Archive for March, 2014

Apartment fire gives residents rude awakening

By Doug Carder
Ottawa Herald – March 31, 2014

Sandy Burson said she heard the screams before she saw the fire.

Discarded smoking material led to a non-injury blaze that damaged three apartments early Monday morning before dawn at Canterbury Courts in Ottawa.

“I live in a building over and went out when I heard the screams, made sure everyone is out,” Burson said.

Ottawa firefighters responded at 3:18 a.m. Monday to a report of a fire on the balcony of Apartment D, a second-floor unit of 24 Canterbury Courts, an eight-unit apartment building, according to a fire report.

“The fire was driven by high winds from the South, and a total of three units sustained different levels of fire damage,” Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said in a report. “There were several residents home at the time of the incident that all escaped without injury.

“Although three units were damaged, the fire was contained to the immediate area of origin,” he said.

The fire caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the building and about $40,000 damage to the contents, Richard Oglesby, assistant fire chief, said Monday afternoon of initial estimates. The extent of the repairs was still being assessed Monday.

The fire damaged the balcony and flooring of Apartment D, as well as the ceiling of the apartment on the ground floor directly below Apartment D, Oglesby said. The fire also caused damage to an adjacent apartment on the ground floor, he said.

Residents in the adjacent, four-unit Building 22 were evacuated as a precaution and were allowed to return to their apartments, according to a fire department report. The department’s last engine cleared the scene shortly after 6 a.m. Monday.

The three damaged apartments should be inhabitable once repairs are made, Oglesby estimated. One of the apartments was empty, Oglesby said, but residents living in the other two apartments would be displaced until the units were repaired.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sandy Burson said she heard the screams before she saw the fire.

Discarded smoking material led to a non-injury blaze that damaged three apartments early Monday morning before dawn at Canterbury Courts in Ottawa.


“I live in a building over and went out when I heard the screams, made sure everyone is out,” Burson said.

Ottawa firefighters responded at 3:18 a.m. Monday to a report of a fire on the balcony of Apartment D, a second-floor unit of 24 Canterbury Courts, an eight-unit apartment building, according to a fire report.

“The fire was driven by high winds from the South, and a total of three units sustained different levels of fire damage,” Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said in a report. “There were several residents home at the time of the incident that all escaped without injury.

“Although three units were damaged, the fire was contained to the immediate area of origin,” he said.

The fire caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the building and about $40,000 damage to the contents, Richard Oglesby, assistant fire chief, said Monday afternoon of initial estimates. The extent of the repairs was still being assessed Monday.

The fire damaged the balcony and flooring of Apartment D, as well as the ceiling of the apartment on the ground floor directly below Apartment D, Oglesby said. The fire also caused damage to an adjacent apartment on the ground floor, he said.

Residents in the adjacent, four-unit Building 22 were evacuated as a precaution and were allowed to return to their apartments, according to a fire department report. The department’s last engine cleared the scene shortly after 6 a.m. Monday.

The three damaged apartments should be inhabitable once repairs are made, Oglesby estimated. One of the apartments was empty, Oglesby said, but residents living in the other two apartments would be displaced until the units were repaired.

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Structure fire reported

By Jason Johnston
Emporia Gazette – March 31, 2014

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A structure fire was reported at 626 Lincoln St. around 5:30 p.m. today.

Scanner traffic reported that a garage was fully engulfed when fire crews arrived on scene. The reporter on scene reported that law enforcement blocked off the 600 block of Arundel Street as firefighters extinguished the fire on the eastern part of the structure.

Two fire trucks were on Arundel, and one fire truck was on Lincoln.

The garage was pretty much totaled, and the fire spread into through the grass and damaged a little bit of the next door garage at 620 Lincoln St., said Battalion Chief Steve Kuhlmann of the Emporia Fire Department. The fire is out. No injuries were reported.

The Emporia Fire Department is investigating the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Semi-truck and tractor crash under investigation

Hays Post – March 31, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image. Photos by Manhattan Fire Department.

Click on each photo to view full-size image. Photos by Manhattan Fire Department.

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Authorities in Riley County responded to a semi-truck and John Deere tractor accident on Monday.

The crash was reported just before 3 p.m. at the intersection of Zeandale Road and Pillsbury.

Traffic was reduced to one lane for a considerable amount of time. There have no report of any injuries.

The Kansas Highway Patrol continues to investigate.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Rips Again Through Same Area That Damaged 1500 Acres

By Justin Surrency, Carissa Fox and Ariana Cohen
WIBW – March 31, 2014


Still no rest for area fire crews; dry and windy conditions have had them working nonstop battling grass fires.

One of them Monday afternoon was in the same area where a dozen area fire departments fought a massive fire Sunday.

Stephen Kuhn’s home sits in the middle of where 1,500 acres burned Sunday afternoon.

24 hours later, fire crews headed to the same area again.

Around 1 Monday afternoon, fire crews rushed to a grass fire in the 6400 block of Humphrey Road. This time, they quickly got the flames under control before they could do much damage.

But Sunday, fire blackened more than 1500 acres from just south of here to the 7800 block

“It was pretty surreal because it moved so fast,” said Kuhn.

Stefan’s home was right in its path.

“There was a lot of smoke and the fire and the heat. The fire had already gone around house and spread to 66th street. I was worried about the family, worried about the house,” said Kuhn.

Firefighters helped Stefan’s wife and kids evacuate, but he stayed put.

“I wanted to save the house and the shop obviously. I had a garden hose and a tank sprayer on the back of my 4-wheeler. Any little bit at that time seemed like the thing to do,” said Stefan.

Shawnee County Emergency Management Coordinator Dave Sterbenz says everyone needs to be cautious.

“It’s so dry right now that anything can start a fire, so people really need to be careful. You know it may have started from a spark from a a previous fire, someone may have left a cigarette, you just never know until the report comes out,” said Sterbenz.

Stefan says he is grateful he and his family made it out alive.

“As long as the family is alright, “says Stefan.

Stefan’s home had only minor damage — a few melted shingles.
The woman who owns the home that was destroyed told 13 News no one was living in it right now.

No one was hurt in either Sunday or Monday’s fire. The cost of all the damage is still being added up.

Despite spring like weather, fire crews seem to be working around the clock to tame the flames popping up across much of Northeast Kansas.

Authorities are saying one fire in the 6000 to 7800 block of Northwest Humphreys in Silver Lake has burned more than 1500 acres.

There have been no injuries reported. The fire happened around 12:30 Sunday afternoon and two homes have been destroyed along with four other structures or out buildings.

Crews from Mayetta, Shawnee Heights, Hoyt, Silver Lake, Rossville, Auburn, Delia, Mission, Mayetta, 190th ARW and St Mary’s, along with Shawnee County Emergency Management were also on the scene.

Sheriff Herman Jones said that Sheriff Deputies were able to respond quickly and evacuate people from homes that were being threatened by the fires.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Two homes on fire in Derby

KWCH – March 31, 2014

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More Photos

Firefighters responded to a house fire in Derby involving two homes a little before 3:00 p.m. on Monday.

Dispatch says it happened in the 1600 block of east Cresthill. Nearby residents say smoke and flames were visible.

There is one person with minor injuries. No other injuries have been reported at this time. We don’t know if there were any other occupants in either home.

Emergency crews from McConnell Air Force Base, Sedgwick County and Derby are on scene working the fire.

Eyewitness News has a crew on the way and will continue to update this story as information comes in.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Burn ban issued for Osage County

By Wayne White
Osage County News – March 31, 2014

The Osage County commissioners approved a burn ban Monday covering the entire county, due to recent dry weather and high winds that have fanned numerous fires.

