Archive for April, 2014

Kudos to area emergency personnel

By Karen LaPierre
Great Bend Tribune – April 30, 2014

The wind was blowing seemingly from all directions on Monday, and it was exceedingly unpleasant in town. Highway conditions were dangerous and ten cars had crashed with multiple injuries. More travelers were in ditches.
The highway was promptly closed and traffic redirected.
Despite the terrible dust storm that covered U.S. Highway 56 in southwest Barton County, our emergency personnel headed in the storm in an effort to keep people safe and assist those who were injured.
It was not a nice afternoon to respond to the call. In fact, even arriving at the location of the wrecks must have been no easy task. It sure would have been a lot easier to sit the office and look out the window.
Imagine standing in that dust, much less trying to work. They could have said, “It’s too dangerous, let’s wait.”
Heading out into a storm where one can’t see the end of the hood of one’s own car takes courage.
Our law enforcement, fire fighters, and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded. And when they returned home from their task, there probably wasn’t an inch of skin that wasn’t sand blasted with gritty eyes and dust-filled ears.
Undoubtedly, they would say they were doing their job.
But, additional lives could have been lost without the prompt response.
Kudos to them on a job well done.

Karen La Pierre

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Two-car wreck near Highland Park snares traffic

By Corey Jones
Topeka Capital Journal – April 30, 2014

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A two-vehicle wreck Wednesday afternoon near Highland Park High School before classes were dismissed for the day snarled traffic in the area.

Emergency personnel responded around 2:40 p.m. to S.E. 25th and California on a report of a three-vehicle wreck. Crews arrived to find two cars were involved. Authorities didn’t believe there to be any significant injuries.

A Topeka police officer said a blue four-door car was eastbound on S.E. 25th and a red four-door passenger car was southbound on S.E. California when the two collided.

One of the vehicles failed to yield at the lighted intersection, the officer said. Police were attempting to determine which vehicle it was.

A person in the blue car suffered a possible leg injury, the officer said. Another person complained of head pain.

There were two occupants in the blue car and one in the red car. Two of the people were taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.

The red car came to rest partially on the curb facing south in the northbound lanes. The blue car faced south in the southbound lanes.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

2 Hurt When Truck Goes Off I-70 In Topeka

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – April 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Two people were hurt when their truck spilled into a ravine off of I-70 Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
They were both taken to the hospital with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. Neither have been identified.
The truck went off of the eastbound lanes of the Interstate just west of the Fairlawn Rd. exit.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Heavy Damage At Osage Co. House Fire | Multiple Depts. Respond

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – April 30, 2014

Video

All photos by Eric Ives. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

All photos by Eric Ives. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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Several fire departments responded to a large house fire in Osage Co.
Authorities said they were first called to the home in the 5800 block of W. 117th Street about 3:15 p.m.
So far, the Burlingame, Carbondale, and Auburn fire departments have all sent crews to the house.
No word yet on injuries at the scene.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Simulated crash gets students’ attention

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – April 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

WIBW Video

Though a fatal car-pedestrian accident Wednesday morning outside Highland Park High School was only a re-enactment, the safety message that organizers hoped to achieve came through loud and clear for several hundred students who looked on from bleachers that were set up for the event.

The scenario, which was devised by Highland Park students in cooperation with school resource officer Larry Gonzales, had two students hit by a car as they crossed the 2100 block of S.E. 25th — just south of the school.

The driver of the silver Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible — portrayed by senior Logan Flowers — was said to have been sending a text message on his phone at the time of the accident.

The Mitsubishi struck two students who were walking across S.E. 25th in the middle of the block. The first student, portrayed by senior Kameron Clark, was killed in the mock accident, while classmate Corey Jackson was critically injured.

Four Topeka Metro buses were parked in front of the accident scene, obstructing the view of students as they filed into the portable, aluminum bleachers. When all the students had been seated, the buses pulled away, revealing the carnage on the street in front of them.

Students saw Clark lying on his back in front of the stationary car, while Jackson’s head and shoulders were underneath the rear portion of the vehicle.

A couple of students rushed to the sides of both Clark and Jackson and waited with them until first responders arrived.

Personnel from the Topeka Police Department, the Topeka Fire Department, American Medical Response and First Call transportation services all took part in the exercise.

Clark said the re-enactment, which included a fair amount of simulated blood on the victims and on the street pavement, provided a graphic example of what can happen when drivers — and pedestrians — aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.

“You can talk about things as adults, but kids need to see it,” Clark said. “Sometimes, you can scare people into doing the right thing.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Highway Patrol works fatal crash near Greensburg

Hutchinson News – April 30, 2014

Photo by Sandra Milburn. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Sandra Milburn. Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal collision in Kiowa County just west of Greensburg that occurred early Wednesday morning.

Authorities aren’t sure when the collision at the intersection of U.S. 54 and U.S. 183 occurred, a highway patrol dispatcher said, but someone called 911 at about 3:45 a.m.

Reports indicate two people from Oklahoma died in the collision, according to the Kiowa County sheriff. A man driving a Fed Ex truck was treated and released from the hospital.

All the boxes in the truck fell out of the truck and are scattered around the area.

At noon Wednesday, several troopers and law enforcement still were working the scene of the collision, though both U.S. 54 and U.S. 183 are open for traffic.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

1 dead, others hurt in Kansas accident involving Greyhound bus

KAKE – April 30, 2014

Photo by Gretchen Hafliger. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Gretchen Hafliger. Click on photo to view full-size image.

A passenger bus collided with a pickup truck in western Kansas, killing one person in the pickup and injuring several people on the bus.

The patrol says the accident happened early Wednesday as the Greyhound bus and pickup truck were headed east on Interstate 70 in Trego County.

Patrol spokesman Tod Hileman says investigators are working to determine what caused the accident. He says the victim was in the pickup, which was also hauling a trailer. The victim’s identity hasn’t been released.

Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson says the bus was headed from Denver to Kansas City, carrying 42 people, including the driver. Gipson says 16 people on the bus were transported to hospitals, and three remained hospitalized later Wednesday.

Greyhound sent another bus to pick up the passengers.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

For Sale: 1979 Ford C900-23038 Seagrave fire truck

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

1979 Ford C900-23038 Seagrave fire truck

  • 11,690 miles on odometer
  • 327 engine hours
  • 534 C.I.D. V8 gas engine
  • Five speed manual transmission
  • Heat
  • Five passenger capacity
  • Vinyl interior
  • Manual windows and locks
  • Spotlight
  • Work lights
  • Light bar
  • Sirens
  • Electric pump
    • Tested October 2013
    • Certification included
    • 342 hours on meter
    • Serial 57805
  • Mark 5 liquid level monitor
  • Waterous engine
    • P-1,000 gallon at 150 lbs at 2,562
    • P-700 gallon at 200 lbs at 2,849
    • S-500 gallon at 250 lbs at 2,410
    • Model CMYB
    • 1,000 gallon capacity
    • 600 psig discharge
  • (2) 50′ hoses
    • Reels
  • (2) 10’L x 6″ hard suction hoses
  • (2) extension ladders
    • 14′
    • 24′
  • 12R22.5 front tires
  • 11.00-2 rear tires
  • Manuals
  • Maintenance records available

More pics & info

 

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Reed appointed as fire chief permanently in Cherryvale

By Greg Lower
Independence Daily Reporter – April 8, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 30, 2014

The Cherryvale Interim Fire Chief, Jess Reed, received appointment to the position as chief at Monday evening’s city council meeting.

Mayor John Wright made the appointment after an executive session Monday evening, which received a vote of approval by the full council. Reed, who has been with the fire department since 2005, replaces Chad Russell who resigned in January to take a position in Andover.

Cherryvale did not have a deputy chief at the time Russell resigned, and Reed as lieutenant was the highest ranking firefighter and became interim chief.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grass fire reports roll in

By Sarah Kessinger
Marysville Advocate – April 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 30, 2014

Frankfort volunteer firefighters battled a dozen grass fires in southeast Marshall County in March, including back-to-back blazes this past weekend.

“We were out all day Sunday,” said Frankfort Fire Chief Paul Tommer. “I wish people would be very careful with their burning while it so dry.”

On Sunday, Frankfort’s department, which has 33 firefighters, called in Axtell and Centralia departments for backup as pasture fires got out of hand. After responding, both Axtell and Centralia had to return to their home areas to fight local grass fires.

Drought and high winds have combined this spring to create prime conditions for fast-moving blazes.

Many of the fires started as controlled, reported burns, but gusty winds fanned the flames out of control or re-stoked leftover embers a day or more later.

“It seems like it’s been harder this year than it has in the past,” Tommer said.

No structural damage has been reported from any of the blazes and no injuries, fire chiefs say.

“We don’t have as big a problem here as in the southern part of the county. They have those big pastures down there,” said Marysville Fire Chief Dave Richardson.

The public is asked to always call the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department to report a planned burn and then again to report when it is out.

The reports have been very helpful, Richardson said, in helping firefighters to find blazes that unexpectedly spread.

This year’s weather makes it even more important to know when fires are started.

“It’s unusually dry,” Richardson said. “We had one the other day with 50 mile-per-hour gusts, and when that wheat stubble was gone, the ground beneath it was so powdery.”

