Archive for February, 2015

Hay bales catch fire

Atchison Globe – January 31, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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About 40 hay bales caught fire Wednesday afternoon in rural Cummings. Atchison County Emergency Management Director Wes Lanter said open burning was the cause of the fire. Lancaster, Mount Pleasant and Nortonville all responded to the call. The burn ban was still in effect when the fire started.

Caney Fallen Firefighter

Independence Daily Reporter – Feb. 4, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

Photo by Rob Morgan. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Rob Morgan. Click on photo to view full-size image.

A Caney fire truck was draped in black for the funeral procession for Caney firefighter Clifford Sanders, 55, who died Thursday after he suffered a stroke Wednesday while responding to a fire call. The procession started in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and included an estimated 200 fire trucks and rescue vehicles leading to the Cornerstone Church in Caney where his funeral was held Tuesday afternoon. The truck is passing under an American flag being held aloft by ladder trucks from the Coffeyville and Independence Fire Departments.

Cherryvale Fire-Rescue Department handles 13 fires in January

By Donna Celaya
Montgomery County Chronicle – Feb. 5, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

Cherryvale Fire and Rescue responded to a baker’s dozen fire calls last month.

Three were grass fires, three were motor vehicle accidents involving fire, one was another vehicle fire, four were second-out EMS responses, and two were structure blazes–one of which was a mutual aid call to assist another department.

The department in January also responded to 51 emergency medical service calls involving 45 patients. They included:

  • 26 patient transports
  • 15 patients who refused transport for further medical attention
  • 8 “other,” such as no patient found, call cancelled, patient found dead at the scene
  • 2 transported by another agency

The highest percentage of calls for the EMS unit were: a total of six motor vehicle accidents, five abdominal pain, five falls, five fire call stand by, four chest pain and four general pain.

EMS responded within one minute of dispatch 82 percent of the time, up from 71 percent in December; and within three minutes of dispatch 96 percent of the time, in sharp contrast to 86 percent in December.

EMS arrived at the scene within five minutes 75 percent of the time in January, as compared to 78 percent in December; and within 10 minutes of receiving the call 94 percent of the time in January, down slightly from 95 percent in December.

Arrival times are slower when calls are from outside the city limits; 18 of the 51 calls–35.29 percent–were in the county in January.

Chief Jesse Reed’s report to the Cherryvale City Council on Monday evening stated that he looked through December’s reports to discern whether the slower-than-usual response times were the result of consistently slow “chute times” on one shift, or if the problem crossed several shifts. He found that one report was incomplete and missing the times; and two more report templates were open and contained no information.

By eliminating those reports, December’s times were greatly improved.

Reed also reported the CFR is planning a work day at the burn facility at the north end of School Street on Saturday, Feb. 21, weather permitting.


Butler County Fire District #3 receives donation

Rose Hill Reporter – Feb. 5, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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Vehicle fire reported

Emporia Gazette – Feb. 27, 2015

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic. Click each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic. Click each photo to view full-size image.

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Just before 12:30 p.m. Friday, a vehicle fire was reported at 126 S. Commercial, Casey’s. Fire crews arriving on scene reported no flames. The cause was an electrical problem and there was determined to be no fire.

Kansas teenager dies in rollover accident

Salina Post – Feb. 27, 2015

A Kansas teenager died in an accident just after 8 a.m. on Friday in Phillips County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2001 GMC Sonoma pickup driven by Courtney Faith Miller, 15, Kensington, was northbound on East 1400 Road three miles east and one mile south of Agra.

The vehicle dropped off the right shoulder and the driver over corrected.

The vehicle crossed back over to the other side of the road, entered the west ditch and rolled.

Miller was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Olliff-Boeve Memorial Chapel in Phillipsburg.

The KHP reported she was properly restrained at the time of the accident.

Hill side fire

Norton Telegram – Feb. 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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Last Friday afternoon, four Norton Rural fire trucks responded to a fire just south of town on Linda Terrell’s land. Harold Shinn is seen standing in the back of the fire truck putting out the fire. The firefighters were able to stop the flames quickly; less than an acre of land was ruined.



Oskaloosa Independent – Feb. 26, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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A volunteer fireman from the Fairview Township Fire Department, left, works with a volunteer fireman from the Oskaloosa Township Fire Department to fight a damaging fire at 9598 Delaware Drive in Lake Shore Estates the afternoon of Feb. 17. A portion of the one-story house at that location was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene. In addition to the Fairview and Oskaloosa Fire Departments, four other township fire departments were called out to help members of the Ozawkie Township Fire Department battle the blaze in bone-chilling temperatures.

Fire destroys house in Ness City

By Kristol King
Ness County News – Feb. 19, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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Fire totally destroyed this house at 502 E. Main Street, on Sunday night, February 15. The Ness County Fire Department responded to a 911 call at approximately 9:15 p.m. Tanner McMillen, Jacob Hoss and Nathaniel Gabel had just left the high school parking lot and Jacob spotted a fire behind the house. Nathaniel called 911 and Tanner called Myron Seib to alert him to get the power turned off to the house. The boys then quickly alerted next door neighbor Tony Gall that his dad’s house was on fire.

Assistant Fire Chief Sean Sehl stated that this was an electrical fire which started on the outside of the house and quickly spread up to the attic. Within a few minutes of the arrival of the fire trucks, flames could be seen shooting through the roof at the rear of the structure.

Thirty minutes later the attic and top floor of the house were engulfed in flames, with firefighters shooting water on the blaze from their positions on the ground and also from atop the ladder of the new aerial truck that was recently purchased by the county.

“At that point,” said Sehl, “our main objective was to save the garage to the north of the house from being destroyed. We knew there wasn’t much we could do to save the house itself.”

Responding to the call were the Ness County Fire District #1 Ness City and Beeler stations and the Ransom-Nevada Township Fire Department. Their efforts were not helped by the cold temperatures and the snow that began falling about 9:45, but despite those efforts the house continued to burn throughout the night, and all that was left standing in the morning was the north wall, a stark backdrop to a pile of smoldering debris.

The house, owned by Mark Gall of Ness City, was a rental property, but no one was occupying it at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

Wylie Craig Deines


Wylie Craig Deines, 51, of Springfield, MO, formerly of Ozawkie passed away on Friday, February 20, 2015 at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.

Wylie was born October 7, 1963 in Great Bend, KS, the son of Rudy and Bonnie Schwien Deines. He had resided in Ozawkie for most of his life prior to moving to Springfield two years ago. He graduated from Jefferson West High School in 1982 and attended Emporia State University.

Wylie and his father operated Quik Set Industries which was a company that manufactured and installed volleyball suspension systems. He was a member of the Ozawkie Volunteer Fire Department and was a former member of First Lutheran Church.

Wylie married Linda Weaver in 2006. They later divorced. Survivors include his companion, Vicki Stevens of Springfield, MO, his mother, Bonnie Deines of Topeka, his sister, Shelly (Walter) Finn of Ozawkie, his niece, Jordan Biggs of Ozawkie, his step-daughter, Autumn (Jerome) Bennett of Oklahoma City, OK and his step-granddaughter, Amiyah Bennett. Wylie was preceded in death by his father, Rudy Deines, his twin brothers at birth, his paternal grandparents, Henry and Amalia Deines and his maternal grandparents, Slick and Lois Schwien.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at First Lutheran Church, 1234 SW Fairlawn Rd., Topeka, KS 66604. Private inurnment will take place at a later date. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Monday, February 23, 2015 at Penwell-Gabel Mid Town Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Ozawkie Volunteer Fire Department, 524 Kiowa St., P.O. Box 50, Ozawkie, KS 66070.

Arson reported on Plum Street

By Susan Thacker
Great Bend Tribune – Feb. 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

The house at 207 Plum St. was heavily damaged by fire early Friday, for the second time in two years. After investigation by the Great Bend Fire Department and the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, police were asked to take an arson case.

According to reports, Leesa Maupin reported her house at 207 Plum St. was on fire at 12:05 a.m. Friday.

Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said firefighters were dispatched at 12:07 a.m. and arrived to see heavy flames on the exterior of the house and from the soffit and attic area. It took about 30 minutes to get the fire under control and units remained on the scene for two hours putting out hot spots.

The fire is believed to have started outside in a woodpile that was next to the house, Napolitano reported in an email Friday.

Lt. William Browne at the Great Bend Police Department declined to answer questions about the case, saying they should be directed to the fire department.

The fire chief was unavailable on Monday, but GBFD Capt. Kevin Stanfield provided more information. He said the department sent two fire engines, a ladder truck, a command vehicle and an ambulance. Damage to the house was estimated to be 74 percent, and damage to the contents was estimated at $5,000.

