Archive for June, 2014

NVFC Resource Spotlight: Retention and Recruitment Guide

The NVFC, in partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration, released Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions (Second Edition) to addresses the primary challenges departments face regarding retention and recruitment and provide proven solutions to overcome these obstacles. This valuable resource is designed for all volunteer and combination departments who are experiencing retention and recruitment challenges. Access the guide here.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Cause determined in Plymell house explosion

By Lindsay Cobb
KSN – June 30, 2014


A Plymell home exploded on Saturday evening around 5:30 and the blast could be heard for miles.

“It reminded me of the sonic boom from way back, but only louder,” said neighbor John Bilberry.  “Then when I stepped outside, the sky looked like confetti.”

Three members of the Unruh family were inside their house when it exploded, killing 17 year old Spencer.

“He was probably one of the sweetest kids, honestly that you could meet,” said his cousin Benjamin Unruh.  “He was very just generous, very kind.”

Spencer’s 14-year old brother Riley, and their mother Kelly, were both flown to Wichita in critical condition.

The explosion is still under investigation, but the State Fire Marshal’s office, along with the Finney County Sherriff’s office, and the Garden City Fire Department, have narrowed down the cause.

“Through the investigation it was determined that the probable cause of the explosion was due to a concentration of natural gas,” said GCFD Chief Allen Shelton.

While the family mourns, the community has shown their support.

“The outpouring of emotions and prayers have been a little bit overwhelming for the family, so I’d like to express my thanks, and convey their thanks as well,” said Benjamin Unruh.

So far, they’ve received over $9,000 in donations for funeral and medical expenses through a donation site.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sense of neighborhood security slipping after cars are vandalized, one set on fire

By Megan Brilley
FOX 4 News – June 30, 2014


A mom woke up to her teenage daughter screaming and ran out to find flames engulfing her car. Her daughter’s car was torched and dozens of other vehicles were vandalized in an Overland Park neighborhood.

The vandalism happened near the corner of 145th and Floyd.

“I don’t know if it’s even describable,” Gretchen Mitchell said.

It’s a feeling that’s hard for Mitchell to put into words. She was sleeping when she heard shrieking coming from her 16-year-old’s room.

“I heard her scream, ‘mom, the car is on fire!’ I ran to her and said, ‘what are you talking about, what’s going on?’”

They looked out the window and saw flames as high as the house.

“I had just filled the car with gas. I knew there was a lot of fuel in it. I was scared it might explode. We heard tires exploding,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell woke up the rest of her family and ran outside to safety.

“It was just completely engulfed in flames,” she said.

Within minutes, firefighters were on scene. Once Mitchell started talking with neighbors and police, she realized this was no accident.

Police told her several cars in her area had been hit. Some neighbors we talked to say their cars had been rummaged through, some had wallets and chargers stolen.

But Mitchell said there was nothing of too much significance in her daughter’s car.

“That’s the thing that we can’t quite figure out. We don’t at all know what might’ve triggered somebody to do this, it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

A quiet neighborhood with unlocked cars and open garages…

“It’s just a place we have always felt safe,” she said.

A great sense of security, that is now starting to fade.

“It’s a helpless feeling,” Mitchell said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No injuries reported in ethanol plant explosion

By Larry Phillips
Southwest Daily Times – June 30, 2014

Fire trucks and other emergency responders arrive at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday after reports of an explosion in a natural gas burner on the plant’s feed dryer system. No one was injured in the incident, according to authorities. L&T photos/Chris Linenbroker

Fire trucks and other emergency responders arrive at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday after reports of an explosion in a natural gas burner on the plant’s feed dryer system. No one was injured in the incident, according to authorities. L&T photos/Chris Linenbroker

Firefighters responded to an explosion Sunday evening at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant. Fortunately, no one was injured from the blast or subsequent fire, according to Seward County Fire Chief Mike Rice.

“We got the page at 7:04 p.m. (Sunday) about a possible explosion at the plant at 8000 Road P,” Rice said earlier today. “Preliminary reports from plant staff is they had a natural gas explosion in a combustion burner in the feed dryer system on the second floor.”

Firefighters had contained the fire and left the scene at 3:18 a.m. today, but were called back out at 5:23 a.m.

“We’re, basically, on standby right now (9:27 a.m.) while plant staff cuts some holes in equipment so they can get to some smoldering insulation that’s around some of the piping and duct work in that area,” Rice said.

Though no injuries occurred in the incident, Rice said preliminary reports indicate significant damage was caused by the explosion.

“Early, early damages  – from reports of the plant’s staff – indicate damages could be in the $1- to $2-million range,” Rice said.

The exact cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, and Rice said further investigation is under way.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Charles “Charlie” B. Allen



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Libraries are for fun

Colby Free Press – June 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Photos by Judy Rogers. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Judy Rogers. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Diane Martinez tried on a fire helmet Monday when Steve Hirsch gave a presentation on fire safety at the Selden Public Library’s “Fizz Boom Read” summer reading program. The girls thought the helmet was very heavy.

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Valentine Bermudez took a turn at spraying the fire hose with a little help from Hirsch.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Geneseo celebrates first Spring Fling

By Ryan Carlson
Lyons News – June 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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The city of Geneseo held it’s first annual Spring Fling on Saturday. The festivities included a car and motorcycle show, live music, a hog feed and Fun Run Poker Run.

The poker run was one of the first events of the morning starting at 9 a.m. Bikers signed in and started off on a 100-mile trek that stretched from Kanopolis Reservoir all the way to Holyrood.

Prizes were awarded for the best and worst hand. The recipients of the best hand this year were John and Cheryl Snow of Hutchinson.

The winners of the car show were announced later that evening around 7:30 p.m. This year’s winners were Diana Allen for the People’s Choice Award, David Pedigo won the Full Dress Award, Billy Stone won Special Interest and Chopper class, Marvin Foster won the Antique Award, Jason Warren won the Custom Award, Mike Kratzer won an award for the “Before 1960” Class, Steve Clark won the 1960-2000 Vehicle Class, Ted Worl won the 2000 and Newer Class and Street Rod Class and Jason Warren won the Rat Rod Class. Each winner received a plaque showing the class of vehicle they had won and the sponsor of the award.

Geneseo Fire Department was at the event displaying their new fire truck. Geneseo Fire Chief Mike Huggans said Geneseo had a 1965 Chevrolet fire truck for many years. In fact, Huggans said that his father-in-law was mayor when the city purchased it. Needless to say, it was time to get a new truck.

After a month scouring the internet looking at different fire trucks, Mike Huggans and Dean Bigley decided to fly to Company Two Fire Apparatus in South Carolina last February to continue their search. The company gave Huggans and Bigley a tour of their facility and displayed 40 trucks for them to choose from. Huggans and Bigle went through the truck and tried out everything including the water jets. After much deliberation, the two decided to buy a 1992 Simon Duplex.

The City of Genesco raised the sales tax 1% for two years to fund the new truck purchase. While the city received the truck in April, Geneseo Fire Department is still raising funds to pay for equipment through events like Saturday’s hog feed. Huggans said the fire department still needs more hoses, nozzles and air packs for the truck.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire consumes Derby home

By Linda Stinnett
Derby Informer – June 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A small home on the southwest side of Derby is a total loss following a fire at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 22.

Fire Chief Brad Smith said flames were showing from nearly 70 percent of the home at 309 S. Buckner when firefighters arrived. Within an hour the fire was extinguished, but the home and its contents were considered a total loss, Smith said.

The resident of the property, Chevy Decaire, met firefighters as they arrived and told them there was no one in the house. He had been at his parents’ home directly behind the house and did not know the house was burning until he heard sirens from arriving fire trucks, Smith said.

