Archive for July, 2014

KSFFA Regional Fire School hosted by Harvey County Emergency Services Association

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Harvey County Emergency Services Association
August 1-2, 2014
Location: Fire Station (near Hwy 50) – Burrton, KS

Friday – August 1st – 6 p.m.

1.  Vehicle Fires – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required
2.  Oil Tank Battery Fires
3.  NFIRS Reports

Saturday – August 2nd – 8 a.m.

1.  Engine Company Ops for Small Departments
2.  Basic Skills – Ventilation, Ladders, Hose Lays, SCBA, Forcible Entry – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required
3.  Water Rescue – This class is approved for BEMS Continuing Education Hours
4.  FRA Mini Clinic

Saturday – August 2nd – 1 p.m.

1.  Engine Company ops for Small Depts. (cont.)
2.  Basic Skills – cont.
3.  Firefighter Rehab – This class is approved for BEMS Continuing Education Hours
4.  CAFS Systems

Saturday – August 2nd – 6 p.m.

1.  Fire Grounds – Burn Trailer – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required

Contact Info: Chief Jim VanSchaick, Halstead, 316-835-2606 or 620-340-3048 or , Chief Jon Robert, Burrton CFD #5 620-960-0223 or Asst. Chief Rusty Walters, Burrton CFD #5 620-899-1407

All classes are free of charge. Fit testing with port-a-count machine will be at this school. If you need Firefighter 1 or 2 testing you will have to pre-register through Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute.


Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Osage City apartment damaged in fire

By Jeremy Gaston
Osage City Herald Chronicle – July 31, 2014

osage city fire 7312014

Firefighters responded to a structure fire at 11:27 a.m. Thursday morning at Morningside Apartments.

The fire was contained to Apartment A-1, located at 1000 Main St., in Osage City. There was no damage to the three adjacent apartments in the unit.

According to the Osage City Police Department, the fire was accidentally started in a vacant apartment by maintenance workers. No one was injured in the fire.

A resident that lived in the building was not home at the time of the fire and will be moved to another apartment in the complex.

Osage City Police Department, Osage County Fire District No. 2, Osage County Fire District No. 5, Osage County Fire District No. 6, Osage County EMS, Osage County Sheriff’s Office, Osage City Electric Department and the Osage City Utility Department responded to the call.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Crews respond to report of fire at Spirit Aerosystems

KAKE – July 31, 2014

Firefighters were dispatched to Spirit Aerosystems for the second time this week.

Crews were called to Spirit shortly before 11:30 a.m. for the report of a fire inside a trash compactor. The situation was reported under control within minutes.

Spirit Aerosystems said seven workers were evacuated from the building as a precaution.

On Tuesday afternoon, firefighters responded to another small fire at Spirit, near a titanium milling machine. In that incident, about 50 people were displaced from their work area due to smoke but no one was hurt.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

County grapples with rural EMS issue

James Jordan
Wellington Daily News – July 31, 2014

The Sumner County Commission has grappled with the question of how to provide emergency services to rural areas of the county. Ideas such as a county-wide system have been discussed, but so far no solutions have been found.

Currently the county has a complex formula it uses, bases on runs, population and other services, to determine how much to pay each individual agency.
Since Wellington and Mulvane are larger, they get most of that money.

In 2013 the county spent $655,000 on EMS for the county, and $440,000 of that went to the two cities.

Now the problem is getting worse because they cannot find volunteers to man the stations, and county officials are looking for answers.

County Commissioner Steve Warner took it on as a project when he was elected four years ago, and he is still working.
He would like to see each area of the county have its own tax base, much like fire districts do.

“I have been trying to find out if we can give each EMS its own taxing authority. They can adjust it themselves and be accountable,” Warner said.

He has asked the state’s attorney general if this can be done a few times but has not gotten an answer.

“We don’t even know if we can legally do it, but it seems the fairest thing,” he said.

Both Warner and commissioner Cliff Bales said the current system is flawed, but there does not seem to be a better way immediately available.

“No one is doing anything wrong out there. We know there is inequity, none of us likes it,” Warner said of the current system.
Most departments need to have hired staff, but few can afford that.
“The day of the volunteer is about over. Cultural changes and with the economy, people don’t have the spare time they used to have,” Warner said.

Most of the departments have run for years with volunteers, but those people are getting older and fewer younger people are volunteering.

As it has risen to crisis levels, other towns like Argonia an Belle Plaine have come to the county for help, and though the commission has tried, not many solutions have been found.
Currently it is Conway Springs that is nearing that state.
They get about $15,000 from the county to cover a large area, and that drives up their costs.

Conway Springs EMS director Jim Brozovich said his department should get a bigger piece of the pie from the county and he would like to see the system changed.

“They have been talking about a county-wide system for 20 years. It is a cost issue. The city can’t raise the mil levy enough to make up for it,” he said.

Brozovich said the Conway Springs EMS has a budget of around $90,000 for the year, and they may consider not continuing the contract with the county.

It would not hurt them that much financially to lose that money, and would cut their costs dramatically.

Conway Springs held a town meeting recently, and only a few people showed up.

The city did approve some part time EMS paid personnel, but staffing it with all paid workers is not feasible.
Brozovich said the city and the EMS officials are trying to figure out what to do, and how to keep services going. They may approach the county at some point.

When they do. Commissioner Warren hopes he will have gotten a ruling from the state.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Rural EMS departments struggle to survive

By James Jordan
Wellington Daily News – July 31, 2014

When there is an emergency minutes, or even seconds, can be a matter of life or death. In cities like Wellington, a four-minute response time by an ambulance is common, but in the rural areas of the county it can take a lot longer.

Several EMS services operate around the county, and they can provide fast responses to emergencies, but some of those agencies are struggling to take care of calls in more rural areas.

Conway Springs is the latest to struggle. Other towns like Argonia and Belle Plaine have already had to make some hard decisions.
The problem is having enough people to staff the facility, or be available to make calls, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“We are in danger of losing our EMS license due to a lack of volunteers and staffing,” Conway Springs paramedic Dawn Cornejo said.

She said they held a meeting in Conway Springs recently, and very few people showed up.

Conway Springs EMS training officer Billie Nickell said state rules require they be able to get an ambulance “out of the barn” in five minutes after receiving a call. They originally had a requirement that emergency personnel live in town, but finding qualified people made that impractical.

For years, since its inception, Conway Springs has operated with volunteers, but it is harder to find people wiling or able to do so. The city did recently approve hiring EMS help for 12 hours per week.
“More than half our volunteers are more than 50 years old. We have one that is 68. Some of us have been doing this 20 years,” Nickell said.

Conway Springs has two paramedics, Cornjeo and director Jim Brozovich, both of whom also work with Sedgwick County EMS.
It is not just the city that they cover though. Nickell pointed out they cover 247 square miles of Sumner County. They get some money from the county for that, but it is not enough to provide staffing levels needed to make up for the shortfall of vounteers.
They also have two ambulances to maintain, and it costs just as much to maintain one in Conway Springs as anywhere else, Nickell explained.

Conway Springs City Clerk Kathy Barklay said the greatest problem is the shrinking number of volunteers. At the public meeting recently, she told the group if they went to a paid service it would nearly double tax bills in the city.