In February of 2013, the house at 207 Plum St. was damaged by another fire that caused more than $15,000. Three dogs and two puppies also died in that fire, which was attributed to an electrical overload. At that time Maupin told the Great Bend Tribune the house was uninsurable.

Wayne Eugene Krayca

Wayne Eugene Krayca, age 64, former Goodland resident from Tribune, Kansas, passed away Friday, February 20, 2015. Wayne was born to James Paul and Ann Katherine Krayca on November 15, 1950, in Goodland, Kansas. He attended school in Goodland and Tribune. He started working for Smith Implement in 1968 for the next 22 years, then Myers Implement for the next 19 years, until 2010 when he started working for the City of Tribune in lawncare. He is a past member of the Antiquers Club, and past fire chief of the Greeley County Fire Department. He enjoyed working, sports, fishing, yard work and woodworking.

Wayne is survived by his wife Kathy of Tribune; mother Ann Krayca of Goodland, Kansas; children Sheri (Dale) Stone of Tribune, Kansas; Robert (Tammy) Krayca of Wilson, Kansas; John (Melissa) Krayca of Gardener, Kansas; Jason (Victoria) younger of Hutchinson, Kansas; Elizabeth Hanny of Tribune, Kansas; Jill (Brett) Beringer of Goodland, Kansas; Jena (Matt) McKenzie of Goodland, Kansas; Adam (Mindy) Younger of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Ryan (Nichole) Tyrell of Denver, Colorado; Alisha (Ross) Richards of Avon Park, Florida; Justina Tyrell of Dallas, Texas; brothers Kenneth (Glenda) Krayca from Georgia and James Krayca and David (Sondra) Krayca from Goodland, Kansas; sister Betty Engle of Russell, Kansas; 23 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Wayne was preceded in death by his father James, brother Richard, and granddaughter Emma Younger.

Visitation will be held at Bateman Funeral Home, 211 E. 11th Street, on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, from 3-7 p.m. MT. The funeral service will be Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, at 10 a.m., MT at the First Baptist Church, 413 Harper, Tribune, Kansas, with burial to follow at approximately 11:45 a.m. MT at the Goodland Cemetery.

Memorials will be directed to his Grandson Jude Hanny Fund and may be sent to Colorado East Bank and Trust, 423 Broadway, Tribune, KS 67879, or Bateman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 278, Goodland, KS 67735.

Fire destroys unoccupied house

By Becky Reeves
Coffey County Republican – Feb. 20, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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Firefighters spent six hours Wednesday extinguishing a structure fire in bitterly cold temperatures in the 700 block of Fourth Street in Burlington. To make matters worse, the driver of a tractor-trailer; carrying an oversized load, clipped a guy wire, bringing down a utility pole in the same block. Several homes and businesses, especially in the downtown area, were without electricity, cable and internet for nearly 30 minutes.

Dispatch received a call at 11:06 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, from someone who said they saw flames in the basement window of a house at 719 N. Fourth Street. The unoccupied home is owned by Cale and Ashley Wright, who had moved from the home.

Twenty-eight firefighters responded to the scene from Burlington, New Strawn and Gridley with the ladder truck and three pumpers.

“When we arrived, we found a lot of smoke and visible flames coming out of the northwest basement window,” Fire Chief Randall Brown said. “We put one hose right there and hit that, then worked around to the back side. There were cellar doors on the east side of the house, where we could enter the basement. That was the logical way for us to go in.”

Chief Brown said it was a very difficult fire to fight, being in the basement. “The structure became very dangerous to enter right away, as far as safety for the firefighters, so that made it more challenging to get the fire out. At one point, we called the firefighters out of the structure because we wanted to go a different direction. We pretty much had to fight it from the outside until we got enough of the fire out that we could safely enter with confidence. We tested the floors and stairway before we stepped in.”

Chief Brown said the traffic along Fourth Street, which is U.S. 75 in Burlington, hindered them for a while. Law enforcement directed traffic in the two southbound lanes, until the accident happened just before noon. After the accident, U.S. 75 traffic was routed around the area, and the street remained closed until about 6 p.m. to allow the Burlington Electrical Department to finish their work.

Smoke was thick around the surrounding homes and Pizza Hut, which is located just south of the house. “I understand Pizza Hut had to quit making pizzas because they couldn’t run their exhaust fans,” Chief Brown said.

Chief Brown explained that the fire was especially difficult to extinguish due to the roof structure. “The fire burned a hole through the roof, and we had people on the roof to vent it,” he said. “The problem was that with the room in the center of the attic, we basically had three separate sections of roof, so it was hard to extinguish the whole thing at once.”

The house is a one-story, wood-frame bungalow built in 1910. It has 1,277 square feet, including a full basement and a room in the attic, and has a stone foundation. The house, which is valued by the Coffey County Appraiser’s Office at $85,240, is a total loss, according to Chief Brown. Brown estimated the loss of contents at $5,000. The family was storing some contents at the house. Several items were being stored in the basement, such as beds and chairs. The structure and contents are insured.

The cause has not been determined and is under investigation. “At this time, I have no idea what caused the fire,” Chief Brown said. “The Wrights told me they hadn’t been in the basement for some time. They said there were no heaters or anything running in the basement, so I have no idea of the cause at this time.”

Firefighters left the scene around 5 p.m.

Coffey County Fire District No. 1 report

Coffey County Republican – Feb. 20, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

Station 7, Waverly, responded to a grass fire at 2:06 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, in the 100 block of Schofield Street in Waverly.

Station 8, New Strawn, responded to a grass fire at 5:07 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, in the 1400 block of Native Road.

Station 5, Leroy, Station 3, Burlington, and Station 4, Gridley, responded to a trailer house fire at 6:17 a.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in the 500 block of A Street in Leroy.

Station 3, Burlington, Station 8, New Strawn, and Station 4, Gridley, responded to a structure fire at 11:06 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, in the 700 block of N. Fourth Street in Burlington.

Heat lamps blamed in trailer fire

By Becky Reeves
Coffey County Republican – Feb. 20, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 27, 2015

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Click each photo to view full-size image.

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Two people were displaced from their Leroy home Monday morning when their trailer house apparently caught fire due to heat lamps being used in a makeshift doghouse, which was located on a deck.

Travis Walker and Miranda Smith were renting the trailer; located at 506 A Street, from Dale and Teresa True, Leroy. The couple had left the trailer to go eat breakfast in Burlington, so they were not home at the time of the fire.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 6:17 a.m., where they found flames coming from a deck and addition at the back of the 924 square foot trailer; built in 1974. Someone had called in the fire from Luther’s Restaurant and Store.

“When we arrived, the fire was burning into the mobile home itself,” said Fire Chief Randall Brown. “There was a witness who had driven by before the firefighters got there and had seen the flames on the deck around a makeshift doghouse.”

Firefighters battled the blaze, with temperatures in the teens.

“Once we knocked the flames out, we made a search of the trailer to make sure no one was in there,” Chief Brown said. “By then, Dale True, the owner of the trailer, was on the scene and called Travis. Travis and Miranda were on their way to Burlington to eat breakfast. True then told the firefighters there wasn’t anyone in there.”

The couple own two dogs, which the next door neighbors took to their house. The dogs were not injured.

Chief Brown said the cause of the fire is listed as unintentional. “It originated in the doghouse, which was being heated using heat lamps,” Brown said. “There was fire damage in the utility room and kitchen area and severe smoke damage to the rest of the trailer.” Brown estimated there was $8,000 in damages to the trailer and $4,000 in damages to the contents.

The Trues were only carrying liability insurance on the structure; there was no renter’s insurance.

Seventeen firefighters from Leroy, Burlington and Gridley were on the scene for about three hours. They used two tankers, a pumper; brush rig and the ladder truck to fight the fire. Also responding were emergency service personnel and Coffey County sheriff’s deputies.

No fatalities reported in St. Marys fire

By Ann Marie Bush
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 27, 2015

Several agencies responded to a structure fire early Friday in St. Marys, said Pottawatomie County Sheriff Greg Riat.

At 5:15 a.m., the St. Marys Fire Department, along with St. Marys Police, Pottawatomie County Emergency Medical Services and the sheriff’s office responded to the fire at 510 W. Mission.

Rossville firefighters were dispatched after a call for mutual aid was made about 5:20 a.m., Shawnee County officials said.

At 6:30 a.m., the fire was “in the clean up stage,” Riat said.

There were no fatalities reported, the sheriff said.