The commissioners authorized the ban following recommendations of Bryce Romine, Osage County emergency management coordinator, Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn, and local fire chiefs due to the presence of dry conditions and lack of moisture that increase fire danger in Osage County. The burn ban resolution is in effect when the rangeland fire danger is very high or extreme or a red flag warning is issued. These conditions have created multiple fire calls over the past few weeks.

“Fire districts have spent thousands and thousands of dollars for suppression costs, in addition to a great amount of property damage from uncontrolled fires,” Romine said.

During the burn ban the following activities are prohibited outdoors:

  • Careless use and disposal of smoking materials, including cigarettes, cigars and pipes; all smoldering remains shall be discarded in inflammable containers and in a manner to reduce the potential for fires.
  • Building, maintaining, attending or using any open fire or campfire, except in permanent stoves or fireplaces or in barbecue grills in developed recreational sites or on residential home sites.
  • Burning of all fencerows, fields, wild lands, ravines, trash, debris areas or materials.

The county’s resolution states, “As provided in K.S.A. 48-939, the knowing or willful violation of any restrictions adopted pursuant to this resolution shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided by law therefore.”

Rangeland fire danger information can be found on the Osage County website at under Emergency Management, Osage County Sheriff or at

County officials ask that anyone planning to burn check the rangeland fire danger and contact Osage County Sheriff office at 785-828-3121 before burning, and report their name and location of burn.

Romine reported Monday that county fire departments had received 195 fire calls in the last 30 days and 156 of those calls were reporting grass fires. Dunn said a number of the calls were due to controlled burns, but required a response by fire crews because the burns had not been reported to the sheriff’s office prior to being set.

The emergency resolution signed by commissioners is effective immediately and runs through April 28 or until further notice. The burn ban covers the unincorporated portions of the county; residents of incorporated cities should abide by local regulations regarding burning inside city limits.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Multiple fires reported Monday afternoon

Emporia Gazette – March 31, 2014

Multiple fires have been reported Monday afternoon, many resulting from rekindles of Sunday fires.

Early Monday afternoon, scanner traffic indicated fire crews were at the scene of a Sunday blaze, where a section of the fire located in a brush pile had rekindled.

Other fires reported Monday afternoon included:

  •  Road 200 and Road F, possibly a rekindle
  • 1375 N. Highway 99, resulting from a rekindle
  • 280 about a quarter of a mile west of Y Road in Chase County, resulting from a rekindle

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

NVFC Releases Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations Guide

Published Date: 03.31.2014

The NVFC, with guidance from VFIS, has released the second edition of the Emergency Vehicle Safe Operations for Volunteer and Small Combination Emergency Service Organizations guide. The guide aims to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries from vehicle related accidents and includes emergency vehicle safety best practices, standard operating guideline and procedure examples, and behavioral motivation techniques to enhance emergency vehicle safety.

In addition to the guide, the NVFC is offering an online companion course providing an overview of best practices in emergency vehicle safety. The course is free for a limited time and can be accessed through the NVFC Virtual Classroom.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire crews make quick work of fire in Bennington

By John Boyd
KWCH – March 31, 2014

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Fire crews made quick work of a building fire in Bennington Monday morning.

According to our news partners at the Salina Journal, a woman who owns the Westside Ventures Restaurant smelled burning plastic.

She says one of the customers in the business at the time is a firefighter.  Once they saw smoke, they got everyone out of the business.

Fire officials say the fire was contained to the kitchen of the business.

No one was hurt. No word yet on a cause.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Accidental fire damages shed

Great Bread Tribune – March 31, 2014

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Great Bend Fire Department was dispatched to 172 School House Road at 1:35 p.m. Saturday, after called reported his neighbor’s shed was on fire. Firefighters found a 24 by 30 metal shed with heavy smoke coming from the windows and overhead door and roof area.

Building owner Tyson Ryff told them there was a car with several 5 gallon plastic cans inside. Crews were able to enter the building and quickly control the flames. Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said the fire apparently started on the southeast corner where the owner had some cardboard boxes, a wood cabinet and other items. Damage estimates were not available. The fire was ruled accidental.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Group studying central dispatch concept hears Allen County experience

By Allen Smith
Independence Daily Reporter – March 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

The director of Allen County’s central dispatch department told a group of Montgomery County law enforcement and emergency services personnel to put aside their differences and do what’s best for the citizens. Meanwhile, a 911 liaison representing the State of Kansas told the group not to expect to save any money by consolidating dispatch services.

Angela Murphy, director of Allen County’s 911 Central Dispatch Center in Iola, during a meeting Wednesday in the Montgomery County Judicial Center told officials representing Independence, Coffeyville, Caney, Cherryvale and the Montgomery County Commission, “I’m a straight shooter, so here I go. Put your animosity aside and do what’s best for the citizens of your county.”

Because not all agencies in Montgomery County dispatch police, ambulance and fire, there are times when an emergency call is rolled over several times.

“With our system, a call may get rolled over five times before the police, ambulance and fire departments are dispatched to a scene,” said Coffeyville Chief of Police Tony Celeste.

Murphy was appalled.

“That is entirely unacceptable,” Murphy said. “With a central dispatch system every agency that needs to respond to a scene is dispatched immediately. You don’t have precious seconds ticking away rolling a call from one agency to another to dispatch police, fire and ambulance.”

Murphy said Allen County decided to go with central dispatching four years ago and county officials haven’t looked back since.

“Frankly, we are all glad we went to 911 central dispatch,” Murphy said. “I had a county commissioner who was dead set against it, but he is now a major proponent of the change.”

Now he says the transition was easy once Allen County decided it was necessary to increase funding from $186,000 to $550,000.

“My sheriff and police chief in Iola both supported the change to central dispatch,” Murphy said. “In fact, the sheriff was the driving force, and the police chief had no objections.”

Murphy said the Allen County 911 Dispatch Center is a county operated department with a $550,000 per year budget.

“You guys talk about 911 funds. I get $87,000 a year from our 911 fund paid by our residents on their phones. It helps, but it’s really minimal when it comes down to the big picture,” Murphy said. “I have an advisory board that I depend on a lot. I bounce a lot of things off my advisory board. We discuss lots of issues, but the county pays our expenses. I don’t go to my advisory board concerning funds.”

She also said the smaller cities in Allen County do not pay a fee to the county for dispatching services.

Murphy said the taxes on Allen County citizens did not increase when they went to a consolidate dispatching system.

“We did not increase our taxes,” Murphy said. “We bought a building to house our facility. We spent $600,000 on our transition.”

She said the dispatching facility went from “literally a closet in the police department in Iola, to a facility the county purchased.”

She encouraged the group to put their heads together and decide how to proceed.

“I sensed a lot of animosity there Wednesday afternoon. That needs to stop and either decide to do it or not,” Murphy said.

Scott Ekberg, the 911 liaison for the 911 Coordinating Council, said officials studying the plan should not expect to save any money, and he outlined how the Next Generation 911 system, set to be implemented later this year, is designed to operate.

“You can’t look at consolidating 911 dispatch systems as a way to save money,” Ekberg said. “You should evaluate whether consolidation is right for you all and can it provide services to your taxpayers.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Leon Rau has hoped that by consolidating 911 dispatch services money could be saved.

“Next Generation 911 is designed to pick up a 911 emergency call from a cell phone and send it to the closest Personal Safety Access Point,” Ekberg said.

There are three PSAPs in Montgomery County–Independence, Coffeyville and Caney. There are 117 in the state of Kansas.

Currently, 911 emergency cell phone calls go to the PSAP at the Independence Police Department, requiring dispatchers there to roll over a call to Coffeyville or Caney if it originates there.

Land line phones go to the closest PSAP for dispatching.