Dane Parker, Waterville Fire Chief, said his crew fought about seven fires on pasture and farmland in March.

“Normally they stop at the tree line, but this year, it keeps burning through the leaves and trees,” Parker said.

“People have it under control, it just gets away from them and takes off. The wind has been bad, and the smoke. You can’t see where the rest of the fire is. Smoke is so dense you have to drive around and look for the fire.”

This week’s rain forecasts may offer relief.

“Here in the next couple of days we’ve got some chances, hopefully,” Parker said. “The green grass is coming on so I guess the worst is probably over.”

Richardson said he’s appreciated the help from landowners, many of whom have burned pasture for years without problem but are facing an unusually dry and windy spring.

“These farmers have been a great help. When I get out there, I can figure out how to get to a field with their help. They know the entrances,” he said.

The Marysville Volunteer Fire Department responded to four fires this past week.

The fire department was called to a pasture fire at about 1 p.m. on March 26 at 14th and Osage roads. The fire burned off about 50 acres, according to Dennis Rockwell, Assistant Fire Chief. The brush pile fire got into 50 mph winds.

Shortly after the fire was extinguished, the fire department was called to a second pasture fire at Seventh Road and Matador Road that also burned off about 50 acres. Firemen put out the fire at about 5:45 p.m.

On Sunday, the fire department responded to a fire at 601 S. Sixth St. at about 1 p.m. when a pile of leaves was ignited by a cigarette. High winds picked up the leaves, spreading them under the deck. Latticework on the side of the deck was burned, Rockwell said, but no other damages were reported.

The department was called to Eighth Street and Jayhawk Road at about 8:45 a.m. Monday where a controlled burn from Saturday had rekindled as wind caused downed trees to catch fire.

Another fire on Monday was about seven miles south of Marysville along West River Road.

“We could use some good rain,” Richardson said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Responders take part in urban disaster training

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – April 30, 2014

Rescue personnel recover one of the "victims."

Rescue personnel recover one of the “victims.”

Rescue workers evaluate the scene of a tornado during training Saturday afternoon.

Rescue workers evaluate the scene of a tornado during training Saturday afternoon.

 

 

Emergency responders from throughout the county take part in an urban search and rescue training at the Butler County Landfill Saturday afternoon. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Emergency responders from throughout the county take part in an urban search and rescue training at the Butler County Landfill Saturday afternoon. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

On April 26, 1991, the Andover tornado hit the area, killing 17 people and injuring scores of others. On April 26 of this year, emergency responders gathered to hone their skills during what was the first county-wide urban search and rescue training.

“We all know if there is an event of a tornado, it is not just one county agency that can pull it off,” said Andy Hall of the Butler County Rescue Squad, which hosted the training.

He said they all have to work together.

In big incidents or disasters, multiple agencies will respond, so this training helped them learn how to work together and operate as a team with other agencies.

In the training, held at the Butler County Landfill, a fifth-wheel type RV was rolled over on its side during a tornado, trapping two victims. In addition, a pile rubble was pushed up against the bottom side of the RV, including tree limbs, appliances, lawn mowers and more.

The responders had to triage the area, then began the search and rescue.

Rescuers trained on special techniques and with tools designed to rescue persons trapped under this type of debris.

“Storm season is here and having the opportunity to work in real debris piles with simulated victims gives our rescuers a real sense of what it may be like when the real thing happens,” said Hall.

Among those agencies participating were Augusta Department of Public Safety; Andover, El Dorado and Leon Fire departments; Butler County Rescue Squad; EMS; and Public Works.

“Many of the responders currently involved in our EMS, Fire and Rescue organizations have not experienced a major disaster yet in their lifetimes. Having this type of training available locally is critical in teaching the skills that will be necessary when disaster strikes,” said Keri Korthals, acting emergency manager for Butler County.

For the training, landfill workers built the special rescue scenario out of debris to challenge the rescuers.

“We appreciate the county making this venue available to us,” said Hall. “Training is something you can never get enough of and the more realistic it is the better prepared we are to help our citizens when disaster strikes.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

House fire claims one life Tuesday afternoon

By Jessie Voiers
Emporia Gazette – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A house fire at 114 S. Market St. claimed one life Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was called in around 3:30 p.m.

The victim’s name has not been released at this time pending notification of next of kin. The Emporia Police Department is investigating the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Move-in plans scorched by fire

By Clinton Dick
Ottawa Herald – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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Kristina Allis drove up with her children and first load of belongings when she noticed the house she planned to move into Tuesday morning was smoking, Royce Swank, Centropolis Assistant Fire Chief, said.

In a matter of minutes, the house was engulfed in flames.

The two-story house at 4679 Eisenhower Road, about 8 miles north of Ottawa, was a total loss, Lt. Curtis Hall, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday.

The home caught fire about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, he said. Allis reported the fire, and the Centropolis Fire Department responded and had mutual aid from the Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison, Pomona and Wellsville Fire Departments, along with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Franklin County Emergency Medical Services.

The cause of the fire was electrical, Swank said Wednesday.

“It started on the southeast corner (of the house) where the electrical box was,” Swank said.

No one was in the house at the time of the fire and no one was injured fighting the blaze, Swank said.

A damage estimate on the structure was not immediately available.

Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, who was at the scene, said he though Allis had planned to rent the house. Allis could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Michael and Tammy Voigts were listed as the owners of the property, according to the Franklin County Appraiser’s Office website.

Allis was moving to the house from another area in Franklin County, Hall said Wednesday.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hay bale fire

Hillsboro Star Journal – April 23, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Several hay bales caught fire Monday evening near the dam at Marion Reservoir. Marion Fire Department extinguished the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Ellis fire crews battle garage fire Monday night

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – April 29, 2014

EFD Chief Denis Vine

EFD Chief Denis Vine

Crews from the Ellis City Fire Department worked to control a garage fire during blustery conditions Monday evening.

According to Chief Denis Vine, crews were called to a garage fire at 8:20 p.m. at 411 W. 11th.

Vine said when crews arrived the garage and an adjacent shed were “completely engulfed in flames.”

The fire was located in a wooded area next to Big Creek.

“The wind was blowing, and the trees were starting to catch fire,” Vine said. “The barn and shed were gone by the time we got there, so my main concern was trying to keep the fire from becoming basically a forest fire in Ellis.”

Vine said crews extinguished the flames “fairly quickly.”

He said he fire began when the elderly property owner noticed high wind gusts were causing the roof on the garage to “sway back and forth.” The property owner attempted to tie down the roof with a rope and used a torch to cut the rope. A fire was sparked and quickly fueled by high winds.

“It was an accident,” said Vine.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Local crews help in Reno County

Kingman Leader Courier – April 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Chris Arensdorf was just one of many Kingman firefighters that responded to a mutual aid call last Thursday morning. The Kingman Fire Department and eventually crews from several other Kingman County departments battled a grass fire that threatened several homes on the southern edge of Reno County.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Eastbound K-10 closed near Eudora after car fire

By Stephen Montemayor
Lawrence Journal World – April 29, 2014

Traffic is being delayed on eastbound Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora as firefighters and police respond to a vehicle fire.

The fire was reported just before 12:15 p.m. A Douglas County emergency dispatcher confirmed that Eudora City Fire and Eudora Police were responding. At 12:30 p.m., responders reported that the fire was out.

A Kansas Department of Transportation official confirmed that eastbound lanes were temporarily closed at 12:20 p.m. but did not have further information about when they would be re-opened or how traffic will be re-directed.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire rips through Mount Hope home

By Adam Strunk
Mount Hope Clarion – April 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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Bleary-eyed and with a face full of stubble, Ed Perriman stood amidst the ashes of the burnt out shell of his house.

A chainsaw droned behind him as his friend made short work of a charred hedge tree.

Hours ago, 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts fueled an inferno that licked the sky as it devoured the two story building he owned.

Now, in the morning light, Perriman could assess the damage.

A total loss. The house would have to be bulldozed. The property was uninsured. He would have to swallow the cost.

He opened his mouth and raised his voice over noise.

“It was an act of God how they kept it contained,” he said of the Mount Hope Fire Department. “I am so amazed about how these guys took over and did their job.”

He gave thanks that no one was injured and that nothing else burnt down.

Fire Chief John Smith woke to a call at 12:53 a.m. on Thursday morning: a structure fire in the 400th block of South Ohio Street.

“Your gut drops, especially since it’s a house fire,” Smith said. “It involves people you know. It’s a small town.”

Seven minutes after the call went out, emergency crews were on the scene. Eleven Mount Hope volunteer firefighters and two from Andale spent the early morning hours battling the flames. The house had sat vacant for years. There was no worry of rescuing anyone inside the building.

Smith said the firefighters worked to contain the flames inside the house instead, spraying down nearby buildings to prevent the fire from spreading.

“With the wind like it was, it could have been bad,” Mount Hope Fire Chief John Smith said. “I want to make sure we get a special thanks for every firefighter that responded. That was one hell of a response.”

Crews managed to get the fire under control and by the morning were just left to deal with hot spots.

Smith said he believed the fire to be caused by sparks from a power line the wind had damaged.