“I can’t imagine not having EMS. We always know we can call 911 and someone will be there. It wou­­ld be devastating to our town if we lost that,” Barkley said.

EMS director Brozovich said they may end up hiring one full time person, and with some paid part time help, the may be able to keep the system running.

Brozovich works for the Sedgwick County EMS during the day and helps out at other times in Conway Springs.

Another problem he has is servicing rural areas of the county. The county gives money to each city to pay for these services, but Wellington and Mulvane get 70 percent or more of that amount.
The City of Conway Springs will also pay for the training for anyone who will sign a contract and work for the city as a volunteer for a specified amount of time. Brozovich said that has worked out well in some situations.

Brozovich believes Conway Springs can scrape by for now, but it may have to consider some radical steps, such as ending its contract with the county to do rural calls.

Brozovich said the Conway Springs EMS has an operating budget of $92,000, and that does not include personnel. He wants to see the county work on its formula for distributing funds, which he thinks could help them cover the rural areas.

Nickell and Barklay have seen other towns struggle, and hopes Conway Springs doesn’t follow suit.

“We took on Belle Plaine service when they lost theirs for awhile. We had a few calls where there were not good results because of response time,” Nickell said.
Belle Plaine lost its service for a time, but is now utilizing a paid service.

It now has two people at the station at all times, two EMT’s and a full time director. The only concession they have had to make is not requiring them to live in the city limits, deputy city clerk Stephanie Howlett said.

Argonia did lost its EMS status, and now has first responders who can answer some calls. They are served by Norwich now for big emergencies.

“They can handle small emergencies. It depends on the day and who is in town,” city official Mindy Mages said.
She said so far it has not been an issue, and Norwich responds in 15 minutes or so.

“We get more calls that you might think, usually its shortness of breath, heat exhaustion or something like that. We have a lot of older individuals too,” she added.

Wellington EMS director Tim Hay said he thinks financing is a secondary issue to the staffing issue.
“People are older that volunteer. We have a newer culture now, there is just not as much volunteerism,” he said.

Hay said a county-wide system has been discussed at times over the years, and that may happen eventually.
“Something will have to happen,” he said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

RV Fire

Arkansas City Traveler – July 31, 2014


Arkansas City firefighter-paramedic Nick Jindra and Lt. Jon Clawson fight a RV fire on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at 31729 61st Road.

The engine compartment along with the front half of the RV was already fully engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived.

The recreational vehicle was being backed up into the driveway after a long trip when the fire started. No one was injured.

Video by Donita Clausen.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sedgwick Co. firefighters fight job cuts in $421M budget for 2015

By Annette Lawless
KAKE – July 30, 2014

Sedgwick County firefighters are tackling a new battle: keeping their jobs.

Wednesday morning, some firefighters from Fire District 1 asked that the county reinstate the positions for the proposed 2015 budget.

“We’re not a cost center within the Sedgwick County budget. We’re a fire district and we’re a value-added service,’ said Dave Thompson, a 17-year firefighter with the county and representative with the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan said it’s a tough reality, but eliminating the jobs has helped reduce about $400,000 of its proposed $17.6 million plan for the fire department.

“Despite that savings, the fire district will run a deficit in 2015 and that’s unacceptable,” he said. “This is a consequence of how much services are provided and how high the taxes are. If you’re not going to raise revenues, then service has to be diminished.”

In the past four-and-a-half years, departments have seen significant change, Buchanan said. About 300 positions were eliminated throughout the county — a result of a $59 million loss in revenues from the state.

“This commission’s got a strong commitment to keep this community safe, but we’ve got to do it as responsible a price as possible,” said commissioner Karl Peterjohn.

Commissioner Tim Norton echoed the sentiment and said the county should re-examine areas with a higher call emergency call volume.

Thompson said he understood the reality of budget cuts, but suggests the county consider an alternative.

“It might be time to look at management when it comes to cutting these positions rather than cutting the firefighters, where the rubber meets the road,” he said.

“That’s nonsense,” Buchanan responded. “You need a command structure in absolute emergency situations and that’s an easy thing to talk about but a terrible difficult thing to do.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Communication needs for Garland Fire Department

By Tammy Helm
Fort Scott Tribune – July 19, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 30, 2014

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou, Bourbon County Emergency manager William Wallis and Bourbon County Emergency Manager Assistant Shane Walker attended the County Commissioner’s meeting to discuss communication upgrades and issues regarding the Garland Fire Department.

Ballou said the Garland Fire Department has installed repeaters.

“We’ve run into one major problem that we’re all going to need to address,” Ballou said. “Right now, I think in dispatch we don’t have room to run another frequency, which is what they’re going to be running on.”

He said he thinks by using a “control head,” he can accommodate that issue by using a frequency that is not frequently used.

“But I’ve had conversations with them, and right now they’re going to be operating basically on their own,” Ballou said.

He said the other systems used by the other departments also don’t have access for an additional frequency. He said he spoke about the issue with Connie May, Garland Fire District Board member.

“But since then, the company we’re working with now, with the city and county communication, think they can make this work, like we originally planned to do,” Ballou said. “This company that put it in said there’s a possibility we’ll have some problems, so they want three frequencies. But the company we have now is just the opposite. They say we can make it work.”

Wallis said there is a problem with Garland having its own frequency.

“They decided to go on their own,” Wallis said. “The problem is, by being on their own frequency, that’s where they stand. Being on their own frequency, dispatch can and has gotten a hold of them, and they’ve responded numerous times and varying times, daytime, night time and so forth. But the problem is, by trying to say they can respond on their own frequency is, if they respond to a fire and they need backup, they’re not going to get it, because they cannot respond, they cannot send that back.”

“We can’t go three frequencies on pagers and stuff and the trucks don’t have room for three frequencies,” Walker said. “And that’s what we told them.”

Wallis said currently there is an automatic mutual aid agreement between Garland and Fort Scott Township. Under the agreement, both departments will automatically respond to each other’s calls.

“Garland does get reception, they do receive calls, because they have responded to calls,” Wallis said. “What Paul is talking about is this new business that has the technology, we haven’t wanted to start throwing money at this thing–this has been a situation since the beginning of the year–we haven’t wanted to just write a blank check, throwing money at this thing and hopefully we’ll find a piece of equipment that’s going to work. No. We’re not going to work like that.

“This company that Paul has contracted with, that he has found out of Topeka, has the technology and has the proper equipment that can be installed where everybody can be on the same frequency as one big team instead of someone that is operating independently.”

Wallis said during Tuesday’s Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting, there was discussion about having fire chiefs’ meetings again. The meetings were held prior to the organization of the LEPC.

“Between Paul and Shane, they’ve said they’ve had great response,” Wallis said. “Good communication and good understanding across the county as far as things like this radio situation, training and basically trying to put all departments on the same sheet of music so everybody sees what’s going on, everybody understands what’s going on and it will be orchestrated through this meeting, down through all the fire chiefs, and that’s the only people invited to this meeting–all the fire chiefs.”

He said another need for organizing chiefs’ meetings again is because after the new communication equipment is installed, each truck will have to be checked to determine if the system is working correctly.

Walker said he has tested five radios and pagers, which all work–just sometimes not well.

