Archive for March, 2015

Parsons Fire Department announces promotions, welcomes new firefighters

Parsons Sun – March 31, 2015

Devon Bohrer

Devon Bohrer

The Parsons Fire Department recently announced several promotions and introduced two new firefighters in March.
As Jay Hawks was named fire chief earlier in the month, there was a battalion chief position vacant. After position-driven testing, several promotions have been made.
Matt Claibourn was named battalion chief, filling Hawks’ position. Jared Stringer was named captain. Alan Hucke was named driver/relief officer. Brenden McRay was promoted to driver.
With the changes in the fire department, two vacant firefighter positions also have been filled, bringing the team up to full staff. Gabe Vitt was hired earlier and recently Devon Bohrer joined the department.
Bohrer is a 2012 graduate of Erie High School. After school he farmed with his family and earned a welding certificate through Neosho County Community College. His position is firefighter.

2 dead in small plane crash in Pleasanton

Wichita Eagle – March 31, 2015

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The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash Tuesday of a small plane in Pleasanton in eastern Kansas.

Two people were killed, the Kansas Highway Patrol confirmed in a tweet by one of its troopers.

“KHP has personnel at a crash site of a double fatality involving a plane in LN CO. near Pleasanton, KS. C.H.A.R.T. is also on scene,” tweeted @TrooperrickKHP.

The NTSB tweeted that the craft was a Zodiak CH601XL, which is a small kit plane from the Zenith Aircraft Co.

KHP is handling the crash in Linn County. Other details were not immediately available.

Pleasanton is on U.S. 69, about 70 miles south of Kansas City, Kan.

House destroyed in Sylvan Grove fire

KWCH – March 31, 2015

A house was considered a total loss in a fire reported about 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 300 block of East Second Street in Sylvan Grove. No one was inside the house at the time of the fire, authorities said.

Units from Lincoln County and Sylvan Grove took less than two hours to get the fire under control.

The state fire marshal in investigating the fire. A cause had yet to be determined as of Tuesday afternoon.

Shawnee Heights Fire Department fighting mobile home fire on US-40 highway

By Caroline Sweeney
Topeka Capital Journal – March 31, 2015

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No injuries were reported after a mobile home near S.E. US-40 Highway caught fire Tuesday afternoon.

Around 2:30 p.m., crews from the Shawnee Heights Fire District were called to the 7400 block of the highway, east of Topeka, for an out of control grass fire.

However, what they found was different from the original report.

“The first unit arrived on scene and discovered that we not only had a grass fire but that we also had a building involved,” said Scott Price, a battalion chief with the Shawnee Heights Fire District.

According to Price, a mobile home on the property was mostly consumed in the blaze when crews arrived.

Thick plumes of black smoke blew west over the two-lane highway, however the road was never closed.

Because of the extensive damage to the building, Price said fire fighters were mounting a defensive attack.

“(A defensive attack) means we’re not going to go in and fight the fire from within,” he said. “We are certain the building was unoccupied but we’re not certain that this was an active, livable structure yet.”

As of 3:30 p.m., the owner of the property hadn’t been found.

Along with the high winds and dry conditions, fire crews were faced with the challenge of being far from a water source.

According to Price, tankers with the department drove almost three miles to the intersection of S.E. 29th and Stanley to get water.

The department is investigating the exact cause of the fire and will then determine if the incident was accidental or incendiary.

“We’re going to find out if we had a structure fire that caught grass or vice versa,” Price said.

Fire scorches pasture

By Mike Corn
Hays Daily News – March 31, 2015

Photos by Mike Corn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Mike Corn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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A sheet of corrugated tin is being blamed for starting a fire Monday in north Ellis County.

It’s believed wind whipping the tin shorted the line, causing a breaker at a power pole to arc, sending sparks to the ground.

The fire didn’t cover a big area, but it was in especially rough terrain, just south of the Saline River. The fire burned approximately 20 acres of pasture owned by the family of the late Dan Johnson.

Firefighters had to haul hoses down into especially rough terrain to water down spots that threatened to re-ignite.

A pile of recently removed power poles actively burned as firefighters focused their attention on the area where the fire could spread.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t windy,” Ellis County Rural Fire Chief Dick Klaus said of the fire.

Hesston Fire Department putting out bids for new truck

Hesston Record – March 12, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2015

The Hesston Fire Department is replacing a nearly three-decade-old fire truck.

Emergency Services Director Russ Buller said the replacement of a truck will bring the fire fleet into the 21st century.

“None of our existing fire trucks has that available since our newest truck is almost 17-years-old. There has been a significant improvement in firefighter safety and firefighting technology added to fire trucks in the recent years. The new rescue/pumper that we are currently writing specifications on will include numerous improvements over what our current fleet can provide,” he said.

The engine being replaced is a 1988 Central States fire truck.

“It will be a custom chassis rescue/pumper that will be able to pump 1,250 gallons per minute. It will have occupant safety systems incorporated in the cab and will have the latest in foam technology to improve firefighting capability,” said Buller.

Funding for the $550,000 to $700,000 truck will come from a fire equipment tax account that is intended to fund apparatus purchases such as this.

Buller said the truck will be a significant improvement over any of the current fleet.

“This truck will include numerous occupant safety features for improved firefighter safety. It will have a larger compartment capacity to carry all of the necessary rescue/extrication and firefighting tools.

“It will have the new CAFS technology that injects compressed air and firefighting foam into the water stream, which improves fire knock-down and reduces firefighter fatigue. It will have an enhanced scene lighting package that will utilize an elevated light tower. It will have a larger cab to better accommodate five firefighters ‘gearing up’ for a response. It will possibly have a new color scheme to improve the visibility of the vehicle,” he said.

As with the ambulance, finding the right vehicle with the best features to serve Hesston can be an arduous undertaking.

“It is a huge undertaking to incorporate all of the necessary features needed to make this an efficient and effective response vehicle for all types of emergencies and to anticipate the needs of our community for the next 20 to 30 years, the lifespan of this truck,” he said.

Buller said the truck being replaced is too outdated to be sold in the United States but will be sold to a Central or South American country through a broker.

Wilson County house destroyed by recent fire

Independence Daily Reporter – March 10, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 31, 2015

A recently remodeled house and contents were a complete loss after a fire Wednesday in Wilson County.

Wilson County Sheriff’s Officers said occupant Jessica Songer said a loud pop woke her up and she realized the house was filled with smoke. She said the smoke appeared to come from the bathroom, where an electrical heater was. The wood house on Thomas Road was fully engulfed in flames when responders arrived.