Pittsburg Donates to the Cherokee Fire Department

By Jasmine Woods
Four State News – Feb. 26, 2015

Engine 9 has been part of the Pittsburg Fire Department for 31 years, but today Fire Chief Mike Simmons handed over the keys.

“We got a new engine one from the public safety sales tax, and it was put in service a few weeks ago. And so because of that being, the new engine being put in service, this reserve drops down. And instead of just trying to give it away, just to try to get rid of it, we through it was a lot better to be able to support another department that needed, had a need for it,” said Mike Simmons, Pittsburg Fire Chief.

A committee made up of city leaders evaluated surrounding cities to determine which community would need the truck the most.

“We looked at different things the committee did as far as the the water supply, and the availability of that water supply, and the overall community need. And things of that nature to make the decision,” said Chief Simmons.

The committee decided to donate the truck to the Cherokee Fire Department.

“They offer protection for a grade school and a high school, close to 400 students I believe. And so that was a big deciding factor is being able to help them offer better protection for their community,” explained Simmons.

Cherokee’s mayor says he’s thankful for the donation.

“It’s a tremendous blessing for us. You know, we’re a small community, and we’re struggling just like everybody else in the finances. And to get this, it takes just one more burden off of us,” said Dale Thompson, Cherokee Mayor.

Although the truck is already 31 years old, Cherokee officials expect the truck to last another 30 years.

“In fact, we’re taking it home today, and equipping it with the equipment that we need,” said Mayor Thompson.

After receiving the truck, Cherokee city leaders donated one of its trucks to Lola Township’s Fire Department.

Wood-burning stove catches fire, destroys garage

By Samantha Foster
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 26, 2015

Photos by Samantha Foster.

Photos by Samantha Foster.

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A wood-burning stove destroyed a central Topeka home’s garage Thursday afternoon, a fire official said.

Fire crews responded just after 2 p.m. to 1100 S.W. Webster, where the detached garage was fully involved in flames.

Fire Investigator Alan Stahl said at the scene the fire was accidental, caused by an improperly installed wood-burning stove.

Chris Schweizer, who has lived at the address for 15 years, said a man driving along S.W. Randolph — the next street to the east of S.W. Webster — saw smoke and called 911. The man then knocked at Schweizer’s door in an attempt to alert the home’s residents to the fire. Although he didn’t hear the man knocking, Schweizer said, he spoke with him later, after the fire department had arrived.

Stahl said the garage and its contents were a total loss, but a damage estimate wasn’t yet available as of 3 p.m.

Schweizer said the garage mainly contained his tools, but he also lost a new riding lawn mower in the blaze. He said the wood-burning stove had been in his garage for about two years, and he had last used it Wednesday night.

Car fire ignites inside parking garage

By John Parton
Kansas State Collegian – Feb. 26, 2015

Photo by George Walker.

Photo by George Walker.

More Photos

Plumes of smoke billowed out the side of the parking garage Thursday afternoon as fire scorched a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. Two people on the scene were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters received a call about the fire at 12:27 p.m., according to Sam Dameron, Manhattan Fire Department’s assistant chief of operations.

Dameron said fire crews had to use a brush truck in order to reach the vehicle since the fire engines could not enter the parking garage.

“We’re not sure how it started yet,” Dameron said.

Fire crews found the car, parked on the west side of the third floor of the garage, with fire coming out of the engine. K-State Parking Services employees attempted to put it out with fire extinguishers.

Fire crews attempted to use the standpipe system in the garage in order to get water to the third floor, but were unable to do so due to an obstructed pipe.

When contacted, Parking Services referred the Collegian to K-State’s Division of Communications and Marketing. Personnel there did not answer any questions, instead referring to a press statement not yet released. Total estimated damage to the car is approximately $2,000.

High school students get hands-on firefighter experience

KSN – Feb. 26, 2015


Wichita South High students are earning college credit by experiencing what a firefighter does on the job.

KSN followed along with the students for their training day, and here are what some of the pupils and teachers had to say.

“Today they’re doing a mayday self escape. This is the kind of the worst case scenario they might encounter on the fire ground.”

“This is the first time they’ve been on air and been in their full gear all of this whole semester, and this is their midterm exam today.”

The course is worth 5 1/5 hours of college credit through Hutchinson Community College.

Students went through a variety of obstacles, to simulate some of actions firefighters might actually have to do in an emergency.

“It’s a confidence course. It’s confidence in their gear, it’s confidence in themselves so if they’re ever in a situation like that they will be a little cooler under pressure instead of freaking out and taking all their stuff off.”

Teachers warned the students that if you go into a burning building and you don’t have the proper training, you can really get hurt.

“This is a great program to have in the high schools here in the Wichita area. It gets students ready for the college life, it gets them prepared by giving them a heads a head start on some of the other students that may want to get in a program like this.”

Early moring blaze damages Ottawa home

By Doug Carder
Ottawa Herald – Feb. 26, 2015

A fire that started in a furnace caused about $35,000 damage to a home early Tuesday morning in Ottawa, fire department officials said.

Ottawa firefighters responded 3:50 a.m. to the fire at 1004 S. Walnut St., Ottawa.

“There was no one home at the time of the incident, and there were no injuries,” Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said.

Vince Garcia


It is with deep sadness that we notify our extended Fire Department family of the death of Firefighter/EMT Vince Garcia yesterday afternoon (February 25th) following a long and courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). Vince was a 31 year veteran of Newton Fire/EMS who was forced to retire due to this devastating disease in December of 2013. Vince died in his home in the room addition constructed by fellow firefighters and friends, and funded by so many of you who helped contribute to assisting Vince and his family.

Funeral services for Vince will be Wednesday, March 4th at 1030hrs at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newton. Memorials have been established with the ALS Society of Wichita and the Vince Garcia Memorial Scholarship Fund.

On behalf of the members of Newton Fire/EMS, we extend our sincere appreciation to all who have supported Vince, his family, and the members of Newton Fire/EMS through this very difficult time.

Mark C. Willis, Chief
Newton Fire/EMS Department
200 E. Third
Newton, KS 67114


Vincent Julian Garcia, 58, died Wednesday (February 25, 2015) at his home in Newton after a short battle with A.L.S.

He was born on February 15, 1957 in San Fernando, California, the son of Julian and Elesa Garcia. They moved back to Newton in 1958. Vince graduated from Newton High School in 1975 and later attended Bethel College and Kansas State University.

Vince married Karen Hahn at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newton on July 13, 1985.

After attending college, Vince returned to Newton. He worked for a short time for the Santa Fe Railroad. He joined the Newton Fire Department in 1984 where he was a Firefighter/EMT. During his years with the department Vince was a driving force behind many of their community events, including The Puppet Crew and the Fire Safety House. He retired in December 2013.

He was a very active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, serving in several capacities, as well as being a member of the Knights of Columbus. Vince helped start the annual School Auction. He participated in the Mexican-American Softball Tournament for many years. Vince was always eager to help out with community activities.

Survivors include his wife Karen; mother, Elesa; his children Chelsi Tafolla and husband Tristan, Colton Garcia and wife Heather, Garrett Garcia all of Newton, and Jeremy DePass of New Orleans, La.; brother Mike Garcia and wife Tina of Hutchinson, Ks.; sisters Marcy Myers and husband Bill of Hutchinson, Kathy Archer and husband Matt of Newton, Cristy Thomas and husband Mark of Milwaukee, Wi.; and four grandchildren Cadeyn Tafolla, Dezmond Tafolla, Blake Nearhood, and Jaxon Hudson.

Vince’s father, Julian, preceded him in death.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held at 7:00 P.M., Tuesday (March 3, 2015).

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 A.M., Wednesday (March 4, 2015) both at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Interment will be in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

The casket will be open at the church after 1:00 P.M., on Tuesday.

A memorial has been established with A.L.S. Foundation and the Vincent Garcia Scholarship Fund for Newton High School students. Contributions may be sent to Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, 120 E. Broadway, Newton, Ks. 67114.

Arrangements are by Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, Newton.


Mulvane Fire Department report

Mulvane News – January 29, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2015

The Mulvane Fire Department responded to eight calls between Monday, January 19 through Saturday, January 24.

The MFD responded to two reports of a grass fire on Saturday, January 24 in the 1100 block of N. Greenwich. They extinguished the controlled burn on both visits.

Firefighters responded to a motor vehicle accident in the area of 130th and N. Central. At the scene they secured the vehicle.

The fire department responded to a residential fire alarm in the 100 block of Jeannette and found the cause of the alarm was burnt food.

Firefighters responded to a request to assist the Sedgwick County Fire Department on Friday, January 23 at the scene of a grass fire in the 11400 block of S. 116th E. At the scene they assisted in extinguishing a controlled grass fire burn.

