storm disrupts hospital

By Doug Carder
Ottawa Herald – Feb. 22, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

A lightning strike during an out-of-season February thunderstorm late Wednesday afternoon might have been the culprit behind a smoking transformer that sent Ottawa firefighters on the run to Ransom Memorial Hospital.

“There was an apparent problem with the electrical switching gear located in the basement mechanical room (at Ransom),” Jeff Carner, Ottawa Fire Chief, said. “This created light smoke and odor in some area of the hospital.”

Firefighters used equipment to ventilate the smoke and odor from the hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, Carner said. An evacuation of the hospital was not needed, and no fire occurred, the chief added.

“An electrician did respond to the location and made temporary repairs to the system,” Carner said.

Larry Felix, Ransom’s chief executive officer, said hospital officials thought an apparent lightning strike had damaged an electrical component in a transformer in the mechanical room about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.

“We think it probably was a lightning strike because we also had five computers in the hospital that were fried (at the same time),” Felix said. “Fortunately no imaging and lab equipment, that we know of, was damaged.”

Felix estimated the cost to replace the transformer’s electrical part would be $1,000 to $2,000, plus labor. He said the hospital also would be replacing the five damaged computers and would be changing all the filters in the air handlers. A tally of the damage was not yet available, Felix said, but he classified it as a “minor incident”–both in terms of cost and in disruption of hospital operations.

“We had to cancel our surgeries for today while we continued the remediation process,” Felix said Thursday. “But we expect to be back to normal tomorrow, and no other area of the hospital was affected.”

The surgery room was affected by the smoke and odor because it was directly above the mechanical room that housed the smoking transformer, Felix said.

“We have a certified remediator come to do testing (to ensure conditions are optimal),” Felix said. “As you can imagine, a lot of testing has to be done, and that process is taking place today.”

Melting plastic on the electrical component generated the smoke before the system automatically shut down and it cooled off, Felix said.

“Fortunately it was just smoke and no fire,” Felix said. “The entire hospital is under a sprinkler system that would put out a fire if one ever occurred. There was no heat in this case, so the sprinklers weren’t activated.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Mattress fire a juvenile prank?

Arkansas City Traveler – Feb. 22, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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Arkansas City Firefighter-EMT Curtis Pollard sprays some pressurized water on a smoldering mattress Friday afternoon in the backyard of an abandoned house on the east side of North Third Street, south of Spruce Avenue. The house is between 314 N. Third St. and 304 N. Third Street. Some unidentified juveniles were seen running from the area when smoke was spotted coming from the mattress about 4:30 p.m., according to police scanner reports. The Ark City Fire-EMS Department was called back to the scene for a report of another mattress fire about 9:45 p.m. Friday, scanner reports indicated.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Students learn about fire safety

Fort Scott Tribune – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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Fort Scott Firefighter Stuart Troutman demonstrates what one tablespoon of water does to a pot of grease on a kitchen stove during a fire safety simulation Wednesday.

The demonstration was part of Joyce Davenport’s Fort Scott High School Culinary Essentials class. Members of the Fort Scott Fire Department set up a kitchen prop at the high school practice field to demonstrate a potential fire hazard. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, with unattended cooking the leading contribution factor in home cooking fires, according to information provided by FSFD Lt. Dave Bruner from the US Fire Administration.

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Fort Scott Firefighter Stuart Troutman, center left, begins taking off his fire protection gear after a fire safety demonstration at Fort Scott High School. Also with Troutman are, from left, Firefighter Clint Roberts, Reserve Firefighter John Lowry and Lt. Dave Bruner. Pictured with Davenport are, from left: Cherokee Ericson, Shantie Sheriff, Madison Berger and Kylie Bruner. Photos by Loretta Ceorge.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Basement fire Sunday at McKittrick’s house

By Paul Stewart
Kansas Chief – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

“Lucky” was the word used repeatedly Monday by Matthew and Nicole McKittrick in providing details of a Sunday night fire in the basement of their home here.

Lucky–because Nicole and her three children, along with their two cats and one dog, managed to get out of the house safely.

Lucky–because that’s the name of one of the two cats, credited with alerting Nicole that there might be a fire at the residence.