Commission OKs backup emergency system

By Dale Hogg
Great Bend Tribune – March 31, 2015

Emergency personnel and first responders in Barton County will now have a back-up method to receive messages and alerts from dispatchers after the County Commission approved the purchase of the Active911 system Monday morning.

Active911 is a digital messaging system that delivers alarms, maps, and other critical information instantly to first responders’ cell phones via text message and/or email, said 911 Director Doug Hubbard. It also allows response efforts to be monitored in real time and pinpoints the locations of the responders.

“I really believe this is going to work for us,” Hubbard said.

The cost of Active911 will be around $2,000 per year. This is based on the company charging the county $10.25 annually for up to 190 first responders.

The money to pay for this comes from the county’s share of the state-levied 911 phone tax, Hubbard said. There will be no mill levy support involved.

In late 2014, the Communications Department began a 120 day trial period for the Active911 system. After using the system, Hubbard said he is confident that the system will provide notifications for county departments and will act as a secondary form of notification.

Hubbard said this isn’t the first back-up network used by the county. In 2011, the county used the Total Notify system.

However, come 2012, that company sold and the annual cost jumped from $2,000 to $16,000. So, it was phased out and “we’ve been without a secondary system since,” Hubbard said.

In the intervening years, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated that all communications radio switch to narrow band widths due to the increased use of the airwaves. This has cut radio coverage by 20 percent, causing problems, Hubbard said.

Since Active 911 is Internet-based, messages can get out to cell phones regardless the availability of radio signals. It is, however, subject to being unavailable if the Internet is down.

For now, Hubbard stressed that this is a redundant system. There may come a time when cell phones replace pagers, but that won’t happen soon.

Not-so-controlled burn

St. John News – March 25, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2015

Photo by Terry Spradley. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Terry Spradley. Click on photo to view full-size image.

A controlled burn two miles west and 1.5 south of Hudson got out of control late Friday afternoon. Firefighters from several county departments responded to extinguish the pasture land and tree row. Crews were on scene until late Friday night. The controlled burn was started near NE 80 St. and NE 40 Ave. Firefighter and Stafford County Deputy Tom Fischer said a change in wind direction caused the fire to get out-of-control. Firefighters were on scene until 10 p.m. extinguishing the blaze and wetting down hot spots.

Fire claims Effingham house

By Mary Meyers
Atchison Globe – March 7, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2015

An investigation is ongoing to determine the origin of an early morning, unexplained fire that claimed a vacant house and its contents in Effingham.

Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie said Detective Larry Myer, of the sheriff’s office, and authorities from Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office continued to probe the fire scene on Friday.

Laurie said it was about 4:58 a.m. Thursday when emergency responders were dispatched to the report of a house ablaze at 709 Seabury St. Atchison County Fire Dist. No. 2, comprised of Effingham volunteer firefighters, and Lancaster-Huron Fire Dist. No. 5 volunteer firefighters responded, as well as authorities from Atchison County Sheriff’s Office.

“Arson has not been ruled out,” Laurie said, adding the property was uninsured.

Laurie said Roger Frederick owns the wooden-frame residential structure that was constructed in 1910. Although no one resides in the home, Frederick used the building for storage. There has not been an electric meter in operation since it was disconnected and removed in 2006, though a live electrical wire remained.

Laurie said after the house fire was spotted and reported, it burnt fast.

“It was a total loss,” Laurie said.

Fire stations’ configuration could change

By Tim Schrag
Hutchinson News – March 30, 2015

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Firefighters and city leaders are hoping to change the configuration of fire stations over the next several years.

The plan, which is still in the planning stages, would build three new fire stations over the course of about three years. The stations would be placed strategically to better serve the needs of the city with six total stations. Hutchinson currently has seven, but officials believe the arrangement would improve efficiency, response time, and overall staffing issues.

“The art of fire crew deployment is to spread crews out across a community for quick response to keep emergencies small with positive outcomes, without spreading the stations so far apart that they cannot amass together quickly enough to be effective in major emergencies,” said Fire Chief Kim Forbes.

Forbes said the project would cost approximately $3.2 million to build the three new stations, roughly $1.3 million to $1.5 million per station.

The stations would be modeled after Station No. 7 at 3416 E. 30th Ave., which was completed in 2011. Station No. 7 has separate sleeping quarters, locker rooms and bathrooms for male and female firefighters and front and rear garage doors so that fire trucks don’t have to be backed in off the streets.

“We like the design of it,” Forbes said. “It’s functional from both response and living quarters.”

The plan calls for replacement of Station No. 3, 100 E. Ave. E; Station No. 2, 2 E. 20th Ave.; and Station No. 5, 11th and Hendricks. Station No. 1, 18 E. Ave. B, would ultimately be decommissioned as an active fire station and used by the department for storage. Stations 3 and 5 were built in 1975; Station No. 1 is much older than that.

Those stations were selected for replacement, Forbes said, because of their age and need for capital improvements.

In 2014 the City Council hesitated at the idea of spending $220,000 to repair the roof and a bulging wall at Fire Station No. 5. That’s when the discussion began to possibly replace the structures.

Officials hope to replace the stations with newer structures that will last for 30 to 50 years.

Forbes presented the initial proposal to City Council members at a study session in early March.

The plan calls for a new station to be built on the existing location of Station No. 3, and two other stations at possibly 11th Avenue and Hendricks Street or 17th Avenue and Hendricks and another at 17th and Severance.

City Manager John Deardoff said the need for station replacement exists; the matter becomes funding the project.

“While we’ve got a plan for the future, it’s not concrete,” he said. “Structurally those stations are needing replacement. It’s time to address that for the long term.”

Nothing at this time has been formally approved by the City Council, Deardoff said. Plans will begin to solidify once the first phase of the project is started with Station No. 3. He estimates city staff will bring a formal proposal to the council in May, with construction starting later in the year.

“With the new council, we’ve got a little bit of time to decide how they want to go about this,” Forbes said.

Grass fire reported out of control

By Jessie Wagoner
Emporia Gazette – March 30, 2015

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic

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A grass fire has been reported at 386 Road 180. The Emporia Fire Department is responding. The Americus Fire Department is providing mutual aid. At this time approximately 60 acres are burning and the fire is about 40 feet from a structure.
A second grass fire at Road 60 and Road T has been reported at 2:20 p.m.
Update, 2:32 pm: the fire at Road 180 has involved a garage. Saffordville and Chase County are en route to help.
Meanwhile, responders at Roads 60 and T are stuck in the mud and awaiting a tractor to get pulled out.
Update 2:50 p.m. The fire at Road T and Road 60 is not threatening any structures. It is a rekindle from yesterday.
A third fire is reported, a controlled burn that is now out of control at 400 S. U.S. Highway 99, near the Greenwood county line. Apparently contained to a ditch, but smoke is crossing the road and obscuring visibility.