The City of Independence receives approximately $93,000 per year in 911 funds, while Coffeyville receives approximately $90,000 per year from the land line phones.

Cherryvale and Caney get no 911 funds.

Ekberg said the state is working to create a seamless border map for the State of Kansas as part of the Next Generation 911 process.

“This GIS system is being paid for by the state. There is no costs to the cities,” Ekberg said. “Acquiring this statewide data base is much more cost effective on an individual county basis. We can do the entire state at a cost of $1.8 million.”

He said counties will sign up for a three year subscription to the data base.

“At the end of three years the system will be updated, and counties will renew their subscriptions for another three years,” Ekberg said.

“The Next Generation 911 capabilities are great, but the responsibilities and pressure it will put on the PSAPs will be tremendous,” Ekberg said.

For the group’s next meeting on March 19, officials would bring figures such as call volume and other information and see if a cost to implement central dispatching is even feasible in Montgomery County.

“Hearing what we heard today, think that’s what we should do, starting putting figures together to determine the feasibility,” Independence Police Chief Harry Smith said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Firefighters rescue dog from icy water at Coffeyville park

Independence Daily Reporter – March 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

Coffeyville firefighters rescued a dog from an icy lake at LeClere Park Wednesday afternoon.

The black Labrador retriever fell through the ice while chasing ducks at the park at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday and firefighters Kevin Midgett and Will Rosson performed an ice rescue wearing dry suits designed for cold water and freezing temperatures.

Coffeyville Fire Chief James Grimmett said he is not sure if firefighters were ever called to rescue an animal out there before, but it has been a while since they have needed the cold water rescue equipment. He said the department has had the capability to do ice rescues for three years, but often when they arrive for a human rescue the victim already is out of the water.

“It’s good to see where your training pays off,” Grimmett said. He said the department usually trains this time of year.

Lt. Derek Messner said they trained at the park lake for ice and boat rescues when they can.

“Almost in the same spot,” he said. He said the ice was thicker as they approached the dog, so the firefighters had to break it but it was not thick enough to support them.

Although temperatures warmed recently, Grimmett said the pond was partially frozen. The 70-pound dog was 70 to 80 feet from the bank, but was rescued uninjured and reunited with her owners, who were not identified.

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center EMS helped warm Midgett and Rosson’s core body temperatures once they were out of the water. Messner, along with Pete Caresio and Todd Hayes provided a rope tag line and manned a rescue boat standing by.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters battle house fires over two-day span

Montgomery County Chronicle – March 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

The Coffeyville Fire Department has been busy battling structure fires in the past week.

The fire department responded to a structure fire at 1206 South Willow on Thursday, Feb. 27. Upon arrival, heavy smoke was coming from the roof line and flames were visible at the rear of the structure.

The cause of the fire, which resulted in approximately $6,000 in damage, originated in the attic and is thought to be electrical in nature.

The residence is owned by Clifford Huston who was home at the time of the fire.

There were no injuries reported, and the Coffeyville fire and police departments are continuing their investigation. The South Coffeyville Fire Department assisted with the fire.

The department responded to a house fire at 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 1408 W. Seventh. Upon arrival, flames were visible from the front window. There were no occupants in the residence at the time of the fire and no injuries reported.

Estimated loss to the residence owned by Leonard Howard is $20,000.

The South Coffeyville Fire Department assisted with the fire which is currently under investigation by the Coffeyville Fire Department.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Tonganoxie firefighters respond to garage fire

Tonganoxie Mirror – March 12, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

Tonganoxie City firefighters responded to a garage fire early last Wednesday.

Crews were called out about 1:30 a.m. to the 100 block of Third Street for a fire that started in an attached garage.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire in the garage area of the single-story house, a department official said.

No cause has yet been determined.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Family sees it all go

By Nancy Calderon
Dodge City Daily Globe – March 12, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

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Lance Durr was visiting with his next door neighbor Sunday afternoon when his neighbor asked if he was cooking something. Little did Durr know that the smell lurking in the air was the beginning of a fire that would claim his home, his pet and his family heirlooms.

Durr headed back over to his home to find his dad and 13 year-old son standing outside on the front porch, as he peeked his head in, Durr could see flames that had started in the ceiling right above his stove.

The flames from the kitchen grew almost instantly, leaving Durr and his family helpless. For them, all there was left to do is watch part of their home disappear in the heat of the fire as they waited for firefighters to arrive.

The fire inside the trailer located in Wilroads Gardens was tamed by the Ford County and Dodge City Fire Departments in a timely manner, but the heat and smoke had already damaged every room inside.

For Durr, watching his belongings disappear in front of his eyes was not easy, he said, but he maintained his composure to keep everyone else calm, including his son who was in tears. The aftermath, however, brought home the extent of the disaster.

“When you start going through it afterwards, the aftermath, that’s when it really hits you,” Durr said. “There are things gone that are not replaceable.”

Durr said many of his family members have pitched-in to provide furniture and other essentials, friends have also helped and local schools have donated school supplies for Durr’s son who lost all his school materials in the fire.

Still, the heirlooms that had been saved from generations passed and the family dog, “Baby” a 17 year-old Chihuahua who didn’t make it out are among things that cannot be replaced but for Durr, he said the safety of his family is the most important to him and he’s truly thankful they went unharmed.

The family is currently living with their next door neighbor until they find a new house to call home.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Rarity: Fire department has two calls at once

Harper Advocate – March 12, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

It has only happened a couple of times in the past sixty years that the Harper Fire Department has been called out to two fires at the same time. It happened last week with structure fires. Previously the simultaneous fire alarms have been grass or field fires.

At 5:03 a.m. last Wednesday morning, the Harper fire department was called on automatic mutual aid to a duplex fire in Anthony. A single engine from Harper was enroute when at 5:12 the Harper Fire Department was called to a duplex fire at 306 West 15th in Harper.

A second Harper truck responded from the Harper station and the first truck headed to Anthony turned around to go the fire in Harper.

Neither of the Harper trucks had to pump any water on the duplex unit at the rear of 306 West 15th as the fire was out upon arrival.

Firefighters checked the stove area of an apartment rented by Wyatt Allen for any fire extension from a pizza box catching fire on an electric cooking stove.

Due to heat shown in a shelf above the stove, firemen removed the shelf and some melted items on the shelf to insure that there would be no rekindle of the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Comanche County fire

Protection Press – March 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Firefighters from the Comanche County Fire Department were called out twice on Sunday morning to battle and contain the fire in winds gusting over 40 mph at the Kurt Dale farm northeast of Protection. The family pet, Yeller, is shown at the scene as firefighters stay to make sure the blaze didn’t spread into the grass and trees. Photo by Dave Webb.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Prevention is firefighters’ top priority

By Elly Grimm
Southwest Daily Times – March 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2014

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“I don’t think we’ve ever had a ‘typical’ day and that’s what I love about it–it’s always different.”

This from Kelly Kirk, Fire Chief with the Liberal Fire Department after he was asked “What is a typical day in the life of a firefighter?”

On any given day, the fire department is kept busy–the department averages three to five calls and they’re not all fire calls. The department also respond to other situations including downed power lines, hazardous materials, and it also has two trained Emergency Medical Technicians that responds to all medical calls.

The month of March is also known as Fire Prevention Month and Kirk says that the department is preparing to give classes and spread the word about fire safety in the next several weeks. He said he considers the prevention classes a high priority.

“I think it’s the most important part of our job because the way that we’re staffed, if a fire starts and gets to any significant size, the damage done and the potential for injury or harm to citizens is always there,” he said. “The best thing that we can do as a fire department is try to stop a fire before it starts.”