“Just at varying degrees, static and so on,” Walker said. “If you’re on a cell phone down that hill, forget it. Cell phones don’t work down there. The big problem is any time you’re in front of a building.”

He said he and Ballou took the same type of radios being used by Garland and discovered they did not work while used in front of the department’s metal building. But they did work when used down the street.

Warren said a new tower is being erected in that area, and Walker said another new tower is to be installed in the Uniontown area.

“I think we’re making progress,” Ballou said. “This is a little bit of a setback, but in order to keep communication going, we’ll try to accommodate everyone.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Philip Henry Schirmer



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Larry “Bo” J. Baudoin



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Arlen Lee Gates



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Truck fire ties up traffic Tuesday

By Brian Dulle
Kansas First News – July 30, 2014


A spectacular fire tied up traffic during Tuesday’s evening commute just west of North Topeka.

A viewer captured footage of a truck fire and sent them to the newsroom just after 6 p.m.

It happened at 350 NE Highway 24 and firefighters took about 15 minutes to put out the fire.

No word on the cause, but Kansas First News was told nobody was injured.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire destroys Marten’s hay baler

Onaga Herald – July 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Onaga firemen were called to the Onaga airport for a baler fire last Thursday evening. The baler, belonging to the Marten brothers, Brad, Tim and Mike, started smoking while baling brome hay west of the airport, at the northwest edge of Onaga. A bad bearing is blamed for the blaze that completely destroyed the baler. Luke Marten was not injured in the fire. Mike said he was home and rushed to the scene, helping unhook the tractor before it was lost as well. Firefighters unrolled the bale and let it burn while keeping the remaining hay safe.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Seven injured in rollover accident Wednesday morning

By Kathleen Martin
Emporia Gazette – July 30, 2014

A rollover accident on I-35 caused minor and severe injuries for seven car occupants Wednesday morning. The car rolled over on I-35 southbound just east of the Neosho Rapids and Hartford exit, according to a press release from the Lyon County Sheriff Department.

The accident occurred around 2:45 a.m. The car driver, Eduardo Tovias, 32, of Texas, fell asleep and drifted to the right side of the road, then overcorrected, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, which rolled onto its top.

Lyon County deputies, Emporia/Lyon County EMS and firefighters from Reading, Neosho Rapids and Hartford responded to the accident.

All seven car occupants were transported to Newman Regional Health for minor to severe injuries, though none of the injuries are life threatening. The occupants were all wearing their seat belts.

Seven total people, all from Texas, were inside the car: Tovias, Juan Islas, 60, Narda Martinez Islas, 26, Nereyda Martinez Islas, 27, Martha Ruelas, 53, Manuela Martinez, 54 and Servando Ramiro, 33.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Highway 24 Reopens After Kansas Ave. Wreck

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – July 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.


A two-car collision in north Topeka sent one man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and forced police to close a stretch of Highway 24 east of N. Topeka Blvd. Tuesday night.

Topeka police have wrapped up the investigation and the roadway is now open to normal flow of traffic early Wednesday morning.

The eastbound lanes of U.S. 24 through the N. Kansas Ave. were shut down when a Chevrolet Cobalt collided with a Dodge Ram shortly after 7:30 p.m., according to police.

According to preliminary reports, the Chevy was heading east on Highway 24 and the Dodge truck was going north when they collided. Police believe one of them ran a red light, but did not say which one.

The driver of the pickup was not hurt.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

WFD staffing concerns likely resolved

By Brittany Glas
KSN – July 30, 2014


In the wake of multiple fires Monday across Wichita, KSN learned that in one case, a battalion chief said he wished the department had more firefighters to call out for assistance.

KSN met with representatives with the Wichita Fire Department Tuesday to learn more about the fire chief’s concerns.

We learned the Wichita Fire Dept. is working with city councilors to make certain staffing on the ground does not fall short.

“It’s better to have more there, than less, but we also keep an eye on that as a department, and I know that, at the time,” Captain Stuart Bevis said, “the administration was looking, ‘Do we have enough to cover?’”

Capt. Bevis, with the Wichita Fire Department, referred to Monday morning fires. The first was a bar fire called in around 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of Dayton and Seneca in South Wichita.

Thirty WFD trucks were dispatched to the scene of the bar fire. Soon after, a second fire broke out; a building fire.

Eight trucks from the bar fire were dispatched to the building fire located on S. Lulu, where 15 total units responded.

It is a daily struggle for any public safety department and the city responsible for funding it: keeping enough boots on the ground.

Wichita City Council spoke with KSN concerning the matter, and said that public safety, including the fire department, is a top priority.

“It’s always been the council’s focus to put as many firefighters on the street as possible,” said Councilman James Clendenin, a council member for District III.

For WFD, last year brought position changes that resulted in six vacant firefighter positions. However, thanks to the Staffing Apparatus For Emergency Response grant, or SAFER grant, six new firefighters are already in training to fill those holes.

“With the SAFER grant, some personnel are coming back and some of those movements are going to be altered,” said Capt. Bevis.

The federal grant is part of Wichita’s 2015 – 2016 proposed budget, which has not yet been passed.

Regardless of that, Councilman Clendenin says it’s a priority.

“The SAFER grant and those positions are reflected in the budget, and so those positions are safe,” said Clendenin. “There would be a lot of work thrown down the drain if we just allowed it to leave the budget. It’s there.”

The public will get two chances to hear and comment on the proposed budget before it passes. Then, City Council must vote on the budget.

The first public hearing will be held Tuesday, August 5.

The second public hearing will take place on Tuesday, August 12. Following the second public hearing, city councilors will vote on the budget.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Disturbing videos show teens setting themselves on fire

By Laura McCallister & Alan Shope
KCTV5 – July 30, 2014


Disturbing new videos are showing up on YouTube of something called the “fire challenge”.

The videos show teens setting themselves on fire and recording it. A warning: some may find the videos disturbing.

It might be the most dangerous and disturbing thing people have ever seen a child intentionally do. The videos show teens dousing themselves in alcohol and, while standing in front of a shower, light the fluid.

They call it the “fire challenge.” Doctors working in the burn unit call it stupidity.

The University of Kansas Hospital says during the summer they get about 10 patients a week from people using accelerants to start fires, causing serious burns. They say the “fire challenge” has been around for about five years and they do get patients that have done it.

“They lit their leg on fire and unfortunately it led to third-degree burns with required skin grafting,” said Dr. Dhaval Bhavsar with the University of Kansas Hospital Burn Unit.

Doctors say kids have been intentionally lighting themselves on fire for years, but now with the advent of YouTube and national stunt shows they say it’s getting more dangerous and doctors fear it might become deadly.

“It has a potential, yes,” Bhavsar said.

The Overland Park Fire Department said it’s no joke. They set up a demonstration to show just how hot the fires get on the body and how dangerous they really are.

“People don’t fully understand the consequences of what can happen by doing this ‘fire challenge.’ It’s beyond a prank on YouTube, it can cause permanent damage to yourself that can last your entire life. It can burn your house down,” said Overland park Fire Investigator Kurt Neis.

The department adds that teens can be prosecuted for setting the intentional fires.