MFD responded to two reports of smoke in the 1500 block of E. 119th St. on Monday, January 19. At the scene, the smoke was determined to be from a controlled burn and no further assistance was necessary on either trip.

House fire

Ness County News – Feb. 19, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

This was the scene shortly before 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night as Ness County firefighters fought the blaze which eventually consumed this home at 502 E. Main St. in Ness City. The fire burned from the attic down, finally engulfing the main floor at around midnight and continuing to burn throughout the early morning hours until the house and its contents were completely destroyed. The house had been one of the oldest homes still standing in Ness City. It was built around 1900. One of the firemen told Gall he had found some square-headed nails in the rubble. Gall was thankful to the firefighters for their continued efforts throughout the night and early morning hours to save his garage, located directly north of the house, which contained some valuable items. “I can’t thank those guys enough,” he said. Crews were on the scene from around 9:15 p.m. on Sunday until early Monday afternoon.

After 40 years, Geary County volunteer firefighter Hansen calls it quit

By Mike Sellman
Junction City Daily Union – Feb. 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2015

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Click on photo to view full-size image.

After nearly four decades fighting fires, Geary County volunteer firefighter Tim Hansen has plenty of stories to tell.

But his best memories serving with the fire department are coming home safe after each fire.

Hansen, who joined the fire department in 1974, is retiring after 40 years with the department.

He’ll miss assisting the county’s residents the most.

“You’ve got their lives in your hands,” he said. “Especially for first responders to the ambulance, you think ‘I hope we get there on time to be of some good.'”

He recalled a toddler who fell in his grandfather’s fish pond. When Hansen arrived on scene, the grandfather was holding the boy in his arms.

When he saw this, he prayed for strength to do what needed to be done to revive the toddler.

“I think he turned out alright,” Hansen said. “We got him breathing. Those are the good ones. The ones you win. There are some sad ones we lost.”

He said the Kaw Theater fire, which closed in 1985, was the biggest fire he fought.

But the smaller ones were just as fun.

“The grass fires were the most exciting,” Hansen said.

He recalls one particular fire in a salvage yard, during which he caught fire. Fortunately, a fellow firefighter extinguished Hansen before he was seriously injured.

Hansen has other volunteer activities he’ll stay busy with. But with firefighting, he compared his 40 years of energy to a race horse answering a bugle call.

“The body is saying, ‘can’t do that much longer, Tim,'” he said.

Hansen works as a computer lab monitor at Ogden Elementary School, something he plans to continue.

“My dog goes with me,” he said. “The two of us have good days there.”

Hansen was given awards for his services yesterday from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and from the Geary County Fire Department during the Geary County Commission meeting.

He also received a retirement badge and helmet.

“There are a lot of stories I can tell,” he said during a short speech yesterday.

And after coming home safely for 40 years, he’ll be able to tell all those stories.

Fort Riley firefighters become certified ice rescue technicians

By Cheyanna Colborn, 1st Infantry Division Post
Junction City Daily Union – Feb. 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2015

Twenty-two Fort Riley firefighters completed two days of ice rescue training with an ice rescue simulation Feb. 11 and 12 at the post’s Funston Lake. This was the first time Fort Riley firefighters have participated in this training and became certified ice rescue technicians ready to respond to anyone who might accidentally fall through ice into freezing water.

Training was conducted by Darin Daniels, Battalion Chief of Shawnee Heights Fire District and department trainer, who visited the Fort Riley Fire Department and brought along training equipment for the ice rescue simulation.

Daniels, who has served nearly 20 years as a firefighter and taught rescue training for approximately 15 years, said a large number of ice rescues have been conducted to save animals, which can endanger their owners if they fall through the ice. If owners try to rescue their pets, they may expose themselves to further risks.

The training began in the morning with classroom sessions from Daniels on how to conduct different kinds of rescues. The equipment was then introduced and the firefighters participated in team building activities, as ice rescue is an organized team effort in order to safely rescue victims.

In the afternoon, training was completed with a simulation board because there was no ice on Funston Lake during the exercise.

Although they wore wetsuits, the firefighters experienced how cold water decreased response time. They also gained an understanding of how hypothermic victims would or would not be able to help themselves in a rescue situation, as hypothermia can shut down a person’s mobility in a matter of minutes.

Quick response puts out grass fire

By Tracy Wise
Winfield Courier – Feb. 26, 2015

Photo by Tracy Wise.

Photo by Tracy Wise.

A call about a grass fire’s getting close to a house at 6648 102nd Road in Udall was answered by two Cowley County Fire District No. 4 Udall trucks Wednesday around 3 p.m.

“The fire was started from a control burn fire on some wooded debris but it caught the grass on fire and got a little out of hand,” said Udall Fire Chief Randy Hoffman. “It didn’t take too long to get it under control.”

Several other grass fires were handled by area firefighters Wednesday, according to scanner traffic.

Fire department continues to respond to increased call load

By Linda Stinnett
Derby Informer – Feb. 26, 2015

Firefighter/EMT Garrett Plush clears debris from a charred garage on Tuesday, May 6, at 2451 Button Bush Circle in Derby. Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith uses the fire as an example of how good building codes can save a home in a fire. In this case, the fire was primarily contained to the garage.

Firefighter/EMT Garrett Plush clears debris from a charred garage on Tuesday, May 6, at 2451 Button Bush Circle in Derby. Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith uses the fire as an example of how good building codes can save a home in a fire. In this case, the fire was primarily contained to the garage.

The call load for Derby firefighters increased by nearly 7 percent overall in 2014.

Fire Chief Brad Smith said the department responded to 2,186 alarms during the year. The increase came

in all categories, but medical responses continue to be the majority of calls, he said.

Just over 70 percent of the total calls were medical calls. Smith said that although Sedgwick County EMS houses one unit in Derby, the fire department is typically the first on the scene providing the first care for patients.

“Our service, we are basic life support,” Smith said. “We are EMTs, they are life support.”

With the county’s move of its station from Rock Road and 63rd to Oliver and 47th, Derby is being asked to respond to more of the county’s calls close to the Derby city limits, Smith said.

Despite the increased numbers, the best news for 2014 is the department’s ability to increase its response time on calls. The department improved by almost 4 percent the time it responded to calls within four minutes.

The goal is to have 90 percent of all response times at less than 4 minutes. Reducing the response time is important for saving lives and property, and the focus will increase on training, addition of staff and upgrading equipment and vehicles, Smith said.

“It’s very, very important to us,” he said. “Things can change by the half minute.”

Cause of duplex fire officially ‘undetermined’

By Linda Stinnett
Derby Informer – Feb. 26, 2015

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The cause of a fire which damaged one-half of a duplex has officially been deemed “undetermined.”

Deputy Fire Chief Bill Pater said fire investigators have been able to find the source of the fire in the garage area. However, the cause has been elusive, he said.

The duplex, at 1020 E. Redwood, sustained significant damage to the garage and an adjoining kitchen area, in the early morning fire on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

The east side of the duplex, owned by Florine Drew, had an estimated $50,000 in structural damage and $15,000 in damage to contents in the fire.

The west side of the duplex, 1018 E. Redwood, was not damaged, but had some smoke and odor damage. The occupant of that side was able to stay in his home and utilities were reconnected.

Mulvane Fire Department celebrates its 110-year history

By Jake Trease
Derby Informer – Feb. 25, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 26, 2015

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In the garage of Mulvane’s emergency services building, sitting in a corner, is an old 1920s fire engine. Fire Capt. Lowell Ester said it’s the first motorized one Mulvane bought–back in 1927.

“It’s just a piece of history,” he said. “It wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else.”

To help celebrate its 110th birthday, coming in December, the fire department recreated a 1950s photo they found of the department posing with the old engine.

The department turned 100 in 2005, but didn’t do much to celebrate because the Old Settler’s Day parade was cancelled that year due to rain, Ester said.

The old engine, which is pretty much only used in parades, now sits in the garage, overshadowed by the modern firefighting behemoths.

The fire trucks aren’t the only major change for the volunteer department, either.

“Firefighting tactics have changed, as well as everything else,” Ester said.

The recently-built casino put some pressure on the department because it, along with the hotel, were considered high-rise buildings, which required more training for the volunteers. But Lowell said training is continual, anyway.

“The training’s continual,” Ester said. “Everything is becoming new.”

With the casino, Mulvane partnered with Sedgwick County for an “auto-aid” program. Mulvane first did the program with Derby and added Sedgwick County to help respond to fires in the casino area.