Their prevention efforts were present at the Children’s Healthy Fun Fair on Saturday. They handed out prevention materials such as coloring books for children and other materials that families will be able to use in their homes.

“We want to inform the public as much as we can about fire safety so anything we can do to help out that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Fire Inspector Cody Regier.

Kirks said that the departments efforts at prevention education are mostly aimed at local students from USD 480, saying that the department works with the district to coordinate all of them. Their education courses with the students are gradual, starting with kindergarten and first grade-aged children.

The department starts by introducing the younger students to what a firefighter looks like in their gear and Kirk said that with the older students they start to grasp the idea of the dangers of fire and how to create a home escape plan.

“Second and third grade is probably our biggest push of the year, but we try to do it all year-round any chance we get,” Kirk said.

While March is known as Fire Prevention Month, Kirk said the department’s efforts on prevention are mainly focused during National Fire Prevention Week in early October, which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire from 1871.

Kirk said with his classes, he always emphasizes how fast a fire can travel, pointing out statistics that say more people die from smoke inhalation than from contact with the fire.

“We have a training video for firefighters called a flashover video and that’s when all the contents in a room burst into flames simultaneously and it’s basically an unsurvivable event,” he said. “What this video demonstrates is they start a small fire in an upholstered couch and let it burn and then somewhere between 3.5 to 4 minutes the room flashes over, that’s how fast fire progresses.”

Kirk says that he wants the community not to see the department as just an emergency response team but also as a customer service agency, saying the department is willing to help citizens with prevention measures if they need it.

“If people have questions about fire safety in the home–it can be anything from if you keep the fire extinguisher in the kitchen to what type of smoke detectors and CO detectors to have in your house, we’d be glad to talk to you and we’ll even come to your house and see if everything’s as it should be if you ask,” he said. “We try to be as much service as we possibly can between the emergency responses.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Grass fires damage two sheds and a camper

By Shane Farley
NewsCow – March 31, 2014

Sunday grass fires in Cowley County claimed two structures and a camper, area fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

The most significant damage occurred just east of Winfield in the 11000 block of 152nd Rd. That property is owned by Marquita Spengler.

A decades-old barn on the property ignited when a pasture fire in the area – which had been reported the day before – apparently reignited and burned the barn. The barn, which was used for storage, is a total loss, according to fire Lt. Vince Warren.

Structure and contents were valued at approximately $30,000, according to a fire dept. report.

Winfield Fire personnel responded to at least 13 fires over the weekend.

Other damage reported in separate fires Sunday:

– A camper was damaged in the 5000 block of 182nd Rd. around 5:40 p.m. A resident at the home was grilling when grass under the camper ignited and damaged the underside of the camper.

Firefighters moved the camper and extinguished the grass. Damage was estimated at $5,000. Bob Steiner is the owner of the camper and the property.

– A shed was destroyed just after noon Sunday northeast of Udall on 32nd Rd. No further details were immediately available.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire damages Wichita business-apartment building

KAKE – March 31, 2014


Several units of a two-story Wichita building have damage from a late-night fire.

Firefighters were called shortly before 12:00 midnight to the House building, on East Douglas near Grove. The first floor of the building has had a law office and salon over the years. Fire crews were able to limit the damage to that floor.

But second-floor apartments have smoke damage…. and Battalion Chief John Turner admitted to KAKE there was concern fires might be hidden there.

“We have an older building,” Turner said. “We have metal ceilings that are tacked on to wood.” Those factors forced crews to take a little more time to check for hidden problems.

The American Red Cross helped apartment residents find other places to spend the night.

No one was injured. There was no immediate word about how the fire started.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

‘Red Flag’ conditions keep firefighters busy

By Jason Tarr
KAKE – March 31, 2014


On a windy Sunday afternoon, Marquita Spengler got a knock on her door in Winfield. It was her neighbor and he had some alarming news.

“He said, ‘Your barn is on fire!'” Marquita said.

About four hours later, the charred frame of that barn continued to smolder as Marquita looked on with her son Blaine. Flames crept out in between pieces of metal as the wind whipped the smoke around them.

The barn is just steps away from Marquita’s home which sits near Highway 160 and 111th Street. She says her family began using the barn in the late 1960’s as a dairy barn. But lately, she says, it’s been used for storage.

“We had hay in the barn and had a lot of structural building material,” Blaine said.

The family says firefighters told them the fire likely started when wind helped reignite a local pasture burn from the day before.

“With the wind, it picked it up and rekindled it and blew sparks into more dry grass,” Blaine said.

Cowley County dispatchers say that scenario played out over and over Sunday. Wind and warmer temperatures had created a Red Flag Warning.

“There’s black ground everywhere where one little fire after another got into a bigger fire,” Blaine said.

The fires stretched from Cowley County north to Shawnee County and Lyon County.

In Lyon County, crews worked around the clock to tame the flames that were popping up. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department kept the community up to date by posting pictures and information on its Twitter account.

In Shawnee County, a fire in Silver Lake charred more than 1500 acres and destroyed two homes.

“I suggest that anyone, anyone, that has any type of thinking about outdoor burning to not do that at this particular time given the hazards we have with the conditions out here,” Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones told WIBW, KAKE’s sister station in Topeka.

The Spenglers in Winfield know first-hand how dangerous those conditions can be. They say they’re thankful the fire didn’t reach Marquita’s home.

“I just appreciate all the neighbors and the fire department and all the help we’ve had,” Marquita said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire officials investigating Sunday night blaze at Copper Oven Bakery

By Eric Smith
Topeka Capital Journal – March 31, 2014


Shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, a fire was reported in the attic at the Copper Oven Bakery and Cafe, 5421 S.W. 21st.

The cause and estimated damage of the incident to the southwest Topeka business wasn’t immediately known, Topeka Fire Marshal Michael Martin told The Capital-Journal on Sunday night, as officials are still investigating.

Martin said crews received the call from passersby at 9:21 p.m. Crews arrived to smoke coming out of eaves of building and a small fire on the ground outside.

While the fire was under control relatively quickly after it was determined where it was at, Martin said, crews were on scene for more than an hour.

Witnesses said flames were coming out from below and above one of the doors near the back of the building of the business, which was closed.

“It was completely ablaze,” said Topekan Robin Burke, who noticed the fire as she was driving down S.W. 21st before calling authorities. “I smelled it and then I saw it. Out of the corner of my left eye I saw orange.”

No one was inside at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Eastbound S.W. 21st in front of the bakery was briefly blocked while the fire was put out.

There is plenty of smoke and water damage inside the building, as well as fire damage in the attic, Martin said, adding there will be lots of cleanup after multiple doors were broken down through forced entry. Shattered glass from the entrance to the building was scattered along the ground.

According to Topeka Capital-Journal archives, the Copper Oven opened in 1989 in the Fairlawn Plaza Shopping Center. While the business was closed for a brief time in March 2011, it reopened in May 2011.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Sheriff’s Office: 14 fires in Lyon County

Emporia Gazette – March 30, 2014

Dispatch has reported 14 fires today that required a response from area fire departments as of about 5 p.m., according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

“Every fire department in Lyon County was used including mutual aid from Dunlap and Lebo,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. “One house was destroyed, and 1,500 acres burned at Road 20 and Road E.”

Fatality Accident Reported South Of Marysville

By Derek Nester
KNDY – March 30, 2014

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office reported a fatality accident Sunday morning on U.S. Highway 77 approximately 1.25 miles south of Marysville.

The report, provided to KNDY News by Marshall County Sheriff Dan Hargrave, indicates that a vehicle driven by 17-year-old Seth McKay of Marysville was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 77 when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree on the west side of the highway. McKay passed away at the scene.