“He did enter the house to get three dogs out and suffered some smoke inhalation and a laceration on his right knee,” Smith said.

The resident was transported to a Wichita hospital for stitches to the knee and to be checked out for the smoke inhalation. Smith said he was able to return to the property before firefighters left the scene.

The fire has been ruled accidental and is believed to be an electrical fire, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bill Pater. Pater said there was no electrical service to the house, but extension cords had been strung across the alley and were powering all appliances and window air conditioning units. The fire started in an area where one of the cords was powering an air conditioner, so it may be the cause, Pater said.

County records show the original portion of the nearly 750 square foot house was constructed in 1920. The loss to the structure and contents was estimated at $45,000, Pater said.

The house is owned by Daniel and Holly Decaire, who also own the house immediately behind the one which burned.

Chevy did not have any insurance, Smith said. The American Red Cross responded to provide immediate assistance.

Along with Derby, firefighters from Mulvane and Sedgwick County Fire District 1 and Sedgwick County EMS responded to the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Accident sends 2 to hospital

By Olivia Haselwood
Marion County Record – June 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

An accident near K-256 and Upland Rd. involving a van and a Marion County dump truck sent two Marion residents to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The accident happened just after noon when a Ford van driven by Thomas Schrag, 52, of Marion rear-ended a county dump truck driven by Even Stout, 63, of Marion as he slowed to turn onto Upland Rd.

After impact, the van swerved into the ditch, struck a pipe fence post, and sustained heavy front-end damage.

Schrag sustained serious injuries and was air-lifted to Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita. The dump truck sustained no damage, but Stout was taken by Marion ambulance to St. Luke Hospital.

Marion police, fire, ambulance, Hillsboro ambulance, Marion Sheriffs officers, and Kansas Highway Patrol all responded.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

And, they walked away from accident

Oberlin Herald – June 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Photo by Ladd Wendelin. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Ladd Wendelin. Click on photo to view full-size image.

At the scene of a rollover accident Monday on north U.S. 83, about a mile south of the Decatur County Feed Yard, Sheriff Ken Badsky and emergency crews tended to Michael Messersmith and KeAnn Jacobs, both 17, who walked away from Mr. Messersmith’s overturned car unharmed. Ms. Jacobs was treated for minor cuts and bruises at the hospital before she was released.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Drivers injured in rear-end collision

Kansas Chief – June 26, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Two young men reportedly sustained unknown injuries shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, as a result of a rear-end collision involving two pickup trucks on Highway 36, just west of Wathena. Taylor Allan Force, 20, of 310 Chase St., Wathena, was westbound in a 1990-model Chevrolet and apparently failed to see the 2000-model Ford pickup, operated by Dustin Richard Fritz, 18, waiting on oncoming traffic to turn left into his driveway at 2063 Highway 36, according to Doniphan County Sheriff’s Deputy Raymond Hall. His report stated that witnesses indicated that they had observed Fritz ‘possibly’ texting on his telephone just before the crash. There were no skid marks present at the accident scene.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Slide malfunction forces emergency landing in Wichita

KWCH – June 30, 2014

Photo by Taylor  Martinez.

Photo by Taylor Martinez.

A plane has landed safely in Wichita after a slide opened up during the flight.

United Airlines flight 1463 landed at Mid-Continent Airport just after 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The John Wayne-bound flight left Chicago at 8:36 p.m.

A spokesman with the FAA tells Eyewitness News an emergency evacuation slide inadvertently deployed in mid-flight. Initial reports that a passenger opened a door during the flight were false. The FAA spokesman said “it is impossible to open a door at that altitude.”

Click here for photos

According to Flight Aware, the plane was flying at 38,000 ft. at 10:05 p.m. In 12 minutes, the plane dropped to 11,000 ft. due to a loss in cabin pressure.

United Airlines released a statement saying 96 passengers and five crew members were on board the Boeing 737-700. All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed. No one was hurt.

Passengers were taken off the plane about an hour after landing. United said another plane will take the passengers to their final destinations. Two flights are expected to leave Monday, at 6:20 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.

Mike Schroeder, who was flying back home to California, said he heard a hiss and a pop, then saw the slide starting to expand.

“We’ve been flying for years, I’ve never seen this before,” Schroeder said. The crew also said they’ve never experienced a similar incident.

United Airline’s maintenance crew is inspecting the plane to determine the cause.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Reno County crews lacking water rescue equipment

By Devon Fasbinder
KWCH – June 29, 2014

After heavy rains moved across Kansas over the weekend, and more severe weather in the forecast, Reno County authorities are on high alert.

Randy Henderson, Sheriff, warned people in the area to be extra cautious because of the lack of water rescue capabilities in the county. Firefighters in Hutchinson said they are very limited on their resources.

“Honestly we’re pretty limited in what we can do with the equipment that we have,” Hutchinson Fire Captain Breck Heller said. “Most of what we do is shore-based.” Shore-based means rescue crews have to have an area on land they can use as an anchor spot. They park some sort of vehicle and can then attach rescuers’ life jackets to the vehicle. That way, the rescuers do not get swept up in the fast-moving water.

But looking at the Hutchinson Fire Department’s equipment, they said it clearly doesn’t cover everything they need. They have life vests, helmets, water rope, throw bags, an inflatable raft and flotation devices. The South Hutchinson Fire Department has a utility vehicle that can be used in the biking trail areas and an anchor spot. Both departments don’t have the kind of boats they would need.

“Boats are our biggest priority to be able to get into the water,” Heller said. “That’s our biggest need.”

Both departments said the issues are money and recognition of need.

“Honestly, funding,” Heller said. “And the recognition of a problem because most people think that the Arkansas River is two feet across 11 months out of the year.” He said people handling the budget don’t think the department needs more equipment even though he disagrees. He said his department hasn’t gotten new water rescue equipment in at least four or five years.

South Hutchinson Fire Chief Mike Patterson said it’s something they’ve tried to fix, but it’s been difficult to get the money.

“Over the years, the county fire chiefs have talked about getting a dedicated rescue boat,” Patterson said. “The budgeting has never been there for that purchase. Patterson said years ago, the departments applied for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, but they didn’t meet the qualifications to get the money.

Heller said his department tried to get more training and wanted to work with the University of Kansas to do so, but he said that fell through.

Despite the lack of equipment in both departments, Heller said his team makes it work.

“We get our job done. But we could provide a lot better service with the proper training and the proper equipment,” Heller said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No one injured after car hits home, drives through garage

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – June 29, 2014


Wichita Police say no one was injured after a car crashed into a northwest Wichita home and came to rest through the wall of the garage.

It happened in the 6700 block of west 34th street north a little after 9 p.m.

Police say the car was going too fast when it came up over the curb, hit the wall of the living room, bounced off the wall of the home and went through the garage.

A woman who lives in the home was out watering her plants when the car came towards her. Police say she jumped out of the way and avoided injury. Her husband says he had just stepped inside and heard the whole thing.

“It sounded like two huge explosions because he first hit that and then when he hit my car it was two loud explosions,” said Eric Robison. “She pretty much had a panic attack in the front yard, because like I said she had to jump to get out of the way. She was on this side of the plant watering it and she had to jump to not get hit.”

Eric said that’s not the first time they’ve seen a car come around that corner too fast, but it is the first time they’ve had someone come so far up into their yard.

“Typically people drag race, they start right there and go that way, it’s usually not this way. But there was a witness at the bridge that said they were drag racing coming this way,” explained Eric. “This is a dangerous corner, in the winter we go out and put salt down.”

Police are continuing to investigate the case but say both speed and alcohol are possible factors in the crash.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Woman in critical condition after being pinned under truck

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – June 29, 2014

A Wichita woman is in critical condition after what police believe was a domestic violence argument early this morning.