Nicole told The Kansas Chief that she was preparing the children for their baths, before bed, when she noticed the cats hovering around a floor heat vent.

It was shortly after 9:00 p.m., when she said she then smelled smoke in the house. “At first, I thought it was coming from a neighbor’s trash barrel,” she said.

When the smell of smoke persisted, Nicole contacted her husband, who was a couple blocks away from their 103 Centre St. home. He was in an office filling out paperwork in his role as director of Doniphan County Ambulance District No. 1.

Matt said he searched the two-bedroom house, and then went outside where he opened the cellar door to the basement. “That’s when I saw the glow.

“Nicole and I got the kids and the cats and dog out. Then we tried to take out some of our personal things.

“When the fire department arrived, the smoke in the house was thick.”

Matt, who also serves as a member of the fire department, added, “There was a good amount of haze, like fog, in the house before the smoke detectors went off.”

He also advised that, when the fire was ignited, a quantity of shotgun shells and fireworks, that were stored in the basement, began to explode.

Troy Fire Chief Allen Winkel said the floor joists were charred and there was smoke and water damage in the kitchen area, and smoke throughout the house.

Matt added, “It melted the plumbing, and the copper water lines, and the kitchen pipes broke. The heat and smoke came up, and there was even smoke in the attic area.”

The McKittricks also related the role that was played by “Lucky”, their male cat, and female cat “Princess.”

Nicole said the two cats were rescued, by Matt, from a fire in a woodpile–when they were about two weeks old. They are about two and one-half years old now.

Matt said he had been raking through the wood pile when he discovered the two young cats, and took them home to raise.

“I guess it’s because of that burning wood pile that the cats react to fire. Whenever I have come home from a fire call those cats want to crawl all over me, apparently because they can still smell the smoke,” he explained.

The exact cause of the fire was not immediately determined.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Family escapes house fire in northwest Wichita

KAKE – Feb. 26, 2014

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A family safely escaped a fire Wednesday morning in northwest Wichita.

The fire started around 6 a.m. on West Emerald Bay, near North 29th and West. Fire crews arrived on scene to find heavy smoke and fire showing.

A relative told KAKE’s Jordan Shefte that that everyone inside, including a one-year-old and a two-year-old, were able to get out of the home safely.

The cause is under investigation.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire damages home in north Wichita

KAKE – Feb. 26, 2014


An early morning fire caused extensive damage to a Wichita home.

The call came in around 1:10 a.m. at 719 North Ash, near Murdock and Grove.   Firefighters at the scene said a fireplace was not well kept, and it erupted into flames.

Crews noticed the attic of the house burning first. The roof of the home eventually caved in, and the back wall received extensive damage. But four people living there were able to get out unharmed.

The flames were so strong for a time, there was concern the north wind might blow the fire next door.

Fire Captain Robin James told reporters the damage is extensive to the attic and back, and the house could be declared a total loss.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Poor communication fuels fiery debate

By Abby Eckel
Ottawa Herald – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

Emotions were hot Monday night at a special meeting of the Richmond City-Township Fire District Board.

Volunteer firefighters showed up to show their disapproval of a new policy recently enacted by the fire board without the firefighters’ knowledge or input, Frank Guilfoyle, volunteer firefighter, said.

Trying to save money, the fire board was considering selling some of the district’s emergency response vehicles. But because they didn’t talk to local fire officials and other firefighters, Steve Weese, Richmond Fire Chief, said, the board was going to get rid of needed vehicles.

Along with only keeping one fire truck and two grass trucks, the fire board’s new policy also said the department would not respond to situations outside of the Richmond fire district without dispatch by the Franklin County Sheriff’s dispatch, according to the policy letter the board sent to firefighters. It also stated the department would not request to be dispatched to any call, as that would reduce dispatch’s ability to properly manage fire situations.

The new policy also stated all purchases of more than $500 would have to be pre-approved by the board, and a spending limit of $3,000 would be placed on firefighters collectively until July 1.

The problem with the new policies, Phil Augustine, Assistant Fire Chief, said, was that board members had not spoken to the fire chief or himself before making decisions about the new policy, and they were not aware of the department’s equipment needs.