Already teens in Kentucky and Ohio have been seriously hurt performing the “fire challenge.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Young Tonganoxie boy with inoperable brain tumor gets his wish and “happy”

Lawrence 6 News – July 30, 2014


Tuesday night the entire town of Tonganoxie stopped and gathered downtown all for 8-year-old Kurtis McCullough and his big wish.

“The fire truck picked us up at our house, brought us to the fire station, we had dinner at the fire department,” said Denise McCullough, Kurtis’s mother, “How’d you feel excited?” Kurtis responded, “Happy.”

Kurtis, or Kurt as he called, has an inoperable brain tumor.

‘Kurts been going through this now for over six and a half years,” said Denise McCullough.

During that time spent at home, in hospitals, and at doctors’ appointments Kurt fell in love with a few things. To name a few fire trucks, parades and a TV show and movie.

“He watches Gilligan’s Island and Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked, that was filmed in Hawaii and is one of his favorite movies,” said Denise McCullough.

So the Make-A-Wish foundation, the City of Tonganoxie, and the Leavenworth County Fair stepped in.

“We’re going to Hawaii,” said Denise Mccullough.

“A community member reached out to me and said the foundation had granted his wish and that this young man liked fire trucks, and he liked parades, and wondered if I might be able to help with some of that and I said absolutely,” said Jason Ward, Mayor of Tonganoxie.

Just like that, a parade in his honor, a day on the job at the fire department, a big night at the county fair, and a trip to Hawaii, all for Kurt.

“It just warms my heart to know that people really care about him,” said Denise McCullough.

“This family has been through an awful lot and Tonganoxie is such a tight-knit community. When folks here have things that happen to them we all feel it,” said Mayor Ward.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire levels garage

By Chris Strunk
Ark Valley News – July 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Investigators may never know what started a fire that destroyed the aging detached garage at 142 N. park July 5.

Valley Center Fire Chief Lonnie Tormey said there was no evidence of fireworks.

“Of course, you always suspect that so close to the Fourth,” Tormey said. “But we can’t rule it that because there is no evidence. It will go down as undetermined cause.”

The garage was mostly empty. A few tools and an old push mower were destroyed. A vehicle had previously occupied the garage, but had been removed several weeks ago.

The fire was reported about 5:15 a.m.

The fire department said the residence has been unoccupied for about five years and the garage was not insured. Loss was estimated about $2,000, mostly from the cost of lumber the property’s caretaker was preparing to use to fix doors on the garage.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire-rescue works to shorten response, arrival times

By Donna Celaya
Montgomery County Chronicle – July 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 30, 2014

Cherryvale Fire-Rescue has issued itself a challenge and is rising to the occasion.

Fire Chief Jesse Reed told the Cherryvale City Council Monday evening that the department is working on shortening its response time, and most of the results are showing measurable improvement. He said the emergency medical services unit responded to calls within one minute of the calls 69 percent of the time in June, up from 57 percent in May; and within three minutes of the calls 92 percent of the time in June, up from 90 percent in May.

Reed said the EMS crew arrived on the scene within five minutes of receiving the calls 85 percent of the time in June, up from 82 percent in May. The crew arrived on the scene within 10 minutes of the calls 88 percent of the time in June; down slightly from 90 percent in May. He said none of the 48 calls were from people located outside the city limits, which slows arrival times.

June saw the department responding to:

  • 4 fire calls, including a gas leak, a motor vehicle accident, a fire alarm and an automatic aid stove fire
  • 48 EMS responses that involved 43 patients, including 26 transports, 15 patient refusals and seven “other,” such as no patient found, call cancelled, dead at scene, or transported by another EMS.

Reed said the highest number of EMS calls were four for pain, four for respiratory distress, three for altered consciousness, and three traumatic injuries.

In other matters, Reed also said the department:

  • Sent out 122 nuisance and weeds letters in June, up from 76 sent in May and 22 in April.
  • Received $8,550 from a mini AFG grant for a new thermal imaging camera. The camera is used to find victims at crime, accident and fire scenes, hot spots inside walls at fire scenes, runaways and hidden people, and unconscious or injured people tossed from vehicles at crash sites.
  • Introduced the new Advanced Emergency Medical Services member, Andrew Richmond, who was named Kansas Firefighter of the Year in 2013. Richmond transferred recently to Cherryvale Fire-Rescue from a nearby city’s fire and EMS department.
  • Learned the department’s newest volunteers are firefighters Christopher Furr and Cody Fought; and EMT Nathanael Day. Furr and Fought are working on gaining EMT credentials and training, while Day is getting his training in the firefighting side of the department, Reed said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Two people taken to hospital following a wreck

Belleville Telescope – July 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 30, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Two people were taken to Republic County Hospital following a wreck Thursday at the US81 and M ST intersection north of Belleville. A pickup driven by Larry Heald, 71, Concordia, was driving east into the intersection, and the 2013 Journey driven by Leonard Boguslaw, Grant Island, was northbound on US81. The Kansas Highway Patrol said Boguslaw vehicle rolled after the collision. Boguslaw and a passenger, Ruby Boguslaw, 60, were both taken to the hospital. The intersection has been the scene of a number of accidents in recent years that result in fatalities or serious injuries. The speed limit on the northbound lanes raises to 70 mph near the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Small basement fire fills house with smoke

By Caroline Sweeney
Topeka Capital Journal – July 29, 2014

A house filled with smoke on Tuesday after a small fire started in the basement at 2:15 p.m.

When fire fighters arrived at 2820 S.E. Wisconsin there was light smoke in the basement windows, according to Topeka Fire Battalion Chief Todd Williams.

“The cause of the fire was a kid playing with a lighter,” Williams said.

The fire, which was in the middle of the basement, was extinguished in approximately 15 and caused very little damage.

“I’d say less than $500,” Williams said about the cost to repair the damaged area.

Although he could not say what was specifically on fire, Williams said the child set “household items,” on fire with the lighter.

An investigator was called to the house and crews cleared the area at 4:30 p.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire crews put out titanium fire at Spirit AeroSystems

By Amy Renee Leiker
Wichita Eagle – July 29, 2014

Sedgwick County fire crews extinguished a hazardous materials fire Tuesday afternoon at local airplane manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems.

A Sedgwick County dispatcher said “some sort of titanium” sparked the fire around 1:30 p.m. The blaze was in Plant II, the dispatcher said — one of the factory buildings in the 4400 block of East MacArthur.

According to scanner traffic, titanium dust ignited, leading to the fire. It was extinguished before 2 p.m. No injuries have been reported, according to 911 dispatch.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Family dog dies in Wichita house fire

By John Boyd
KWCH – July 29, 2014

wichita fire 7292014


Fire officials are looking for a cause after a vacant house fire Monday.

Crews were called to the 1100 block of W. Dayton in Wichita at around 9:30 pm.

Firefighters found fire in the basement of the home. They were able to put the fire out.

No people were hurt, but the family’s dog died in the fire.

A fire department spokesman said the owner of the duplex was notified and told investigators he had no insurance on the building.

The damage estimate is listed at around $25,000.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

House fire suspicious

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – July 29, 2014

Photo by Gale Rose.

Photo by Gale Rose.