The 37-year-old female was hit and pinned under a pickup truck a little before 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the 4500 block of south Hemlock according to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office.

Chester Randall JR, 40, of Wichita was booked into the Sedgwick County Detention Facility on attempted murder charges in connection.

Emergency crews were able to get the truck off of the woman, but she was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

The case will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office later this week.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Flea Market to benefit fire science program

By Judy Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – June 28, 2014

Jennifer Brydges is organizing the second annual flea market fundraiser in El Dorado this coming weekend.

She held a flea market last year, with proceeds going to purchase a vest for the El Dorado Police Dog, Woden.

“Last year I helped the police, so this year I wanted to help fire,” she said.

After contacting the fire department, she decided proceeds would go to the fire science program.

There will be several vendors, including BBQ sauces and rubs, candles, antiques, yard decor, quilts, clothing, wood crafts and more, as well as food vendors.

There also will be a silent auction with items provided by the vendors and local businesses.

In addition, Hickory Hollow and Alex’s House will be there with puppies to adopt.

There also will be face painting for the kids.

“There will be something for everyone,” Brydges said.

On Saturday there will be a car show and inflatables and on Sunday, there also will be a free jazz concert by the Great Plans Jazz Orchestra from 2 to 4 p.m. and people are asked to bring their lawn chairs.

The flea market will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4 through 6.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Truck overturns

Manhattan Mercury – June 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 28, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A cement truck fell on its side in the roundabout at the Scenic Drive entrance to Kansas Highway 18 early Tuesday morning. The roundabout was closed for a time but reopened later in the morning. No injuries were reported.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Two-car accident delays traffic on Seth Child

Manhattan Mercury – June 24, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 28, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Drivers in lunch-hour traffic experienced delays Monday afternoon following a two-vehicle accident on Seth Child Road near the Amherst Avenue intersection.

Riley County police said no major injuries were reported as a result of the accident, which occurred at about 12:30 p.m.

Both cars involved–a white passenger car and a black SUV–sustained heavy front-end damage.

The car appeared to have traveled on Seth Child Road about 100 yards south of the intersection, leaving behind a path of debris. Scanner reports indicated the car was partially on fire, but that the fire was out before Manhattan Fire Department crews arrived.

Police directed traffic at the intersection while the area was cleared.

No further details were immediately available. Police are investigating the cause.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Flooding in Finney County

KAKE – June 28, 2014

Finney County Emergency Manager says there was some bad flooding in the area.
Emergency responders had to remove half a dozen of people from their vehicles.
The Emergency Manager reports that Kansas Avenue and Fulton Street were impassable, as well as numerous side streets; those streets are currently passable again. Several homes reported flooding and water was up to the door at some businesses.
The roof of one business in the 500 block of Main Street had collapsed under the weight of the water.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Governments discuss how to fund upgrades

By Ashley Bergner
Newton Kansan – June 28, 2014

Officials from Harvey County and local cities agree an emergency communications system upgrade is necessary, but there has been some debate about how to fund it.

Representatives from the county and local communities met this week to discuss the upgrade and how much funding the county should contribute.

“Everybody got their opinion out on the table,” Newton Vice Mayor Leroy Koehn said.

The need for an upgrade traces back to a Federal Communications Commission mandated switch from high frequency range to narrowbanding, which ended up crippling the system.

“It created a lot of holes in our county, where people just couldn’t talk on the radio,” said Rodney Redinger, Burrton Fire/EMS and Burrton city council member. “That’s a big safety concern.”

“We have lost basically on our portable radio system 40 percent of our coverage,” added Harvey County Commissioner Chip Westfall. “There are just dead spots.”

Almost all surrounding counties have switched to the 800 MHz system. The county plans to piggyback on the state system.

“We’re just behind the eight ball coming on line with it,” Westfall said.

Westfall said some groups think the county should pay for 100 percent of the 800 system upgrade, including all walkie-talkies and all radios in vehicles. He believes the best way is for the county to pay for the infrastructure and for cities to pay for their individual mobile radios and walkie-talkies.

He said this is the fairest arrangement since the county’s 800 system and 911 operations will cover more than just Harvey County. Burrton, Walton and Whitewater all have territory in other counties that wouldn’t be contributing tax dollars to the project. Westfall added the county already subsidizes emergency services, contributing $680,000 a year to help with EMS coverage in Sedgwick, Halstead, Burrton, Hesston and Newton.

Halstead City Administrator J.R. Hatfield said he thought the meeting went well but believes the county should fund the entire system. He is concerned if each city buys its own equipment, the various parts will not work smoothly together.

“I believe that’s how they can protect the integrity and the continuity of the entire program,” he said. “… When you’re spending that much money, you need to do something to protect that investment.”

However, both sides agree it is time for an upgrade, especially since communications issues could be putting lives at risk, Koehn said.

Redinger said he has worked with the 800 system and has found it to be reliable. He sees it as a good, long term investment — not a temporary fix.

“It’s a pretty good system,” he said. “It’s one of the best systems out there.”

The county likely will address 800 system funding during its 2015 budget year discussions. Some grant opportunities could help fund new equipment.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grainfield Fire Department received $400 from Midwest Energy funds

Gove County Advocate – June 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 28, 2014

The Grainfield Fire Department received a $400.00 donation from the Midwest Energy Community Fund spring disbursement. These funds will be used to replace a siren controller programmed with fire warning, storm warning and clock for auto-test of siren. Continuous improvement is a primary goal of Grainfield’s Volunteer Fire Department. Recently a used 4×4 dually pickup was converted into a quick response multi-use fire apparatus. Furthermore their department facility underwent a remodel expanding by nearly 150%. Aggressiveness with grant opportunities reflects their continuous improvement goals. Over 160 organizations submitted applications for the Midwest Energy awards.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Donald “Don“ Jenkins



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Lightning strikes Pratt office

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – June 28, 2014

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The destructive power of lightning shattered the morning office routine for Teina Carpenter, Concrete Enterprises office manager.

Around 11 a.m. Thursday, June 26, lightning hit the ungrounded radio antenna attached to the north side of the office exterior wall.

Lightning passed down through the pole then followed the path of least resistance and went into the office through the electrical wiring and exploded through the office service radio and copier just a couple of feet from Carpenter, said Pratt Fire Captain Todd Hoffman.

Carpenter said it was very loud and scared her as she tried to get away from the area and figure out what happened. She complained about feeling sick to her stomach and having difficulty hearing out of her right ear that was closest to the explosion.

The blast scorched the wall and fried the electronics on the radio and copier. It also burned out the electrical outlet in the adjoining room and melted the electrical cord plugged into the outlet.

On the outside of the building, the electricity traveled down the metal clip pieces on the corners of the building and blew some of them completely off the building. It also caused two exterior lights to explode.

Burn marks were visible at several locations both inside and outside the building.

With all the damage, Hoffman said it was surprising that it didn’t set the building on fire.

Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer said all buildings need a good ground system that will discharge the lightning into the ground. Most homes today already have a good ground but homes built before the 1960s may not have ground wires for the electrical system.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23 to 28. Lightning is a powerful force that can cause damage and injury or even death.

According to the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning caused 23 deaths in the United States in 2013 with Arizona and Florida recording four deaths each for the most of any state. None were recorded in Kansas. Almost half of those deaths, 10, occurred outdoors and open areas. The 30-year average for lightning deaths in the US is 51.

Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager, said if a person can hear thunder, they could be struck by lightning even from a distance of 10 miles from a storm.

Taking shelter inside a building or an enclosed vehicle is the best option. When indoors, don’t use electrical appliances, including computers, connected to outlets and don’t get in the shower, tub or wash dishes because lightning can travel though pipes in older homes, Branscom said.