Max McMillian, who spent his Thursday morning with a chainsaw helping Perriman clean up, said he has been friends with Perriman since grade school.

It was no big favor a few days earlier when McMillian asked Perriman if he could sit part of his modular home on Perriman’s property for a few days until he could combine it with its other half once the wind let up.

Perriman said yes, and that’s where McMillian put it, only a few feet from the house that would catch fire in the following days.

When Perriman had called the McMillian household to warn him that his module could burn down, McMillian jumped into action.

He had a tractor ready at the scene shortly after. He planned to drag the module off the lot if he had to. He didn’t want to see it burn.

McMillian said that, because of the fire department’s work, he didn’t have to.

“They did outstanding job of containing it. We had a 100-year-old house and 40-mile-an-hour winds. That’s just almost impossible to do everything that they did. Kudos to them; they did a great job.”

Had Smith, McMillian and Perriman not stood in soot-smudged clothes framed by a blackened heap of a house, a passerby might have mistook them as part of a group of men commenting on the spring weather and how it’s sure been windy.

It would be hard to tell that one of them had just helplessly watched the destruction of a considerable piece of property while the other two had spent most of the night up with worry trying to save other buildings from the same fate.

They could have been talking about anything when Perriman quipped, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

The three were all smiles, united in their gratitude.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hays Fire Department training this week

Hays Daily News – April 29, 2014

Today, Tuesday and Wednesday, the city of Hays Fire Department will be conducting vehicle rescue training.

The training is a part of the regular training program of the HFD, intended to maintain the skills, knowledge and abilities needed for effective traffic crash rescue work.

The mornings will be classroom training reviewing modern vehicle construction and rescue challenges. Hands-on-training using the rescue tools and salvage vehicles will be in the afternoons.

With the cooperation of CA Auto Repair, the practical training is being conducted on their property at Seventh and Riley.

The public is welcome to stop and observe the training.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT – Cherryvale Fire-Rescue

Cherryvale Fire-Rescue is now accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/EMT. Paramedic certification is not required, but preferred. The duties of this position include, but are not limited to: response to fire, hazardous conditions, technical rescue and medical emergencies, participation in fire code enforcement and inspections, supervised drills and training in firefighting and EMS skills with the opportunity to instruct, maintenance of equipment and apparatus, routine care of building and grounds, and public safety education activities.

This full-time position requires a High School or GED diploma and minimum of Kansas EMT certification. Candidates must be at least eighteen (18) years of age and possess a valid Kansas Driver’s License. Candidates must have a clean driving record, with no drug or alcohol related violations, and no disqualifying criminal histories.

Successful candidates must be willing to meet residency requirements and complete a pre-employment medical examination, background check, and drug screen. Salary is competitive and will be based on certifications and experience. The City of Cherryvale offers an excellent benefits package including health, vision, and dental insurance, as well as KPERS retirement and options for FSA and 457 Comp Plan.

Applications will be accepted until 12:00 p.m. on Friday, May 9th, 2014. To apply, please visit www.cherryvaleusa.com and follow the link for Employment under the How Do I? feature across the top of the page.

If you have any questions about the position, or the application process, please contact Chief Jesse Reed Monday-Friday during business hours at (620) 336-2121 or any time via e-mail at jreed@cherryvaleusa.com.

 

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

County requires burn permits

By Barbara Axtell
Beloit Call – April 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

The Mitchell County Commissioners considered placing a burn ban in Mitchell County, however, Mitchell Cloud Ottawa District 1 Fire Chief Larry Heidrick pointed out that Mitchell County has a permit system 365 days a year prior to burning.

He said, “There is a permit system. We do not have a burn ban. With the current system, at least we know what is being burned and where it is located. I really like what we do and it works well.”

With the current system, burning can be shut off by not issuing a permit. When you have a burn ban people don’t know it comes on and they don’t know when it comes off, Heidrick said.

“If you come out with a policy and make it (a burn ban) public it will just complicate our system,” the fire chief said. “We take them on a case by case basis.”

Also when the weather is not favorable to burn, the fire chiefs call the dispatch and say “no burn permits today.”

People should be advised that burning is very dangerous right now and when burning trash, it is advisable to take a hose and soak it down when done burning.

After a shelter belt fire near Tipton Sunday, Commissioner Jim Marshall said, “It is crazy to burn right now. I would like to see no burning until it rains.”

Marshall said several people had called with a concern because they need to burn CRP acreage by April 15.

Farm Service Agency Director Jamie Powell said the people with CRP can put the burning off until next year. They can also do inner seeding or discing for a fire break.

Land owners get a letter about the schedule to burn the CRP acreage, however they should not burn when conditions are not safe. The burn can be extended.

Commissioner Tom Claussen pointed out that once fires get started they are hard to control.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grass fire

Ninnescah Valley News – April 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Pretty Prairie Fire Department helped battle a grass fire east of town last week.

Fire Chief Rick Graber visited with someone from the Reno County Fire Department while reloading the trucks with water.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A lone Pretty Prairie firefighter stands at the edge of the blaze on the southwest corner of Maple Grove and Sugar Creek.

Photos by KCNOnline.com

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Monday night fire destroys Schoenchen mobile home

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – April 29, 2014

A fire that destroyed a Schoenchen mobile home Monday evening most likely was caused by electrical issues, Ellis County Rural Fire Chief Dick Klaus told Hays Post early Tuesday morning.

Klaus said crews were called to the scene at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday. When crews arrived, they found the trailer engulfed in flames.

The trailer was located on Grant Street just behind the Bottleneck bar. No injuries reported.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

High winds, dry conditions keeping firefighters busy

By Tom Parker
Washington County News – April 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

During the spring burning season when farmers burn off vegetation, it’s not unusual to hear fire bells wailing from tornado sirens. This year, however, weather patterns seem intent on creating perfect conditions for extreme fire danger, and the result is a surge of activity for volunteer firefighters.

Warm, calm days–ideal for controlled prairie burns, the iconic rite of spring in rural Kansas–interspersed with days of high winds and dry conditions are keeping firefighters busy throughout the county. Burns that are conducted during windless days are whipped into life when winds pick up again, almost methodically the following day. A grass fire several miles south of Barnes on All American Road flared up three times between Saturday and Monday, and others around the county have done the same. Firefighters are having to extinguish the same fire two, three or more times.

“When the season first starts,” one firefighter said, “every time the whistle blows it’s, ‘Oh, boy!’ Now it’s ‘Oh, no.'”

The U.S. Drought Monitor currently lists the county as abnormally dry. Rain is expected this week, which might provide some relief to firefighters.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Gas leak evacuation

Atchison Globe – April 5, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Emergency crews respond to reports of a gas leak just before noon Thursday. Area residents, including students living in a nearby Benedictine College dormitory, were asked to evacuate the area until the situation was deemed safe. Photo by Adam Gardner.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Ban on outdoor burning likely if no rain falls this week

Seneca Courier Tribune – April 2, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

If additional moisture isn’t received in the next couple of days, Nemaha County’s burn advisory is likely to become a total ban on outdoor fires.

County Commissioners discussed the issue Monday with Emergency Preparedness Director Todd Swart.

Area fire departments were busy on Sunday as strong southerly winds kicked up embers from smoldering brush piles and started quick-moving fires in dry pastures and crop fields, Swart said.

Third District Commissioner Dennis Henry said he received a call from the Bern Fire Chief, whose department has been “run to death” dealing with recent fires. No structures have been damaged so far, he said. “We’ve been lucky so far. How long is it going to continue?”

Firefighters struggled to contain a blaze near Centralia Sunday that was spreading across debris from a harvested corn field, Swart said. “That stuff was jumping 100 yards,” in the high winds, he said. Additionally, several smaller fires appeared to have been set in the area. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

Rain is in the forecast for later this week, Swart noted. Farmers have an April 15 deadline to burn CRP pastures.

“If we don’t get any rain, let’s revisit this at the end of the week,” said Commission Chairman Tim Burdick.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

County departments respond to I-70 fire Monday afternoon

By Jyll Phillips
Lincoln Sentinel Republican – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Every fire department in Lincoln County responded to a massive grass fire Monday, April 21 that according to Westfall Fire Chief Jeff White, “could have been so much worse.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters followed a railroad track, extinguishing multiple fires along the way, an indicator the fire was sparked by a train.

Besides Lincoln County firefighters, units from as far north as Asherville, and as far southwest as Holyrood responded and joined forces to keep the flames at bay.

White said Lincoln County had four separate fires, beginning at 260th and Hawk. A combination of wind and dry conditions kept the fire moving.

About 150 acres of grassland burned in Lincoln County, White said, but the worst of the blazes was in Saline County, where he estimates close to 1,000 acres succumbed to the fire.

The Salina Journal reported multiple accidents were caused by reduced visibility due to the heavy smoke, one involving five vehicles. A five mile stretch of I-70 was temporarily closed to traffic from both directions west of Salina.

Lincoln County Fire Departments were on the scene for about six hours.

“We put out one fire, and just moved east to the next one,” White said. “Our biggest concern was to keep it from crossing the Interstate. If it had crossed, this could have been a lot worse.”