One person killed in car-train accident

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – March 30, 2015

One person was killed early Sunday morning when their car struck a train about a quarter mile north of SW 150th.
Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said they received the call at 1:10 a.m. and Butler County deputies were dispatched to the report of a vehicle fire along the railroad tracks near SW 150th and Santa Fe Lake Road.
Augusta and Rose Hill fire departments were also dispatched to the scene.
“Upon deputies arriving, they located what appeared to be a Toyota minivan on the west track of the two railroad tracks for Burlington Northern Santa Fe,” Herzet said. “Upon arriving, the vehicle was still on fire and it was confirmed there was a deceased person in the vehicle.”
Through the investigation, deputies determined the vehicle was eastbound on SW 150th and failed to stop at the crossing as the train was traveling northbound.
“It was later determined through the investigation the van struck the train approximately 1,100 feet behind the lead engine,” Herzet continued.
The train crew was unaware the vehicle and struck the train and continued northbound until they were contacted and got stopped near Bazaar.
There were no witnesses to the accident, which was reported by a southbound train approximately 30 to 35 minutes later when it saw the wreckage and vehicle on fire.
Herzet said the crossing could not be seen from 150th, but it was well marked with crossing arms and lights, all of which were operational.
“He drove right through the crossing arm and hit the train,” Herzet said.
The driver has not been positively identified yet because of the injuries. The body will be identified through a dental comparison by the Sedgwick County Regional Science Center. Herzet said it remains an ongoing investigation until the body is identified.
This crossing has had a few fatalities over the years.

Numerous brush fires reported

Holton Recorder – March 9, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2015

This past weekend was a busy one for Jackson County’s fire departments, with county dispatchers noting that between Friday and Sunday, firefighters were sent to a total of 26 brush and grass fires that got out of control.

It’s not quite a record for the county, but it does serve as a warning to farmers, ranchers and other rural folks who seek to conduct controlled pasture and brush burns, as well as other types of burning activities. Such activities in Jackson County require an open burning permit, it was reported.

Burn permits are free and available at any Jackson County fire department. However, the Holton Fire Department is the only department that is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week, it was reported.

As long as your phone number does not change from year to year, residents will not need to apply for a new permit, it was reported.

If burning is permitted for the day, the name of the permit holder, the location of the burn and the materials being burned are kept in a log at the Holton Fire Department.

County residents are also encouraged to contact their neighbors before and after they burn so the neighbors don’t make a false report about an uncontrolled fire to the department.

Burning without a permit, or on a day when burning is banned, can result in a fine.

Hay bales, trailer destroyed by fire

Salina Journal – March 30, 2015

A rural Saline County man who was relocating 10 hay bales Saturday looked in his rearview mirror and discovered the bales were consumed in flames, said Sheriff Glen Kochanowski.

Jerry Short, 46, had been towing the bales on a wooden trailer he had recently purchased when the hay apparently combusted at about 4 p.m. Saturday in the 1600 block of North Brownhill Road, Kochanowski said.

Rural firefighters extinguished the flames, but the trailer was extensively damaged, Kochanowski said.

Damage to the trailer was estimated at $4,500, in addition to the loss of the hay, he said.

Grass fires commonplace in recent days

By Shawn F. Linenberger
Tonganoxie Mirror – March 25, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2015

The area has been getting some much-needed rain this week, but the moisture doesn’t preclude it from being a prime candidate for grass fires.

Tonganoxie City Fire Chief Jack Holcom said many departments in the area were busy during the weekend taking on grass fires.

None was reported in Tonganoxie, but the department assisted with mutual aid to other departments in the area.

Those fires come on the heels of a scare last week in Tonganoxie.

Firefighters responded to a grass fire about 1:20 p.m. March 16 in a vacant property near Willis Drive south of U.S. Highway 24-40.

Holcom said the blaze burned about 8-10 acres of land and neared the South Park subdivision, as well as the Fall Creek Villas.

The fire’s heat damaged a cover over an RV, as well as a plastic covering over a spare tire and a wooden privacy fence.

Firefighters had to monitor the area for several hours, including at night.

“A lot of the trees and logs continued to smolder for hours and it just takes a lot of water and wetting agent to completely extinguish any smoldering,” Holcom said.

The chief said Fairmount, Reno, Stranger and Tonganoxie townships were key in providing assistance, as was Leavenworth County District 1 Fire Department.

“Also, give due credit to residents nearby with garden hoses for helping protect their property and neighboring properties from the fire threat,” Holcom said.

Tonganoxie Public Works, Tonganoxie police and the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office also assisted.

Holcom said the cause of the fire was unknown.

“Something like that is tough to determine without any eyewitnesses,” Holcom said. “We suspect it could have been an accidental fire started by someone for some unknown reason.”

Holcom said the rain has been welcomed, but all it does is dampen the soil at this point. Plants and trees still are dry internally.

Area firefighters have busy week

Stockton Sentinel – March 26, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2015

A rash of fires has plagued area firefighters throughout the past week and some of them were accelerated by unseasonal heat, very low humidity, and our continuing dry weather.

Last Wednesday night a burning candle was the cause of a house fire at 601 North Cypress. A call came in at about 8:30 p.m. from patrolling Stockton Police Department officer Ray Niblock, that reported the grass in front of the residence was on fire.

Homeowner J.D. Baughman had heard a “pop” and after investigating, found that a burning candle in a glass jar in the bedroom had broken, on top of a nightstand near the bed. Baughman picked up the nightstand and threw it outside into the yard, setting the grass on fire.

On their arrival, fire personnel found that the mattress had caught fire as well. In about 20 minutes, the fire was out. The residence sustained some smoke damage, and the mattress and blinds in the room were burned. There were no reports of injuries. Fire Chief Jon Voss said it is common for candles in glass jars to break, and warned residents to always place them on the stove or on a fire-resistant surface.

More details have been made available concerning last Tuesday morning’s house fire at 511 North Cedar, the residence of Andy and Missy Saaranen. Voss told the Sentinel he believes the cause of the fire was a faulty-sub-woofer in a new stereo system, that was situated behind the sofa. After 35 minutes, fire personnel were all done at the scene. Voss reported a little water damage, and smoke damage throughout the house. There was no skeletal damage caused by the blaze.

Stockton firefighters were sent to 1290 15 Road at 7:55 p.m. on Friday night, where they found a field of CRP grass on fire. The fire was caused by the owner of the property, Joe Swaney, driving through the grass in his pickup and the catalytic converter igniting the dry grass. The fire was quickly contained.