The cause of an early Tuesday morning house fire in Pratt is under investigation by the Pratt Police Department.

Fire crews were called to 512 West Fifth around 3:40 a.m. and found an entry door on the east side of the house on fire. Firefighters had the fire under control in about 15 minutes but were on scene for about two hours, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.

The fire was contained to the door entrance area but there was a lot of smoke throughout the house. Kramer said the fire was of suspicious origin and the cause was under investigation.

The house is divided into apartments and the fire was on the ground level on the east side. When firefighters arrived, they were told people were still inside the structure so firefighters had to get the residents out.

No one was injured in the fire but firefighters and some residents took some rehabilitation on site because of smoke.

Estimated damage was $5,000 but it could have been a lot worse, Kramer said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Another reason why you don’t do drugs

By Ryan Carlson
Lyons News – July 8, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

A Lyons man who was suspected of using drugs had to be rescued by the Lyons Fire Department Monday evening.

Lyons police officer Max Bryant said a man who lives at 611 South Saint John believed people were spying on him up in his tree.

The man proceeded to climb the tree to confront the imaginary people and bring them down. The man made it up to 40 feet in the tree and then was unable to climb down. Lyons Fire Department sent a rescue vehicle with platform to help the gentleman safely to the ground.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire cause still a mystery

Ottawa Herald – July 19, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

The cause of a fire that engulfed a single story home July 12 at 437 Kingman Road remains under investigation, Lt. Curtis Hall, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday. Emergency personnel responded at 10:03 p.m. July 12 to the home, owned by Chet Hermreck.

“The owner and occupants were not on the premises at the time of the fire,” Stan Lantis, Pomona Fire Chief, said. “(The home was) fully engulfed on our arrival.”

No injuries resulted from the fire, and damage did not extend beyond the structure of origin, Lantis said. Hermreck was living in the house with his wife and children, he said.

The home was for sale and listed between $120,000 and $125,000, Hall said.

The Pomona Fire Department responded with mutual aid from Williamsburg and Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison Fire Departments.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters reset faulty fire alarm

Beloit Call – July 11, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

Beloit firefighters responded to what turned out to be a false alarm at the Super 8 Motel Wednesday night.

Beloit Volunteer Firefighter Blake Miller said a faulty alarm was to blame. He said firefighters went in with cameras and there were no signs of visible smoke.

Guests at the motel were reportedly evacuated to the lobby area as a precaution.

Miller said firefighters reset the alarm and returned to the station.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Early morning fire consumes Flora barn, loafing shed, livestock

Gove County Advocate – July 9, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

quinter fire 7292014b

quinter fire 7292014c

Sam Flora says he’d just like to turn back the clock, but obviously, that can’t be done.

Sam and Glenda Flora live southeast of Quinter and lost a barn and loafing shed in a fire that started in the late night of July 4th. They also lost livestock and various other items in the shed.

Sam became aware of the fire when his neighbor Mike Jamieson arrived at his house sometime between 11:30 and 12 Midnight and told him the barn was on fire. At about the same time, Patrick Richmeier woke up Sam’s son Ryan Flora, who lives at the place of the fire.

Sam left the house with pajamas and his boots on and drove the short distance to the milk barn and the barn that was engulfed in flames. Firemen were arriving from Quinter at that time and Sam requested that since the old barn was gone, to try to keep the milk house from burning if possible. Quinter and Grainfield fire departments responded to the fire call as well as water tanker trucks from T & T Chemical and CHS.

Sam said the fire was caused by bales that were “hot” inside the barn. He thought about moving several of them outside, but decided they would be okay. The hot wind that blew from the south most of July 4th during the day probably helped the bales to become hot enough to cause the bales to ignite from spontaneous combustion resulting in the fire.

Even with the wind dying down, embers were suppressed by neighbors who watched for embers drifting in the breeze into trees north of the fire.

The barn was originally built in the 1920s according to Sam. The loafing sheds on three sides of the old barn were added later.

Livestock lost in the fire included 13 calves from newborns to about 30 days old and a 500 lb. bull. Sam had selected the bull calf from one of his best cows. Other calves that were close to the fire and survived are still somewhat ill. One calf has already succumbed; probably from the heat and smoke inhalation.

A lawn mower and various other items were lost in the fire as well.

Firemen came back on Saturday, July 5 at about 11 a.m. when Sam pulled out the rest of the bales from the fire area.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire destroys barn in rural Lancaster

By Bryce Mereness
Atchison Globe – July 9, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Volunteer firemen responded to a barn fire Friday night south of Lancaster.

Crews from Lancaster, Effingham and Shannon responded to the call shortly before 8 p.m. At it’s peak, flames shot more than 20 feet into the air.

The cause of the fire is not known, but owner Phil Drimmel speculated an overheated wheel bearing sparked a fire on the trailer carrying in a load of straw from the field. The fire quickly spread and consumed the whole structure along with thousands of dollars in farm equipment inside.

Fire officials deemed the structure a total loss. Crews were able to douse the flames but the straw inside continued to smolder. Crews eventually were able to drag the trailer loaded with straw out of the collapsed structure to end the threat of another flare up. Crews cleared the scene just after 1 a.m.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Department visits Story-hour at Hanover Public Libary

Hanover News – July 11, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

Volunteer firemen Marty Coufal and Bob Rut give a demonstration on fire safety and show the spectators their firefighting equipment. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Volunteer firemen Marty Coufal and Bob Rut give a demonstration on fire safety and show the spectators their firefighting equipment. Click on photo to view full-size image.

On Wednesday July 2, the Hanover City Fire Department came to visit the children at story-hour and discuss fire safety in light of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend. Fire Chief Bob Rut and firefighter Marty Coufal brought the city fire trucks to the library for the children to look at, and discussed with them how to stay safe in case of a fire.

The preschool/K students made firework crafts using black construction paper, chalk and LOTS of GLITTER and watched a fire experiment conducted by Chandra Heiman, which explained how fires can be put out. The stories included No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), by Jean E. Pendziwol, which told about why it isn’t a good idea to bring a dragon into your house; a story about a fire department; and a story called Mikey Makes a Mess, by Carolyn Kourofsky, which tells about the dangers of finding matches.

Finally, after getting to check out the fire trucks, S’MORES were served as a snack and enjoyed by all.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone for coming, and especially to the Hanover City Fire Department for taking time out of their busy schedules to spread fire safety knowledge to our youngsters. The kids LOVED checking out the trucks and of course, the sticker badges and balloons too!

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Miltonvale EMS & Fire Benefit Big Success

By Ron Foster
Miltonvale Record – July 10, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – July 29, 2014

The LifeStar helicopter made another run to Miltonvale last Friday and, thankfully, this trip was like the last one–nobody needed to be airlifted to a hospital. The helicopter and crew were in town to support the EMS and Fire Benefit, spearheaded by DK’s Bar & Grill and Kathy Coleman. After the crew refueled on the pulled pork, baked beans and cole slaw dinner at DK’s they climbed aboard and got the blades a-whirlin’. Everyone with enough hair to blow dry soon had the windswept look, and after giving a nod to the folks left below the whirlybird headed on home.