“In your own words, you said you didn’t have a clue what this department had,” Augustine said to Charles Hirt, fire board clerk. “You had no clue what the trucks were, the shape they were in. If you are going to serve the public trust as the members of this department, would it not be incumbent upon you to come down to the department and ask the fire chief or assistant chief, ‘What do we got? How are things going?’ And work with us as a team?”

The department currently has seven vehicles, Weese said, consisting of three pumper trucks and four grass fire trucks.

Getting rid of all but two of the grass fire trucks would mean selling one of the trucks that had been donated to the department, Weese said, as three of the four grass trucks were donated. The Kansas Forestry Service donated two grass trucks and Southern Star Gas Service donated the other.

“That’s why it was disheartening to us when we just get a truck donated to us that’s going to save us a fortune…and then we get a letter the next day that says, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re gonna go down to two (grass) trucks,” Weese said. “Why would you get rid of a truck that was donated for $15,000?”

A misunderstanding between the Franklin County Sheriff’s dispatch, the Richmond fire department and the Richmond fire board led to the portion of the policy that stated the department wouldn’t respond to fires without first being dispatched, Bob Cardell, fire board president, said.

“We was told that (the fire department) went up to Wellsville,” Cardell said. “(Franklin County dispatch) said they didn’t dispatch the department.”

Weese said that was incorrect and that he had the report from Franklin County dispatch showing the Richmond fire department had been toned out to go to a call in Wellsville.

Not being able to request a dispatch would cause problems and likely more damage in the event of a fire, Augustine said, as it would require Richmond firefighters to call in a fire if they’d come into contact with one, and then wait to be called out.

“It would be like if I was coming from Princeton and I saw a grass fire or structure fire and I got on my car radio and told dispatch that we have a structure fire,” Augustine said. “Basically I’m asking dispatch to tone out anybody, whether it’s us, Princeton, Pomona, Cutler–anybody.”

The board and firefighters agreed their common goal was to save money, and there had been some miscommunication and misunderstanding on both ends.

Since not responding to a fire unless the department was dispatched already is a set policy, Weese said, he thought the only part of that policy that should change would be that the department not request to be dispatched.

Agreeing with Weese, the board voted to take the dispatch portion of the policy out, as well as to keeping three grass trucks and one pumper, but to sell the remaining two pumpers and one grass truck on an auction site to add money back into the budget.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Cherryvale family’s home destroyed by fire

Independence Daily Reporter – Feb. 9, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2014

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An investigator from the Kansas Fire Marshal’s office arrived in Cherryvale on Saturday to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a home early Saturday morning.

The Cherryvale Fire Department received the alarm shortly before midnight Saturday morning and the Independence City Fire Department was called at 12:10 a.m. Saturday to a house at 203 W. 5th in Cherryvale.

Units from the Cherryvale Rural Fire Department and officers from the Cherryvale Police Department also responded. On arrival, firefighters found flames coming from the front windows of the home. Independence firefighters were on the scene until approximately 2 a.m. Saturday and Cherryvale firefighters extinguished the fire at approximately 3:20 a.m., but remained on the scene through Saturday afternoon.

A Cherryvale fire department official said no one was home at the time of the fire. That person did identify the occupants, but a neighbor identified them as Sean and Shanna Page, who own the home and lived there with their two young children.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

March 24 Memorial Benefit

memorial benefit

Fire department responds to home blaze

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – Feb. 25, 2014

More Pics

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One person was taken to the hospital as a result of a house fire Tuesday morning in north Leavenworth, Fire Department officials said.

The fire was reported at 1:28 a.m. at 625 Ottawa St.

Leavenworth Assistant Fire Chief Mark Nietzke said the fire started in the area of the kitchen, but the exact cause has not been determined.

There apparently were two people inside the residence when the fire was discovered, and one was transported to the hospital. No other injuries were reported, Leavenworth Fire Department officials said.

Leavenworth Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lingenfelser said he didn’t have many details about the injured person because both of the home’s occupants already had left the scene when firefighters arrived.