With auto-aid, if there’s a fire in Derby, Mulvane sends one of their engines automatically. If there’s a fire in Mulvane, Derby sends one of theirs automatically. The same goes for Sedgwick County.

While other volunteer departments have slipped in volunteer numbers, Mulvane has been pretty constant, Ester said.

“For me, it only took one time to either save a life, help save a life, save someone’s house, property,” said volunteer firefighter Kyle Gasaway, who has been with the department six years. “That spark has never left.”

Holcomb Fire Department report

Garden City Telegram – Feb. 26, 2015

The Holcomb City Council promoted firefighter Taren Mullet from lieutenant to captain, and Dakota Crump from probationary firefighter to recruit firefighter within the Holcomb Community Fire Department. The council also approved the appointment of Joe Stephens, minister of Holcomb Baptist Church, as chaplain for the fire department.

United flight diverted to Wichita lands safely

By Matt Riedl
Wichita Eagle – Feb. 26, 2015

A passenger plane that was diverted to Wichita because of landing gear issues landed safely Wednesday night, Airport Police and Fire Capt. Randy Currie said.

The plane, United Airlines Flight 4912, departed from Denver International Airport at 6:56 p.m. and landed at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport at 9:06 p.m. Wednesday.

The plane, which was carrying 67 passengers, was heading to Kansas City International Airport before it was diverted, according to FlightAware. The plane was operated by Republic Airlines, a regional airline that operates under the United Express name.

Currie said the plane experienced landing gear issues, prompting the request to divert.

“There’s lights that come on indicating they are down, and they weren’t getting the green light,” he said.

Wichita police, fire and emergency medical services units were on the scene before the plane landed, he said, which is standard procedure for an emergency situation.

“We have ambulances standing by in case it does crash,” Currie said. “Fortunately, there was not an issue.”

The flight originally attempted to divert to Garden City Regional Airport before it came to Wichita, according to FlightAware.

United Airlines 4912 is a twin-turboprop plane, according to FlightAware. The airplane was built by Bombardier Aerospace, Currie said.

United offered to put up the 67 passengers in a hotel overnight and also used two buses Wednesday night to shuttle about 30 passengers to Kansas City, Currie said. Some others rented cars to reach their destination, he said.

“Don’t ask me why they landed here instead of Kansas City,” he said of the flight. “It’s not that much further – I have no idea why they decided that.”

Scott Thien, a representative of Republic Airlines, said that the Bombardier Q-400 carrying 67 passengers and a crew of four landed safely, “and all aboard deplaned normally at the gate.”

“United Airlines customer service is working to accommodate passengers on another flight,” he said Wednesday night. “Maintenance is investigating the issue.”

In June, United Airlines Flight 1463 was diverted to Wichita following a faulty in-flight emergency slide inflation.

Sparking at Biederman’s

Winfield Courier – Feb. 26, 2015

Photo by Donetta Godsey.

Photo by Donetta Godsey.

Spectators watch as Winfield firefighters check a power line reported to be causing sparks behind Biederman’s Bistro at 801 Main St. Wednesday morning. The call came in about 9:20. According to Winfield Fire Department/EMS firefighter Vince Warren, the wire from the utility pole into the restaurant burnt through. With two power boxes, Warren said, the restaurant continued to have partial power. A sign posted on the front door of the business later in the afternoon indicated, however, that the business was closed on Wednesday.

Hazardous Materials Technician Course

Training Announcement

The Office of the State Fire Marshal will be hosting a Hazardous Materials Technician course


Date: March 30th to April 10th The tech course is 80hrs –weekdays from 8:30am to 4:30-5:00pm for 2 weeks. Due to the Easter holiday there will not be class April 6.

Unfortunately the Haz-Mat tech course scheduled to start March 30th  has been cancelled. A tentative rescheduled date will be June 1st

Location: 10996 113 road Dodge City, Ks 67801

Cost: there is no cost to emergency responders that wish to attend. Books are provided. The only requirement is a notebook and a writing utensil. Taking good notes is essential

Registration: to register for the technician course please follow this link to KsTrain A user account is needed if you do not already have one. Below are instructions for setting up your user account.


To create a Train account:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on ‘Create Account” button in the left hand margin of the login page.
  3. Complete the online registration form to set up your account.
  4. Create a user login ID and password
  5. Opt IN to receive TRAIN notification emails.
  6. In the search box enter the #1055425
  7. Register for the class. You will receive an email confirmation that you are approved for the course

For further information contact the KS-TRAIN Administrator, Debbie Nickels at or 785-291-3457

Additional user support is available thru the  or 785-296-5655.


The Technician course is intended for those personnel that may respond to and mitigate an incident involving hazardous materials/WMD. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills, monitoring instruments, public safety sampling, and the use of specialized equipment and protective clothing required for working within the Hot-Zone.

After completing the course the student will have met the sections required for a Hazardous Materials Technician in NFPA® 472, Standard on Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents (2013 edition).

The Technician course has been designed to provide students with as much hands-on training as possible. Due to the amount of hands on training, applicants will be required to complete assignments after class.

All Students should be competent at the operations level prior to course start date.

All students will be required to complete quizzes, written tests, and hands-on competencies with a minimum score of 70%.

IFSAC testing will be conducted by the University of Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute

For more information contact:

A.J. Clemmons:


Darrell “Doc” Ray Slawson

Darrell “Doc” Ray Slawson, of Overland Park, KS passed away February 24, 2015 at home. Visitation will be 6-8pm, Thursday, February 26, 2015 at McGilley & Hoge Chapel. Funeral service will be 11am, Friday, February 27, 2015 at the chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to Overland Park Fire Department Benevolent Association, 12401 Hemlock, Overland Park, KS 66213.
Darrell was born October 11, 1949 in Kansas City, KS. He served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam as a Corporal. Throughout his life, he devoutly believed in and incorporated the Marine Corps values into his daily life and career as a Firefighter. He joined the Overland Park Fire Department and served his city for over 32 years. He retired a Battalion Chief. He was given numerous awards, served on many department committees and volunteered his time and talents to department needs. After retiring, he volunteered to Meals on Wheels and Share a Ride. Darrell was a Master Wood Crafter and Fisherman. He only had one item on his Bucket List and that was to travel to all 50 states. He completed that task in 2014. Darrell was known for his love of Family and Country.
Darrell was preceded in death by parents and sister. Survivors include his loving wife, Joan and 4 children, Angela, Darrell Jr., Elise and Rachael and 4 grandchildren, plus countless cousins and family members.
Semper Fi Marine, Job well done.

Grass fire reported

By Jakub Stepanovic
Emporia Gazette – Feb. 25, 2015

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Photo by Jakub Stepanovic


Fire units were dispatched to the 1784 Road P5 for a grass fire. The address was Camp Alexander.

Management informed fire crews that they had a fire in the burn pit next to the grass on fire about five days previous, according to a press release from Battalion Chief Rich Gould. There was small spot fires that were quickly extinguished by fire crews. There was no dollar loss or injuries associated with this fire.

Hawks settles into new role

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – Feb. 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 25, 2015

Parsons Fire Chief Jay Hawks, a near 20-year veteran with the city fire department, is settling into his new role this week.

Hawks began duties Monday as fire chief. He was most recently battalion chief at the fire department, a position he held since 2008. He’s also been a captain, driver and firefighter since starting with Parsons Fire Department in 1995.

Hawks is filling the position vacated when former Chief Larry Steeby retired in September 2014.

He said no major problems or issues have confronted him in his first days and he’s trying to organize his work space and paperwork “in a better way that I can manage it and keep track of it.”

The fire department is still a position short and the city is in the process of filling that job. Hawk’s advancement will allow one of three captains (Capts. Danny Cagle, Matt Claibourn and Darren Lubbers) to advance to a battalion chief after a testing process. That advancement will create a new captain slot also and another slot for a firefighter.

At full staff, the department has 18 fire personnel and a chief.

Late last year, the fire department received two new trucks, a pumper and an aerial platform truck. All three shifts have been training on the equipment.

“We’ve been doing a lot of training on it. The weather’s not been favorable. We did have a good week and a half to do aerial training, which is what we need the most of,” Hawks said.

Changing regulations for new air packs created a small issue with the new vehicles. The new trucks came with updated air packs for firefighters, but the packs are not compatible with the department’s existing masks, he said. So new masks are on order and should be in shortly. As soon as the masks are in and fit tested, the new trucks will be considered fully in service.

“The trucks themselves are good to go,” Hawks said.

Some equipment needs to be transferred from the older trucks to the new ones, too.

Hawks was the department’s head of Task Force Four, a regional search and rescue group that involves 11 counties.