At 11:30 p.m. that same night, a small grass fire was extinguished at a location on B Road, where a resident was burning yard waste and it got out of control. The public is urged to be vigilant and remember the countywide burn ban.

One dead after car crashes into pole in Kansas City, Kansas

KSHB – March 30, 2015

Photo by Jason Gould.

Photo by Jason Gould.


One person died after a car hit a utility pole in Kansas City, Kan.

The incident happened near 18th and State at about 1:45 a.m. Police said the car was driving north on 18th Street when the driver hit a telephone pole. Officers declared the man soon after they arrived.

Authorities continue to investigate. An autopsy will determine whether alcohol or drugs played a factor in this crash.

PFD tests new foam abilities on Hornback’s Posey Shop

By Andrew Nash
Pittsburg Morning Sun – March 30, 2015

Pittsburg firefighters Alex Stewart and Terry Powell spray foam on the interior of the former Hornback's Posey Shop as part of fire traning on the soon-to-be demolished building on Tuesday. ANDREW NASH/THE MORNING SUN

Pittsburg firefighters Alex Stewart and Terry Powell spray foam on the interior of the former Hornback’s Posey Shop as part of fire traning on the soon-to-be demolished building on Tuesday. ANDREW NASH/THE MORNING SUN

The deluge gun of the new Pittsburg Fire Department fire engine is so powerful that it blows shingles off the roof and could eventually tear a hole in the building if needed.

The deluge gun of the new Pittsburg Fire Department fire engine is so powerful that it blows shingles off the roof and could eventually tear a hole in the building if needed.

Foam drips from the rafters of the former Hornback's Posey Shop in Pittsburg as Pittsburg Fire crews practice their new fire engine's capabilities during training on Tuesday. The building will be demolished in the coming weeks, and fire crews are getting the opportunity to practice before the building is gone.

Foam drips from the rafters of the former Hornback’s Posey Shop in Pittsburg as Pittsburg Fire crews practice their new fire engine’s capabilities during training on Tuesday. The building will be demolished in the coming weeks, and fire crews are getting the opportunity to practice before the building is gone.


Pittsburg firefighters turned on the deluge gun on their new fire truck and aimed it at the former Hornback’s Posey Shop. The power of the water ripped shingles from the building like a mighty spring storm.
“If we hadn’t already cut a hole, it could eventually make one,” said Pittsburg Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Radell.
The deluge gun is not really anything new for PFD, which has similar guns on other fire trucks. However, they were able to put all of the new fire truck’s skills to the test this week in the lead-up to the demolition of the former flower shop.
Earlier in the week, crews practiced using saw equipment to cut holes in the roof, and Tuesday was the day for putting the new fire engine through its paces.
In particular, the new fire truck has foam capabilities, which Radell said has its advantages.
“Water can cool it, but foam cools it and suffocates it. That’s two parts of the fire triangle,” Radell said. “It’s not anything [that much greater] for fire fighting, but it’s better for building conservation.”
Radell said that insurance companies like the foam solution, because it preserves the property better, can put out the fire a little bit quicker and doesn’t use as much water, which can cause damage.
“The only difficulty is figuring out the amount of pressure to create a drier or wetter foam. You normally want a drier foam so it stays on the building,” Radell said. “That’s what we’re practicing is communicating.”
The high-powered nature of the deluge gun is on all the city’s fire trucks, but Radell said the new fire engine has one trick up its sleeve for the deluge gun — the person directing the gun doesn’t have to be standing at the truck to direct it.
“This is automated. It’s really the same, except we can have someone directing it with a remote automatically,” he said.
Fire officials hope that sometime in the future they can practice drills on the demolished building with their structural collapse task force. Before that, however, they plan to come back on Sunday to “smoke up” the building for search and rescue scenarios in a simulated environment.
Radell said this type of real-world practice is vital for the PFD.
“Our training tower is a concrete building. This is a real building that we’re getting to use. We can practice communications, smoky conditions, radioing out that we need the foam a little drier. Plus, it gets us out of the station on a nice day,” Radell said.

Fire destroys abandoned school in Reno County

KAKE – March 30, 2015

Photo by Chelsey Rose Juenemann.

Photo by Chelsey Rose Juenemann.


A fire late Saturday morning destroyed an abandoned school in Reno County.

Crews were called just before 11 a.m. to the old middle school in the 300 block of North Howard Street.

A KAKE viewer said a brush fire spread to the school, and it was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene.

No one was hurt in the fire, but dispatchers said the building is a total loss.

Crisis City Downtown Gas Explosion Drill

KSAL – March 30, 2015

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First responders from across Kansas are headed to the Salina area this week to a large downtown gas explosion.

According to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office, scores of participants from state, local and private organizations across Kansas will take part in a two-day emergency response exercise at the Crisis City training facility west of Salina. The event is Tuesday and Wednesday.

The exercise will run over a longer cycle than many exercises. The operational period will begin Tuesday at noon and continue through the day with a second operational period set to begin at approximately 6 p.m. and continue through midnight. A third operational period will begin at approximately 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

The exercise scenario will simulate a large-scale gas explosion in a downtown area. First responders, including search and rescue dogs, will be conducting response operations at the concrete rubble pile, gas pipeline and other training venues at Crisis City.

Fire on East Street

Emporia Gazette – March 30, 2015

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic.

Photos by Jakub Stepanovic.

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At 3:40 a.m., fire ripped through the north building of the Eastwood Lake apartments on the 1100 block of East Street.

The Emporia Fire Department was dispatched to the structure fire in which the two-story building was fully engulfed in flames. There are eight apartments on each story.

The first fire units on the scene saw fire out of the north window and south door of a downstairs apartment on the west side of the building, and it extending up the exterior of the building into the eaves of the attic.

The Emporia Police Department and Emporia State University officers were already evacuating occupants when EFD arrived. Firefighters then assisted with the evacuation and began fire suppression efforts. According to the EFD release, the attic was heavily on fire by that time.

All occupants were accounted for and there were no injuries reported per the information released at 8:49 a.m. More recent reports indicate that two residents went by private vehicle to Newman Regional Health for observation.

The Emporia Senior Center was opened to provide shelter for the residents of the building, and the Salvation Army responded to assist as well. The American Red Cross was contacted to provide for additional needs of the displaced residents.

“Any time the police or fire department needs us, we come out,” Salvation Army Lt. Lynn Lopez said. “I’m on call 24 hours a day.”

The Olpe, Americus, North Lyon County and Miller Fire Departments, along with Fire District 5 (Hartford/Neosho Rapids), all provided mutual aid in the efforts.

Adam Hauth, who lived in apartment three, said that the fire began in apartment one.