To stay safe during lightning, NOAA offers the following safety tips.

When outdoors and no other shelter is available:

• Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.

• Never lie flat on the ground.

• Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

• Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.

• Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

While indoors:

• Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches.

• Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

If a person is struck, they are not electrified. The human body doesn’t store electricity so it’s safe to give CPR to a lighting victim.

For more information about lightning and other weather safety, visit

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Victims of house explosion identified

Garden City Telegram – June 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

KSN Video

Authorities have released the names of three victims of a house explosion that occurred late Saturday afternoon in rural Finney County, including the identity of a 17-year-old boy who was found dead in the home.

According to Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue, deputies, EMS and the Garden City Fire Department responded to the explosion at 5:30 p.m. at 260 E. Plymell Road, Lot 3, the home of Mike and Kelly Unruh and their two sons, Spencer, 17, and Riley, 14.

At the time of the explosion, Kelly, Spencer and Riley were in the home.

Firefighters found Spencer Unruh dead in the basement, according to Bascue. Riley and Kelly Unruh were transported by ambulance to St.

Catherine Hospital and later were transferred to a St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, where they were listed in critical condition Sunday afternoon.

Mike Unruh, the boys’ father, was outside at the time of the explosion and was not injured.

A firefighter also was injured and was taken to St. Catherine Hospital. His identity and condition were not available Sunday afternoon.

The home was completely destroyed, and another home just north of the residence also was heavily damaged due to the proximity of the explosion, Bascue said.

Officials of the State Fire Marshals Office are investigating the explosion, but a cause has not yet been determined.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Osage City Parade

June 27, 2014

Click each photo to view full-size image.

Click each photo to view full-size image.

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Chief Dan Romine (R), Asst. Chief Scott Brenner (L) & Scott's son (M).

Chief Dan Romine (R), Asst. Chief Scott Brenner (L) & Scott’s son (M).

One of the 'perks' of having your Grandpa (Chief Dan Romine) & Daddy (Capt. Brett Romine) on the fire department---free fire truck rides!

One of the ‘perks’ of having your Grandpa (Chief Dan Romine) & Daddy (Capt. Brett Romine) on the fire department—free fire truck rides!

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Burning potato in microwave fills apartment with smoke

Salina Journal – June 27, 2014

Salina firefighters were called to the Heather Ridge Apartments just before noon Friday after a potato being cooked in a microwave oven began filling an apartment with smoke.

Salina Fire Department Battalion Chief David Turner said there was no damage to the apartment at 2140 E. Crawford, and that firefighters ventilated the apartment to remove the smoke.

The other seven apartments in the building were temporarily evacuated as a precaution, Turner said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Morning rollover accident slows traffic in Topeka

By Brian Dulle & Rocky Arnold
Kansas First News – June 27, 2014

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A rollover accident shortly before 9 a.m. sent one female to the hospital.

The accident happened at the intersection of 37th and South Topeka Boulevard. Officers told a Kansas First News photographer at the scene that an SUV hit the rear of another vehicle as it was traveling eastbound. That collision caused the SUV to roll and clip another vehicle in the process. A 4th vehicle was also involved.

Police say a medical condition may have caused the wreck. Officers were still working the accident at 9:30 a.m

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Rollover on HWY 75 sends 1 to hospital

By Brian Dulle
Kansas First News – June 27, 2014

shawnee co fire 6272014

The Kansas Highway Patrol and Shawnee County Deputies were on the scene early Friday afternoon of a rollover accident involving a Miller Lite delivery truck.

The truck was traveling southbound on Highway 75 when the driver lost control, left the highway near 35th street and rolled down the embankment coming to a rest on its wheels.

The driver has not yet been identified and was transported to a local hospital.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the accident saying they are looking into the possibility the incident was caused due to a “medical condition.”

Shawnee County Sheriff deputies were there helping to conduct traffic.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Lorraine Fire Department awarded grant

By Alan Rusch
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – May 29, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Marvin Bush of the Smoky Hills Charitable Foundation presented a $1,250 grant for the Lorraine Community Health Center, and a $2,30 grant to the Lorraine Fire Department for a new building.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Dozens Of Chickens And Other Animals Removed From Wichita Home

By Greg Palmer
KAKE – June 27, 2014

wichita fire 6272014

Charges are possible after dozens of animals, including numerous chickens, were removed from the basement of a west Wichita home yesterday.

Animal control went to a home in the 11000 block of West Lotus around 4:15 p.m. Thursday on a follow-up investigation. There, they found several animals living in a bathroom in the basement, including 58 chickens, 2 turkeys and 4 guinea pigs.

Police and fire personnel were called to the scene to assist. Police Lt. Dan East said that the smell of ammonia from the animals’ waste was so bad, it was dangerous. So bad in fact, he said firefighters had to us breathing apparatus to get inside the basement to remove the birds. All the chickens and turkeys removed from the home had to be put down.

Two adults and five children live there. The couple told police that they had so many chickens because they like fresh eggs. Lt. East said the animals and birds had been living inside the home for at least two weeks.

City law limits the number of animals residents can own. Residents can own 3 chickens without a permit, or 12 with a permit.

The 34-year-old man and 34-year-old woman are facing possible charges.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Local children attend Safety Camp

By Ryan Carlson
Lyons News – June 3, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Fifty Rice County 5th and 6th graders celebrated the 11th annual Kids Safety Camp at Camp Wa-Ja-To on Thursday, May 29 and Friday, May 30.

The annual camp out is designed for youth to interact with Rice County emergency personnel and learn important safety techniques in a camp environment. This year, Rice County EMS, Sterling and Lyons Police Departments, Lyons and Chase Fire Departments, Rice County Sheriff’s Department and local Kansas Highway Patrolman Mike Farmer all offered their expert advice.

The two-day event began on Thursday morning with a visit by Midwest Electric presenter, James Wright and Journeyman Linemen Troy Blankely and Brian Budke. Wright and the two linemen demonstrated the benefits and dangers of electricity. Wright used a hotdog to represent human flesh and a grapefruit to represent a human head. When he applied electricity to the grapefruit little damage showed on the outside. Once Wright cut into the fruit the damage was evident. Wright used this object lesson to show that 90 percent of bodily damage from electricity is internal.

The men continued the presentation with an aluminum balloon. In a controlled demonstration, the balloon nearly caught fire when brought close to electric distribution wires. Children were able to witness the power of electricity.

Electrical safety wasn’t the only lessons taught at Kids Safety Camp, kids also learned about weather safety, boat safety, fire safety, firework safety, gun safety, and internet safety. Participants not only learn about how dispatch works but also how emergency personnel respond.

On Thursday afternoon children were able to tour emergency vehicles including an EMS vehicle, fire truck and law enforcement patrol vehicles. Children were allowed to operate the sirens and the camp was soon filled with high-pitched wails of beeedooo, beeedooo, beeedooo, bweep, bweep, bweep, and various peals and squawks of siren sounds.

Thursday evening, Lyons Fire Department organized a fire hose game. Two teams were organized for the competition. The goal was to use the water pressure from a fire hose to push a barrel to the team’s goal. The opposing team used their fire hose water power to push against the barrel and lead it away from the other team’s goal and into their own goal. Competition was fierce, wet, and comical. It didn’t take long for teams to turn the hoses on one another and the organization melted into water-hose-powered chaos.

Lyons Fire Department got in on the spray action when firefighter, Marlin Hudson manned the truck’s water jet and shot water into the air and onto the children. Hudson said the Lyons Fire Department planned on the event and took water from their budget in advance.