He said he will still be involved in the task force, but would like to see someone on the department become more involved in purchasing and projects that benefit the region.

“I’ll still be doing a majority of it, just because I’m available to go to the meetings more than they are.”

The department always trains and that will continue, he said.

But no major changes are on the horizon except changing standard operating guidelines for how the new trucks will respond to various calls. These new SOGs will be discussed once the new battalion chief and captain are named.

“There is always streamlining. There is always a more efficient way to do things. The fire service itself doesn’t change a whole lot from year to year, but there can be some efficiencies made,” Hawks said of operations.

As far as other adjustments, Hawks said he’s had many in taking the chief’s job.

“Lots of adjustments. After 20 years of shift work and now you’re working all day. It’s just different,” he said.

Now he gets to go home to his wife and two sons at night.

“I’m not sure how the boys feel about that. But, yeah, it’s been an adjustment in my home life, too.”

The city plans a welcome reception in the near future for Hawks and Police Chief Jason Sharp. No date has been set yet.

“Things have been going good,” Hawks said.

He’s visited with Chief Sharp some.

“I think he’s a great guy. It will be a good working relationship I think.”

Besides his fire department service, Hawks also has an associate’s degree from Coffeyville Community College. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with an environmental emphasis from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado.

John “Warren” Baum


John “Warren” Baum, 84, of Holton, KS passed away Monday, February 16, 2015 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO. He was born December 20, 1930 in Kansas City, MO the son of Ernest Roy and Mary Kathryn (Warren) Baum.

Warren graduated from Holton High School in 1949 and attended Kansas University.

He entered business with his father in 1953 and later purchased the Holton Super Market. After closing the store in 1978, he went to work for Farm Bureau Insurance and was winner of many awards. He was a Million Dollar Life Producer, two Million Dollar Life Producer and top fire and auto writer several times. He was a winner of many trips and in 1981 was Special Agent of the Year which is one of the highest awards that can be received.

Warren was past President and member of the Holton Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge and Odd Fellows Lodge.

He was a member of Holton First Christian Church, where he served as Board President, Elder, Trustee and Deacon many times. Warren was also a member of the Holton Fire Department for 22 years and served as Fire Chief for 14 years.

Warren married Donna Fernkopf in 1953, they later divorced. In 1978 he married Carla Heim, she survives of the home.

Besides his wife Carla, other survivors include 2 daughters, Cindy Gentry (Shane) of Shawnee Mission, KS and Mickey Parsel (Mike) of Overland Park, KS; a brother, Robert “Bob” Baum (Norma) of Holton and 4 grandchildren, Sean Parsel (Lauren), Shelby Mangus (Devin), Kristy Gentry and Ryan Gentry.

He was preceded in death by his parents and an older brother, Ernest R. Baum, Jr.

Funeral services will be 3:30 p.m. Friday, February 20, 2015 at the Mercer Funeral Home in Holton. Family will greet friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday. Burial will be in the Holton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials may be given to the First Christian Church, c/o Mercer Funeral Home, P.O. Box 270, Holton, KS 66436.

Eugene W. Jacobs


Eugene W. Jacobs, 91, died February 16, 2015, at the Harper Hospital. He was born December 7, 1923 in Harper, Kansas to Ralph W. & Fannie Jacobs, the youngest of five.

Gene was a graduate of Harper High School in 1942. He then helped on the family farm until he was drafted in 1945 into the US Army where he was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1946 to assist on the family farm. Even though his service was short, he received a commendation from the 67th Engineer Training Battalion as “Best in Class” in the Auto Mechanic Force.

Eugene married Ella Louise Banks on March 22, 1947 in Oklahoma. And to this union were born ten children. After their marriage he was employed in Kingman for a short time, where they were blessed with their firstborn, and then moved back to Harper. Upon moving back to Harper he helped on the family farm and custom baling for Harold Wharton. After a few years he took on delivering freight for Winters Truck Line and ran his own backhoe service, Jacobs Ditching Service, which he owned for over 50 years. His backhoe service included working for the City of Harper and the digging of graves in the surrounding cemeteries. Before retiring he dug over 6,000 plus graves. Gene was also a volunteer firefighter for the Harper Fire Department for 25 years. His love of trains, even in his early years, took him to the train depot at night when the trains had a layover, stoking them with coal to keep them warm.

In May of 1994 Gene was chosen to be a featured person on “Hatteberg’s People.” He felt more than honored. Then in April of 2011 he had the privilege of taking Honor Flight #13 to Washington, D.C., accompanied by his son Richard “Snake”.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ella Louise Jacobs; children, Nancy (Doug) Blackman, Wichita, KS; Nicholas (Jeri) Jacobs, Roy (Elaine) Jacobs, Richard (Eilene) Jacobs all of Harper, KS; Carol (Raymond) Kenney, San Antonio, TX; Cindy (Stuart) Smith, Towanda, KS; Lynn (Chuck) VeDepo, Hayden, CO; Lola Jacobs, Andover, KS; Mike Jacobs (Bradley Douglas), Kansas City, MO; Michelle (Chris) Mandrino, Edmond, OK; 22 grandchildren, 36 great grandchildren, 3 great, great grandchildren.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, one brother Keith Jacobs and three sisters, Flora Miller, Helen Jacobs and Mabel Jacobs, and one Great Granddaughter, Emma Angleton.

Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, February 19, 2015 at the Harper United Methodist Church.

Memorials may be left in Gene’s name to the Harper Volunteer Fire Department and sent in care of the funeral home.

Visitation will be held 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Arrangements are by Prairie Rose Funeral Home, 613 W. 14th, Harper, Ks 67058.

Fire Burns Salina Park

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – Feb. 25, 2015

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A fire blackened several acres of a Salina park early Wednesday afternoon. At around 12:45 in the afternoon, firefighters were called to a report of smoke, and a “popping sound” coming from inside a wooded area of Indian Rock Park.

First responders discovered an active grass fire, that was spreading into a treeline. The growing fire was on the west side of the hill, below the shelter house that sits on top of the hill. Because of where the fire was located, crews initially had a difficult time getting to it.

Firefighters were able to use portable backpacks, and also were able to stretch a long hose from a truck parked at the top of the hill, to quickly get the fire under control. They were able to get the fire stopped before it spread to the shelter house at the top of hill. The fire was under control by 1:15.

Crews took a blade off a multi-purpose truck, and planned to get it back into the area of the fire to spray down any hot spots, and to make sure the fire did not re-ignite.

Though several acres of trees and grass were burned, there were no injuries.

The fire at Indian Rock was the second fire of the day the Salina Fire Department responded to. Earlier in the morning a fire damaged the inside of a home at 809 W. Iron. The resident and two dogs were able to escape uninjured. The Salina Fire Department told KSAL News that the fire was contained to the inside of the walls of the home.

Residents escape morning fire

By Tom Dorsey
Salina Journal – Feb. 25, 2015

Photo by Tom Dorsey. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Tom Dorsey. Click on photo to view full-size image.

The residents and two huskies were uninjured Wednesday morning in a house fire at 809 W. Iron.

James Turk, the owner of the home, had just let his two dogs, Blaze, a Siberian husky, and Verra, an Alaskan husky, in from being outside. He went to a downstairs bathroom to wash off their feet when he noticed water coming from the upstairs bathroom.

“There was water running from the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs bathroom,” Turk said. Turk said that when he went to turn off the water main, he noticed the smoke.

James Nelson, a resident, woke up smelling smoke.

“I opened the door and there was even more smoke,” Nelson said.

It was at that time that the smoke alarms went off, and Turk called 911.

Wednesday morning, as firefighters worked to contain the fire, smoke was still billowing out of upstairs windows.

While there was no official cause early Wednesday, Turk said he believes a broken pipe might be the culprit. Water that ran from the upstairs to the downstairs bathroom might have have caused an electrical short, which resulted in sparks.

Turk said the heat from the fire was intense enough that it caused the paint on the walls to melt.

2015 Kansas Haz-Mat Symposium April 16-18

This year the symposium will have a general session and equipment exhibition on Thursday and a full venue of 2, 4 and 8hour classes Friday and Saturday. The symposium provides an excellent training opportunity as well as networking with other Haz-Mat responders both government and industry. Some courses offered are Tactical Chemistry, Drones/ UAV, Emerging Threats, Sampling Refresher and many others. To see the entire list of classes check out our website at


The symposium is free to attend no registration fee or any other fee.

To register for the symposium go to In the search box enter 1955679

If you do not have a user account you will need to set one up.