“I woke up with a pounding on my door,” Hauth said. “The fire department came busting through, saying ‘get up, get up, get up!’

“I was sleeping in my boxers. All I had time to do was grab my jeans. Everything in my apartment is a loss. I’m literally wearing the jeans I have on and that’s it. I’m just glad to be alive and be ok.”

Units remained on scene to make sure no hot spots reignited flames.

The cause of the fire and extent of damage is not confirmed, officials suspect it was due to a resident smoking inside.

That is still under investigation, which will begin when the structure is safe to enter.

Officer Hurt As Sunday Fire Damages Home

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – March 30, 2015

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A police officer sustained a minor injury in a fire that damaged a north Salina vacant home early Sunday morning. First responders were called at 7:54 in the morning to the report of a fire at 155 North Broadway.
The Salina Fire Department told KSAL News at the scene that heavy smoke and flames were coming from the west side of the second floor when the first responders arrived.
Firefighters made a quick entry and searched the building to make sure no one was inside. They did not find anyone.
The fire extensively damaged the second floor of the house.
Fire inspectors responded to the scene to determine a cause. The building is vacant, and has no power or gas service connected to it.
The property has housed several businesses in the past including an antique shop and a tattoo parlor. Most recently the second floor was used as an apartment-type rental property.
There was one injury. A Salina Police Officer received a minor injury while kicking in a door. The officer was the first person on scene, and sustained a cut while kicking in the door. The officer did not require transport to the hospital.

Reno Co. Firefighters remember firefighter who passed away

KWCH – March 30, 2015


Reno County Firefighters are remembering one of their own who died Saturday.

Shawn Millington, a member of Reno County Fire District 6, passed away.

The fire district posted a message on Facebook saying quote, “We lost a brother and a friend today. Firefighter Shawn Millington passed away. We thank you for your many years service to your community. Rest in peace brother. We will take take it from here.”

Kansas State Campus Fire Under Investigation

By Justin Surrency
WIBW – March 30, 2015

A Sunday afternoon fire on the campus of Kansas State University remains under investigation.

Shortly before 3:30 pm Sunday the Manhattan Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Willard Hall on 1211 Mid Campus Drive.

Upon arrival crews saw smoke coming from the third floor in room #318 but were able to confine it to a small area and extinguished the fire.

Five units and 15 personnel responded to the fire. Fire Officials say one individual was treated and released by medical staff on hand for a small burn to the hand.

The fire remains under investigation.

Lawn mower catches fire, ignites grass; rural firefighters work ‘a few’ blazes Saturday

By Tim Unruh
Salina Journal – March 30, 2015

Photo by Saline County Sheriff's Office.

Photo by Saline County Sheriff’s Office.

A riding lawn mower that caught fire late Saturday morning ignited a grass fire.

District 7 rural firefighters were called to the 1100 block of West Hidden Springs Road, in northern Saline County.

Fire Chief Shane Komarek said he was too busy to provide details at 11 a.m.

Dispatchers confirmed the fire was out shortly after 11 a.m.

A number of controlled burns were occurring late Saturday morning, a dispatcher said, but none of those were threatening to spread.

Saline County Sheriff’s Dep. Rick Heinrich said “a few” grass fires burned out of control Saturday, included one near the corner of Kansas Highway 4 and Solomon Road in northeastern Saline County.

Firefighters “went out to one or two addresses more than once,” he said. “There was no major loss.”

Woman injured when car strikes tree on N.E. Seward

By Samantha Foster
Topeka Capital Journal – March 27, 2015

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A woman in her 60s was injured Friday night when her car struck a tree.

The Shawnee Heights Fire Department and Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office responded about 6:35 p.m. to the crash, which occurred at N.E. Seward and Rice Road.

Sheriff’s deputy Andy Mergen said at the scene that witnesses reported seeing the car, which was traveling west on N.E. Seward, leave the roadway for an unknown reason before striking a tree on the north side of the roadway.

The crash remained under investigation, Mergen said.

A woman in her 60s who was the car’s only occupant was extricated from the car by firefighters, placed on a stretcher and lifted into the back of an American Medical Response ambulance. The woman’s condition wasn’t clear, but she appeared conscious and responsive. A few minutes later, the ambulance left with its lights and siren on to take the woman to a local hospital for treatment.

Traffic on N.E. Seward was blocked in both directions at N.E. Rice Road while first responders worked at the scene.

Juvenile arrested for arson fires in Hutchinson

KAKE – March 27, 2015

A juvenile has been arrested in connection with two fires in Hutchinson.

Firefighters were called to 11th & Wilson at 11:26 a.m. Friday on a report of a hay bale on fire. Three minutes later crews were called to another fire at 9th & Carrousel.

The fires were extinguished quickly. Both fires were ruled arson.

Investigators have not said whether today’s fires are related to recent arson fires in Reno County.

Hot spots

Hays Daily News – March 5, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

Photos by Nick McQueen. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Nick McQueen. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Ellis County Rural firefighters spray down a hotspot Wednesday in a fire along Interstate 70 west of Hays. The fire started from sparks from a broken axle on a trailer. Grass in the median and on the south side of I-70 burned.

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A firefighter hoses down a burning log as other firefighters check the area.

Fire destroys family’s home in Tyro

Montgomery County Chronicle – March 5, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

A Tyro home was lost in a fire early Friday, Feb. 27.

The home of Brandon and Karen Kyser, their six children and one granddaughter was destroyed in a fire. No one was injured, but it was a total loss.

According to friends of the family, the Kysers did not have insurance.

William F. “Bill” Daniels


William F. “Bill” Daniels of Shawnee, Kansas, died at age 79 on Saturday March 14, 2015, resting peacefully in his recliner at his home. His exact cause of death is unknown. Bill was born 7/29/35 in Wellington, Kansas, to Ralph and Elva Daniels. He had three siblings, one sister and two brothers. In 1953, Bill graduated from Wellington High School and furthered his education at Wichita Business College and the American Institute of Banking. On 8/7/55, Bill married Rhoda “Jean” Fitz in a marriage that lasted nearly a lifetime — until Jean’s passing due to Alzheimer’s 56 years later. They had a son, Brad, who gave them four grandchildren they adored.

Bill served in the National Guard and the U.S. Air Force. Bill and his family moved to Shawnee in 1965. He worked at Shawnee State Bank for over 35 years starting as a collector and was eventually promoted to senior vice president retaining that title when Shawnee State Bank was acquired by Commerce Bank. He was a very active member of the Shawnee community and served on the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Banking, Shawnee Jaycees, Shawnee Chamber of Commerce, Shawnee United Methodist Church, and other various organizations. Additionally, he was instrumental in the Old Shawnee Town Bandstand and Town Hall construction, Jaycee member recruitment, and the Old Shawnee Town parade committee. In 2006, he was Grand Marshall of the Old Shawnee Days Parade and his granddaughter Mackenzie has fond memories of riding along with him. Bill was always willing to lend a helping hand to others and volunteered countless hours at the Shawnee Fire Department and the Shawnee Mission Hospital Emergency Room.