The event ended in all-out water war as children, firefighters and camp counselors guffawed and soaked anyone within range. No park stood a chance of spreading in the vicinity and fire safety was definitely a lesson learned well.

Lyons Police Officer, Russel Hammer rounded up kids for fishing at the Liars Club pond. Liar’s Club members Larry Dumler and Brad Hunt gave children fishing advice and assistance.

The Lyons Fire Department together with Ellinwood-based fireworks company, Menges Rentals and Fireworks set off fireworks Thursday night and camp counselors directed children to the fire pit area for s’mores afterwards.

Friday, KWCH meteorologist, Ross Janssen taught children about weather safety. Janssen said the two highest causes for weather-related deaths are lightning and floods. He also talked about tornadoes and showed children a video of the 2012 spring tornado.

Janssen explored meteorology and explained the importance of weather balloons to collect weather data. Millie the weather dog, was also present at the presentation.

The camp ended at 5:00 p.m. with presentations for awards. Ty Fulbright and Ryenne Cunningham were named the best girl and best boy campers of 2014.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kan. Board of Emergency Medical Services reappoints Ralston to 4-year term

By Robert Pierce
Southwest Daily Times – June 27, 2014

Seward County EMS Director John Ralston leads his workers to the risers at Cottonwood Intermediate’s Patriot Day ceremony last fall. L&T file photo/Robert Pierce

Seward County EMS Director John Ralston leads his workers to the risers at Cottonwood Intermediate’s Patriot Day ceremony last fall. L&T file photo/Robert Pierce

Seward County EMS Director John Ralston was recently reappointed to serve a four-year term on the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services.

Ralston said responsibilities of the state board is primarily to oversee the functions of EMS in Kansas.

“We’re the regulatory agency of all the pre-hospital care as far as all of the ambulances, including the helicopters and planes and ground vehicles that provide care in Kansas,” he said.

Though he was not completely sure, Ralston said he believes KBEMS is the only state functioning board with actual legislators from the Kansas House and Senate on its board.

“None of the other places do,” he said. “They just have members of the specialties. We’ve got physicians. We’ve got administrators. We’ve got educators.”

Ralston has been on the KBEMS board since 2010. He said the board conducts a rotation of meetings once every other month between Thursdays and Fridays.

“It’s the first Friday of the meeting months,” he said. “The Thursday meetings are for the specific sections of the board.”

The board is made up of some committees, and Ralston serves on a few of those.

“I’m the vice chair of the investigations committee,” he said. “We meet on any investigations or complaints that we have had filed on anybody in the state. We discuss those and work really closely with the attorney general’s office to get those things taken care of.”

Ralston likewise serves on KBEMS’s education and examination committee, which takes care of new regulations and legislation that supports changes in the emergency response industry.

“We have to get those submitted and proposed to the executive committee so the executive committee can get them to the legislators to get them put into regulatory language,” he said.

Naturally, Ralston sees serving on the board as an honor, and while he believes doing so is a good thing, KBEMS has many of the same flaws as other commissions and boards.

“You go in there thinking you’re going to be able to change some things, and then you realize the processes are there,” he said. “The reason the processes are there is because is you have to make a decision based on 13 people coming to the conclusion of what that decision is. It makes it really difficult at times. You can’t solve everybody’s problems. You can’t regulate everybody.”

Ralston said part of the duty of KBEMS members is to look out for services in Western Kansas, many of which are volunteer, which he said adds to the difficulty of the board’s decision making process.

“We don’t want to implement something that’s going to impact that service having to close,” he said.

KBEMS also has a duty to protect the public, according to Ralston.

“It becomes a challenge,” he said. “We work closely with the state board of nursing. A lot of our stuff collates with them. Occasionally, nurses do work on ambulances.”

Ralston said the board sees regulatory change all the time, and most recently, the scoping process was examined and updated.

“It changed what an EMT could do and what an EMT advanced could do and what a paramedic could do,” he said. “It changed that across the nation. They were trying to get more states in line with a scope of practice as opposed to a protocol.”

Kansas was one of the first states to take this approach, and Ralston said many states are following suit and using the state’s model to do it.

“It didn’t go real smooth, but we’re getting down towards the end of it,” he said. “We lost a bunch of people because they didn’t want to go through the educational process.”

Ralston said serving on KBEMS has made him a better director.

“It’s made me more in tune with the changes,” he said. “I can predict the changes a little quicker. I can see them coming. I think it was something I needed to do. It was a goal when I started in EMS to eventually migrate up to all of it.”

Before he became director of Seward County’s EMS, Ralston worked as a firefighter and a medical training coordinator for a fire department.

“I worked in the field for many years,” he said. “I started in ’82 here in Liberal. I served on the Fire Service Training Commission, which is another governor appointment. That was up this month.”

Ralston said he still plans to serve in that capacity, but he said a new person is being sought for that position.

“I’d like to get somebody that’s more fire service oriented in there that’s closer to Topeka that can make the meetings,” he said.

Ralston likewise has served on the Advisory Council on Trauma for four years, and he described the people he meets and the things being discussed in his work on the boards he serves on as “interesting.”

“There’s a lot of people out there who care about health care, especially rural health care, and it’s a challenge to keep that going,” he said. “I applaud anybody that’s involved in it. It is a challenge to keep those people in those rural communities. The growing trend is going to work somewhere in a facility. It’s not the Dr. Grimes and the Dr. Holcombs who set up a practice, and they basically work themselves into the grave.”

Ralston said the new trends involves people who want to have weekends off and work with a big group of doctors.

“It’s what they’re looking for, and I don’t blame them,” he said. “That’s a challenge for medical communities to do that, and it puts a burden on all of us.”

Ralston said the KBEMS board has no term limits, and with a total of 13 members, nine appointed by the governor and four by legislative leadership, a good diverse population is one of the aims of the group.

“They don’t want just big city,” he said. “To run our ambulance service is a lot different than to run Sedgwick County’s. We don’t have as many people available to hire. We have to train our own, which takes time. We deal with different issues. They can put out a listing, and they can test a hundred people per position. It’s pretty competitive.”

Ralston has met many legislators in his time on the board and has likewise learned how laws and regulations are done.

“In dealing with that, it has really been entertaining to see how much a ‘with’ and a ‘for’ and an ‘a’ can change how an attorney interprets a regulation,” he said.

Like most medical organizations, KBEMS deals with the ever changing world of Medicaid, and Ralston said what has been done in many other places and proven successful are community health programs, which he said affect both health departments and EMS.

“It’s going to have to be something where you have a lot of physician input, a lot of nursing input, a lot of PA’s input, a lot of nurse practitioners input to make sure we have it rock solid before we implement it,” he said. “That’s going to be really a tough nut to crack.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Edwin “Ed” Francis Weinmann



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Touchy, feely

Salina Journal – June 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Mitchell Haskett, 5, climbs down from the cab of a fire truck Thursday morning during the Touch A Truck event at Friendship Center. It was the fifth year for the event sponsored by the Salina Parks and Recreation Department. Vehicles from the Animal Shelter, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Salina Police Department, Salina Fire Department, and the Salina Parks and Recreation Department were on hand for children to climb on and learn about.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Drills

Manhattan Mercury – June 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Volunteers of the Blue Township Fire Department enter the smoke and flames in their training facility on Tuesday evening. The structure is behind the company’s Station 2 on Dyer Road. The firefighters simulated a house fire and burn as part of their training program.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hutch police make arrest after early-morning arson

By John Boyd
KWCH – June 27, 2014

Hutchinson police make an arrest after an early morning fire. Crews were called to the home in the 100 block of W. 7th Avenue at around 1:30 Friday morning.

Once they got there, firefighters found light smoke coming from one side of the duplex. Further investigation revealed that some clothing was smoldering inside the door.