White said the fires in Lincoln County were fairly easy to control, but the further east they went into Saline County, the worse the fires were.

A report in the Salina Journal said the worst of it was about two miles west of the Brookville-Tescott exit off I-70.

“There were no structures damaged,” White said. “And to the best of my knowledge there was no livestock loss from the fire.”

White said ranchers in the area were helpful in keeping the damage in check.

“We had a lot of good help from ranchers,” he said. “They moved cattle to protect them and allow us to do our jobs.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Dust storm causes fatal crash

Great Bend Tribune – April 29, 2014

Blowing dust from fields caused conditions that resulted in a fatal accident on U.S. 56 shortly after 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.  The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Brandon H. Stein, 30, of Great Bend sustained injuries resulting in death after his 2007 Cadillac Escalade collided with the trailer of a semi driven by Michael D. Donovan, 54, of Larned.  Donovan was stopped in the eastbound lane of U.S. 56 mile marker 195.9, about seven miles west of Great Bend, straddling the fog line due to visibility being reduced by blowing dirt and other accidents.  Stein was not wearing a safety restraint.
Responders reported zero visibility in the area as they attempted to reach the scene of the accident.  The poor conditions prompted authorities to close U.S. 56 from Great Bend to Pawnee Rock around 4:30 p.m. on Monday.   
Another two-vehicle accident with unknown injuries was reported a short time later at SW 40 Road and SW 70 Ave.
Visibility was near zero and three ambulances were out in the county at 4:37 p.m. 
A Code Red (critical) patient was reported in an SUV.  It is unknown if this was Stein or another accident victim.  The poor visibility also hindered responders, as they tried to skirt around the worst of the storm and approach from the west by West Barton County Road (10th Street).  But responders advised zero visibility on Barton County Road.  About the same time, West Barton County Road was closed at 10th and Patton Road.  
A Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was involved in one of multiple vehicular accidents.
Visibility was also a factor for EMS transport once they arrived on the scene.  While one Code Green (not life threatening) patient was reported en route to Great Bend Regional at 4:58 p.m., others waited for roadways to be cleared and visibility to improve.  
At 5:08 p.m. scanner traffic reported two Code Green patients required transport to Great Bend Regional Hospital.   
At 5:29 p.m. two Code Red patients were being transported. It is not known if the Code Green patients’ conditions had been downgraded or if these were different patients.  The ambulance requested an officer keep the north shoulder clear so it could back out heading west.  
Pawnee Rock Fire Department responded, and once they were cleared from the scene, they began a check of gravel roads in the area.
Meanwhile, tin blew off a Great Bend Co-op roof on South Main Street in Great Bend, falling onto the railroad tracks and obstructing the roadway.  It was removed within minutes.  Temperature was 56 degrees Fahrenheit; wind speed was 41 mph with gusts to 54. 
At 5:36 p.m., another traumatic accident was reported on K-96, requiring transport.  EMS transport was able to respond quickly.  

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Tornado in northeast Bourbon County

By Jason E. Silvers and Nicole Garner
Fort Scott Tribune – April 29, 2014

Tammy Helm/Tribune photo. Friends and relatives gather at a dairy farm, located at 245th Street and Wagon Road, which took a hard hit from the tornado that struck near Hammond Sunday evening. Click on photos to view full-size image.

Tammy Helm/Tribune photo. Friends and relatives gather at a dairy farm, located at 245th Street and Wagon Road, which took a hard hit from the tornado that struck near Hammond Sunday evening. Click on photos to view full-size image.

Tammy Helm/Tribune photo. Bourbon County emergency personnel speak to a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee who was on a train when a tornado blew two empty grain bins over on top of the train's engines. No one was injured when a tornado struck near the U.S. 69 and Soldier Road in the Hammond area.

Tammy Helm/Tribune photo. Bourbon County emergency personnel speak to a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee who was on a train when a tornado blew two empty grain bins over on top of the train’s engines. No one was injured when a tornado struck near the U.S. 69 and Soldier Road in the Hammond area.

 

A tornado that blew through parts of northern Bourbon County Sunday evening left extensive damage in its wake but caused no reported injuries or deaths to people, officials said Monday.

The twister, which was a category EF0 or EF1, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), touched down north of Fort Scott near Hammond at U.S. Highway 69 and Soldier Road and traveled northeast.

Storm sirens blared through much of Bourbon County at about 5:30 p.m., when the twister began its path of destruction.

“Thankfully, no one was hurt or injured in any way that we know of,” Bourbon County Emergency Manager Will Wallis said. “There were no deaths other than livestock.”

Unofficial numbers county officials received showed two cattle were lost to the storm.

According to the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, which rates the strength of tornadoes based on damage they cause, an EF0 includes wind speeds estimated to be between 65 and 85 mph, while wind speeds in an EF1 twister can reach 86 to 110 mph.

Bourbon County Deputy Emergency Manager Shane Walker said the tornado touched down in a dirt field near Soldier Road and U.S. 69 and intensified the further it went north. County officials viewed and mapped tornado damage with an NWS official Monday morning.

“It was around the Hammond area,” Walker said. “We’re speculating an F0 or F1 was what the damage indicates. As it went north, it got a little bigger.”

Wallis said numbers that county officials had following an assessment of the storm as of Monday were “unofficial.”

“It was carrying a lot of debris in it that it scattered throughout fields and roads,” Wallis said. “It definitely left a debris field in its path. We tracked it all the way to Linn County and a little bit farther.”

Wallis said he was asked by Bourbon County Commissioner Barbara Albright to send some information about the tornado to U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s (R-Kan.) office.

After assessing the storm damage, incident commander Delwin Mumbower, coordinator for Bourbon County Fire District No. 3, said the biggest damage occurred in two spots; a dairy farm at 245th Street and Wagon Road and an area east of U.S. 69 just off Soldier Road where two grain bins near a fertilizer plant fell onto a stationary BNSF train.

“They took the brunt of it,” he said.

Mumbower said the tornado caused eight empty train cars to derail. The two grain bins, which were nearly empty, fell on top of the train. Two engineers in the train had been waiting on a northbound train and had no knowledge of the approaching twister.

There were no reported injuries and no hazards in the train cars “as far as chemicals,” Mumbower said.

Wallis said there was probably “close to 400 bushels” of grain in the bottom of each silo that toppled.

Although there were no reported injuries or deaths, the tornado “disrupted several families and their livelihoods,” Wallis said.

The dairy farm at 245th Street and Wagon Road “sustained quite a bit of damage,” Mumbower said.

“There was damage to the house, the barn was totally destroyed and about half a milk barn is gone,” he said. “It basically put him (the owner) out of business until he gets the power back on. I think he was trying to get a generator going … the cows have to be milked whether you can save the milk or not.”

Mumbower said he and other officials tracked the storm from the Hammond area up to 255th Street and Zinc Road at the Linn County line. Following the tornado, it took emergency officials about an hour to travel all roads in the affected path and do a complete assessment and determine if any injuries occurred. Agencies that responded to the storm to lend assistance included the Scott Township Fire Department, the Redfield Fire Department and the Fort Scott Fire Department, Mumbower said.

“A total of seven outbuildings and barns were totally destroyed, three houses had damage to them,” he said. “It was a good thing there were no injuries.

The tornado followed a “north by northeast” path along what was about a seven-mile track through Bourbon County, Mumbower said.

“I chased the storm just west of Fort Scott on Highway 54,” he said. “I tried to stay right behind it and watch it … it did produce a funnel three miles south of Devon.”

Mumbower said the National Weather Service “issued a tornado warning based on our observations.”

“Storm spotters were out (prior to the storm),” he said. “I had been on the phone with (Fort Scott Fire Chief) Paul Ballou and Shane Walker and we placed storm spotters around the county. I’m really glad we did because we were able to track the storm as it went across the county.”

During assessment of the storm, Wallis said officials talked with several people affected by the tornado, most of whom said they had insurance to deal with the damages.

Mumbower said there were still residents in the affected areas without power as of Monday.

Wallis said it was difficult to confirm how many residents had power restored to their homes but he and other officials who were out assessing damage saw utility trucks working in the areas.

“There were a lot of power lines down and poles broken off,” Mumbower said. “Electric company officials are already working on them (as of Monday).”

As far as clean-up, Wallis said the train derailment and toppled silos were cleaned off quickly to get the train moving again early Monday morning. He said the silos were to be disposed of. The rest of the clean-up process may take awhile, he said.

“I saw a lot of people doing clean-up, from individuals to farmers and ranchers, to individual homes,” he said. “I saw power being restored to a couple of particular places. There were downed limbs, fences … the clean-up will take awhile. If they have insurance, certain insurance companies want to see the damage before it’s cleaned up, so that could delay some people.”

Wallis said he was at home planning to finish some work in his wood shop near his house around the time the tornado struck.

“My wife was in the house monitoring,” he said. “The next thing, she goes outside, she was in the southwest part of our property, about 50 to 60 yards from the house and saw this big cloud coming up.”

His wife, Judy, then talked to him and they decided to go back inside and turn on weather reports to check the status of the storm.