Bill was Commissioner of the Shawnee Planning Commission from 1971-1975 and helped further the development of Shawnee. He received the 1975 Shawnee Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year Award.” He received the Citizen of the Year award from the Knights of Columbus in 2000. Bill was named as one of the nation’s top 10 Jaycees.

His hobbies included boating, fishing, hunting, golf and playing poker. He loved to go on fishing trips to Bennett Springs with his grandsons. At a recent family gathering, it was discovered that he was a covert pool shark when he defeated everyone playing. He enjoyed attending KU basketball and football games with family and friends.

Bill is survived by his son, Brad (Patty), four grandchildren Justin (Cindy), Cody, Mackenzie, and Carter. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Elva, his wife, Jean 8/9/11 and siblings Ralph, Jr. 9/13/81, Emma Lou Fitts 6/14/94, and Kenneth 6/29/82.

Enjoy the madness

Wellington News – March 25, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

Photo by Amber Schmitz. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Amber Schmitz. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Larry Franklin, Wellington Health and Rehab resident, tries to make a shot over a member of the Wellington Fire Department in the championship game of wheelchair basketball Thursday at Wellington Health and Rehab. The residents beat the fire department 34-24 in their take on March Madness. Last week the fire department went against the police, and two residential teams played against each other.

Volunteers needed to staff rural fire departments

By Bethany Knipp
Manhattan Mercury – March 23, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

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The Riley County Fire Department needs about 30 more volunteer firefighters, especially during burning season, according to its director.

Emergency management director Pat Collins said Monday at a Riley County Commission meeting that crews were busy this weekend as burning season takes off.

He cited a burn near Top of the World Drive north of Manhattan that burned 140 acres and threatened five houses in the area.

Collins said 27 firefighters from area departments worked to protect the area.

He said three other fires also were burning at the same time.

“So we had 11 of our 16 fire stations with all their people deployed,” Collins said.

A couple of sheds also burned near Eureka Drive, he said.

“We still need volunteers,” Collins said. “We have a great bunch of people, but back in 1966, the community came to county commissioners and asked for better fire protection, and the commissioners voted on by resolution that we instituted a fire district, and at that time, it was kind of an agreement between the commissioners and the community that the fire district would provide the fire buildings and the equipment and the training for the firefighters if the community provided the firefighters,” Collins said.

“Right now, the community’s failing a little bit,” Collins said. “We need more firefighters.”

Collins also said that non-agricultural burns must be finished by April 1, whether people are burning trash or garden plots, because of the county’s smoke management plan.

Fire east of Towanda dispatches Augusta, El Dorado fire departments

Butler County Times Gazette – March 27, 2015

Photo by Chad Wittenberg.

Photo by Chad Wittenberg.

A rural fire east of Towanda dispatched multiple fire districts on Thursday afternoon. The grassland fire placed a number of rural homes in danger, but firefighters from Augusta and El Dorado were able to get the flames under control before any homes were damaged.
The fire covered one square mile before it was extinguished.

Enhancing the public’s safety

By Ron Wilson, Huck National Institute
Norton Telegram – March 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

The fire is raging through the building as the firefighters hurry to the scene. They need to identify the location of the fire and determine the safest and most efficient tactics for dealing with it. If only they had a quick, practical way to get an aerial view of the building…that is the thought process which led a Kansas entrepreneur to create an innovative new business using unmanned aerial systems to enhance public safety.

John Martens is the founder of NMotion UAS, the company which is doing pioneering work with unmanned aerial systems and technologies. John grew up at Hesston and went to K-State. He became a firefighter in Manhattan and then moved back to get closer to family.

John still works as a firefighter. His wife is also from Hesston and teaches financial planning at K-State-Salina. On the side, John started working in digital media, including video production. In order to get aerial views, he began using unmanned aerial vehicles–sometimes referred to as drones–for filming video.

Then commercial uses of these drones were blocked by the Federal Aviation Administration as the agency developed drone regulations. John was frustrated, but as he looked into the matter, he found that the use of drones for public safety purposes was still permitted through an authorization process. As a firefighter, he immediately recognized the benefit of using unmanned aerial systems to help at a fire scene or other emergency by using a piece of remote-controlled equipment for recon instead of a human.

John created a business called NMotion UAS, which produces unmanned aerial systems for first responders and other public safety agencies. These are easy-to-launch unmanned vehicles with cameras or sensors that public safety officials can use to help respond to an emergency situation.

There are numerous applications of these systems for public safety, such as for firefighters, search and rescue operations, law enforcement, emergency management, hazmat situations, or remote sensing. The systems can provide emergency personnel a real-time aerial view and even thermal imaging of a disaster scene such as a fire or flood.

Unlike manned systems, the unmanned robots can fly very close to a hazardous location without harm. Information can be instantly transmitted back to firefighters, law enforcement, or rescuers to assist with their operations on-scene.

As the company motto says, this allows public safety officials to “See more. Risk less, and save lives.”

The flying cameras themselves are small, remotely-guided flying devices. The real benefit of these systems comes from the perspective and data which these planes can provide.

“We offer ready-to-fly turnkey systems to public safety officals and first responders,” John said. “Our systems allow us to revolutionize the dull, dirty, dangerous tasks that responders face regularly.”

John knows those tasks first-hand. “I’ve been a firefighter for seven years,” he said. “It’s a rewarding and challenging job. Our systems are like a force multiplier. “They enable emergency responders to better calculate risk and mitigate the emergency more efficiently.”

John started building this equipment in his basement. The company’s main office continues in John’s hometown of Hesston, population 3,531 people. Now, that’s rural.

NMotion UAS was selected by the Center for Entrepreneurship in the K-State College of Business as one of ten up-and-coming businesses to be part of the inaugural class of its Launch A Business program, or L-A-B, in 2014.

“It was a great opportunity,” John said. “It was perfect for what we needed and what many startup companies need.” Applicants are now being sought for 2015.

John Martens has since been featured in UAS Magazine and selected for the prestigious Pipeline Entrepreneurship Program. More information on his business can be found at

The fire is raging through the building as firefighters arrive to assess the situation. If only they had a way to get a quick, aerial perspective on the emergency…and now they do. We commend John Martens of NMotion UAS for making a difference with innovative use of technology for public safety. They can’t fight fire with fire, but maybe they can “fight fire with a flyer.”