They made quick work of the fire and there was only minor smoke damage to the building.

Firefighters found several points of origin for the fire in the home. They determined the fire was intentionally set and police arrested the occupant.

No names have been released.

No one was hurt.


A Kansas woman is facing arson charges after she allegedly set a small fire in her home early on Friday morning while trying to kill a spider.

According to the Hutchinson News, Ginny Griffith used a cigarette lighter to set some towels on fire in an attempt to assassinate the arachnid.

Five Hutchinson Fire Department units were able to extinguish the small fire in Griffith’s half of a duplex. Firefighters found multiple points of origin for the fire and Griffith was arrested and charged with aggravated arson because the other half of the duplex was occupied.

No one was injured and the structure only suffered light smoke damage.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grain rescue tube for Seneca Fire Department

Seneca Courier Tribune – June 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

At a recent fire department raining conducted at Nemaha County Coop in Seneca, Brian Winkler, Operations Manager, presented the Seneca Fire Department with a grain rescue tube. The rescue tube can be utilized to assist with rescue of a victim of a grain entrapment. There has been an increase in grain engulfment incidents across the nation over the recent years with 2010 being a record breaking year for grain engulfment fatalities.

Grain storage is prevalent throughout the United States and may continue to rise due to market needs. The potential of grain engulfment depends on a multiple of variables. We cannot count on incidences occurring in any particular part of the calendar year; they are not seasonally distributed. This risk occurs at commercial and farmer-owned operations and exposes more than two million workers and families to grain engulfment.

In December 2012, Nemaha County Coop, as well as other area agribusinesses, hosted and participated in the grain engulfment rescue training conducted by the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute. In addition to grain handling employees, several members of the Seneca Fire Department as well as other county fire departments participated in the classroom and hands-on grain rescue training.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Shawnee’s CERT team excels under pressure

By Michael Terry
Shawnee Dispatch – June 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Cars were crashed, walls were down and there were plumes of smoke as far as the eye could see. People from all directions were screaming for help.

That’s the scene that greeted members of Shawnee’s Community Emergency Response Team on a recent Saturday morning as they arrived behind Fire House No. 71 moments after a make-believe natural disaster.

The CERT team was called in to assist after an earthquake rocked the city causing emergency responders to be spread thin.

While a disaster scenario like this is uncommon, Terry Kegin, Shawnee’s emergency management coordinator, thought it was the perfect drill to help initiate the city’s inaugural CERT team into the life of an emergency responder in the event the unexpected strikes.

“You can get so much into an earthquake scenario,” Kegin said, adding it was a good first test for the city’s newly minted CERT team.

“There were crushed cars that we placed injured victims in,” he said. “Of course, they weren’t really crushed because they were public works vehicles and I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate that.”

They also conducted a search-and-rescue scenario inside the old police station off Quivira Road.

Helping bring the drill to life were members of the Shawnee Mission Northwest drama club who agreed to play the role of injured earthquake victims.

“They were great actors,” Kegin said.

Of course, what would great acting be without some gory makeup?

Kegin said a college student from Kansas State volunteered to use makeup to help bring the actors injuries to life.

“She made all types of life-like injuries,” he added.

CERT team members practiced everything from fire suppression and basic disaster medical to creating an incident command post and a triage area to tend to the injured.

“For a class that has only been together for three days, they did a great job,” he said, adding communication proved most challenging.

“Nobody knows each other really,” he said. “The only way you accomplish everything in this drill is to work as a team and communicate.”

The CERT team consists of 22 individuals from all over Shawnee.

“We actually ran them through the drill twice because we had plenty of time,” Kegin said. “Everything that went wrong the first time was corrected by the second drill.”

Shawnee firefighters and volunteers from Olathe also assisted during the drill.

“We didn’t want them carrying these teenagers up the stairs on a spine board,” he said. “I could just see something terrible really happening and I wanted to avoid that.”

Two members of the city’s inaugural CERT team are council members Michelle Distler and Mickey Sandifer.

Distler said she was amazed by the level of training she received over a short span.

“I would recommend it to everyone, whether they are looking to volunteer in disaster areas or just be able to take care of themselves, their family and friends,” she said. “I have been eagerly awaiting this program for two years, and I am so excited it has finally come to fruition.”

While Sandifer has gone through more than 100 hours of emergency training through various organizations, he said the city’s CERT program certainly enhanced his overall training.

Sandifer said he also better understand why people are turned away when they try to assist in emergency situations.

“It’s because they put themselves in harm’s way, creating even more problems,” he said. “The only way you can help somebody else is by knowing how to keep yourself safe first.”

Sandifer said the training also helps put the City Council’s role during a disaster in perspective.

“It’s not on the front lines giving orders,” he said. “You leave that to the professionals.”

With a CERT team now established, Kegin plans to conduct additional CERT training in the fall to increase the ranks.

Kegin said that while the program is volunteer-based, it still costs money because the city supplies each volunteer with a backpack, vest, helmet and T-shirt.

Kegin said he hopes to conduct advanced training with the initial group every couple of months. Every person who volunteered for CERT training indicated they wanted to remain part of an active CERT team.

“Sometimes with volunteers you never know what you are going to get,” he said. “This group just seemed to meld together and everything just worked out great.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire officials: leave fireworks to the professionals

KSHB – June 27, 2014

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Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand in hand, but local fire officials hope you leave the explosions to the professionals.

The Olathe Fire Department gave us a first-hand look at the damage fireworks can cause. They say 72 percent of fireworks injures last year in Kansas happened from July 3 to the 5.

This is despite the fact that fireworks are actually illegal in many area cities.

“Be sure you check with your local jurisdiction to see what is and isn’t allowed. In Olathe, the sale use and possession of all fireworks is prohibited. We recommend you go to a public display like the one we’re having July 4th at the Great Mall of the Great Plains,” Olathe Fire Department’s Captain Mike Hall said.

Local health officials say a majority of firework related injuries come from sparklers. Some can burn as hot as lava.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Donation for Coffeyville Fire Department

Cunningham Courier – June 4, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 27, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Heyman Iron and Metal presented a $500 dollar check to the Coffeyville Fire Department on Friday May 30th. This donation was presented by Gene McClure simply to show his appreciation of the Fire Department. Pictured (Bobby Tracy, Bob Roesky, John Graham, Dan Klein, Pete Caresio and Gene McClure).

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Osage County Fire District No. 2 celebrated it’s 50-year anniversary

By Rosie Blacketer
Osage County Herald – June 26, 2014

osage co fire district 2 b

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Osage County Fire District No. 2 celebrated it’s 50-year anniversary June 21 with an open house. All past and present fire personnel and their families were invited. A barbecue lunch was served to attendees. Old time firefighting machinery and equipment were on display, a slide show was presented and speeches were given.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Douglas County requests removal from fire district

By Kelly Hurla
Osage County Chronicle – June 26, 2014

Douglas County officials met with Osage County commissioners Monday to discuss the possible detachment from certain land in the northern portion of Marion Township in Douglas County to Fire District No. 4 in Osage County.

Douglas County commissioner Jim Flory, Douglas County administrator Craig Weinaug and Marion Township resident Steve Lewis provided several reasons for de-annexation. Flory and Weinaug wrote to Osage County commissioners June 18, stating their case and providing a petition with over 200 signatures in favor.

Weinaug explained that the detachment would include mostly those in the northeast corner of the township, allowing three other stations in closer proximity to be able to respond. In Weinaug’s letter to commissioners, he said a home less than half a mile away from a Douglas County station continues to be served by a fire station 14 miles away in Overbrook.

Flory told commissioners that prior to the petition, two meetings were held with affected residents to determine which individuals would be in favor or against detachment.