“We got inside and I was grabbing a soda out of the icebox and Shane (Walker) calls me and says ‘It’s getting ugly.’ At that time, on short notice, we saw Delwin Mumbower go flying by to the east. My wife was looking; it passed over us. We were standing in the road looking off to the east and we could see the debris coming up, literally coming up. My wife said that was the first time she’s ever seen that happen and she’s lived here a long time. After that, we thought ‘Put your boots on, we’re gonna find out what’s going on.”

Wallis said while tracking the sky during the storm, they saw additional “fingers (of clouds) coming down from a hilltop to the north and east.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters respond to two-house fire

By Loretta George
Fort Scott Tribune – April 29, 2014

Scott Nuzum/Tribune photo A Fort Scott firefighter sprays water on a house at 111 S. Margrave St. early Saturday morning. A second house next door also caught fire. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Scott Nuzum/Tribune photo A Fort Scott firefighter sprays water on a house at 111 S. Margrave St. early Saturday morning. A second house next door also caught fire. Click on photo to view full-size image.

A fire early Saturday morning involving three residences was still under investigation Monday.

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said the Fort Scott Police Department was the reporting party for a fire at 109 S. Margrave at 1:51 a.m. Saturday.

“They found it while on patrol. They were able to get two residents out,” Ballou said. The two residents were at 111 S. Margrave, just to the south of 109 S. Margrave.

There were no injuries, he said.

Eleven Fort Scott Fire Department personnel responded to 109 S. Margrave to a house with a small apartment in back.

“111 S. Margrave, next door to the south, was an exposure fire,” Ballou said.

Ballou said there was heavy fire coming from the unoccupied residences.

The FSFD responded with three engines, a rescue vehicle and a staff vehicle.

“The captain, the incident commander, requested mutual aide from Scott Township (Fire Department). They responded with two pumpers, two engines…and eight personnel,” Ballou said.

The fire departments stayed on the scene until the investigators, both local and state, completed their work.

“At 5:40 a.m. we cleared with the trucks, the fire engines,” he said.

The two residences at 109 S. Margrave were total losses, Chief Ballou said.

“The house at 111 was just starting to burn. It had fire in the attic,” he said, adding he did not know at this time whether it was a total loss or not.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire district honors retirees

Rush County News – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

A retirement reception was held by Fire District #4 from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at the fire station in La Crosse. The reception honored volunteer firemen who have recently retired.

Mike Pivonka has retired from the department after 46 years of service. Other retirees include Jason Pivonka and Steve Sanders.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Soup dinner

Smith County Pioneer – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Lebanon Fire Department held their annual Soup/Sandwich supper on April 19th from 5-7 p.m. Pictured is Lee Oliver auctioning with brother Rex Oliver holding up a hand painted window by Linda Murray. The high bid went to Roger Fricker of Lebanon. Many people showed up to support the Fire Department.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Bale fire turns into marathon

Rush County News – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A fire caused by the hot exhaust on a lawn mower and spurred on by wind gusts of approximately 40 miles per hour destroyed more than a thousand round hay bales at the John Lohrey farm east of Bison on Friday, April 18. The Bison Fire Department was called to the scene of the fire at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday, and firefighters were still keeping an eye on the fire more than 24 hours later.

Several fire departments responded to the fire, including Otis and La Crosse, and water was hauled to the site by several fire departments, individuals and Mid State Coop.

Bison Fire Chief Robert Barlow said 1,300 bales were destroyed, but the fire was kept from spreading to a nearby shelterbelt of evergreens, cattle pens and silage stored nearby. An excavator was brought in to break up the bales so they would burn faster Barlow said it is very hard to extinguish a burning hay bale.

Fire department personnel took turns watching the fire through the night and into the next day, staying on the scene for more than 24 hours. Flames were still visible in the charred mass Saturday afternoon.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Blowing dust causes hazardous conditions in southwest Kansas

By Kelton Brooks
Garden City Telegram – April 29, 2014

Swirling, high speed wind gusts have caused low visibility in some areas of western Kansas, resulting in accidents and a high wind warning by the National Weather Service.

According to Mike Umscheid, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Dodge City, reports of 60 mph winds were recorded in Garden City on Monday, with wind speeds averaging 55 to 60 mph throughout the day. On Sunday, 50 to 55 mph winds were recorded, as well as widespread patches of low visibility stretching up to a mile long in southwest Kansas, including Garden City, Dodge City and Hays.

Umscheid said the strong winds were expected to drop down between 30 and 40 mph overnight, but will pick back up to between 50 and 55 mph throughout today, causing more areas of low visibility stretching from two to four miles throughout southwest Kansas. Areas east of Garden City are predicted to have smaller areas of low visibility, somewhere around half a mile. The high wind warning began at 8 p.m. Monday and was expected to run through 7 p.m. Tuesday in Trego, Ellis, Scott, Lane, Ness, Rush, Finney, Hodgeman, Pawnee, Stafford, Gray, Ford, Edwards, Kiowa, and Pratt counties. Strong wind gusts can make driving difficult because of accumulating dust in the air, Umscheid pointed out.

The Kansas Highway Patrol worked a two-vehicle accident in Haskell County Sunday that was attributed to poor visibility caused by blowing dust. Nine miles southwest of Liberal, there was a 12-vehicle pile-up, also attributed to blowing dust, which limited visibility to less than five feet.

In these conditions, trooper Michael Racey of the KHP advised avoiding the dust if at all possible.

“Once you get in it, you can’t see,” Racey said. “Slow down, or stay out of it.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Air is recommending the public take precautions due to the elevated levels of dust, which can aggravate asthma or cause respiratory problems such as decreased lung activity or heart-related problems for children, elderly or others with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

Gilbert Valerio, assistant coordinator of Finney County Emergency Management, urges the public to reduce speed if traveling through a cloud of dust, and also advises not starting any outsides fires.

“Because of the lack of moisture, when winds are pretty high like this, any type of spark would spread quickly and get out of control real easy,” Valerio said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

White City council meeting

Prairie Post – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Unofficial Minutes submitted by Susan McKenzie, city clerk.

White City Fire Chief Tracy Schmidt gave the Fire Report:

  • Five members of the fire department attended training at SCAFFA training in Topeka. He ordered some new facemasks with filters for the department.
  • Tracy would like to begin looking for another fire truck. He said that he could borrow the money from the Firemen’s Relief Fund for the truck and use the Fire Equipment Reserve fund for the tank and accessories. He would like to get a 1,000 gallon tank.
  • Garry Berges, who is the Rural Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director for Geary County complimented his department on how well they handled a fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fires keep Rice County departments busy

Sterling Bulletin – April 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Rice County Fire Departments have been busy the past two days with out-of-control controlled burns.

Alden, Sterling and Lyons departments were first called to a structure fire on Ave. V near 11th Road Tuesday afternoon.

The abandoned house had somehow ignited following a controlled burn in the area the previous night.

The Sterling department was called directly from that fire to a controlled burn east of Sterling on Ave. V at 27th Road.

Other departments called in to assist included Lyons, Little River, Geneseo, Reno County District 3 and Hutchinson. Also assisting to help with pop-up fires and to give local firefighters a break were crews from Halstead, Hesston, Newton, Moundridge, Hutchinson, Burrton, Inman and Windom.

Crews were on scene from 2:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Fire departments in western Rice County including Raymond, Chase, Alden and Bushton were also called to fight a controlled burn out of control near Raymond on 4th Road. They were assisted by Barton County Fire Departments as well.

The problems continued on a very windy Wednesday with firefighters again called out to battle flare-ups from 9 a.m. until 3:15 p.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

KSFFA Regional Fire School at Ashland

KSFFA Regional Fire School
hosted by Ashland Fire Department
May 3-4, 2014
Ashland High School – 311 Clipper St.

Saturday Morning – 8 a.m.

  1. GPS for Emergencies & USAR Markings – 4 hours – This class will discuss the technical working of the Global Positioning Satellite System currently in place and how this technology is useful for modern firefighting operations. You will also learn how a unit works and take sample readings in a practical portion of the class. After several disasters it was determined that there is a lack of education on how to mark areas during a search. The United States Search and Rescue teams have responded to large incidents for years and have developed a standard marking system that is quick and simple to use. learn how to “read & write” the USAR markings and take handouts home to place in your units.
  2. NFIRS and Code Reporting – 4 hours – Kansas State Fire Marshal Office staff will review the proper means to code and submit NFIRS reports in the state of Kansas and the necessity behind this reporting. Benefits of accurate reporting will be discussed as well as financial implications to departments and the state.
  3. Thermal Imaging Class – 4 hours – PPE required
  4. Vehicle Extrication – 8 hours – EMS hours offered – PPE required – This course uses the “Carbusters” series and a hands-on segment so students can get the feel of the tools.

Saturday Afternoon – 1 p.m.

  1. Vehicle Extrication – cont.
  2. Oil Tank Battery Fires – 4 hours – This course offers problems and solutions to incidents involving oil tank batteries, pump jacks, types of valves, and suppression techniques with limited resources.
  3. Propane Safety – 4 hours – This class is designed to teach responders about the hazards of responding to propane emergencies, the appropriate response to such incidents, and enables the first responder to recognize basic facts about propane. Course is taught using Propane Safety Materials provided by the National propane Gas Association.
  4. GPS for Emergencies and USAR Markings – 4 hour – see description above.