Lingenfelser said the back side of the two-story home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

He said it took quite awhile for firefighters to extinguish the flames. He said the fire initially was too intense to allow firefighters to enter the home to battle the blaze.

A crew of four firefighters from the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department came to the scene to provide assistance.

Three members of Leavenworth County Fire Station No. 1 stood by at one of the Leavenworth fire stations.

Off-duty members of the Leavenworth Fire Department were called to operate a reserve truck. They provided assistance at the scene.

Lingenfelser said the Street Division of the Leavenworth Public Works Department also was contacted to put down salt at the scene. He said water from the fire hoses started freezing.

“The streets were getting slick,” he said.

He said companies also were called to shut off utilities to the house.

The local Red Cross was contacted to offer temporary lodging assistance to the home’s occupants.

Leavenworth Fire Department spokesman Mark DeMaranville said the fire caused an estimated $62,000 worth of damage to the home.

The neighboring house at 623 Ottawa St. had minor damage to its exterior as a result of radiant heat from the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Dryer catches fire in Derby senior home

KWCH – Feb. 25, 2014

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The fire in basement of Westview Manor in Derby was contained to the dryer in the basement.

Administrator Arien Reeves said there was no evacuation, all 54 residents were told to shelter in place.

Reeves was pleased with response from City, Staff and Fire Department. No one was hurt.

There was a lot of smoke, but damage confined to dryer.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Authorities believe 3 fires set in Manhattan were arson

Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 25, 2014

Authorities are investigating a series of fires Tuesday morning as incidents of arson.

Riley County police and the Manhattan Fire Department responded about 2:10 a.m. to a report of a fire in the 800 block of Moro Street, according to a news release. When crews arrived, they found a vehicle on fire.

About five minutes after the first report, a second call reported a fire in a stairwell at an apartment complex in the same block. Within the next 45 minutes, police and fire officials received a third complaint reporting a vehicle that had been ignited in the 800 block of Laramie.

The two vehicles sustained about $26,000 worth of damage, officials said.

Investigators believe there is a high probability the suspicious fires were incendiary.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Reno County Emergency Management chief retiring soon

By Mary Clarkin
Hutchinson News – Feb. 25, 2014

Reno County Emergency Management Director Bill Guy’s last day on the job will be April 30, and his retirement will take effect May 1.

Guy announced last fall he would leave the post during 2014. He has held the post since 1996 and is past president of the Kansas Emergency Management Association.

“Probably the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Guy told the Reno County Commission on Tuesday morning.

He said he “can’t talk about it now,” his voice showing emotion.

The Emergency Management Department is a small unit. Besides Guy, the department has emergency management specialist Todd Strain.

Guy told commissioners the department is busy with a number of projects, ranging from working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on reimbursements for 2013 flooding repairs to participating in a study about the transport of hazardous commodities through the county.

Guy declined to talk to The News about his retirement plans.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Evening accident, one transported to hospital

By Nancy Calderon
Dodge City Globe – Feb. 25, 2014

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At approximately 7 p.m. Monday evening, Dodge City Police Officers were called to the scene of a vehicle accident located at the intersection of 14th street and Comanche. Dodge City Lieutenant of Police Jeff Mooridian said an individual was transported to the hospital but all other details have not been confirmed. More information to follow at a later time.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Man arrested in church fire case

McPherson Sentinel – Feb. 25, 2014

A Canton man was arrested Friday night in relation to fire damage caused to Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Canton.

Between 7 and 11 a.m. Friday, several fires were set in the church, causing about $3,500 in damage.

The damaged areas included the altar, pews, books, a piano bench and carpet in several rooms. Ashy remains of a paper product also were found on tables in the church’s basement.

The damage was reported at 3:03 p.m. Friday. Deputies arrested Cody Daniels, 19, of Canton at about midnight on a felony charge of arson. Law enforcement officials said the reason he burned the church was because he was mad at God. He was released after posting $20,000 bond.

Seth Meyer, pastor, said plans have not yet been made to repair the damage, which he described as fairly insignificant.

“We’re just hoping and praying that help will come to the individual involved, and we pray for his ongoing blessing,” Meyer said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


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