He is survived by his parents Grant and Linda McKay and sister Bailey, who is a senior at Valley Heights High School in Blue Rapids. Seth McKay was a junior at Valley Heights.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Mulvane Fire & EMS Station #2

Submitted by Capt. Lowell L. Ester, Mulvane Emergency Services – March 30, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.


Mulvane Fire & EMS Station #2 was opened for business Wednesday March 26th.   Station # 2 is located at 911 Kansas Star Drive just south of K-53 Highway between US-81 & I-35 next to the Kansas Star Casino.

Station #2 is staffed 24/7 by two Paramedics, EMS Lieutenant Shawn Lamm is assigned there from 7-5 weekdays.  It houses one ALS Ambulance, one EMS supervisor and a Class One Pumper.  The Engine Company is staffed by volunteers.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Winds whip up grass fires across the region

By Matt Evans
KMBC – March 30, 2013


High wind and warm conditions combined to increase the fire danger across the Kansas City metropolitan area and its surrounding region.

Firefighters in Topeka battled a grass fire that burned about 1,500 acres. It destroyed one home and damaged another.

Another fire in Kansas City burned a few acres at 50th Street and Hardesty Avenue near Swope Park.

The windy conditions have led firefighters to cancel controlled burns until calmer days return. Firefighters also urged people spending time outside to be especially careful with grills or other things that can ignite dry grass.

“It makes everything that much more susceptible — to the smallest ember — to start something off, then you complicate that with the high wind conditions that we’re experiencing right now,” said Capt. Bob Eddy of the Bonner Springs Fire Department.

Firefighters urged anyone who’s not sure whether conditions outside are safe for burning to call their local fire department to check.

A red flag warning was in effect for much of the day. It was set to expire at 7 p.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Multiple fires in Lyon and Cowley counties

KWCH – March 30, 2014

Lyon County dispatch confirms they worked at least five fires in the county.

They say at least one structure was involved.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s office says on social media that multiple districts were working a fire that rekindled on 200 Road East. That is where the structure reportedly caught fire.

Another fire was reported at Road 290 where a caller said hay bales were on fire.

Other areas fires were reported along Road 140, Road F, Road G, Road 175, K-130 and Road 160.

The sheriff’s office says to double check burn areas and to be sure to dump water on hot spots.

Dispatch says most of the fires are grass fires that spread because of the wind.

Cowley County dispatch says they are also working multiple grass fires currently. We will continue to update this story as information comes in.

**I think KWCH meant to say Coffey County instead of Cowley

KSFFA Webmaster

Fire engulfs home near Silver Lake

By Nate Hill
Kansas First News – March 30, 2014

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Multiple fire departments are getting a large fire under control in Northern Shawnee County.

According to dispatch, the fire started at 12:31 p.m. as a farmer was burning grass and it got out of control.

Fire departments from Silver Lake, Soldier Township, St. Mary’s and Topeka have all been working the fire.

Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones tells Kansas First News the fire covers at least 1,500 acres. It has engulfed one home and four out buildings. No injuries have been reported.

The fire caught a tree on fire that fell into some power lines. As a result, half of the town of Silver Lake was without power as of 3:45 p.m., according to Police Chief Randy Call.

From Topeka Capital Journal – By Matt Evans

A massive grass fire spreading between 1,000 and 1,500 acres severely damaged at least three homes and numerous other outbuildings northwest of Topeka on Sunday afternoon, but no injuries were reported, first responders in Shawnee County said.

The cause of the fire just south of Shawnee County State Park was unknown and under investigation as of 5:30 p.m, Silver Lake Fire Department Captain Graig Brummer said.

The blaze was one of at least 20 grass fires reported Sunday in Shawnee County, a county dispatcher told The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Authorities said the first reports of the large fire came out around 12:30 p.m. in the 5700 block of N.W. Humphrey, and it quickly spread north to N.W. 78th with Humphrey being the eastern border. The blaze went west as far as Hodges Road, and while a small part crossed Humphrey going east, it was quickly managed.

Brummer said one house was destroyed and at least two others had significant damage. He said the outbuildings damaged or destroyed were still being counted but was at least a handful.

No one was in the house that was destroyed, Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said.

Brummer added he hadn’t seen a situation “quite to this extent,” and it ranked on the “upper end” of fires he has dealt with.

Many longtime residents of the area said it was the biggest they had seen.

Fire crews from throughout Shawnee County fought the fire through strong winds, Jones said, with gusts estimated at upwards of 30 mph.

Several homes were evacuated, as several structures dotted the path of the fire.

“(Authorities) were able evacuate as many of these homes as possible, therefore no injuries,” Jones said. “The quick response saved a lot of those structures. You just really got to be careful with these types of conditions.”

While firefighters were still dealing with the fire well into the afternoon, it was relatively under control when Jones gave his report around 3 p.m.

“I got to say because of our quick response we were able to mitigate, or at least minimize what we have,” Jones said.

As of 5:30 p.m., Brummer said the majority of the fire was out and under control, but they were still working spot fires, doing cleanup work and collecting information.

A cost estimate to the damage done wasn’t immediately known.

Some of the fires going on from across the county may have been from fires the day previous that started up again, Jones said.

At least 10 fire units fought the blaze, and beside those from Shawnee County, Mayetta, Hoyt and St. Marys fire crews assisted.

The command post for first responders was at N.W. 66th and Humprhey.

In addition to the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, people from the Silver Lake Police Department, Kansas Highway Patrol, Shawnee County Emergency Management and American Medical Response were on scene.

KHP provided aerial views of the fire with its airplane.

While there were several other grass fires Sunday, no other structures were reported damaged.

At point Sunday, four different fires were being held with no one to respond, a county dispatcher said, as the massive one northwest of Topeka took up a lot of resources.

One other grass fire reported around 1 p.m. west of the capital city near Interstate 70 left crews battling it for several hours.

The only injury reported Sunday was a very minor incident to a firefighter at one of the many grass fires, officials said. After receiving treatment on scene from AMR, the firefighter was fine.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Crews battle grass fires in Lyon County

KAKE – March 30, 2014

Photo by Lyon County Sheriff's Office.

Photo by Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Multiple fire crews are battling grass fires throughout Lyon County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that a previous fire on Road 200 East had rekindled around 1 p.m. Sunday.

One structure in the 1700 block of Road 200 was reportedly engulfed in flames. That’s about six miles east-northeast of Emporia.

Authorities soon after reported there were multiple fires in the county.

No injuries have been reported.

The sheriff’s office said fire danger is extremely high, and anyone who burned on Saturday should add extra water to those sites.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kansas Firefighter Equipment Delivered in Paraguay

A container of firefighting equipment has landed in Paraguay and has been delivered to members of Comité Paraguay Kansas (our counterpart) Emergency Preparedness Committee headed by Steve Richards.  This nears the end of a 7 year saga that began with a cultural exchange to Kansas by Jorge Martín.

In 2009 Steve and Lorraine Richards along with several other Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) attended a Partners of the Americas (POA) regional meeting in Chicago.  At this meeting we all learned about the Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners remarkable ability to ship donated firefighter equipment to Nicaragua.  Steve came away from this meeting with a smile and the name of the Denton Program.

Steve and Lorraine were the lead KPP members on the Emergency Preparedness Committee and envisioned sending donated equipment from Kansas to Paraguay.  Under a POA travel grant Paraguayan firefighters had been to Kansas and indicated the need for updated equipment.  But why would Kansas’ fire departments donate equipment to Paraguay rather then to the many small rural communities in Kansas? There are standards for firefighter equipment and with technological advancement the standards change and fire departments must update to the latest equipment. This means that Kansas fire departments must get rid of old equipment.  Steve and Lorraine were glad to help out.