DK’s was crowded with people ready to enjoy a good meal, express their thanks to the EMS and Fire volunteers, and the free will donation bucket was accepting all denominations. Auction items were on display in the back room, and right on cue Max Coleman showed up with his microphone to get the people bidding. The action was sometimes slow, but it got interesting when a couple of guys were bidding on hair products donated by Starr Avenue Salon and the winner gave the prize to the guy standing next to him (hint! hint!).

When all was said and done the Benefit raised $2801, money that will be put to good use in the EMS and Fire building maintenance fund.

Although a total has been calculated, it doesn’t need to be a final figure…you can talk to Kathy or Dale, Karen and Candice if you want to make a donation.

City Council News:

The first item of new business was a report on the EMS by Kathy Coleman. She said that staffing is the number one priority, and is also the hardest thing to fulfill because of a limited number of staff. At the present time, EMS personnel are “on call” an average of 240 hours per month, and are paid a whopping 18 cents per hour ($43.20!!). It’s hard to keep people involved with so many on-call hours required.

Kathy gathered information from 56 area agencies to compare base rate and mileage costs, and proposed an increase. She suggest raising the base rate from $450 to $530, and the mileage rate from $12 per mile to $13 per mile, which are average costs for our geographical area. She also suggested charging a stand-by fee for football games and the Longford Rodeo. Currently the Miltonvale EMS is doing it for free, while most other agencies are charging for the service. Services and commodities that are not being used provide an opportunity to cut expenses, Kathy said. She is planning to discontinue phone service, internet service, and cell phones in the ambulances. By increasing the base rate, mileage and stand-by charges and by eliminating unused services, plus some other cost-savers, Kathy’s proposed budget will allow for an increase in the on-call remuneration from 18 cents per hour to $1.00 per hour. A certain Council member, while not exactly jumping out of his chair and shouting, “You want to raise the rate by HOW MUCH?!” did comment on the percentage of increase.

EMS classes are scheduled to start in September, and Kathy said five or six people have indicated an interest in participating. The Cloud County EMS will pay for the first round of testing.

Kathy also reported that the EMS and Fire fundraiser, sponsored by DK’s Bar & Grill, raised $2,801, which will be used for the EMS building maintenance.

After further discussion the Council voted to approve increasing the base rate and mileage fees, charging a stand-by fee, discontinuing internet at the EMS building and cell phones in the ambulances, and reviewing the on-call pay, effective August 1.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster



Refinery Fire in Coffeyville

By Samantha Morgan
KTUL – July 29, 2014

coffeyville fire 7292014

Four people are injured after an early morning fire broke out at a refinery.

That fire happened just after midnight at Coffeyville Resources in Coffeyville, Kansas.

It took about an hour to get the fire out.

The victims have varying degrees of burns and were taken to a hospital.

There is no word at this time what caused the fire.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hutchinson man killed in accident west of South Hutchinson

KAKE – July 28, 2014

reno co fire 7282014

A Hutchinson man is dead following a crash on Highway 50, west of South Hutchinson.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says it happened shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday in the intersection at Dean Road. Troopers say a Chrysler Town and Country van, driven by a Hutchinson woman pulled off of Dean Road and into the path of a motorcycle that was traveling westbound on Highway 50.

The motorcycle collided with the side of the van. The rider, 33-year-old Michael Nelson of Hutchinson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Two Workers Seriously Injured in Electrical Accident

By Ronelle Williams
St. Joe News – July 28, 2014

Two workers were seriously injured in an electrical fire at an Atchison, Kansas foundry Monday morning.

Authorities say John Bilderback, 43, of Muscotah and James Colclasure, 46, of Atchison, suffered severe burns after an accident at Bradken Foundry around 9:30 a.m.

Both were taken to the Atchison Hospital but Colclasure was later flown to the University of Kansas Hospital for treatment.

The men were working on an electrical panel when the accident happened.

Authorities say the power to the building they were working in was shut down but for some reason the power to the panel was still on.

“The power to that particular box that they were working on actually comes from the street. So it doesn’t run through the plant necessarily and I don’t believe they knew that,” said Atchison Fire Chief Michael McDermed.

The electrical current that injured the two men was so strong it scorched wooden boxes several feet away.

“The crews estimated probably the boxes were within maybe eight to 10 feet of where these gentlemen were working so that would give you an idea that the electrical arc extended out quite a ways,” said McDermed.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Car fire at Sonic doesn’t stop fast food

By Caroline Sweeney
Topeka Capital Journal – July 28, 2014

topeka fire 7282014

A car fire at a Sonic restaurant in Topeka had firefighters on the alert Monday afternoon.

A four-door sedan caught fire while its occupants were waiting to get food at a Sonic at 1151 S.W. Gage Blvd. Witnesses said a Topeka resident came to their aid and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames before firefighters arrived.

Sonic remained open through the ordeal, which lasted about two minutes.

No one was injured.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Only minor damage after HFD fights AC fire at City Hall

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – July 28, 2014

The Hays City Fire Department fought a small fire in their own backyard Saturday as one of the six air conditioners for Hays City Hall caught on fire.

According to HFD Chief Gary Brown, the firefighters, whose department is connected to City Hall, noticed smoke coming from the air conditioner at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The firefighters were the only ones in the building at that time.

“They saw smoke coming out of the AC, they cut the power, used a fire extinguisher and called it in just in case,” Brown said. “If we don’t get (the fire) out, (we) want help coming, so (firefighters) handle it just like any structure fire.”

Brown said City Hall is running smoothly, and no offices are closed.

For now, portable air conditions will be used for the four offices affected by the loss of the main air conditioner, according to Brown.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Edwin Earl Waller



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire crews respond to two-alarm fire at Whiskey Dicks

KSN – July 28, 2014

wichita fire 7282014

Wichita fire crews are on the scene of a two-alarm fire.

It broke out just after 11 a.m. at Whiskey Dicks in the 800 block of South Seneca.

When crews arrived, heavy smoke was coming from the building.

Fire crews are blocking Seneca off south of Kellogg.

KSN News has a crew on the scene.

Look for updates online at

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire Department seeking station site

By Ken Stephens
Hutchinson News – July 27, 2014

When Fire Stations No. 3 and 5 were built in 1975, Chief Kim Forbes said, no one was thinking that one day the Hutchinson Fire Department would merge with Fire District No. 2, taking in miles of unincorporated territory around the city. Nor was anyone thinking about developments butting up against the wild lands to the north and east, he said.

No one foresaw the need to position specialized trucks for fighting brush fires around the city, or the need to have tenders and trailers capable of delivering thousands of gallons of water to areas where there weren’t any fire hydrants.

But now Forbes and his staff are thinking about where best to position new and larger fire stations capable of housing the additional fire trucks that will be needed to meet the city’s needs for the next 30 to 50 years.

So, city leaders balked this past week at the idea of spending $220,000 to repair the roof and a bulging wall at Fire Station No. 5, which they were told was already an inadequate 39-year-old station, perhaps less than ideally located to serve the city’s future needs.

Instead, they’re putting $800,000 in the capital improvement plan to build a modern station, larger and better positioned.

Over the next three or four months, Forbes told the City Council on Tuesday, his staff will study possible locations for a new station and report back to the council by December.