Saturday Evening – 5 p.m.

  1. Propane Props live fire training – Full ppe and scba required

Sunday Morning – 8 a.m.

  1. Chief Officers Class – 4 hours – This class is for both old and new chief officers of the fire department or for those who aspire to be chief officers. The class will examine some basic material about how fire departments are organized, what resources are available, what standards apply and what they mean, and some basic legal concepts that will help you get along in the fire service as a chief officer.
  2. Thermal Imaging Class – 4 hours – PPE required
  3. Fire Cause & Determination – 4 hours – Upon completion of this course, the firefighter will understand his/her responsibility in fire cause determination. The firefighter will also learn the methods he/she can utilize to preserve the findings of the fire cause.

Fit test will be done free and is required to do live burns. FFI and FF2 testing must register through KU Fire Training prior to the school.

For more information contact Chief Dave Redger at 620-635-5259 or Troy Wolf, KSFFA Southwest Trustee at 620-492-1861.

All classes are FREE.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Marshal’s arson canine up for National Hero Dog Award

Today in Kansas – April 28, 2014

tana

Tana in action sniffing out an arson scene

Tana in action sniffing out an arson scene

The Office of the State Fire Marshal arson dog is in the running for a national award.

Tana, a 4 ½ year old Labrador with the State Fire Marshal, is among 135 dogs from across the country nominated for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, which recognizes notable canines such as law enforcement dogs, therapy dogs and pets that do extraordinary things. Tana is nominated in the arson dog category.

Initially raised by in military family in California as an assistance dog, Tana began a different service career in September 2010 as an accelerant detection canine. She now works cases throughout Kansas with handler Rose Rozmiarek, Chief of Investigations.

“Her keen sense of smell can narrow down where accelerants may be at the scene in a matter of minutes that could otherwise take days for investigators to sift through with heavy equipment,” said Rozmiarek. “She has been instrumental in finding evidence resulting in multiple convictions.”

Tana’s most notable case is the recent conviction of a 26-year-old man for aggravated arson, murder and child endangerment. While holding his child in his arms, the man set his house on fire, resulting in the death of his wife and severe burns to his child. The child endured months of treatment for 2nd and 3rd degree burns, far away from his family and without his mother. Tana found evidence that led to the aggravated arson and homicide convictions.

Besides investigating fires, Tana conducts demonstrations and promotes fire safety. She works with children during Fire Prevention Week and is a regular at Kansas State Fair Emergency Preparedness Day events. At home, Tana enjoys playing fetch and spending time with her other animal family members.

Daily online voting by the public will continue through June 6 and will narrow down nominees to 24 semi-finalists. Eight finalists will be selected by judges and the public. Finalists receive $1,500 for charity, and the dog of the year receives an additional $5,000 for a charitable organization.

View Tana’s profile and vote for her at http://www.herodogawards.org/vote/?nominee=89591366

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Training to save lives

By Ginger G. Golden
Derby Informer – April 23, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

Firefighter Buddy Reed calms a panicked Payne in order to efficiently remove him from the building. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Firefighter Buddy Reed calms a panicked Payne in order to efficiently remove him from the building. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Derby firefighter Kelly Payne portrays a victim with a child calling for help from a second story window as he threatens to drop the baby that is in his hands.

Derby firefighter Kelly Payne portrays a victim with a child calling for help from a second story window as he threatens to drop the baby that is in his hands.

Four Derby firefighters received ladder training Friday at the Derby Historical Museum.

The Derby Fire Department makes an effort to have training each shift, said Firefighter Two Kelly Payne, who led the exercise with Lt. Chuck Stansfield.

“It might not always be ladder stuff,” said Payne. “It might be pulling hose or search and resuce, whatever aspect we decide for the day. We try to keep the training realistic, stuff that has the potential to happen in an actual fire.”

In one scenario, Payne played the role of a person holding an infant out a second floor window screaming for help. Firefighters Buddy Reed, Skyeler Reynolds, Justin Wallace and Travis Zimmerman worked together to take a ladder from the truck and reach the window to get the victims out of the building. Firefighters are also trained to calm victims during a rescue operation.

“There is education that firefighters get prior to getting on the job, but the majority of their training is once they’re on the job,” he said.

In recent weeks, Derby firefighters held vehicle extrication training using a vehicle donated to the department and several firefighters attended live fire training in Arkansas City.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Osage County extends burn restrictions another 30 days

By Wayne White
Osage County News – April 28, 2014

A range fire in northern Lyon County along the Osage County line on March 20 sets the sky aglow with flames and smoke. Photo by Matthew Fowler, Emporia Gazette.

A range fire in northern Lyon County along the Osage County line on March 20 sets the sky aglow with flames and smoke. Photo by Matthew Fowler, Emporia Gazette.

The Osage County commissioners extended a month-long countywide burn ban Monday for another 30 days.

Bryce Romine, Osage County emergency management coordinator, asked the commissioners to extend the burn restrictions, noting a March 31 resolution expired April 28 if not acted upon by the commissioners.

The original resolution was issued due to recent dry weather and high winds that had fanned numerous fires, and resulted in numerous fire suppression runs by area volunteer fire departments.

Romine said that since the restrictions were put in place, citizens had been following the temporary rules by calling in fires when spotted, and landowners and pasture owners have been contacting the sheriff’s office before they start a fire.

“People have really been cooperating,” Romine told the commissioners. “We’re getting a lot of call-ins now.”

Although the resolution provides that violation is a misdemeanor, Romine said no citations had been issued during the last 30 days.

He said citizens’ cooperation was helpful, but he and most of the local fire chiefs were in favor of extending the ban for another 30 days.

Romine said the spring rangeland burning season is nearing its end, but “we haven’t had an awful lot of rain yet.”

The county commissioners agreed the dry conditions remain, but Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall said some confusion had been caused by referring to the resolution as a burn ban.

“It’s not a burn ban,” Kuykendall said. “It’s burn regulations.”

Romine agreed that some people mistakenly believed the burn ban prohibited all outdoor burning, but the resolution applies the restrictions only when rangeland fire danger is very high or extreme or a red flag warning is issued by the National Weather Service. He said the misunderstanding resulted in some callers reporting fires that were legally set, but also encouraged more landowners to call before they set pastures ablaze.

The original resolution does not refer to a ban, but says the following activities are prohibited outdoors when fire danger is very high or extreme or a red flag warning is in effect:

  • 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.

Romine said the purpose of the burn resolution was not to harass people, but to help them understand the danger of wildfire.

“Trying to educate the public is the important part of this,” he said. “We want them to think ahead to tomorrow, and think about the possibility of rekindling.”

When the burn restrictions were implemented March 31, Romine reported county fire departments had received 195 fire calls in the previous 30 days and 156 of those calls were reporting grass fires. Many of the fire calls were the result of planned burns that were rekindled by high winds, he reported.

“We did come real close to losing a large number of structures,” Romine said Monday.

While the resolution remains in effect county officials ask that anyone planning to burn to check the rangeland fire danger and contact Osage County Sheriff’s Office before burning, and report their name and location of burn.

The commissioners also approved a promulgation Monday at the request of Romine, endorsing an updated Osage County Emergency Operations Plan. The plan outlines policies and procedures of officials, personnel, government departments, and private and volunteer agencies during an emergency or disaster.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hutch toddler’s burn shows need for fire safety

By Kayla Regan
Hutchinson News – April 28, 2014

They hadn’t used their fire pit for days, but it was still hot enough to hurt their 2-year-old son.

According to police reports, a 2-year-old received burns to his feet and ankles after standing in his parents’ backyard fire pit. The report states the boy was playing outside Saturday evening while his parents did yard work.

When they heard their son, who was wearing canvas tennis-shoes, yelling, the parents saw him standing in the ashes of their firepit, which is marked by rocks in the ground. The boy was first assessed at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, but then later taken to Via Christi Medical Center’s burn unit in Wichita.

Parents told officers that their fire pit hadn’t been used in days, something Battalion Fire Chief Doug Hanen completely believed. Although the fire department did not work this particular case, he said ashes can carry high amounts of heat for days and strong winds make them more dangerous.

“Ashes are not our friend when it comes to fire. It seems like they’re out, but it’s really still in there and it takes just a little bit of wind to give ashes more oxygen it needs to start back up again,” he said.

What makes matters worse with outdoor fires is that the ashes will form a hard crust around the embers, trapping the heat and making the potential for flames to start again high.

“If they’re using a fire pit, the best thing you can do is soak it down real good to make sure you get it out,” he said. “It goes back to Smokey the Bear.”