Now KPP had an interesting problem.  Steve’s basement was soon out of space to house donated equipment.  Under Steve’s leadership KPP bought an old shipping container and Steve arranged for it to be housed on the Wichita Fire Department’s property.  This storage and work space also came with the beginning of Scott Fromme’s involvement in KPP.  Scott is a Wichita fireman with lots of international experience.  Under a POA travel grant he traveled to Paraguay to make certain that the donated equipment could actually be used rather than sit in some warehouse because it didn’t work in Paraguay.  Scott visited lots of Paraguayan fire departments and learned a few words of Guaraní that helped forge a bond with Paraguayans.

Donated equipment kept coming in and Steve was learning about the Denton Program. Here is how the Department of Defense describes the Denton Program.

The purpose of the Denton Program is to allow U.S. based non-governmental sources to transport humanitarian aid at little or no cost to the donor, while simultaneously putting the extra space on U.S. military transport assets to good use. This program is jointly administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DOD). Transportation is generally available to close destinations such as Latin and South America; however, the availability of transportation to particular countries is affected by current military and political situations. Transportation can neither be scheduled nor guaranteed; and therefore, cannot be used to meet urgent needs or deadlines.

Steve met the challenge of satisfying two government agencies and KPP was approved.  This is far from the end of the story.  I will let Steve tell more of the story.  Please click and enjoy.

 The Rest of the Story

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fatal accident on I-70 after semi runs into toll plaza

Lawrence 6 News – March 29, 2014


A person is dead and another is in critical condition after a semi truck ran into a toll plaza on I-70 early Saturday morning.
According to 6News partner Operation 100, Leavenworth County Firefighters and medics were dispatched to the eastern toll plaza, near milepost 217, for an injury accident involving a tractor-trailer at 3:04 a.m..

Kansas Turnpike Troopers arrived to report one person had been ejected from the truck and was unconscious. A second injured person was still inside the cab of the truck.

Medics reported one person deceased at the scene and another with critical injuries.

A LifeStar helicopter landed in the eastbound lanes of the Interstate, temporarily blocking several lanes through the toll plaza for a short time. Those lanes reopened around 4 a.m.


All westbound lanes of I-70 were closed due to the accident but were reopened around 5:45 a.m. Troopers requested a Highway Patrol helicopter respond to the scene after sunrise to photograph the accident scene from above.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

OP Fire Department touts stove-top fire suppressors

By Matt Campbell
Kansas City Star – March 28, 2014

Overland Park firefighters raced to the scene of a reported fire in an apartment complex only to find their work had already been done — automatically.

The stove-top fire at The Lodge of Overland Park apartments was snuffed out by a simple device attached inside the range hood.

The fire extinguishers, about the size of a food can, are fastened by magnets inside the hood over the range. They have fuses that, when activated by flame, release a powder similar to that in a canister fire extinguisher.

“The fire department did not put one drop of water on the stove,” said Leslie Scott, property manager at the complex. “It was fully extinguished.”

That was a relief not only to the management but to the occupants of the apartment at 106th and Foster streets on Sunday evening. The fire department saw it as an educational opportunity.

“Overland Park Fire has been pushing awareness of these devices for several years, even securing a grant to provide them for high-risk residents,” the department said in a statement. “This is the first episode we’ve seen where someone has installed them on their own and had a successful deployment.”

In Sunday’s case, the range hood was ruined and the cabinets and walls were blackened. But that was scant damage compared to what could have happened if the fire had spread beyond the stove and into adjacent apartments.

Apartment complex manager Resource Residential placed two suppressors, which cost about $17 each, over the stove in each of the 548 units. The company considers that a good investment.

Scott said an average apartment fire used to cause about $100,000 in damage, but with range hood fire suppressors, that figure is about $2,500.

“One life lost — there’s no way to put a dollar amount on that,” she said. “In multifamily housing, one person with a lapse in judgment can be devastating.”

Lt. Andrew Grove, who was among the first firefighters responding to Sunday’s incident, said cooking fires are the most common calls his department gets.

He said range hood fire suppressors are safety tools like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

“This is something that’s going to stop a fire,” Grove said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No injuries in Friday afternoon blaze

Junction City Daily Union – March 22, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

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Geary County, Junction City and Riley County firefighters responded to a house fire at 8129 McDowell Creek Road just after 4 p.m. Friday. Homeowner Bryce Fowles (left) said nobody was inside when the fire started. Heavy smoke and flames were visible as firefighters worked to bring the fire under control. No further information was available as of press time.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Commissioners strive to work with residents regarding burn ban

By Amber Coulter
Linn County News – March 26, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

The Linn County Commissioners spent time at their meeting Monday, March 24, discussing controlled burns and burn ban regulations. The conversation commenced with Fire Chief/Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Barlet providing a weather forecast to determine whether a burn ban should be reinstated.

Barlet predicted that wind speeds would increase significantly Wednesday and Thursday, possibly reaching gusts of 40 mph. Barlet recommended that the commissioners place a burn ban in effect for at least Wednesday morning through Friday morning.

Following discussion last week that several Emergency Managers have the authority to place or remove burn bans, Commissioner Vicki Leonard responded that she thought the commissioners should give Barlet the authority to instate a burn ban throughout this week at his discretion. Commissioner Mike Page stated he thought placing that authority with Barlet would be a good decision.

Page mentioned CRP burn obligations after hearing complaints that adequate time is not being given to complete prescribed burns.

Barlet responded, “We understand that we have to give people time to burn.” He pointed out that the burn ban was lifted over the weekend. “It was a little risky in the afternoons with the 20 mph wind gusts, and a few of the fires got away, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as last weekend when we had 37 fires,” he said.

“They still need some time to burn and we understand that, but if we know we’re going to have 15 percent humidity and 40 mph wind gusts, that’s not the time to burn.” Barlet referred to March 13, when numerous fires broke out across the county, noting conditions were not ideal for burning that day.

Page added that the commissioners should not be too stringent in their placement of burn bans, yet they also need to consider safety hazards that may arise in certain weather conditions.

Commissioner Herb Pemberton asked if there is any way the Fire Department could assist in controlled burns before they get out of hand. “Would that help?” Pemberton asked.

Barlet responded, “Years ago, we used to go out and actually do burns for people. The concerns I would have at this point in time would be if we light a fire and it gets away from us then burns something, we would be liable for that.”

The second issue Barlet pointed out would be resource availability. “If I go out and light a fire and we have all of Mound City’s grass fire equipment out there, what happens if someone else loses control of their fire? As much as we would like to do it, I think it creates a risk for us not having the capability to respond somewhere else where we would be needed.”

Barlet pointed out that in many cases, fires require multiple fire stations and combined resources to be fully extinguished.

Bartlet said, “I don’t have a good answer for you as to how we could help other than to try to go out and put them out when they get out of control.” Barlet mentioned starting a prescribed burn class, which has been done several times already. He noted that attendance in the past has been low.

Pemberton said, “The deadline seems to be what is hurting them.” Pemberton added that county residents have complained that officials are extinguishing their controlled burns when the burns themselves were not creating any problems.

Barlet responded, “Through the burn ban, we put every fire out that was burning. If they are in control of their controlled burn, we let them burn. We’re not going out and intentionally putting out fires unless we’re in the burn ban. We’re still trying to let them burn.”

Leonard added, “The word controlled burn is confusing. It can be a supervised burn, but that’s not always in control. A lot of those factors depend on the wind, humidity, and things that you (Barlet) are watching constantly, which is why I think this being left at your discretion would probably be the best for us. You’re studying those factors that we don’t have.

“It’s hard for us to have meetings in the middle of the week and make those decisions when we’re relying on your expertise anyway.”