“It didn’t really surprise us,” said Flory. “The results were pretty clear.”

Flory said those closer to Osage County Fire District No. 4 preferred to stay with district four and those closer to neighboring Douglas County substations, preferred to ask commissioners to approve detachment.

Osage County commissioners tabled the issue, pending further discussion with Osage County Fire District No. 4.

“We agreed we would consider this in good faith and we’ll do that,” said Gaylord Anderson, commissioner. “I promised some of the residents of Marion Township I would get with them before we decided anything on the issue.”

Also discussed:

Bryce Romine, emergency preparedness director, brought a draft of a proposed countywide burn permit restriction resolution.

“It’s something we really need to consider,” said Romine.

Before presenting the draft, Romine met with local fire chiefs, and looked for preapproval from the sheriff’s office and county attorney.

“We’re just asking that you look at it and we’ll come back,” said Romine.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Southeast Kansas teen gets stuck over bluff while playing at Riverside Park

By Stacey Lindsay
KOAM – June 26, 2014

oswego fire 6262014


According to Labette Health EMS officials, the boy was playing with a soccer ball at the park in Oswego, Kansas when it rolled past the fence and over the edge. When he tried to get it back, he lost his balance and fell approximately 75 feet before getting stuck. Some fishermen saw him and called 911. It took the EMS repel team about 30 minutes to bring him back up. Officials warn those playing near any bluff to take precautions.

“If you get too close to the bluff site seeing at any of the lakes or parks and there’s considerable drop off, there’s always a chance you could fall and not be able to get back up so I suggest you stay a safe away from the edge,” said Randy Grimmett, Deputy Chief, Labette County EMS.

One local resident recalls seeing him stuck on the cliff.

“He had fell quite a ways down and it looked like he was holding on by just a small tree,” said Oswego, Kansas resident Beverly Goedeke.

According to officials, the boy did not complain of any injuries upon his retrieval.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Gas leak causes W. Ninth Ave. detour

By Donetta Godsey
Winfield Courier – June 26, 2014

winfield fire 6262014

U.S. 160 (W. Ninth Ave.) on the west side of Winfield was closed to traffic for a short time Wednesday morning. Vehicles were detoured beginning about 9:15 a.m. when a road construction crew, checking manholes as they worked, discovered high readings of natural gas near the intersection of W. Ninth Ave. and Stewart St.

Construction workers contacted the Winfield police and fire/EMS departments. City of Winfield employees were also called in.

“We were very concerned at first,” said Lt. Mark Knoles, with the Winfield Police Department, “because we thought ‘Oh, no, this is a main line.’”

Knoles said, however, there seemed to be a pocket of gas which dissipated when the manhole was opened.

“This could have been a really bad situation, but now (city workers) are just looking for the small leak to repair it,” said WFD Capt. Chad Mayberry. “We’re fortunate that someone noticed it.”

By 9:40 a.m. Knoles said he expected the highway would be reopened to traffic within 15 to 20 minutes.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Wichita Fire Dept. Unveils New Fire Engine Fleet, New Firefighters

By Carla Eckels
KMUW – June 26, 2014

Acting Lieutenant, Michael Ring, Firefighter, John Haltrup, Josh Roberts, Jermiah Toothaker, Captain Mark Jordon, Firefighter Clint Goode stand by new fire engine at Wichita Fire Department Station 10. Photo by Carla Eckels. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Acting Lieutenant, Michael Ring, Firefighter, John Haltrup, Josh Roberts, Jermiah Toothaker, Captain Mark Jordon, Firefighter Clint Goode stand by new fire engine at Wichita Fire Department Station 10. Photo by Carla Eckels. Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Wichita Fire Department unveiled nine new fire engines and a new ladder truck — replacing part of an aging fleet. The department also has hired 17 new firefighters.

Fire Marshal Brad Crisp says the new equipment will help improve service and enhance safety. He says the new engines look slightly different.

“They’ve got a red with a black top which is going to actually make them more visible at night so safer as far as visibility goes,” he says. “They have better driver vision capabilities the windshields are much wider and our drivers are going to be able to observe what’s coming in traffic and while we’re going in route to alarms. They have lower hose beds which we anticipate reduction in injuries of firefighters having to pull hose by having to step up on the tailboard and I think that is going to be a great advantage.”

Crisp says the new fire engines also have jaws of life units installed, which will let them respond to serious accidents sooner. Along with equipment, the department added 17 new fire recruits.

“So they’re the newest members of Wichita’s bravest,” he says. “They came to us — 6 of them anyway, through a federal SAFER grant which is Staffing Apparatus For Emergency Response Grant. We we’re allowed to hire 6 we gave preference for military veterans which we were able to hire 4 military veterans and this grant really allows us to fill 6 firefighter vacancies that we lost last year.”

The new firefighters are expected to complete training by fall.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Edwardsville EMS prepared for service launch next week

By Caroline Boyer
Bonnersprings Chieftain – June 26, 2014

Edwardsville Fire Department EMT Tony Ford kneels to assist "patient" Britton Brown, an EMT student from Penn Valley Community College, as Paramedic Jack Ryan looks on, at a mock multiple-vehicle accident Tuesday at the Edwardsville Community Center. The Fire and EMS departments plan to have training events like the mock accident on a quarterly basis.

Edwardsville Fire Department EMT Tony Ford kneels to assist “patient” Britton Brown, an EMT student from Penn Valley Community College, as Paramedic Jack Ryan looks on, at a mock multiple-vehicle accident Tuesday at the Edwardsville Community Center. The Fire and EMS departments plan to have training events like the mock accident on a quarterly basis.

Lights flash on Edwardsville's new ambulance at the mock accident scene. A second new ambulance for the new EMS service is due to arrive in the city in a couple of weeks.

Lights flash on Edwardsville’s new ambulance at the mock accident scene. A second new ambulance for the new EMS service is due to arrive in the city in a couple of weeks.

Edwardsville firefighter/EMT Caleb Cribb and Edwardsville Firefighter/EMT Nathan Palmer assist a "patient," Chris Doyle, an EMT student from Penn Valley Community College, at Tuesday's mock accident.

Edwardsville firefighter/EMT Caleb Cribb and Edwardsville Firefighter/EMT Nathan Palmer assist a “patient,” Chris Doyle, an EMT student from Penn Valley Community College, at Tuesday’s mock accident.

One word could sum up the last two months at the Edwardsville Fire Department: Training.

Training exercises have been nonstop practically since May 5, the first day that Christina Akins, EMS supervisor, was on the job, as the department prepares to launch its own ambulance service Tuesday.

The 40 part-time and volunteer EMTs and paramedics that will make up the city’s EMS staff each had an extensive patient care skills check-off list, learned how to use every single item on the ambulance, and took part in air ambulance training with LifeNet and a radio class to get proficient with devices, using a new digital radio that was put in place countywide on Sunday — just to name a few things.
“Every facet on the ambulance we’ve been training on, so the training has been very intensive,” Akins said.

On Tuesday, many of the new staff members also took part in a mock car accident where patients had to be extracted from the car before transport. Akins said she wanted to make sure her staff was prepared for a highway pileup on any of the nearby thoroughfares.

“We’re just trying to have a pre-emptive strike to be ready for that,” she said.

With all of this, the staff is confident it is ready to take over services from the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department the moment it receives its first call on Tuesday.

Edwardsville decided to create its own service last year because KCKFD has been increasing its service costs at a rapid rate in the past few years — about $75,000 a year. That was to hold true for this year: KCKFD had told the city it would charge $325,000 for July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. The city and KCKFD couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract for better response times and a guaranteed annual cost.