For more information you can contact

A.J. Clemmons:

Sam Konkel:

Rich Bahr:

The symposium will be held at the Wichita FD Regional Training Center, 4780 east 31street south

Link to map


Seward welcomes county’s new fire chief

Southwest Daily Times – Feb. 25, 2015

Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley, left, and John Steckel inspect one of the fire trucks the department uses to battle blazes in the county. Steckel served as the interim fire chief following the retirement of former department head Mike Rice last year and before Barkley was hired as the full-time chief in late 2014. L&T photo/Robert Pierce

Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley, left, and John Steckel inspect one of the fire trucks the department uses to battle blazes in the county. Steckel served as the interim fire chief following the retirement of former department head Mike Rice last year and before Barkley was hired as the full-time chief in late 2014. L&T photo/Robert Pierce

The differences between California and Kansas could probably be written about in a short book. Andrew Barkley is experiencing those differences first hand.

At the end of 2014, after the retirement of former Seward County Fire Chief Mike Rice, Barkley was hired as the new head of the county’s fire department.

Barkley said he found out about the job through a notification in his e-mail.

“I was part of a system that notified when there was openings U.S.-wide,” he said.

Barkley came to Kansas from California’s Central Valley about 30 minutes south of Fresno, where he worked for about 19 years in the fire service.

“I started off as a reserve firefighter in my hometown,” he said. “From there, I volunteered for a couple of different agencies throughout my growing process with the fire service. I ended up in a small community of Laton. I started out as a volunteer firefighter and became an engineer, captain and then became a part-time battalion chief with them and eventually their full-time fire chief.”

When asked what differences he saw between California and Kansas, he began with what many people say about the Sunflower State.

“Kansas is flat,” he said. “The air quality’s a lot better. The weather’s a little more of a roller coaster. In California, right now, they’re 75 degrees and sunny. Here you don’t know what you’re gong to get when you wake up in the morning.”

California sees its share of fires in that state’s forest areas, but Barkley said local fire departments have little to do with fighting those fires.

“That was all pretty much through the state fire agency,” he said. “They dealt very heavily with that. Their bread and butter was the wild land stuff. Our department was a rural agency kind of like Seward County, mostly farmland.”

Thus far in his time as Seward County’s fire chief, Barkley has been busy

“I’m attending a lot of meetings, getting to know a lot of people, bouncing around different things throughout the day, but a fire department’s a fire department,” he said.

Barkley said despite the geographical changes, very little changes in terms of the job from California to Kansas – or anywhere else for that matter.

“Wherever you put us anywhere in the world, we kind of do the same job,” he said. “It’s just in a different spot.”

Still, Barkley said he has much to learn in his new job.

“We have different things here than we had back in California,” he said. “You’ve got oil and gas fields. You’ve got tornadoes. We had earthquakes. It’s a little bit of a tradeoff. With grass fires here, you’re chasing them because of the wind. In California, we used tools and cut line and laid hose line. There’s some stuff I have to adjust to.”

When Barkley first came to Liberal, he saw a few fires, but with the recent round of winter weather, the number of blazes has died down, leaving local fire officials to concentrate on other areas.

“We’ve been doing a lot more medicals and car accidents,” he said. “We’re definitely staying busy.”

Barkley said Seward County’s fire department is in the middle of some adjustments at this time, and at the end of 2015, he plans to have a massive countywide recruitment for new firefighters.

“My goal for that is to bring in 10 new firefighters to the department and boost our numbers back up towards 30,” he said. “I’d like to retain about 30 on the department at all times.”

Adjustments are being made to the department’s rank structure as well, according to Barkley.

“We’re moving some lieutenants up to captains, as well as reorganizing the way we train our personnel,” he said. “We’re going to do a lot more in house and get them up to the level they need to be. There’s some gaps in there. We’re going to close those gaps and get the current staffing up to par with the training, and then we’ll do the recruitment.”

For 2016, another goal for Barkley is to focus on the county’s hazardous materials team and bring in more members there. This, he said, will give the fire department more flexibility with personnel and staffing for its Hazmat unit.

Seward County’s budget has been somewhat tight in recent years, with a hiring freeze in place for a little while and county employees not getting raises for a few years, but Barkley believes the changes he wants to make can be handled with what the fire department has in terms of money.

“I think we’ll be OK,” he said. “We’re going to look at all aspects with that as it comes. Right now, the focus is on the training of the current staff that we have.”

The new fire chief added his department is set on the equipment it needs to do its job right now.

“Equipment, we’re pretty good on right now,” he said. “My understanding is the apparatus replacement program is pretty stable, and it’s on a schedule. Trucks are on a schedule, but right now, we’re sitting pretty good.”

That also includes the gear firefighters use to battle blazes, and Barkley said that needs a little updating. It will, however, be done soon.

“We went through and did an inspection on what the guys wear in fires, and we needed to get some more,” he said. “We had some stuff that was needing to be replaced, so we’ve taken care of that. That should be here in about mid-April.”

Fire damages Redwood duplex

By Linda Stinnett
Derby Informer – Feb. 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 25, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A duplex at 1020 E. Redwood sustained significant damage in a fire on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

The east side of the duplex, owned by Florine Drew, had an estimated $50,000 in structural damage and $15,000 in damage to contents in the fire, according to Fire Chief Brad Smith.

Derby firefighters found flames coming from the garage when they responded at 6:40 a.m. By the time the fire was under control, there was also some damage to the kitchen area of the home.

The west side of the duplex, 1018 E. Redwood, was not damaged, but had some smoke and odor damage. The occupant of that side was able to stay in his home and utilities were reconnected, Smith said.

Drew was taken by EMS to a Wichita hospital, where she was treated and released. Drew is elderly and lived in the duplex with other family members. All escaped unharmed from the fire.

No cars were in the garage at the time of the fire, but it was full of household-type materials.

Smith said that a cause of the fire has not been determined.

Charles Gunter

Charles Gunter, 84 retired firefighter in Wichita and member of the Hillsboro American Legion, died January 25, 2015. Born June 26, 1930 in Woodbine, KS the son of Milton and Margaret Gunter they preceded him in death along with his wife Marcene and two brothers. Charles is survived by daughters: Gwen (Victor) Rose and Lucinda (James) Epley; sister Sharon (Jerry) Volkman; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be 11:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church, Military Honors will be at Lakeview Cemetery 2:30 pm the same day.

Bruner chosen for regional emergency group

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – Feb. 25, 2015


Fort Scott Deputy Fire Chief Dave Bruner has a new opportunity to put his expertise to use coming his way.

Bruner, who has spent 21 years with the Fort Scott Fire Department, learned earlier this month he has been appointed to the MERGe EMS team to represent Region 6 in Kansas. MERGe is a statewide mutual aid group that supports EMS agencies across the state with disasters and emergencies.

Teams in each region assist other medical emergency response units in prioritizing and assisting with medical emergencies. The Kansas EMS division is broken into six regions.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to represent not only our department, but our region,” Bruner said. “And being able to learn more and work together with people throughout the state of Kansas. To learn more about how to handle emergency responses, whether they be minor or major incidents. And having that rapport that I would have with people throughout the state and their contact information … having those types of contacts to know if I need something in this part of the region, even in our city, I know who’s coming. And I can gain knowledge and experience. And we’re not going to sit around and wait for the big stuff to happen. We’ll be available for everything including responses and training.”

Bruner said MERGe helps with coordination and planning during an emergency. Should a disaster such as a large tornado strike the local area, MERGe team members from other regions would come to assist, much as team members from Region 6 would during an emergency in another region of the state.

Terry David, commander of the MERGe team and director of EMS in Rice County, said MERGe is a “major emergency response group,” thus the acronym MERGe, that assists emergency and ambulance services across the state.

“Our purpose is to help local EMS agencies supplement resources for any of their expanded needs,” David said. “Most of the time what’s critical are weather events. It’s a dedicated group of people that trust each other with their lives, really.”

David said teams situated in various areas respond to disasters and emergences such as tornados, storms and other events. He said teams have recently helped with a nursing home evacuation and evacuation following an ice storm.

“We consider ourselves a state team with members in every region. We try to be at a disaster site within an hour or so.”

David said the first step in the process of recruiting new team members is to open up an application process and provide notice to all regional EMS councils, which are made up of educators, EMS personnel and directors. Bruner applied and sent his resumé in to Region 6.

“Each individual regional council accepts those people,” David said. “The team decides who comes on the team. After the region approves it, they send a letter for good candidates to me and I recommend them for consideration.

“And they (candidates) have to have local buy-in from the community,” he said.

David said not everyone who applies for the team lands a spot. He said six candidates applied during the most recent application process and two were not accepted.