Page said, “It’s getting to be a critical thing. We have to let folks burn as much as they can, but we can’t do it at the risk of burning structures or having property loss. Especially personnel injuries and the things we don’t sometimes focus on whenever we’re trying to make these decisions.”

Sheriff Paul Filla pointed out that people are required to call the Sheriff’s Department dispatch prior to lighting a controlled burn to hear whether conditions are favorable.

County resident Fred Kautt added that took a copy of the draft resolution 14-007 from the previous commissioner meeting to Brian Lueker at the FSA office and Mike Van Wyk at the NRCS office, who were both receptive to the controlled burn regulation efforts made by the commissioners.

Kautt mentioned the cutoff date to burn and noted that if limited burn opportunities continue, then the commissioners need to approach those federal agencies to see if a burn date extension would be possible.

Kautt said an extension would relieve some of the pressure off everyone between now and the 15th.

Barlet added, “When the winds are 35-40 mph and the humidity reaches below 20-25 percent, most people are not going to be able to control their fire, even with prescribed burn methods. Those are the times we want to try to restrict it and prevent them from burning.”

Page added, “Just a little misjudgment around fire can be catastrophic.”

Barlet noted, “This time of year the wind can be blowing from the south 20 mph one minute and from the north 20 mph the next minute. That’s part of what’s causing problems as well. It just changes.”

Page moved to allow Barlet the discretion to approve a burn ban on a day-to-day basis without having to go through the commissioners. Page also moved to allow Barlet to communicate with federal agencies to let them know what’s going on and hopefully receive their cooperation to extend the burning time frames. Both movements carried.

Barlet returned later in the meeting and explained that he spoke with those federal agencies and discovered that they cannot change the date set for burning for CRP since it is set by statute at the state level, and it would conflict with the bird nesting period.

However, Barlet added, exceptions could be made on an individual basis if burning could not be completed due to conditions within the county. “They said they would work with anybody who could not burn because of the bans and they understand why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Barlet said.

The conversation regarding controlled burns concluded with the commissioners approving resolution 14-007, which establishes regulations and required procedures for agricultural open burning.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

More Structural Collapse Training pics

Parsons Sun – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Babysitting Workshop

Pittsburg Morning Sun – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire drills

Manhattan Mercury – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

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Firefighter Mitch Budhe sprays water in CiCo Park on Thursday. The crew from Station 1 brought out new hoses and couplings to test them before they put them into service.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One treated for smoke inhalation

By Dalton Hurst
Humboldt Union – March 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

The Humboldt fire department responded along with Woodson County Rural and Allen County Rural fire department Wednesday, March 12. The fire started at the 800 mile of Missouri Rd. in Allen County. Dispatchers told Allen County rural and County Sheriff Deputy’s that a house was close to the field was on fire. A woman was seen at her home, deputy’s soon realized she went back into her residence to get her pets because she thought her house was on fire. Allen County EMS responded and treated the woman for smoke inhalation. Firefighters soon had control of the fire but the house suffered minor smoke damage.

“The fire was started due to a possible controlled burn that had gotten out of hand,” Jarod Tingley, Allen County Deputy Sheriff said. “We were also never aware of the fire due to the owners not calling the sheriff’s office or Allen County 911 Dispatch Center”.

The fire claimed three miles of farm land and many oil pumps in the process. Volunteers were out a total of three hours putting out the fires.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Selden driver dies in rollover

Colby Free Press – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

A Selden man was killed Thursday evening when he lost control of his vehicle on Road 110 West in Sheridan County, about five miles southwest of Selden.

Jeffrey Urban, 41, was traveling southbound on the road about 6:05 p.m. when the accident happened, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. His vehicle, a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500, went into the ditch on the west side of the road, rolling several times and ejecting him. The patrol reported he was not wearing his seat belt.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Burning grass

Concordia Blade Empire – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

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A firefighter sprays water on a grass fire behind the Harry Brownell residence, 1757 N. 160th Road, Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jessica LeDuc.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No injuries reported in weekend residence fire

By Mike Gilmore
Hoisington Dispatch – March 21, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

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No injuries were reported in a fire that involved neighboring residences Saturday afternoon in the 200 block of East First Street in Hoisington.

Hoisington Fire Chief Jim Sekavec listed the cause of the blaze was undetermined, as fire crews from both Hoisington and Claflin departments were called to 219 and 223 E. First St. at approximately 2:20 p.m. Saturday.

The Claflin department brought its thermal imaging equipment, assisting firefighters with locating hot spots in the walls of the involved structures.

The fire apparently began at the 223 E. First location, where firefighters encountered heavy flames from two west windows and heavy smoke from three upstairs windows. The proximity of the residences was a factor in the fire spreading to the east window trim and eaves of the 219 E. First address.

Sekavec reported no injuries, although a pet cat was treated at the scene and a member of the HFD was treated for possible smoke inhalation and released from the emergency room at Clara Barton Hospital.

No damage estimates were available.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Three children among four hurt in collision on West Kellogg at 151st West

By Stan Finger
Wichita Eagle – March 28, 2014


Four people were injured — two seriously — in a two-vehicle collision in west Wichita Friday morning, authorities said.

The collision occurred at 7:18 a.m. Friday at Kellogg and 151st Street West, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. A minivan turning left from eastbound Kellogg onto 151st West was struck by a Pontiac driving west on Kellogg, Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Carl Mackey said.

A 6-year-old girl was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in critical condition, said Kevin Lanterman, a division leader for Sedgwick County EMS.

“It sounds like the impact was right on where she was sitting,” Lanterman said.

The child stopped breathing at the scene of the collision but was resuscitated, the dispatch supervisor said. Her mother and two brothers were also taken by ambulance to St. Francis.

The two boys were admitted to the hospital and their mother treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. One boy is in serious condition, the other in fair condition.

A vehicle in the the lefthand turn lane preparing to go south on 151st may have impeded the view of the woman driving the minivan, Mackey said.

Traffic in the area was blocked for a while after the accident, officials said, but eastbound lanes opened after a short period. Westbound traffic in that area of Kellogg reopened shortly before 10 a.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Read more here:


Electrical fire at Quality Inn

Arkansas City Traveler – March 26, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

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Arkansas City and Winfield firefighters were dispatched at 2:34 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a fire at Quality Inn, 3232 N. Summit St. One Ark City Fire-EMS Department fire engine, two command vehicles and an aerial platform responded to the scene. The Winfield units were instructed to disregard after they arrived. The cause of the fire was a wiring issue overheated and caused the plastic around it to melt. Firefighters tore a few small holes in the wall around the light to check for any damage to the underlying sheetrock. They then used a pressure fan to blow out all of the smoke. The damage resulting from the fire, mostly cosmetic, was estimated to be around $500.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Wind in Tonganoxie causes power outage, grass fire

By Shawn Linenberger
Tonganoxie Mirror – March 28, 2014

Electric power is being restored late Thursday afternoon in Tonganoxie.

Crews were working to restore service Thursday afternoon after strong winds caused a downed power line along U.S. Highway 24-40.

The damaged line caused a grass fire just north of the highway across the street from B&J Country Mart and west of Studio Chanel Dance Company.

Nearly 1,300 Leavenworth County residents were without power Thursday afternoon, according to the Westar Energy website. On a map, the site shows that Tonganoxie has at least 500 customers without power.

Thursday’s outage also affected the traffic signal at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Main Street. Police Chief Jeff Brandau said the light was working again, but officers were on standby in case another outage occurred. He said officers closed a stretch of the highway for about an hour as firefighters battled the grass fire near the road.