Building in Kackley destroyed by fire

Courtland Journal – March 5, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 27, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

The store building in Kackley remembered by many area residents as “Carl Johnson’s Store” was destroyed by fire in the evening of February 25. The Courtland Rural Fire Department and Jamestown Rural Fire Department responded to the scene shortly after 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday was a windy day and earlier possibly sparks from a trash fire or wood burning stove had set grass on fire near the building. Darrell Crum, who lives north of the building, thought he had the fire extinguished. The Courtland Rural firemen were there for over two hours and the Jamestown firemen remained for several hours more. Thursday morning the brick walls were all that remained.

1 dead, 1 hospitalized after driver fails to yield

Hays Post – March 27, 2015

KAKE Video

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 9 p.m. on Thursday in Sedgwick County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Nathaniel A K. Watkins, 20, Wichita, was northbound on Webb Road, failed to yield at the intersection of Kansas 254 and was struck by a 2013 Scion driven by Scott C. Wilson, 45, El Dorado.

Watkins was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to the Sedgwick County Coroner. Wilson was transported to Wesley Medical Center.

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

House fire in McPherson Wednesday under investigation, no one hurt

By Nick Gosnell
Mid Kansas Online – March 27, 2015

A house fire in McPherson kept firefighters busy Wednesday night. According to McPherson Assistant Fire Chief Rick Unruh, units were called out about 10:15.

Unruh said, “We responded to 503 North Chestnut on a report of a structure fire. When we arrived on scene, we had flames visible.”

The Fire Department checked to be sure everyone was out of the building and then proceeded to attack the fire.

Unruh said, “We did send our firefighters in to attack the fire and we did get the fire knocked down.”

Fire crews were on scene until about 2 a.m. putting out hot spots. The investigation is ongoing and no one was hurt.

Sand Hills State Park burns

By Chris Frank
KAKE – March 27, 2015

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The Sand Hills State Park north of Hutchinson is on fire this week. But this time the fires are being purposely set.

The Kansas Forest Service is teaming up with fire science students from Hutchinson Community College to do prescribed burns in order to rid the park of an overgrowth of vegetation. They want to lessen the chance of a very large wildfire.

Spokesperson for the Kansas Forest Service Shawna Hartman says,
“This is very volatile vegetation. We don’t think of Kansas as having vegetation that would have large wild fires. But in actuality our vegetation here is a lot like some of the vegetation on the front range of the Rockies.”

She says the Sand Hills is known for its wildfires. “It’s home to some of the most destructive and largest wild fires in Kansas, right here in the Sand Hills. Right here in this neighborhood has had many destructive wild fires as well.”

Thirty students from HCC are working alongside 30 experienced firefighters to do the prescribed burns.

HCC Fire Science Instructor Jamie Copple, “I think it’s fantastic. I can sit there and teach for all the hours in the classroom. But for them to come out and to smell the smoke and actually put some fire on the ground and work with the engines and be part of a crew is the best training they could ever get.”

Firefighters rescue two cats from North Lawrence house fire

By Conrad Swanson
Lawrence Journal World – March 27, 2015

Firefighters rescued two cats from a house fire in North Lawrence Thursday night.

The fire was reported in a home in the 700 block of Lake Street around 9:50 p.m., said Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Justin Temple. Firefighters were on scene three minutes after the call and had the fire under control shortly after.

“It was a good quick knock down,” Temple said.

No injuries were reported from the fire, Temple said. Firefighters did, however, rescue two cats from inside the home.

Temple said it was not immediately clear what started the fire or the extent of the damage.

Unusual accident sends car into swimming pool in Overland Park

By Andres Gutierrez
KSHB – March 25, 2015

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An unusual accident in Overland Park sends a car into a pool.

Police showed up here around 3 a.m. Wednesday after an elderly man drove into a pool at the Ridge Apartment Complex on W 102nd Terrace.

According to a person who lives at the apartment, the elderly driver seemed disoriented.

The sound startled people who live on this block and some residents ran out barefoot to see what was going on.

Nearby resident and witness Maryann Magady said, “I called 911… The man that was in car climbed out the car, praised the lord he was fine. He’s an older man. He was groggy and confused. He said he missed his turn.”

Crews pulled the car out of the pool about an hour and a half after the accident. It took a few tries to get the vehicle out successfully.

No one was hurt in the accident, and police say neither drugs or alcohol played a factor.

Weather a factor in deadly US-400 Accident

KAKE – March 25, 2015

Weather played a role in a deadly multi-vehicle crash on a busy highway in Kansas. The highway will remain closed for hours.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has closed U.S. Highway 400, one mile west of the junction with Kansas Highway 39. The highway should be closed until Wednesday night or possibly early Thursday.

On social media, the Kansas Highway Patrol said the accident involves three cars and two semi trucks.

The Wilson County Sheriff said weather conditions contributed to the crash. The roadway was covered in hail at the time of the accident.

Traffic is being routed around the crash scene on old K-39, starting at the U.S. 400/K-39 junction and continuing for two miles on the old highway back to U.S. 400.

UPDATE: One teenage girl was killed in a weather related accident that has shut down a major Kansas highway.

18 year-old Breunca Taylor of Parsons was killed in the accident.

Kansas Highway Patrol say she was wearing a seat belt.

One other person was taken to a hospital, the other three drivers sustained no injuries.

Where there’s smoke . . .

By David Colburn
Marion County Record – March 25, 2015

Smoke plumes aplenty smudged the skies of Marion County this weekend, as flames reduced prairie grass and timber piles to blackened ash. Spring cleaning for the Kansas plains.
It’s wondrous and beautiful to many, including me. Others decry the malodorous stench that lingers in the air and on clothes. Smoke drives some with respiratory conditions inside, where they hope to be safe from airborne particulates that threaten their lungs.
Whatever your thoughts, there’s one we must hold in common — the season of fires also is a season of danger.
Firefighters know this better than anyone. At one point Saturday afternoon, five county fire departments were dealing with “controlled burns” that were out of control.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking at this time of year that it’s only grass that’s burning. Brush piles, felled trees, and garbage pits are burning, too. As dry as conditions have been, and as fickle as the Kansas winds are, the distance to nearby houses, outbuildings, cars and trucks, and livestock is best measured in seconds, not feet. Fires have reduced several outbuildings to rubble and ash in recent weeks.
Fires also recognize no property lines. What one person intended to burn, another may not have.
Most who set the fires are responsible folks. They alert county dispatchers to burns and call them off if conditions aren’t right. For the more localized burns, they have a source of water and equipment they think will be enough to take care of errant embers and flames.
However, good intentions are lousy fire extinguishers when a blaze unexpectedly roars out of control. Controlled burns thought to be out have re-ignited up to two weeks after the burn.
A controlled burn requires “reasonable means” be available to control or contain the fire, Marion County regulations say. Who determines what is reasonable? Neighbors living within a half-mile of a proposed burn are to be contacted five days prior to the burn. How often is that overlooked? A person conducting a burn must stay with it until it is extinguished. How do they decide it’s really out?
A formal permit that requires detailed plans approved by a fire safety official might prevent some of these uncontrolled fires, which in turn would save property and keep firefighters from unnecessarily putting themselves in harm’s way.
Would such a system be too cumbersome and costly to implement? If some people ignore sections of current regulations, wouldn’t they just ignore the permit system, too?
I’ve raced to several of these fires over the past few weeks to get pictures of firefighters in action. What looks like a simple field fire isn’t all that simple, and it doesn’t take much for it to change. I believe these volunteers deserve for us to look at what could be done to limit the number of out of control burns that happen. If you think you have a good answer, share it with us.