The boy has since been released from the hospital and is doing well.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hoisington hires new EMS director

By Karen LaPierre
Great Bend Tribune – April 28, 2014

hoisington fire 4282014

The City of Hoisington has hired a new Emergency Medical Services Director, Scott Fleming, who will begin his work on May 5 in Hoisington.
Fleming just recently received an award, Outstanding Service Director, from the Kansas Emergency Medical Technicians Association. This award is presented to a person who the awards committee feels has created or continued the most outstanding emergency medical service in Kansas.
The new director replaces Craig Sowards.
“We are looking forward to having him join our team,” said Jonathan Mitchell, Hoisington City Manager.
Fleming will leave his job as director of the county-wide EMS service in Comanche County, which is the part of the state where he grew up.
Fleming emphasizes patient respect as a cornerstone of his work. As an EMT instructor, he tells his students, “Try to treat everyone like your mother, and you’ll make a good EMT.
“What I enjoy most is helping people and making a difference in people’s lives,” said Fleming.
He also emphasizes team work as an important segment of an EMS service. “If you don’t have good EMTs with you, a paramedic is useless,” he said. “It takes team work,” to provide a foundation for good care.
His goal is to provide Hoisington and the surrounding area with the best EMS service possible and patient advocacy is high on his priority  list, wanting to do what is best for the patient.
During his career, he has worked as a helicopter paramedic, as well as serving as a paramedic in Allen County, Potawatomi Tribal Emergency Services, and Ford County. He also worked in the U.S. Air Force as a security police officer.
Fleming has a long family history in service to the community. His father and grandfather were both involved in volunteer fire fighting.
He started in high school as a junior fire fighter in Comanche County. Junior fire fighters assisted full-time fire fighters.
He took a class in EMT in the 1980s and progressed with his training throughout the years.
His certifications are NREMT-P, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska certified paramedic, CCEMT-P, KU certified firefighter II, ACLS, ACLS E/P, PALS, AMLS, PHTLS, PPC and PEPPS; and instructor certifications: Kansas BEMS Instructor/Coordinator, BLS, ACLS, PALS, AMLS, PHTLS.
The new director’s first job after the military combined fire fighting and EMS Services and Scott became more interested in the medical portion.
Scott is married to his wife Jamie whom he recently wed. They went to school together during their growing up years.
He moved back to Comanche County in 2011, and they became reacquainted. They have been married about one year.
Fleming has four children; two stepsons; and six grandchildren.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Record number of calls cost Anderson County more, injure Colony firefighter

By Vickie Moss
Anderson County Review – April 22, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

The county’s top fire chief is scratching his head trying to determine the cause of a spring fire season that cost the county 55 percent more than usual, and resulted in serious injuries to a Colony volunteer firefighter.

JD Mersman, Anderson County Emergency management director, keeps getting asked the same question again and again: “Why have there been so many grass fires this year?”

It’s a question he doesn’t really know how to answer. Sure, it’s been windy and dry. But there have been many years when conditions were similar, and the call volume wasn’t quite so high. A burn ban was in effect for many of the worst days when the National Weather Service forecasted high winds and low humidity.

“I’ve sat down and really tried to figure it out, but I don’t know,” Mersman said. “I just can’t put my finger on it.”

Statistically, this spring has brought a record number of fire calls in at least the past 15 years, Mersman said. Between Jan. 1 and March 31, fire units in the county responded to 298 calls. Of those calls, 85 percent have been for grass fires. In a typical year, those same units will respond to a total of about 400 calls.

The cost of their response for that time period was $55,000, including fuel, equipment repairs and miscellaneous equipment. For each fire call, the responding department receives $50; individual firefighters are volunteers and are not paid for their efforts. Fire departments typically use the money to pay for things like department shirts or equipment.

The exception is the Garnett Rural and City Fire Departments. Firefighters in those departments operate under a different contract with the City of Garnett and receive $15 per call, paid to the responding firefighter at the end of each quarter.

The financial impact of the increased calls means the county has spent about 55 percent more on firefighting this year than it spent at the same point last year. Mersman said although the call volume is high, the department plans for such an event when planning its budget, and may need to push back some long-term projects and equipment upgrades. But the high call volume has taken its toll on equipment and various types of firefighting apparatus.

“The condition and terrain our brush trucks are placed into is less than ideal. Breakdowns and repairs happen, and our commissioners understand that,” Mersman said, adding that he appreciates the efforts made by the county’s maintenance crews in the road department.

The busy spring also has taken a toll on firefighters, although Mersman said the county has been fortunate to have only a couple of incidents that resulted in injury to firefighters. Early in the season, one firefighter sustained burns to his arms. Another, Sarah McDaniel, was driving to a fire scene near Colony March 17 when she left the roadway and struck a tree. She sustained broken bones and is recovering from her injuries.

“She does have a long road ahead of her,” Mersman said.

Such incidents are covered by the county’s insurance; although firefighters are volunteers, once they respond to a call they fall under the umbrella of the county’s coverage, Mersman said.

Every fire department in the county has been called to at least a dozen calls. Garnett and Colony, which cover the largest area and populations, have responded to the most calls. Mersman said calls break down with 77 for Garnett; 71 for Colony; 32 for Welda; 29, Greeley; 27, Westphalia; 26, Harris; 24, Kincaid; and 12 for Bush City.

“There have been several days when units responded from one call to the next to the next. It has been so busy,” Mersman said. “Our firefighters work jobs and have families outside the fire department. Responding to the amount of calls these firefighters have requires them to take time away from their jobs and lose out on time with their families. Our firefighters are truly dedicated. I can’t say thank you enough to them.”

In addition to the firefighters, Mersman also gave credit to dispatchers at the Anderson County Communications Center who help direct firefighters to the scene, and to the Fire Department Auxiliary and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) who bring food and water to help firefighters during the calls.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Line of defense

By Linda Mowery-Denning
Marquette Tribune – April 23, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

mcpherson co fire 4282014

In more than 10 years as a storm spotter, Marquette Fire Chief Kerry Linder had never seen a tornado. Then came the early evening of April 14, 2012.

It was still daylight when Linder and other volunteer spotters saw the large wedge-shaped twister several miles west of Langley, a small community in the southeast corner of Ellsworth County. They immediately notified the McPherson County dispatcher, who sounded the tornado siren in nearby Marquette.

Fortunately for residents there, the tornado went north instead of east, saving the town from damage. Others weren’t so lucky.

The tornado plowed through several farmsteads in Ellsworth and Rice counties, took down power poles and stripped trees of their tops.

Linder said a highway sign near the intersection of Kansas Highways 4 and 141 eventually was found on the Salina Municipal Golf Course, about 30 miles away. The tornado passed over Salina, sparing the city.

Several hours later, a weaker tornado skipped through Ellsworth County, badly damaging a rural home near Kanopolis.

No injuries were reported with either storm.

Officials with the National Weather Service said a dozen tornadoes were reported across Kansas that day more than two years ago. A typical April brings about 12 to tornadoes to the state.

When dangerous weather threatens, it’s volunteers such as Linder and other firefighters who serve on the front lines of defense.

Tim Hays, who lives with his family near Black Wolf, was already a veteran storm spotter when he joined the Ellsworth Volunteer Fire Department a decade ago.

Earlier, as a member of a rural fire department in Saline County, firefighters watched for bad storms and also were responsible for driving up and down country roads to warn residents of the potential danger. At the time, Hays had a loud speaker in his truck.

Tornado sirens tend to target city residents–and even then there are limitations.

“People complain they can’t hear the tornado siren inside their homes,” Marquette’s Linder said. “Really, they’re made more for the outside. If you’re in your home, you should be listening to the radio.”

Hays, who is building a new room in his basement for use as a storm shelter, said everyone needs to pay attention. It doesn’t matter whether you live in town or in the country. With more sophisticated radar and better notification, it’s easier to be aware of potential danger.

The April 14, 2012, tornadoes, for instance, were predicted a few days before by weather service forecasters, giving residents of central Kansas fair warning something could happen.

“We have to be thinking about what we’re going to do with ourselves,” Hays said.

He said storm spotters travel in pairs, seeking high ground and a possible escape route in case a tornado comes too close. No Ellsworth or Marquette firefighter has ever been injured on storm duty.

“There are a lot of high places where you can sit and watch and see from a distance,” Hays said. One of those places is on the Lorraine Road.

Luke Seitz, another member of the Ellsworth Fire Department, has been a storm spotter for 19 years. He has seen many funnel clouds, but never a tornado.

The difference?

A funnel cloud doesn’t become a tornado until it touches the ground, Seitz said.

Caution is always part of the job.

“You don’t want to cry wolf too many times,” Seitz said.

Nighttime tornadoes are especially scary. The only way to see a twister is often through a bolt of lightning.

“The storm could be on you and you don’t know it,” Seitz said. “You need to know the way the storm is coming in order to position yourself.”

Once a storm passes, the next step for spotters is to inspect the landscape for damage.

Like all storm spotters, Seitz encourages residents to be prepared. He suggests keeping a storm kit in the basement with extra water, clothing, shoes and a whistle in case of entrapment.

“You can only yell for so long, but you can blow on a whistle all day until somebody hears it,” he said.

Not all firefighters head to the fire station or high ground when bad weather approaches. However, those who do say there is satisfaction in knowing they have helped protect their families and neighbors.

Linder said Marquette volunteers are paid $15 every time they storm spot, just as they are on fire runs.

“I’d do it for nothing anyway,” he said. “You never really think of yourself too much because you’re helping the community.”

For others, the reasons strike closer to home. Hays knows all about the destruction a tornado can cause because his great-grandmother lost her home during the Hoisington tornado of 2001. A neighbor, who was asleep at the time, lost all the walls of her house except the ones in her bedroom.