Electricity was reported to be out briefly on two occasions before the latest outage, which lasted about 45 minutes for some. Those who reported the power returning said it came back on just before 5 p.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

ACFD receives grain engulfment rescue training

By Donita Clausen
Arkansas City Traveler – March 28, 2014

RIGHT, FROM LEFT: ACFD Lt. Paul Hunter and firefighter-paramedic Brandi Rice train on the grain engulfment rescue training trailer.

RIGHT, FROM LEFT: ACFD Lt. Paul Hunter and firefighter-paramedic Brandi Rice train on the grain engulfment rescue training trailer.

Ten Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department employees and 15 Two Rivers Co-op employees participated Thursday in all-day training in grain engulfment rescue.

The course requires a basic knowledge of confined space rescue techniques and ‘lock out, tag out’ procedures.

It was presented through the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute at the University of Kansas, with the cooperation of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Kansas Farmers Service Association, and Kansas Cooperative Council.

The goal of the training is to improve safety in grain-handling facilities.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firemen’s funds questioned by Insurance Commissioner

By Rick Nichols
Valley Falls Vindicator – March 28, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners looked over copies of a letter Steven M. Lehwald, the Kansas Insurance Department’s administrator for the Firefighter Relief Act, has sent to County Attorney Jason Belveal advising him that the department had “received information that funds received by the Jefferson County No. 11 Firefighter Relief Association under the firefighter relief act were not being expended for the purposes authorized by the act.” The letter to Belveal was accompanied by an article in the Feb. 20 issue of The Valley Falls Vindicator, in which it was reported that Earl Stevens, treasurer of Jefferson County District 11 ambulance service, told the “fire board” that the ambulance service’s  “bank balances were not affected by a recent ambulance purchase.” According to the article, Stevens “advised the board that the $42,000 for the ambulance was borrowed from the Firemen’s Relief Fund.”

Lehwald’s letter states that “the Jefferson County No. 11 ambulance service is not part of the fire department and an ambulance truck is not equipment for the fire department.” It goes on to say that until his department has been notified by the county attorney that the situation has been corrected, the association will not be eligible to receive “any funds from the firefighters relief act.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Linn trailer fire ruled as arson

Clay Center Dispatch – March 28, 2014

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help in solving a fire in the county’s recycling trailer that has been ruled as an apparent arson.

The Washington County recycling trailer in Linn was reported on fire Monday, March 24, according to a Facebook post from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

The Linn Fire Department responded and quickly extinguished the fire and kept it from spreading, according to reports.

The State Fire Marshal’s office examined the fire in an investigation conducted the next morning on March 25 and determined that the fire was intentionally set by an unknown person or persons.

The incident occurred at approximately 5 p.m. March 24 in the empty lot between Jack’s Food Mart and the United Bank on Fifth Street in Linn.

“We are asking for anyone that was in the area at that time, and might have seen any people inside of or around the trailer to please report this activity, or any possible suspects, to us by calling the Washington County Sheriff’s Department ,” the Sheriff’s post said.

Any reports and all information given to law enforcement will remain confidential and anonymous.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Township building and contents destroyed Sunday afternoon

Eureka Herald – March 26, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

greenwood co fire 3282014

The Otter Creek Township building, in Piedmont, was destroyed after a controlled burn became out of control on Sunday afternoon.

At approximately 4:31 p.m., the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a building on fire in Piedmont. The call came from the Piedmont Fire Department, a division of the Greenwood County Fire Department. Greenwood County deputies responded, along with the Severy and Central Divisions of the Greenwood County Fire Department and Greenwood County EMS, to assist the Piedmont Division.

Upon arriving, deputies found the building located at 873 12th Street in Piedmont to be fully engulfed with the walls collapsing. The building is owned by the Otter Creek Township and was being used as storage by an individual. No one was hurt as a result of this fire, but the building and the equipment inside the building was a total loss.

The fire began with a controlled burn by the Greenwood County Fire Department – Piedmont Division, in the area. The department went to assist with another fire and believed they had the fire around the building extinguished; however, the fire reignited while they were away, resulting in the total loss of the Otter Creek Township building.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Vandalism suspected in fires

By Bob Johnson
Iola Register – March 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014

iola fire 3282014

During a two-hour period Saturday morning six deliberately set fires occurred in the south part of Allen County. Only grass was burned; no structures were threatened.

Humboldt volunteer firefighters were called to the first at 12:21 a.m. in the 1400 block of Connecticut Road, two miles southeast of Humboldt and near where the pumping station for the new Enbridge pipeline is nearing completion.

A few minutes later a second fire call came from about two miles southeast of the first. The third was in the 2200 block of Arizona Road, a mile southeast of the second and 20 minutes later. The fourth, also along Arizona Road, was near old U.S. 169.

Two other fires, noticed by deputies going from one to another, also occurred.

Proximity of the fires and all occurring within a short time frame, led officers to theorize they were set by one person or a group.

Sheriff Bryan Murphy said he and his officers considered the unauthorized burning a serious matter.

Anytime a fire starts, there are no guarantees of what might occur, he said, including threats to livestock.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fires burning early

By Abby Eckel
Ottawa Herald – March 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2014


Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Forty-eight grass fires broke out March 10-23 in Franklin County.

Thankfully, Alan Radcliffe said, none of those grass fires made their ways to homes, but a few outbuildings weren’t so fortunate.

The high number of grass fires for this time of ear is unusual, Radcliffe, Franklin County Emergency Management Director, said, and unless the county sees substantial precipitation, it could continue to see the number of fires climb.

“It’s that time of year,” Radcliffe said. “We’ve had several (grass fires). I know we had one last week where Williamsburg had one that Pomona responded to for mutual aid that was a controlled burn, and it burned two outbuildings too.”

Taller, drier grass adds fuel to the fires, he said.

“People don’t realize there’s more dead grass there and more to burn, and the fire is burning a lot hotter,” he said. “Last year, for instance, I think there were a few grass fires, but this year, even if we have rain, the problem’s going to be the field getting muddy and we won’t be able to get grass trucks in there, but we’ll still have dry grasses that will burn.”

The cool season grass–the kind of grass found in lawns–hasn’t grown enough to help slow the spread of fires, Radcliffe said, leaving the tall, dead prairie grass to burn faster and hotter.

“There’s nothing to slow the fires down, and then we’ve got two- and three-foot-tall grass out there, and people think it’s just like in the past, like ‘I didn’t have any problem last year,'” he said, “but there’s a little more fuel there to burn and the dead grass being the fuel and it can get out of hand.”

Even those seasoned burners who have done controlled burns for years could experience a fire getting out of control this year, he said.

“I think I heard (Monday morning) two fire departments went out on controlled burns that got out of hand,” Radcliffe said. “They’re talking about a little rain Thursday, but this time of year, a day or two after rain and it’s dry again.”

“There’s a place on (the website) for fire weather that will tell them during that day that they’re wanting to burn, what the weather conditions and winds are going to be,” he said. “(Sunday) for instance, the wind kept changing, and when it changes from one direction to the other is when these fires get out of control. People plan to burn one way, and if the wind changes they’re not prepared for that. Plan ahead and have equipment available to control that fire.”

Many of the fire departments are made up of volunteer firefighters, Radcliffe said, so being prepared for grass fires means knowing where everyone plans to be.

“Most of the fire departments make sure we have somebody around,” he said. “This time of year, the departments do that to try and have somebody available, but there’s still that chance Monday through Friday we’re shorthanded because people are working and then it takes more than one department to handle a fire that if we had a full crew, that department would have been able to handle it on their own.”

Radcliffe can’t predict how many more grass fires will hit Franklin County, he said, but the best hope is to be smart and prepare for them.

“Be very careful this spring because there’s going to be quite a few fires,” he said. “We just know that.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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