The Fire Department will analyze a number of types of data, including the number of types of calls they are answering. In 2013, Deputy Chief Doug Hanen said, they rolled on 4,400 calls. Of those, 101 were structure fires. The others were grass fires, miscellaneous fires, medical calls and rescues. The number of calls, Forbes said, grows by 100 to 200 a year.

Because the city’s population is aging (there are about 11,000 people 65 and older now and that’s expected to grow to more than 15,000 by 2030), Forbes expects that the number of medical calls will increase.

The study also will examine the city’s growth pattern – commercial and residential.

Nearly 40 years ago, when Stations No. 3 and 5 were built, there were a handful of businesses along 11th, 17th and 30th Avenues, Forbes said. Now both sides of those streets are lined with businesses.

Forbes said there has been tremendous change at 17th and Lorraine and more development near 17th and Waldron, including health care facilities. There are two new hotels near 11th and K-61, a new school that will open this fall near 43rd and Severance and plans for at least 60 new homes near the school. The city also recently platted three other new subdivisions with plans for 108 single-family hopes and eight duplexes along the city’s northern tier. Forbes also foresees more commercial development near the new Dillon’s marketplace at 30th and Waldron.

The community, he said, keeps growing to the north and northeast, where it also is butting up against what he said is the largest wild land/urban interface in the state – miles of brush, cedar trees and plum thickets.

“You don’t have to go far out of the city and you hit the wild land interface,” Forbes said. “… Several times we’ve had a fire travel a mile in 15 to 17 minutes. It can be a half mile long and a mile to a mile and a half wide.”

When the wind drives fires that fast, he said, homes are immediately threatened. In those cases, the Fire Department deploys a variety of units — brush trucks to get off the road to fight the wild fire, tenders to deliver water and traditional ladder trucks to protect houses under threat.

“Maybe we need to move some stations a little east and north,” Forbes said. “They could be shifted and still meet today’s needs but get closer to what tomorrow’s emergencies will look like.”

Hanen said that ideally each station should have one or two brush units, in addition to its traditional fire trucks. But some of the stations don’t have room for additional units.

Fire Station No. 3 has room for one apparatus; No. 5 has room for two; No. 2 has room for three; No. 6 has room for four; No. 1 has room for five, and No. 4 has room for eight.

“A good rule of thumb for us going forward may be to look at a minimum of six bays,” Hanen said.

That’s the number of bays in Station No. 7, which opened in 2012 at 3414 E. 30th Ave. Unlike Stations 1 and 2, newer stations have front and rear garage doors so that fire trucks don’t have to be backed in off the streets, Hanen said.

Fire Station No. 6 also has separate sleeping quarters, locker rooms and bathrooms for male and female firefighters.

Growth to the north and the wild land interface aren’t Forbes’ only concerns. He’s also concerned about the aging and deteriorating housing in the southern half of the city, especially vacant and abandoned houses.

Older structures, Forbes said, are more vulnerable to fires because the electrical wiring may no longer be adequate. Furnaces that haven’t been serviced and checked for safety on a regular basis also cause fires. Sometimes poor or elderly people may not be able to afford repairing or replacing a furnace so they rely on space heaters, which can start fires when knocked over or placed too close to furniture or drapes or other combustible material, Forbes said.

And when older houses burn, often they burn faster if they haven’t been maintained well and siding is cracked and weathered.

“If there are a lot of vacant homes, especially in the winter you have people trying to get out of the cold,” he said. “And if there are no utilities in the house, they are starting fires to get warm or cook. Those houses are in poor condition. If you have a fire in one abandoned house, the houses on either side of it also are being threatened. You have to stop it quickly so you don’t have a fire in two houses.”

Fire Stations No. 3 and 5 were built to the same design in 1975. At both stations, the roofs are sagging and leaking because they weren’t designed with adequate roof support. There’s no immediate danger that the roofs will collapse, although Forbes is concerned enough that he’ll consider temporarily pulling his crews and equipment out if a foot of heavy, wet snow piles up on the roof.

But even if the structures were sound, he said, it’s time to reevaluate the location of the stations.

“Every 30 to 50 years you should analyze whether the stations are still in the best location to serve the community,” he said.

The city’s newest fire station, No. 7, opened in 2012 at a cost of about $750,000. It would have been more, but Westar Energy donated land on 30th Avenue south of its power plant.

In choosing a site for a new station, the Fire Department will look at land the city already owns. It may try to swap some city-owned land for privately owned land in a better location for a fire station. Another possibility is that if an aging station is in what will still be a good location for the next 30 to 50 years, they could raze that station, temporarily relocate firefighters and equipment to another station and build a larger, modern station on the same site.

“There may two or three that need to be relocated,” Forbes said. “We’ll take a look at it all. It could be (replacing No.) 3 and 5 first or 2 and 5. If there’s an opportunity to combine two stations, we’ll see.”

“We want to get them in the best location we can and the size you need. We may not have all the equipment for them today, but it’s coming and we want to have a place to put it.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Atchison woman dies in Northeast Kansas accident

St. Joseph News Press – July 27, 2014

An Atchison, Kan. woman died after a single-vehicle accident in Doniphan County, Kan. late Friday night, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Pamela Blair, 58, traveled east on 100th Road, about five miles east of Atchison, in a 1990 Mazda convertible with fellow passenger Phillip Theurer, 59, of Atchison. For an unknown reason, Ms. Blair left the roadway and entered a ditch.

The vehicle then struck an embankment, and overturned onto its top. Neither occupant was wearing a seat belt, the KHP reported.

Ms. Blair was killed at the scene, troopers stated. Mr. Theurer suffered possible injuries, but troopers did not report any medical treatment immediately.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Be prepared

By Ashley Bergner
Newton Kansan – July 27, 2014

Newton Fire/EMS crews hoist a ladder toward a window on a train as part of a training exercise with BNSF in Newton last year. ASHLEY BERGNER/NEWTON KANSAN

Newton Fire/EMS crews hoist a ladder toward a window on a train as part of a training exercise with BNSF in Newton last year. ASHLEY BERGNER/NEWTON KANSAN

When drivers are stopped by a train in Newton, they may use that time to check their phones, adjust their radios, or talk to a passenger. They probably don’t pay much attention to the train cars passing in front of them — or think about what materials those train cars may be carrying.

Hazardous materials regularly pass through Newton by highway and rail as part of the industrial process. To help officials get a better idea of what those materials are, Harvey County is being surveyed as part of a south-central Kansas Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The study is examining the types of hazardous materials passing through the region by rail, road, air, etc.

“We know that there is a tremendous amount of hazardous materials being transported every day,” said Newton Fire/EMS Chief Mark Willis. “This just gives us a better idea, an opportunity to analyze.”

Harvey County Emergency Management coordinator Lon Buller said the county is still waiting for the final results from the study, which he hopes will help the county plan responses to possible incidents.

The volume of rail and interstate traffic in the region contributes to the risk for an incident. Common hazardous materials that come through Harvey County include petrochemicals, carbon fuels, liquid propane gas, oil and natural gas. Local industries also may use volatile materials in their production processes.

Prepared to respond

Because major railways and highways cut directly through the city of Newton, Willis said it’s important for emergency responders to have a plan to respond in a rapid and efficient manner; isolate the hazard; and evacuate the public if needed or instruct them to shelter in place.