Seitz said tracking tornadoes can be both scary and interesting. He was hooked the first time he put on his bunker gear and headed out to storm spot.

“Weather intrigues me–and you do it for the safety of the community,” he said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

 

Darlene E. Nestler

Obituary

 

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Mapping Application Now Available

Published Date: 04.28.2014

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research has released a new web site entitled Fire Fighter Fatality Map. Developed to increase awareness of firefighter deaths and to provide quick access to up-to-date firefighter fatality information, the site combines firefighter fatality case information from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) with information about NIOSH firefighter fatality investigations.

Interactive maps show all USFA data and those with “pending” or “completed” NIOSH investigation reports. Links to NIOSH reports for fatalities that have been investigated through the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) are included. The site is expected to be updated at least monthly with new or revised firefighter fatality information.

Click here to access the site directly or find the link on the FFFIPP homepage.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Nemaha County Rural Fire District No. 2 will receive $299,999

Sabetha Herald – April 23, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

On April 15, the Kansas Department of Commerce announced that three communities have received grants through the Kansas Small Towns Environment Program (KAN STEP).

Nemaha County Rural Fire District No. 2 will receive $299,999 to construct a new fire station building to house its firefighting equipment and offer training space to better serve the 25 volunteer firefighters.

KAN STEP is an ongoing, competitive self-help program for communities to address water, sewer and public building needs through greater initiative and with fewer dollars.

Communities must demonstrate readiness, capacity and documented cost savings to receive KAN STEP funding.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire danger warnings prove to be correct

Attica Independent – April 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

Luckily–or possibly by good fire safety practices in the Attica area last week–the Attica Fire Department responded to just one out-of-control grass fire, near the Harper-Barber county line.

Attica did send units to assist Anthony on a fire southwest of Anthony Friday.

When an area which has included a big part of Kansas is put in a red flag fire danger warning, no burning is allowed.

Burning is unlawful in winds above 15 miles per hour or if weather forecasts show that velocity of wind upcoming before a burn could be complete.

With low humidity and winds exceeding 15 miles per hour, an area is put in a red flag fire warning due to all the brown grass being highly inflammable.

Field fires in the area have been hard on area firemen and fire equipment. A controlled burn got out of control shortly after noon about four miles south and two miles west of Anthony which Anthony fire units aided by a trio of trucks from Manchester, Oklahoma and one from Harper fought until about 5 p.m. Anthony and Manchester have been back to the area which contains a lot of grass five times including past midnight Monday.

Grass fires get in trees and even though they are soaked and appear out, the wind comes up and blows a spark and the grass fires start all over.

Field fires in the Norwich area kept the Norwich Fire Department busy for hours over the weekend.

Early last week, Kingman, Pretty Prairie, Cunningham, Zenda, Cheney and Sedgwick County fire units spent about 11 hours putting out field fires northeast of Kingman.

Kingman and Spivey Fire Departments were out much of the afternoon until after 10 p.m. Saturday at a field fire in the oil patch southwest of Kingman.

In some areas of the state, all the available brush fire trucks were in use with no more available as winds pushed fires over hundreds of acres.

At present–other than on red flag warning days–there is no fire ban in Harper County. However, if the controlled burns getting out of control exceed the availability of fire equipment or become overwhelming, a burn ban can be put in place quickly.

One can be fined by burning in winds above 15 miles per hour or not calling 911 and advising them of their burn.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hillsboro buys new fire truck

By Don Ratzlaff
Hillsboro Free Press – April 2, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

It took some last minute hustle and a couple of special meetings, but the city of Hillsboro has purchased a used pumper fire truck at a cost of $198,100.

The decision to move ahead with the purchase was made at a special meeting of the Hillsboro City Council last Wednesday.

The proposal was presented the previous day, during a meeting designated as “special” because it had been postponed one week from the designated day.

In a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation to the council at the Tuesday meeting, Fire Chief Ben Steketee said his department and the rural partners had identified two trucks that needed to be replaced: the old rural pumper and the rescue truck the city acquired in recent years from the city of Florence.

Under the provisions of the 2013 fire protection contract between Hillsboro and the city of Lehigh and surrounding townships, $250,000 had been allocated for a new truck.

Steketee said the department’s truck review committee had come up with a plan that could address both needs within the allotted budget.

Part of the plan was to replace the cab and chassis of the rescue truck rather than buy a different truck, which would significantly reduce the cost.

The plan reached the presentation stage after the committee became aware of a 2004 Pierce four-wheel drive pumper truck through Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in Union Grove, Ala.

Four members of the committee, which included professional mechanics, traveled to Alabama to inspect the vehicle. Several mechanical issues were discovered, but all repairs would be covered within the agreed-upon sale price.

Steketee said during his presentation last Tuesday that the 10-year-old truck had around 80,000 miles on it, but reasonably could be expected to last 25 years and 300,000 miles.

Beyond that, the truck had every option stipulated by township representatives–and many more than that.

Steketee said the truck, under stipulations of the contract, would be brought to an “excellent” rating before being released to a buyer.

Steketee said if built new from the ground up, the truck would cost around $600,000.

The council appeared to be ready to act on the proposal, but the issue became complicated. The company had said they would hold the truck until the end of the day, based on the council’s decision whether to purchase it.

Mayor Delores Dalke said the truck was “wonderful,” but reminded the council that the city’s surrounding partners had strongly stipulated their right to have input regarding major firefighting equipment purchase prior to action.

“They were afraid we would go out and buy stuff without ever talking to them,” Dalke said. “I think they have to have a chance to look at this.”

The fire protection contract calls for the creation of an advisory board for that purpose, but Dalke said she had not appointed the members yet because it had not been an urgent matter–until now.

“I should have done it sooner, but I didn’t know we were going to buy a truck right away,” she said.

A recommendation from Councilor Byron McCarty to go ahead with the purchase died for a lack of a second.

City Administrator Larry Paine then suggested an alternate recommendation to appoint and convene the advisory board as soon as possible, and have it develop a recommendation for the council to consider.

The motion was moved by Councilor Shelby Dirks, seconded by McCarty and passed 3-0.

Dalke then presented her list of advisory board appointees, which the council then ratified.

Members of the advisory board are Dale Klassen and Jim Enns from Risley Township; Ron Matz from Lehigh Township; Clark Wiebe and Jared Jost from Liberty Township and Craig Leppke from Menno Township.

Dalke said she reserved the right to appoint additional members if needed, including one from the city of Lehigh.

Within 24 hours of last Tuesday’s adjournment, the advisory board appointees met, viewed the same presentation from Steketee and formulated a recommendation to purchase the rural pumper truck from Brindlee Mountain.

The council approved the recommendation Wednesday afternoon.

With the number of repairs the company has agreed to make, Steketee said it could be a month or more before the truck is ready for delivery.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Winds cause damage around the county

By Patty Decker
Hillsboro Free Press – April 2, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 28, 2014

Reports of wind damage and fires peppered Marion County last week, and over the weekend, with gusts in excess of 25 to 50 mph.

In addition to residents running around looking for trash cans blown into streets and neighbor’s yards, high winds also carried off larger items.

For Haley Foth of Hillsboro, her daughter’s trampoline was a weather related casualty.

“We had just gotten home from Wichita around 1 p.m. (Wednesday), so we weren’t here when it happened, but my mother-in-law was,” she said.

City crews were the first to notice the trampoline was no longer in the Foth’s backyard, and they contacted Foth’s mother-in-law.

“We have only had (the trampoline) for a couple of months,” she said. “It was a birthday present for our four-year-old.”

With the winds continuing to gust throughout the week, Foth said her family hasn’t even been able to get the trampoline back into their own yard.

“I was surprised we didn’t have any damage to our fence and especially surprised that it didn’t do any damage to our neighbor’s house,” she said.

Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine said another report of wind damage came from Doug Sisk, Hillsboro recreation director.

Sisk said there was damage to the dugout at Memorial Baseball Field, on the westside of town.

In addition, Marion High School’s football score board completely folded in on itself from the winds Wednesday.

Fire incidents

Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said five grass and brush fires were reported over the weekend because of winds, along with other incidents throughout the weekend, he said.

“Two were mutual aid calls to assist the Goessel Fire Department with fires that were a result of previous controlled burns on Saturday,” he said.

“One was another mutual aid call to assist Marion Fire Department with a similar fire.”

The other two were grass/brush fires, he said, from errant controlled burns in our normal response area.

“We responded to a vehicle accident Saturday,” he said, “and from that call we responded to the next three calls without ever returning to the station–that’s how rapidly they were coming in.”

Firefighters on Sunday continued to stay busy by helping the Marion Fire Department.

Barn fire

While assisting Marion, Steketee said he heard Lincolnville and Lost Springs were called out to a barn fire on Sunflower, north of U.S. Highway 56, also because of a previous controlled burn.

“During that call, I also heard Peabody go out on a call that was another fire from a previous controlled burn.”

Once again, Hillsboro firefighters on Sunday responded to the next call before they could return to the station.

“Fire is a useful tool,” Steketee said, “but like any tool, it must be used carefully or the results can be damaging to both people and property.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster



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