“We cover the candidate’s experience, strong points and weak areas and we focus training on some of that,” he said.

Bruner is a certified advanced emergency medical technician and treasurer for the Kansas Region 6 EMS council.

“And I think the biggest thing for me is I have the support of the city; the fire chief, commission, the city manager,” he said, adding his fellow colleagues on the fire department have been supportive of his appointment.

Bruner said he also made himself available for assistance to emergency personnel during the EF5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo.., in 2011.

MERGe consists of about 25 professionals with a variety of emergency response experience from across the state. David said the goal “is to have one of our guys on a scene within about an hour.” He said the group is looking for good recruits as “we have lost two or three people due to job changes and things.”

“We prefer people at least be paramedic level technicians and have supervisory experience,” David said. “We brought Dave in and he interviewed. There’s an all-day orientation session.”

David also said the group has a total of 10 response trailers, equipment to treat patients and a 40-foot command trailer with computers to run an incident.

David said MERGe came about following an outbreak of tornadoes in Andover in April 1991.

“The south central EMS region got together and was looking at all disasters that happened in the state of Kansas,” he said. “They always had enough ambulances and personnel, but were lacking in leadership. They asked people with leadership experience who would want to come in and lead.”

Initially, the group operated in just the south central part of the state, but “as money has come in,” the response group has grown, David said.

“We’ve become a state resource and part of the state response plan,” he said. “The state has to depend on local resources to come together.”

The next step for Bruner is to attend an orientation session March 19-20.

“We bring all new people in and spend an afternoon with those brand-new people,” David said, adding there are deputy commanders who work under him. “There’s a thick standard operating guidebook to go over. Then we put candidates through a scenario situation. All new people get to run a disaster.”

David said MERGe also covers expenses for lodging and meals for the new members during the orientation. He said business meetings also take place during the orientation on “things going on in Kansas.”

“We also do a training session,” he said. “It’s successful because we do that three times per year where we spend an entire day together, practicing.”

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said he is proud of Bruner and is excited for his opportunity.

“I think it’s a huge accomplishment to be on that team, not only for us locally but for us as a region,” Ballou said. “Dave is just one of those people … he’s just that kind of person to be involved with that kind of team; it’s a perfect fit.”

Ballou said emergency response efforts across the state are moving toward a more regional approach.

“We’re going more regional, more group and that’s so much better for all local residents,” he said. “We’ve been to Katrina, Greensburg, Joplin. We’re very excited that one of our people would accomplish a position like this.”

Fire Department Honors School Instructor

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – Feb. 25, 2015

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

salina fire 2252015b

salina fire 2252015c

Salina Firefighters responded to St. John’s Military School during the noon hour Tuesday. There was no fire or medical emergency, but rather they showed up to hand out an unexpected award to Sgt. Geronimo Rivera, an instructor at the school.

Chief Larry Mulliken presented Rivera with a Salina Fire Chief Community Service Award. Mulliken explained to the entire school, who had gathered for lunch, exactly what the award is, and why Rivera was receiving it.

The Salina Fire Chief Community Service Award was designed to recognize organizations and individuals who have been selfless in giving to the fire department. Mulliken told KSAL News “they really are silent partners who help make us successful”. He said that only a handful of the awards have been given out since its inception.

Rivera was given the award because of his guidance, and instruction, of the Salina Fire Department Honor Guard. Mulliken said that the department reached out as they were forming their honor guard. Rivera went above and beyond what they had hoped he would do to help them.

After Rivera was given the award, the gathered students and faculty all applauded.

Rivera was taken by surprise with the award. He told KSAL News that he was simply doing the right thing in offering to help the fire department. “I didn’t expect an award”, he said, “a handshake and a thank you would have been enough”.

He added that if there are any other organizations out there that need guidance with an honor guard, or similar type activity, he would be willing to help them too if they contact him. “The more the merrier” he concluded with a smile.

Part of Rivera’s duties at St. John’s Military School are working with the cadet honor guard.

Belleville firefighters struggle with toddler’s death

By Tim Unruh
Salina Journal – Feb. 25, 2015

Firefighters moved swiftly Monday morning, but they were unable to save a toddler trapped in the basement of a burning home.

Sawyer White, 21 months old, was pronounced dead at Republic County Hospital after Belleville firefighters rescued him. His older brother, Ayden, 3, was treated for a burned finger, said Duffy Strnad, Belleville fire chief.

The fire started in a basement bedroom, where Sawyer was located.

After meeting with Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office investigators Tuesday, Strnad said “a child playing with a lighter” caused the fire. He said the fire marshal’s report and press release did not specify which child had been playing with the lighter.

The boys’ father, Chris White, was at work, and their mother, Danielle, who works nights, was asleep upstairs when the fire started, the fire chief said.

“What I understood, the older boy managed to get upstairs and woke the mom,” Strnad said.

Danielle attempted to go to the basement to rescue Sawyer, “but she couldn’t reach him. There was too much smoke and fire,” Strnad said.

According to the news release, a “good Samaritan” stopped after seeing the smoke. He entered the house and removed the 3-year-old. He attempted a second entry, but was unable to get back inside, according to the release.

Firefighters began arriving at the home at 701 23rd, in southwest Belleville, within 31/2 minutes of the call, according to the release, and immediately went for Sawyer.

“They packed up and that was the first thing we did,” Strnad said.

Sawyer was taken to Republic County Hospital, one block away, arriving within 11 minutes of the first call-out.

But it was too late.

Family allowed in house

Fire marshal’s investigators were at the house through Tuesday morning. Insurance investigators entered the house after lunch.

Strnad said members of the White family were allowed back inside the house Tuesday afternoon, but he said that repairs would have to be made before anyone can live in the home.

The Whites stayed with relatives in Belleville on Monday night.

Strnad wouldn’t speculate about the condition of the home, which he guessed was built in the 1940s or 1950s.

“We had the fire out in less than 30 minutes. It was confined to the basement,” Strnad said. “There was a lot of heat and smoke damage on the upper floors.”

Firefighters praised for response

Sawyer’s death hit the small town hard, the fire chief said. It was the first time in his 30 years as a Belleville firefighter that a life was lost in a structure fire.

An intervention team from Riley County met with the Belleville firefighters Monday night, and they were praised for their quick response.

“The guys all work. They had to get to the firehouse, start the trucks, get out of their clothes and into bunker gear, get to the scene and get their air packs on. (Three and a half minutes) to the first truck arriving is fast,” Strnad said. “They were beating themselves up. There was nothing we could have done differently.”

Man dies in construction accident in Butler County

KSN – Feb. 24, 2015

A 46-year-old Wichita man is dead after a construction accident. It happened around 10:50 a.m.

The Benton Police Department, along with Butler County Sheriff Deputies, Butler County EMS and Benton Fire were dispatched to an address near SW 40th Street and Aviator Lane for an unresponsive fall victim.

Upon arrival, crews found a 46-year-old man from Wichita, who was not breathing. Co-workers had started CPR.

Witnesses on scene stated that the victim was working in a bucket attached to a fork lift approximately 15 feet off the ground when the fork lift tilted, and the victim fell out. The victim was later pronounced dead about 40 minutes later.

An investigation is being conducted by the Benton Police Department, and an autopsy was requested by the coroner.

Michael G. Smyres


Michael G. Smyres, 73, of Windom, KS, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 12, 2015, surrounded by family at Heartland Haven, Inman, KS. He was a farmer and rancher. He formerly drove a truck for Redigas, Inc. in McPherson.

Mike was born on March 12, 1941, in Little River, KS, the son of Albert Leroy and Jane Kathleen (Yocum) Smyres. He graduated from Windom High School in 1959 and attended Hutchinson Community College. He served in the Air National Guard. On May 27, 1962, Mike was united in marriage to Cheryl Ann Lindquist at the Andover Lutheran Church, Windom.

He was a member of Andover Lutheran Church and Windom Fire Department and former member of Windom Lions Club.

Survivors include: his wife, Cheryl of the home; son, Troy Smyres and wife, Kristy, of Windom, KS; daughter, Shelley Schekall of Wichita, KS; brother, Albert Dwight Smyres of Little River, KS; and four grandchildren, Natalie Schekall, David Schekall, Trevor Smyres, and Emily Smyres.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

The funeral service will be at 2:00 PM, Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at Andover Lutheran Church, Windom with Rev. Thomas Hallowell officiating. Burial will follow at the Andover Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Monday, Feb. 16, at Stockham Family Funeral Home with family receiving friends from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Memorial donations may be given to Windom Fire Department or Andover Cemetery Fund in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.

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