The city expects that much of the cost for the new ambulance service will be reimbursed through receipts the department will receive from ambulance transports. In 2015, the city projects total costs at $138,950 after receiving a projected $147,555 in revenue from charges for those transported via ambulance.

So while the city was under something of a short deadline to create its service in less than a year, things seems to be going along swimmingly, thanks in a large part to Akins.

James Moran, a firefighter/EMT who started working with the city last August, said Akins’ experience as a part-time adjunct instructor of EMS at Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City has been invaluable.

“Christina’s been a blessing, because she is a teacher,” he said. “That’s something that’s good for us here because we need to be taught and learn the different ways from first response now to patient transport from the scene to the hospital, and Christina’s done a great job of getting our skills honed up and refreshed.”

Akins’ connections within the EMS community also have been helpful in getting the word out.

“We’ve got lots of people kicking down the door to be part of this department,” said Kevin Schuler, fire chief, who noted that the EMS staff included the directors of the Johnson County and Penn Valley community college paramedic programs. “It’s people like that who are already hearing the good news and want to come and work with us.”

Jack Ryan, a paramedic who previously worked for Leavenworth County’s EMS and part-time for private ambulance firm in Johnson County, said he has liked the professionalism and training he has seen in the newly formed department.

“I think it’s going along very well,” Ryan said. “It’s a brand new service, which doesn’t happen every day, and it’s an honor to be a part of that. And everyone on the team is highly motivated and very knowledgeable.”

Akins said creating a good service has been easier because of the good foundation in place at the Edwardsville Fire Department.
The support I have received from Chief Schuler and the guys is just amazing,” she said. “Everybody is helping; I don’t even have to ask, everybody’s jumping in to help. It’s just phenomenal.

“The best thing about this department is that the guys are so helpful and so loyal — there’s a loyalty and a team feeling in the department.”

Akins has lots of plans for the future of the EMS service. She said she hopes to have an EMT class next year for those interested in volunteering with the department, and she plans to do some sort of major training exercise, like Tuesday’s mock car accident, at least every three months.

While everyone involved says KCKFD was doing a good job, they were limited by the distance from Edwardsville to the nearest KCKFD station on State Avenue. It is expected that an in-house department will improve response times to an average of three minutes, 18 seconds on about 600 annual ambulance calls in Edwardsville.

“I do look forward to starting something new here at the department, a challenge for the department to overcome, take into the future and be successful at,” Moran said. “I’m very confident that we’ll do that, and it’s just exciting… We’re shortening our response times, getting care and equipment there earlier, and I think that’s very good for our department and at the end of the day it’s what’s best for our community.”

The city plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the EMS Service at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the City Hall parking lot, 690 S. Fourth St.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Teens’ racing costs cyclist his leg

By Olivia Haselwood
Marion Record – June 25, 2014

Curtis Girk, 31, of Peabody did not expect his life to change as he crested a hill on his motorcycle on June 11.

However, it changed in a second when he was sideswiped by a car racing another at 120th and Eagle Rd. and Injuries sustained in the accident resulted in the amputation of Girk’s left leg.

Police reports say two 17-year-olds were racing side-by-side, going west on 120th at 10:45 p.m. A 2007 Mazda sedan, owned and driven by Cody Wedel of Goessel, struck Girk’s eastbound motorcycle while illegally passing, injuring both Girk and his passenger, girlfriend Angela Soukup, 42, of Marion.

According to police reports Wedel and Casey Johnson of Galva, who was driving a Ford pickup that Wedel had been attempting to pass, said they were racing at the time.

“The two drivers of the cars stated they were driving at 85 mph,” sheriff’s deputy Duane McCarty said. “The driver in the car was passing on a hill in a no-passing zone, and when he saw the motorcycle he tried to swerve back into his lane so he would not hit it head on.”

The driver sideswiped the motorcycle while still going around 85 mph, McCarty said. Girk feared the worst.

“I almost missed the car, and when we hit I didn’t expect us to survive, but we did, and without using helmets we had no injuries or scrapes on our heads,” he said.

Girk was about 5 feet from the white line at the road’s edge in a safe spot to ride, McCarty said.

“The car had damage starting from the driver’s door to the rear bumper, and the motorcycle had damage on the left side from the side swipe and from sliding on the asphalt,” McCarty said.

The motorcycle slid nearly 58 feet from the initial impact site, Sheriff Robert Craft said, before landing on Girk and pinning his left leg. Soukup was lying about 15 feet behind the motorcycle, McCarty said.

“My left leg is amputated just beneath the knee,” Girk said in a Facebook post June 13. “I tried to take most of the impact on myself in hopes that Angela wouldn’t be hurt as bad. This is where I draw the line. I can put myself at risk but could never live with myself if something were to have happened to her.”

Soukup was transported to Newton Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and has since been released. Girk suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Wesley Medical Center.

“It should be a very long recovery and then the wait for a prosthetic and then building strength back in my leg and then maybe I can go back to work as a certified nurse’s assistant,” Girk said. “It should be around a year for me to be back to work, I hope.”

Wedel was charged with reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, and failure to wear a seatbelt, and Johnson was charged with reckless driving and speeding according to police reports.

Firefighters and first responders from Goessel, ambulances from Hillsboro and Peabody, and a helicopter ambulance all responded.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hays Fire Deparment called to garage fire

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – June 25, 2014

hays fire 6252014

Crews from the Hays Fire Department were called to the scene of a detached garage fire on the 2700 block of Hickory Street.

Crews were dispatched to the fire at around 6:30 Wednesday evening.

The Hays Police Department had the intersections of 27th and Woodrow Court and 27th and Fort St. blocked to traffic as of 7:20 p.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Lawrence woman has non-life-threatening injuries after rollover accident on Tennessee St.

By Sara Humm
Lawrence 6 News – June 25, 2014


Around 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Lawrence police officers were called to the 1100 block of Tennessee St. for a rollover accident.

Kim Murphree, a spokeswoman for the Lawrence Police Department, said the driver was a 52-year-old Lawrence woman driving a black 1993 Honda Civic. She said the woman was driving southbound and struck a red Toyota Camry. Witnesses said the woman veered into a parked vehicle, causing her car to flip over.

Witnesses said she was not speeding but officers have not yet confirmed that.

Murphree said the driver was extricated from her vehicle and was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Both vehicles were inoperable after the accident.

Murphree said alcohol is not suspected as a contributing factor at this time. Lawrence police continue to investigate the incident.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT – Emporia Fire Department

Under the supervision of a Fire Captain, the Firefighter/EMT performs specialized work in the prevention and suppression of fires and providing life saving services (EMS). Firefighting work includes combating, extinguishing and preventing fires, operating and maintaining fire department equipment and apparatus. EMT duties include responding with ambulance service to emergency medical service calls, transporting sick and injured persons in response area. Duties follow prescribed policies and procedures, but independent judgment may be required in certain circumstances.


$ Must be at least 18 years of age.
$ Available for written and physical agility test on August 9, 2014.
$ Possess a minimum of a Kansas EMT-B Certification (EMTB or MICT preferred) at the time of testing.
$ Must possess valid Kansas driver’s license.
$ Must successfully complete aptitude, physical agility tests and background check.
$ Ability to communicate in a courteous manner and to work effectively with other employees, supervisors, and the public.
$ Must be able to function calmly under stressful situations.
$ Must be a non-tobacco user.
$ Possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
$ Must be resident of Lyon Co. or relocate upon employment.
$ Must pass physical exam and drug screen upon conditional offer of employment.

Submit an application through:

City of Emporia
Human Resources Department
515 Market
Emporia, KS 66801
or apply on-line at:

Written and agility test is tentatively set for Saturday, August 9, 2014
Academy is tentatively set to start on September 15, 2014

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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