Structure fire starts from controlled burn

By Amber Coulter
Linn County News – March 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 25, 2015

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Last Wednesday, around 12:20 p.m., emergency responders were dispatched to a structure fire located just west of the 2400 Road and Valley Road intersection.

Firefighters worked for several hours to put out the fire. No injuries were reported from the property owner.

Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Barlet said of the incident, “It is my understanding that the property owner was out burning her grass and had some straw bales near the foundation of the house. Those caught fire and started the house fire.”

Barlet added that the straw bales were being used to block a crawl space under the house when they caught on fire. Barlet noted that the structure will likely be a total loss due to resulting damages.

Wichita man killed in Rice County crash

KAKE – March 25, 2015

A Wichita man was killed in a one vehicle accident in Rice County this morning.

The accident happened on Kansas Highway 4 at 7:45. Troopers said a van was westbound when it crossed the center line, left the roadway, entered a ditch and struck a culvert.

Passenger Antonio Herrera-Salas, 24, died in the crash. Raul Martinez, 27, of Wichita and Nicolas Quijas-Cruz, 29, of Attica, were injured and taken to a Wichita hospital.

The highway patrol said no one in the vehicle was wearing a safety belt.

Wichita man injured in tractor trailer rollover on Interstate 70 near Lecompton

By Mike Frizzell
Operation 100 News – March 25, 2015

Kansas Turnpike Authority Troopers are investigating after a tractor trailer driver lost control and rolled his truck onto its side on Interstate 70 near Lecompton.

The crash occurred around 3:20am in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 at the 193 mile marker.

Lecompton Fire along with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical units responded to the scene to assess the driver.

Initial reports indicate the driver lost control, causing the truck to roll onto its side. The truck and trailer reportedly slid for approximately 100 feet before coming to a stop. The driver was wearing his seatbelt and was able to climb out of the truck on his own.

The driver, only identified as a 47-year-old Wichita man, was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Lecompton Fire remains on the scene. Firefighters have contained a diesel fuel leak from one of the trucks saddle tanks and are awaiting the arrival of a tow truck.

Turnpike Troopers report fog forming in the area of the Topeka service area, west of the crash scene. Troopers continue to investigate why the driver lost control.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Justice donates $2,500 to Lola Fire Department

Cherokee County News Advocate – March 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 25, 2015

The Lola Township Fire District 1 has received a $2,500 donation from Cherokee County farmer Jay Justice and America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The donation will help the department purchase smaller items to aid their fire and rescue operations, such as new gloves and first aid kits for their trucks.

“Several of us in our community are full time farmers and make up a big part of this department, so being able to receive this donation means a lot to us as farmers and as a fire department,” said Justice, who is also the fire chief.

Justice started the department in January of 2013 after many years of watching the other departments struggle with fires because their districts are so large. The department serves nearly 300 residents in the community and provides support for the surrounding fire districts when needed.

Spell Check: Wichita spelled incorrectly on firefighter’s coat

KAKE – March 25, 2015

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KAKE News viewers noticed something unusual in a story on an apartment fire Monday night. The word “Wichita” was spelled incorrectly on a firefighter’s jacket.

Video from the scene shows one firefighter with the word “Wichtia” on his back. Battalion Fire Chief Stuart Bevis said the department has hundreds of pieces of equipment. This spelling error from the manufacturer went unnoticed, possibly for years.

Bevis said the jacket has been in service for five years. It is scheduled to be replaced in the next couple of years. Bevis added firefighters check their equipment for safety issues, but maybe not for spelling errors.

Truck hits house in northwest Wichita

KAKE – March 25, 2015

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One person was hurt after a truck hit a house in northwest Wichita.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the 2200 block of West 25th Street North around 11 a.m. Wednesday. They arrived to find a pickup truck up against a house, and the driver injured.

The man was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.

Police are investigating what led up to the crash.

Preston, Berry Honored for Service

By David Elliott
KRSL – March 25, 2015

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Russell City Fire Chief Shane Preston and Russell County Food Pantry Director Cathy Berry were honored Tuesday evening for their public and community service.

They were recognized as the annual winners of the Russell County Emergency Management and Russell 911 Communications Advisory Board Emergency Worker/Volunteer of the Year and Community Service Awards.

The announcement was made Tuesday at the annual National Weather Service “Storm Fury on the Plains” presentation at the Dream Theater.

According to a press release about the awards, Preston was chosen for the honor because of his leadership of the Russell City Fire Department. Preston has “hit the ground running since taking over as chief,” read the press release. He has replaced old fire trucks and has developed programs to help keep low income and elderly households prepared in case of a fire by obtaining smoke detectors and installing them in households, along with providing education with the homeowner. Preston has also successfully obtained a grant through the Russell County Community Foundation for fire extinguishers for households that could not financially afford to obtain them and is installing them correctly, along with providing education on their use. A quote from Preston’s nomination letter states, “It is this dedication to safety in all households that makes him a perfect candidate for this award.”

Berry was nominated by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office for her active community involvement for the past 20 years and the numerous groups she has volunteered for over those years. “Cathy works long and hard along with others to help feed the less fortunate individuals of our communities,” stated the nomination letter. “She not only looks out for citizens in Russell, but also those who live in the smaller towns of Russell County. She has reached out to the Russell County Sheriff’s Office and others to help deliver food packages to those who cannot travel to get those supplies or who can’t get them for disabilities or other problems.” Another quote from the nomination letter stated, “I feel that Cathy demonstrates a true volunteer who has a heart of gold and true compassion for her fellow man.”

Preston and Berry are pictured above with Russell County Emergency Manager Keith Haberer.

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