However, the technology, training and equipment required for a proper response to a hazmat incident can be challenging for smaller counties like Harvey County. The most expensive, safest hazmat suits cost $1,000 each and expire after a certain amount of time. Thankfully, Harvey County would be able to receive mutual aid from nearby units such as Wichita and Sedgwick County.

“The relationships we develop with other agencies just become so important in times of major incidents,” Willis said.

In the past, there have been several small derailments in the area; transportation accidents on the highway involving hazardous materials; and industrial hazmat spills or fires, such as a major fire at a biodiesel plant, Green Energy Products, in Sedgwick last summer.

Building relationships

Willis said Newton Fire/EMS conducts training exercises with BNSF, such as practicing how to respond to a leaking tank car. The organizations work together to improve safety.

“We’ve always had a very good relationship with BNSF, as far as having a good idea of what’s going through on a daily basis,” Willis said.

Another key group is the Local Emergency Planning Committee, which is made up of representatives from local governments, health care organizations, emergency responders and more. Willis said having an LEPC promotes networking and communication before a disaster strikes and helps everyone prepare to respond and work together.

“The time to be figuring that stuff out isn’t the time when we’re figuring out how much of the city to evacuate,” Willis said.

In the event of a hazmat incident, he advises the public to be aware of what’s going on and to take official evacuation or shelter orders seriously.

“We don’t make those orders without very good reason,” he said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire damages Derby home

KWCH – July 27, 2014

derby fire 7272014

Firefighters are working to control a fire that broke out in a Derby home.

Crews were called to the scene near 63rd and S. Jade around 10 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters arrived to find thick smoke and flames showing from the home.

Firefighters are searching the home, but it appears no one was inside at the time.

A cause and damage estimate is not available.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

3 Killed in Hit and Run

KWCH – July 27, 2014

wichita fire 7272014

Three people were killed and two others were hurt in a hit and run accident near Maple and Tracey.

Police say just after 2 Sunday morning a Chevy carrying 5 people was struck by a Ford S-U-V that ran a red light at the intersection of Maple and Tracey Street.

Three of the passengers in the Chevy were thrown from the vehicle and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The two other occupants were both taken to the hospital, the driver is in critical condition and the other is in serious condition.

The driver believed to be responsible for the crash fled on foot but dispatchers tell us he has since been located and taken into custody.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One Person Dies In Car Accident On Highway 75 Early Saturday

By Arian Cohen
WIBW – July 26, 2014


One person is dead after a car wreck on Highway 75 early Saturday morning.

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s office told 13 News around 1:20 Saturday morning, two cars collided at the 2900 block of North 75 Highway.

A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and a 2003 Chevrolet Impala were traveling southbound on NW 75 Highway. Police say for an unknown reason the vehicles collided causing the Impala to lose control and travel into the west ditch where it struck several trees.

The Chevrolet Impala had 4 occupants that were transported to a local hospital by ambulance. Three suffered non-life threatening injuries. A fourth person was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The driver of the Chevrolet Camaro was not injured.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The names of the victims are not being released pending notification of kin.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

El Dorado firefighters demonstrate hot car dangers

By Emily Griffin
KWCH – July 26, 2014

el dorado fire 7262014

As another day of triple-digit heat rolled around, El Dorado firefighters took that opportunity to showcase just how hot it can get inside a car, and how quickly it can happen.

For the first time, the department set up an awareness demonstration at Walmart in El Dorado. With a thermometer inside, firefighters locked up a car and let it sit as temperatures outside began to climb. In about one hour, even on a cloudy morning, the temperature inside the car hit 91 degrees.

“A lot of people don’t know that it can get close to 200 degrees inside a car,” said El Dorado Master Firefighter Derick Boggs. “Even on a 60 degree day, it can get upwards of 110 to 120 degrees inside of a car.”

Those kinds of temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly to children and pets who may get left behind or forgotten in the car.

“There’s a lot more distractions in life that didn’t exist years ago,” added El Dorado Fire Chief Steve Moody. “It’s a much more complicated world and people forget.”

Sometimes it’s not just about forgetting your child inside the car. Even leaving your child for a quick run inside the grocery store can be dangerous. In just ten minutes, the temperature inside a car can climb 20 degrees.

“I was guilty of that,” admitted now-grandmother Pam Hendrix. “We had a little hometown store and it was like you’d run inside and grab the milk and come right back out, but we didn’t have this education when my kids were that young. So, I never would have thought that ten minutes would make that big of a difference.”

Now, Pam says she’d never do that.

Even cracking your windows may not be enough to keep you car cool with kids inside. According to Boggs, it can still reach 120 to 130 degrees inside a car even with the windows cracked.

On average, there are about 38 hot car deaths in the United States each year. El Dorado firefighters hope continued education and awareness about those dangers help lower that number and keep them from being needed for tragedies like that in the future.

“It’s an epidemic that we need to stop,” said Boggs.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Salina teen killed, other hurt in rollover accident

KWCH – July 26, 2014

A teenager has died after a rollover accident in north central Kansas.

It happened on U.S. Highway 81, southeast of Minneapolis, just before 2 p.m. Saturday.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 17-year-old Paige Tope, Salina, was driving north when she swerved onto the right shoulder, over-corrected and rolled through the median. Tope was taken to a Salina hospital for treatment.

A passenger, 18-year-old Reed Ash, Salina, died at the scene. Troopers said Ash was not wearing a seat belt.

The cause remains under investigation.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

16-year-old boy hit by pickup truck driven by 12-year-old

KAKE – July 26, 2014

olathe fire 7262014

Olathe Police say a 12-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that struck at 16-year-old boy and then crashed into a house.

It happened around 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the 900 block of S. Troost St. KMBC reports that the truck was idling in the driveway of a home, when the 12-year-old put the pickup into gear.

The truck struck the boy’s 16-year-old brother who was standing on the porch and then went into the home. The teen was taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The 12-year-old boy was not hurt. The accident is still under investigation.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Apartment fire causes $100,000 in damage

KAKE – July 26, 2014

wichita fire 7262014

Careless smoking is believed to be responsible for an apartment fire in south Wichita.

It happened around 7:30 a.m. Saturday in the 2700 block of South Emporia at The Shores apartment complex. When firefighters arrived on scene they found flames on a deck that had spread to the third floor.

Crews were able to bring the fire under control, but 3 apartments are now uninhabitable. Damage is estimated at $100,000 to the apartments and their contents.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kansas woman dead, 2 hospitalized after head on crash

Hays Post – July 26, 2014

A Kansas woman died from injuries in a head on crash at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday in Seward County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2005 Chevy Tahoe driven by Stacy Dawn Curry, 39, Liberal was southbound on U.S. 83 sixteen miles north of Liberal.

The Chevy crossed the centerline and struck a 2004 Mercedes Benz head on.

Curry, the driver of the Mercedes Nayeli Gonzalez, 22, Liberal, and a two-year-old child in the Mercedes were transported to Southwest Medical Center.

Gonzalez was pronounced dead just before 11 a.m.

The KHP reported all were properly restrained at the time of the accident.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

%d bloggers like this: