Archive for May, 2015

Rosalia, El Dorado Fire Departments combat barn fire

Butler County Times Gazette – May 30, 2015

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The Rosalia and El Dorado Fire Departments responded to a structure fire early Thursday morning after a concerned resident saw smoke and heard glass breaking. The fire, which occurred just outside Rosalia occurred in a building housing a large amount of hay.
The building and its contents are said to be a total loss, but the cause of the fire is not yet known.

1 person killed in crash, vehicle fire in Andover

KAKE – May 30, 2015

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One person has died following a crash and vehicle fire Saturday afternoon in Andover.

It happened around 2:30 p.m. on eastbound U.S. 54 at Yorktown Road. That’s near the Andover YMCA.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said a commercial van rear-ended a semi and caught fire. One person died at the scene.

The victim’s name and age have not been released.

Fire School

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – May 29, 2015

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Jasmin Kessler prepares to work her way through a maze in full fire gear Friday at the Labette Community College fire school in the parking lot south of Westco Home Furnishings. Kessler was a German exchange student at Labette County High School this year. Steve Hirsch, secretary of the Kansas State Firefighters Association, is at left.

Fire School

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – May 29, 2015

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Bartlett-Hackberry Township firefighter Kenneth Christensen practices rolling out of a window Friday during the three-day Labette Community College fire school. Instruction in the 2200 block of Morgan also included escaping from entanglement and carrying a firefighter on stairs. The Fools of Oz taught the courses. Fools stands for Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society.

K-State Salina employee rescued from bucket lift

By Michael Strand
Salina Journal – May 29, 2015

Kyle Saskowski, of the Salina Fire Department, helps Bill Stout. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Kyle Saskowski, of the Salina Fire Department, helps Bill Stout. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Bill Stout was sprayed with hydraulic fluid but was not injured late Friday morning when the hydraulic line blew out on the bucket truck he was in, stranding him about 25 feet in the air.

Salina firefighters responded with a ladder truck, and firefighter Kyle Saskowski was sent up the ladder to help Stout down.

Stout, senior carpenter in the facilities department at Kansas State University Salina, had been up in the bucket changing the K-State banners attached to the light poles lining the drive to the College Center administration building when the hydraulic line burst, spewing out hydraulic oil.

“It went clear to the top of the pole,” Stout said, and a thin coating of fluid created a semicircle around the truck extending out about 30 feet. “I was tied in, so I was safe, but K-State policy is we call a fire truck when this happens.”

Stout said the truck likely would be out of service for a couple of days, as the hydraulic system needed to be drained, cleaned, repaired and inspected.

Lincoln firefighters finish training

Lincoln Sentinel Republican – May 28, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 29, 2015

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Five Lincoln County firefighters recently completed a training course offered by the University of Kansas and instructed by Great Bend Fire Captain Kevin Stansfield.

Lincoln First Rural Chief Michel O’Hare, Asst. Chief Greg Babcock, and First Rural Firefighter Jarrod Heinze, along with Lincoln City Firefighters Jeremiah Zachgo and TJ Jonsson were among the class members from Lincoln, Ellsworth, Great Bend, and Rush Center who participated in the training.

The class, which was held at the Ellsworth fire station, started October 7, 2014, and was completed April 12, 2015. Classes were typically four hours one night a week, and eight hours one Saturday a month.

According to Chief O’Hare, the class included three different courses with a total of 171 hours of training. Coursework included Hazardous Materials Awareness (8 hours); Hazardous Materials Operations (32 hours); and Firefighter 1 (131 hours) with classroom instruction and skills tests.

“This class was physically and mentally challenging, but worth every minute to gain the knowledge we did,” O’Hare said. “Not only did we learn how to keep ourselves safe but also other members of the departments we respond with and the general public.”

Topics covered included Safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), Fire Behavior, Ropes and Knots, Haz-Mat Awareness, Haz-Mat Operations, Building Construction, Search and Rescue, Communications, Fire Prevention, Salvage and Overhaul, Systems and Alarms, Ventilation, Ladders, Hose, Water Supply, Extrication, Foams and Extinguishers, Fire Streams, Fire Control, Hand Tools and Forcible Entry.

“We were tested on all topics in written form then we had to also test our skills by physically completing eight tasks determined by KU on the day of testing,” O’Hare said. “This included Donning/Doffing bunker gear, Donning/Doffing SCBA, Ropes and Knots, Hydrant Hook-up, Foam Systems, Ladders, and a simulated search in full gear in confined area with zero visibility and controlled breathing.”

O’Hare said all Lincoln participants that completed the course passed all written and skills tests.

The class was paid for by each respective department.

Rural Fire Department gets donation

Goodland Star News – May 26, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 29, 2015

Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $5000 to Sherman County Rural Fire Department. The donation will go toward the purchase of the following: Arizona Vortex/Multipod System, Petzl rescue helmets and additional rigging hardware.

“We are extremely excited for this donation. It will help our department and community out tremendously with the ability of saving lives in multiple technical rescue situations,” said Brian James, Fire Chief from Sherman County Rural Fire Department.

The Sherman County Rural Fire Department is made up of 25 dedicated paid per-call firefighters in Goodland. They are located at their new facility at 1006 Center Ave. The rural fire department strives to give the best quality service/care to this great community. They train the first and third Tuesdays of every month and are trained/certified in multiple areas of the fire service. If you are interested in joining the Sherman County Rural Fire Department please feel free to come down to the County Clerks Office and pick up an application or contact Fire Chief Brian James.

The donations was given through ADM Cares. ADM Cares is a social investment program that directs funds to initiatives and organizations that drive meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The program comprises three distinct focus areas; supporting the responsible development of agriculture, improving the quality of life in ADM communities and fostering employee giving and volunteer activities.

KC, KCK emergency crews search river for vehicle

By Peggy Breit
KMBC – May 29, 2015

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Emergency crews from Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri have staged at various points along the Kaw River searching for a vehicle.

A woman called 911 Friday saying she thought she had seen a vehicle and a person in the river.

Emergency crews at the scene say they have not located anything so far.

Glen N. Allen


Glen N. Allen, 69, of Galesburg, passed away at 6 a.m., Sunday, May 24, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family and friends.

He was born May 3, 1946, to Walter E. and Norma E. Allen in Parsons, KS. He grew up on the family farm near Galesburg and attended Galesburg schools. Glen graduated from Galesburg High School. He then attended Independence Community Junior College from 1964-1966.

Glen was married to Lela Ann Pierce, of Independence, KS, from December 30, 1965 until their divorce on December 30, 2008.

Glen worked at various businesses throughout his life. McManus Tractor Implement Company in Manhattan, KS, Bush Hog in Galesburg as a draftsman and later as a supervisor. Princess Homes, Adventure Line, IMI Business Forms, Neosho County Sheriff’s Department as a Detective, Allen Investigation Agency, Day & Zimmermann, Inc. in Parsons, KS for 29 yrs. Glen had, also, been Galesburg City Mayor for a number of years and Fire Chief of the Galesburg City Fire Dept.

Glen had a love of antique tractors, farming, and cattle. Glen farmed all his life East of Galesburg where he grew up.

Glen is survived by a daughter, Stacie Carter of Kansas City, MO and a son, Stuart Allen of Galesburg, KS, three grandsons, Charles and Jonathan Kraft, and Daniel Allen. One great grandson Robert Allen, 3 nieces and numerous great nieces and great nephews. Glen was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Gary Allen, and a sister, Lois Ann.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m., Friday, May 29, 2015 at the Carson-Wall Funeral Home with Pastor Jim Frech officiating. The family will receive friends at the Carson-Wall Funeral Home, Friday from 1 until service time. Memorials are suggested to the Galesburg Relief Fund and these may be left at or mailed to the funeral home 112 N. 26th St., P.O. Box 942, Parsons, KS 67357. Online condolences may be left at

Grant funds new pediatric equipment

By Richard Luken
Iola Register – May 21, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 29, 2015

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The Allen County Emergency Medical Service is better equipped to help young patients thanks to a $2,000 grant the department was awarded, enabling personnel to purchase an additional pediatric advanced life support attack pack.

The pack–commonly referred to as a “Broselow Bag”–features an array of equipment designed for use on children of all ages.

It also contains charts and tapes that provide a quick and easy way to determine how much medication to give children.

“It allows us to treat our patients a little more quickly and adequately as far as being accurate on dosages, tubes, things like that,” said Corey Isbell, a paramedic and lieutenant with the Iola Fire Department. “Everything in that regard for children is weight based.

“The most valuable part about the pack, is you can just open it up, set the tape next to the child, and you know ‘this is what I need,'”

That tool is vitally important, Isbell noted, because the nearest hospital specializing in pediatric care–Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Mo.–is more than 100 miles away.

Isbell coordinated the grant application through the Emergency Medical Services for Children program developed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The department already has other Broselow Bags in its arsenal, but now such packs can be carried on all four front-line ambulances in the county, including ones in Moran and Humboldt.

Allen County’s was one of only two departments in the state to receive the EMSC grants. The other was in Phillips County.

Rural Iola house destroyed by Saturday fire

By Richard Luken
Iola Register – May 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 29, 2015

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Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

A pre-dawn fire destroyed the home of Kathy Alcorn Gravatt north of Iola early Saturday, sending one of its occupants to the hospital.

Julie Lukes, who was sleeping upstairs, was taken to Allen County Regional Hospital for second-and third-degree burns to her arms and for smoke inhalation, said Amy Winn, Alcorn Gravatt’s daughter.

“I had been watching TV and was just going to bed when I saw the fire coming from blow our air conditioner,” Alcorn Gravatt told the Register.

She unsuccessfully tried to douse the fire with water, and as the fire spread, she awakened the other occupants to alert them.

“The house was so old, the fire just spread too quickly,” she said. “I didn’t have a fire extinguisher. That might have been able to get it out.”

She and her roommate, Harold Gay, had three guests at the time.

One of the three, Lukes, has cerebral palsy and was unable to get out of bed as the other four exited the burning structure.

One of the others went back into the burning home to help rescue Lukes, said Darrell Baugh, Allen County Rural Volunteer Fire Chief.

By the time the Allen County volunteer department reached the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Mutual aid was provided by Iola and Anderson County firefighters as well.

Alcorn Gravatt and Gay are staying in a camper at their farmstead, just off U.S. 169 on Texas Road.

“They have electricity but no running water,” Winn said. “I’ve told them they can stay at my place, but so far, they’ve refused.”

Alcorn Gravatt lost three dogs and a cat in the fire. Another kitten was rescued hours after the fire had been extinguished. The cat was skittish but unhurt.

“She has several other animals there,” Winn said. “That’s part of why she doesn’t want to leave.”

Alcorn Gravatt had no fire insurance.

Winn lauded the work of the firefighters and first responders.

“They have been tremendous,” she said.

Lukes was dismissed from the hospital over the weekend.

Vaughn said the cause of the fire likely will never be determined.

He noted the air conditioner had only recently been turned on for the summer, and a satellite television system was installed the day before the fire.

“It could have been either of those, it could have been neither,” he said. “The damage was so extensive, we won’t be able to tell.”

Go Truck Go drives large crowd

By Maggie Gebhardt
Hays Daily News – May 29, 2015

Twin brothers Carson & Colt Crough, 2, Great Bend, pretend to spray a hose connected to a Hays fire truck. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Twin brothers Carson & Colt Crough, 2, Great Bend, pretend to spray a hose connected to a Hays fire truck. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Ellis County Rural Fire Department firefighter Kody Niblock helps Camryn McConnell, 5, Russell, try on a respirator.

Ellis County Rural Fire Department firefighter Kody Niblock helps Camryn McConnell, 5, Russell, try on a respirator.

With gleaming smiles on their faces, children excitedly bolted from cars with blaring sirens to trucks with cranes attached while participating in Early Childhood Connections’ 15th annual Go Truck Go on Thursday.

The Hays High School parking lot was filled with a variety of business and personal-use vehicles, including Hays Fire Department fire trucks, UPS trucks, Midwest Energy trucks, tractors, ambulances, motorcycles and more.

“It’s a very well-established event,” said ECC parent educator Beth Hansen. “People in the community really look forward to it.”

Children were able to interact with professionals and learn about vehicles they see driving down the street every day.

“Kids get excited about this the second they hear the news it’s happening,” Hansen said. “It’s such a cool opportunity for them.”

Volunteers from the participating organizations and businesses helped children honk horns, turn on sirens, flash lights and sit in drivers’ seats — allowing for a hands-on learning approach that inspired participants to understand the job from a professional’s point-of-view.

“It’s good for the kids to get out and see how all of this works,” said parent Jennifer Massey, Hays.

“I just like all of them,” said her son, 5-year-old Aaron Massey, when trying to decide which truck was his favorite.

Representing Midwest Energy, Shawn Slaubaugh and Lance Kohl said they think the event benefits youth in the community.

“It helps the kids understand our services and what we do,” Slaubaugh said. “They can learn about a variety of jobs.”

Inside the high school, ECC provided visitors with goodie bags, a free meal and a variety of informational booths representing local organizations whose services pertain to youth or families.

“I think it’s fantastic that they do this,” said parent Kasey Shepard, Hays, alongside her son, 4-year-old Coy Robben.

“It’s a good feeling to have families show such an interest,” Hansen said. “It means a lot for us as a team.”

Mostly, the parent educator said her organization simply wants to be sure to bring the event back year-after-year, making it bigger and better for the children each time.

“It’s just really rewarding to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said.

Beverly Jean Walter


Beverly Jean Walter, age 59, passed away on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at Greeley County Health Center in Tribune, Kansas. Beverly was born May 5, 1956 in Tribune, Kansas, the daughter of Gerald D. & B. Doreen (Helm) Mangold. A lifetime resident of Tribune, Kansas, she was a homemaker, firefighter and co-owner and operator of Walter Landscaping Lawn & Tree Service.Beverly was a member of the First Baptist Church, V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary and Greeley County Fire & Rescue, all of Tribune, Kansas. On November 1, 1975 she married Donald B. Walter in Tribune, Kansas. Beverly’s surviving family includes-Her husband-Donald B. Walter- Tribune, Kansas. Two daughters-Jody J. & Daniel Jacobus- Elkhart, Kansas, M. Kate & Jeff Reida- Harper, Kansas. Her mother-Doreen Mangold- Tribune, Kansas. Four siblings-Nancy & Chris Brindle- Kansas City, Kansas, Judy Mangold- Goodland, Kansas, Larry Mangold- Bethune, Colorado, Jerry & Kathy Mangold- Tribune, Kansas. Mother in Law-Alberta Walter- Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. Sisters in Law-Delta & Rayme Kern- Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, Nita Walter- Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. Her father, Brother in Law, Dee Walter, sister in Law, Dixie Kampf and Father in law, Larry Walter precede her in death. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am (MST) Friday, May 29, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in Tribune, Kansas with Shannon Schneider officiating. Inurnment will be at a later time in Greeley County Cemetery and in Loveland, Colorado. Memorials may be given to the Greeley County Fire & Rescue in care of Price & Sons Funeral Home in Tribune, Kansas. Condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

County considers Americus fire district

By Jesse Murphy
Emporia Gazette – May 29, 2015

Jesse Murphy/GazetteRon Redelfs and Bill Harmon spoke to Lyon County commissioners on Thursday about the possibility of forming an Americus Fire District. Photo by Jesse Murphy.

Jesse Murphy/GazetteRon Redelfs and Bill Harmon spoke to Lyon County commissioners on Thursday about the possibility of forming an Americus Fire District. Photo by Jesse Murphy.

Lyon County commissioners heard from Ron Redelfs and Bill Harmon with the Americus Fire Board on Thursday about the idea of having a fire district in Americus.
Currently, the service is provided through a mix of funding between the City of Americus and the Americus Township, an agreement that has been in place for 44 years.
“We feel we are basically a fire district,” Redelfs said. “We’re kind of unique in the way we’re set up.”
The reason for the meeting was to discuss some of the concerns and questions about the process.
Right now, the fire board is comprised of one member of the township, one from the city, two at-large positions and the fire chief. The board has full purchasing power for equipment.
Some of the issues Redelfs and Harmon were asking included how the funding would change and who would technically own the equipment.
“There would be a shift in valuation,” Commissioner Dan Slater said. “There would be one budget, and it would come through the county directly to the fire district instead of to the city or the township.
“Right now, the township sets a levy and the city sets a levy to raise ‘x’ amount of dollars, which is 50-50. It would be different in a new system.”
If both parties agree to form a district, the county commission would basically just sign off on the agreement. If one party does not want to merge, then 51 percent of the city and township population would have to sign a petition.
The county commission’s role in the district would be approving annual budgets, which would come with some reporting requirements and validation of insurance.
Commissioners gave Harmon and Redelfs direction to speak with the Americus city attorney to rework the bylaws, if forming a district is something both parties are interested in doing.
“Right now, you have two different entities overseeing two different entities, even though you work together,” County Attorney Marc Goodman said. “You’d have to rename it, but could work with the same organizational structure, probably.”

Fire Destroys Garage, Two Shelby Mustangs

By Chris Fisher
WIBW – May 29, 2015

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Officials say a garage and its contents are a total loss after a Friday morning fire.

Shawnee County Dispatch says that the fire was reported around 2 a.m. Friday at 942 SW Mulvane.

Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Mike Thompson told 13 News that the garage was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

Thompson said a downed power line kept crews from battling the blaze for a short time, blocking access to the driveway.

Officials on the scene said two Shelby style Ford Mustangs were inside the structure.

Thomson said authorities were looking for the owner of the garage, but were unable to immediately locate. He said a building to south of the burned out garage was owned by Topeka developer Kent Lindenmuth.

TFD says the garage was used to store vehicles. The nearby structure was vacant.

No injures were reported.

The cause of the fire is undetermined. Investigators say the fire started somewhere inside the detached garage.

The blaze caused an estimated $135,000 in damage. $35,000 to the structure, $100,000 for its contents.

Wichita firefighters prepare for swift water rescues

By Jade DeGood
KWCH – May 28, 2015

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As the waters rise, the strong current could prove fatal.

“With the way the current is… it’ll take you,” said Captain Brent Holeman, Wichita Fire Department. “Drowning is the silent killer. You’re just gone.”

That’s why Wichita firefighters take opportunities to train for swift water rescues when the local rivers rise. These rescue crews take turns saving each other from different real-life scenarios.

“Just practicing doing pick ups,” said Firefighter Brian Finan. “If someone’s in the river, coming along side them and then grabbing them and getting them in the boat in a safe manner.”
“Simulate somebody being stranded on top of a car or being stuck in a tree where they can’t free themselves, but we’ll go and get them,” said Captain Holeman.

So when a real life call comes in, they are ready.

“You can get yourself in trouble really, really quick where you kind of underestimate it and then the next thing you know, you’re needing rescued,” said Holeman.

But this training isn’t without danger of it’s own.

“Out of all the training we do, probably the swift water makes me the most nervous,” said Holeman. “I’m always counting heads on my guys and making sure we’re all staying safe.”

Because firefighters know, currents like we are seeing now in many Kansas rivers are not to be messed with.

“People underestimate the power of water, it’s unmatched when it comes to the elements,” said Holeman. “Don’t even go near the water unless you have some sort of life jacket on and really it’s best just to stay out of it.”

With Riverfest starting Friday, Holeman said the fire department will be paying close attention to the rivers as more people want to do water sports.

“Obviously when the waters up and wet a lot of rain like this, Riverfest, gets a little more busy for us,” he said. “Something as little as a three mile per hour current could take you if it’s above your knees. It takes as little as a five mile an hour current to hold you against something to where you can’t get off of it. So it’s best just to stay away from it.”

In Wichita, a big concern on the Arkansas river is low head dams.

“They don’t look like much, but it creates a turbine and if you get sucked in to one of those, it just keeps churning,” he said. “It’ll knock you down, spit you out, draw you back down into it. Knock you back down again and they’re drowning machines.”

Fire School

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – May 28, 2015

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Parsons firefighters Tom Jackson, Daniel Russell and Andrew Johnston prepare to go up on the platform of the Parsons aerial truck, Ladder One, during the Labette Community College fire school Thursday afternoon in downtown Parsons.

Job Opening – Firefighter – Atchison Fire Department

Employer: City of Atchison

Department: Fire
Job Title: Firefighter
Salary: $30197.44 Annually

Job Description:

The City of Atchison is testing for the position of Firefighter.  Requirements include, but not limited to:  Must be 18 years of age; high school diploma or GED; possess valid driver’s license.  More information is located on the city’s web site at under Fire Dept. Recruitment.

Interested individuals should apply at no later than Noon, June 12, 2015.

The written and physical agility testing will be held beginning at 8:30 a.m. on June 17, 2015 at the Fire Department.  FAILURE TO APPEAR ON TESTING DATE WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION!!

Once you apply you just need to show up on the testing date.  Please dress appropriately for a physical agility test.  EOE/AA/V
Vacancy Number: 2015atch7

Open Date: 5/26/2015 12:00:00 AM
Close Date: 6/12/2015 11:59:59 PM

Liquid oxygen release prompts emergency response to Cosmosphere

By John Green
Hutchinson News – May 28, 2015

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An apparent release of liquid oxygen prompted a fire call Thursday to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, 1100 N. Plum.
A passing motorist noted a cloud of smoke coming from the rear of the Cosmosphere, across Plum, and called 911. Four fire units responded.
“I was in the office when I saw the firetrucks pull up,” Cosmosphere CEO Dick Hollowell said. “It was somewhat of a shock. There were no alarms.”
There also was no evacuation of the space museum and most people inside didn’t notice anything going on.
Firefighters found nothing and, in talking with Cosmosphere staff, learned they had been transferring liquid oxygen, which likely created the white cloud, said Hutchinson Assistant Fire Chief Doug Hanen.

Assistant fire chief prepares to retire

Fort Leavenworth Lamp – May 28, 2015

Assistant Fire Chief Bruce E. Davis will be retiring after 33 years of federal civil service working for the Directorate of Emergency Services. His work in fire service includes three years with the United States Navy, and 30 years at the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department. It is befitting and a great honor to recognize him for his accomplishments and distinguished fire service career.

Bruce graduated from Leavenworth High School in May of 1982. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served from 1982 to 1985 as a shipboard firefighter. On Dec. 15, 1986, he was hired as a firefighter trainee with the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department.

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in February 1996. He continued to take a wide variety of fire science courses and certifications to enhance his knowledge of the fire service through the University of Kansas, Oklahoma State University and the Department of Defense Fire Certification Program. He was selected to attend training classes in Baton Rouge, La.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Rantoul, Ill.; San Angelo, Texas; and Orlando, Fla.

As a lieutenant, Bruce began performing the duties and responsibilities expected and required of a captain’s position. He was certified to the level of a chief officer, two positions higher than the position he was occupying. There were setbacks and disappointments of being passed over for promotions; however, Bruce continued to work hard, stayed in faith and fought the urges of becoming disappointed and complacent.

He was promoted to captain by Fire Chief John T. Adair in June 2007, making him the first African-American to hold this position at the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department. In December 2008, Bruce was promoted to the assistant fire chief of operations, blazing the trail and becoming the first African-American to hold the position as a chief officer in the history of the department. Subsequent to the last permanent promotion, Bruce is the first and highest ranking African-American in the fire service in Leavenworth County and the surrounding area, to date. Keeping education as his core, Bruce received his associate’s degree in fire science technology from Barton County Community College in 2009.

In 2012, at the age of 48, Bruce graduated cum laude from Upper Iowa University with a bachelor’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in fire science.

In June 2013, upon the retirement of Chief Adair, Bruce was appointed as interim fire chief becoming the first African-American to hold the position as a fire chief at Fort Leavenworth and in Leavenworth County and the surrounding area. Bruce maintained this position until a new chief was hired later that same year. Bruce resumed his former position as assistant fire chief of operations and will retire at this rank, effective June 30.

Currently, there is a display dedicated to Bruce hanging in the Richard Allen Culture Center in Leavenworth. His shirt and a picture of him are on display in the tutoring area at the RACC. The children who come to the RACC for help with school work can realize they too can be anything they want to be, just like this role model who was born and raised in Leavenworth.

Bruce’s 33 years of dedicated service includes being recognized with more than 30 awards from directorates outside of the Fort Leavenworth Directorate of Emergency Services, for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Bruce has received numerous positive Interactive Customer Evaluation comments through the web-based customer feedback system used by Department of Defense organizations. ICE is a powerful tool used to enhance feedback between soldiers, family members, civilian employees, retirees and the Garrison support agencies. Customer feedback results in better understanding of customer wants and needs. He has received a lot of kudos from other departments, agencies and customers for his outstanding customer service. Bruce is a real role model.

Congratulations to Bruce for his 30 years of dedicated service at the Fort Leavenworth Directorate of Emergency Services and his dedicated service to the U.S. military members, retirees, civil service employees, and contractors, assigned to, working at and living at Fort Leavenworth. Bruce has worked constantly for the betterment of the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department, which contributes to the health, safety and comfort of this community.

On a personal note, his family extends a sincere thank you to their very own hometown hero and trailblazer for his selfless service, sacrifices, professionalism and career achievements. His integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, reliability and accountability traits that he has demonstrated within the department, to the profession, and with friends, helped to make this chapter in his life noteworthy.

Through all the years of his fire service career; Bruce has been an outstanding example of a son, a brother, a father, an uncle, a husband, a friend and an outstanding chief. It is time for Bruce to ring the bell, to hang up the boots, to put away all of his fire suits and to check out the shine of all the trucks.

Glenda Davis


Local First Responders handle swift water rescues

By Caroline Sweeney
KSNT – May 28, 2015


First responders have made two daring river rescues in the past two weeks in Pottawatomie County – both after boaters became stranded.

They want Kansans to have a good time while canoeing, kayaking and boating – but they also want them to be safe.

While the Kansas River is quiet now, it wasn’t that when two people were trapped in a canoe near Belvue.

The small boat was caught in the stormy weather.

“The water was so swift they couldn’t stop” says Belvue resident Leroy Brunkow.

The Manhattan Fire department pulled them to safety, their second rescue in 11 days. The fear is it won’t be the last.

:With water,” says MFD fire fighter Drew Taylor “It’s a very powerful force. Don’t think you can out-muscle your way through water or out-swim it.”

Using this boat, rescuers found the Canoeists about a half-mile from the nearest boat ramp.

With the addition of several new boat ramps leading into the Kansas River, some Belvue residents wonder if they’ll see an increase in water rescues over the next few years.

“On the weekends,” says Brunkow “there’s usually three or four different canoers or boats down on the river where you never saw it before.”

First responders recommend boaters keep a cell phone in a water-proof bag when they’re out on the water, and do something that should be routine.

“Look at the weather ahead” Taylor tells us. “Both times we’ve been called out in the last week for swift water rescues we’ve had thunderstorms in the area – it’s been actively raining.”

Firefighters tell us there were no injuries in either of the rescues in the past two weeks.

Job Opening – Senior Administrative Assistant – KSFMO

Vacancy Posting #180734

The Office of the State Fire Marshal has an opening for an Unclassified Senior Administrative Assistant.  This is complex administrative support work for the Emergency Response Division.  The employee works under direction and must be able to manage multiple complex situations and tasks with limited to no supervision.  The work of this position requires constant attention to detail and an understanding of agency protocols.  Travel and overnight stays to assist with conferences, symposiums and/or an emergency response event is required.

This vacancy closes 6/8/2015.

Salary:  $13.61 per hour plus benefits.

Minimum Requirements:  One year of experience in general office, clerical and administrative support work.  Education may be substituted for the required experience at the rate of two semester hours in a related field for one month of experience.  In order to substitute Education for experience, a college transcript must be submitted at time of application and before vacancy closes.  Must have a valid Kansas driver’s license.

Preferred Skills:  Strong computer skills especially with Microsoft Word, Excel and Access.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:

STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form at

STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form at  and submit to the Fire Marshal.

STEP 3:  Email the additional required documents to .

Include your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents.

Required Documents:

Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal

Letter of Interest


College Transcripts, if applicable

Copy of all Training Certificates

Valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate

send to Brenda Schuette,

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

PLEASE NOTE:  In order to be qualified for this and any position with the Office of the State Fire Marshal the applicant MUST MEET THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS for the position.  These qualifications MUST BE IDENTIFIED on the application and resume.  Failure to include the minimum qualifications on the application and resume may result in disqualification and the applicant will not be considered for the position.


Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website at .  Your application will be considered incomplete if not submitted within 48 hours after the job posting closes.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  Applicants are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Recruiter Contact Information:

Name:  Brenda L. Schuette

Phone: 785-296-0654


How Your Application Will Be Evaluated:  Once you complete and submit your application and materials, your application will be reviewed to ensure you meet the minimum and any necessary special requirements.  Please indicate all relevant prior experiences and training on your application.  Next, your application will be evaluated and rated based on preferred competencies and selection criteria for the position.

What to Expect Next:  After your application is evaluated and ranked, you may be contacted for a possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome after the selection process is complete.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Emporia Home Fire Claims One Life

By Greg Palmer
WIBW – May 28, 2015


A Thursday morning Emporia home fire has resulted one death.

The Emporia Fire Department responded at 4:28 a.m. to a report of smoke coming from the attic of a house at 1009 Woodland.

A neighbor told the emergency crews that he thought the resident was home but would not come to the door.

Fire Units located Rger Fowler, 66 of Emporia, deceased inside the home.

Investigation by both the Emporia Fire and Police Departments continues although foul play is not suspected.

13 NEWS media partner KVOE Radio provided video coverage from the scene of the fire.

Crews put out fire in NW Wichita

By Matt Heilman
KWCH – May 28, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.


Crews battle a house fire in northwest Wichita late Wednesday. The fire broke out at a house near 45th N. and Ridge Road at around 8:30 pm.

Sedgwick County Fire Department Division Chief Carl Cox tells us a passerby noticed smoked coming from the house and called 911. That person then tried to alert anyone who was inside of the fire. Turns out, no one was home at the time.

Cox says fire crews from both Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita found fire on the first floor and high heat and smoke throughout the home. They were able to get the fire under control quickly.

Roads were closed in the area while crews were on the scene. We’re told that’s because of the amount of equipment on the scene. Crews were concerned that they may need to haul in water because there were no hydrants in the area.

Those roads were reopened overnight.

Cox says there’s fire damage to the first floor and extensive heat, smoke and water damage throughout the home.

No one was hurt.

Investigators are looking for what caused it.

2 Kan. teens dead, 1 hospitalized after rollover crash

Hays Post – May 27, 2015

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a second teenager in Tuesday’s Elk County accident died.

Cameron R. Russell, 17, Howard, died Wednesday morning at Wesley Medical Center.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1997 Ford passenger vehicle driven by Damon L. Wilson, 16, Howard, was southbound on U.S. 99 three miles north of Howard just after 11 p.m.

The vehicle rear passenger tire ruptured while trying to pass another vehicle.

The Ford entered the east ditch and rolled several times before coming to rest on its top.

Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Webb & Rodrick Funeral Home.

Eagle Med flew passengers Cameron R. Russell, 17, Howard, and Brandon J. Wolfe, 18, Moline, to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

Wilson was not wearing a seat belt according to the KHP.

EMS stays sharp with training

By Bill Fortune, Lane County EMS and Fire Chief
Dighton Herald – May 6, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

On every third Tuesday of the month, Lane County Fire, EMS and the City of Dighton Fire Departments hold training meetings. In April our training included landing an Eagle Med helicopter at the site of our new fire station and practice extricating patients from a variety of situations. Eagle Med answered our first responder safety concerns and gave us information needed to properly set-up a Landing Zone, which we occasionally need to do at an auto accident or for patients that live in a remote location in our county.

We were able to practice loading our patients into the helicopter while the helicopter was “Hot” or with the rotors still in motion, to give the firefighters and EMTs a true experience. EMT students from Leoti and Garden City also came to play and partake in this exercise.

After our Eagle Med training, members then participated in extricating patients from vehicles we had staged on scene, and they were able to “package” patients with c-collars and the KED device, used to minimize movement of patients that have or could have cervical spinal cord injuries. This practical training was done in both passenger cars and a fire apparatus.

WeatLaneCounty would like to thank Eagle Med for their participation in our training event and to Commissioners Jon Risley and Curt Hanna for attending and to all the emergency responders from Healy, Leoti, Garden City and Dighton for making this a truly fun and educational event.

If these types of activities sound exciting to you or you would like more information on volunteering and helping out in your community with the Fire or EMS Departments, please contact Fire Chief Bill Fortune or any Lane County or City of Dighton Emergency Responder.

Area firemen and the call of duty

Jetmore Republican – May 6, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2015

The Jetmore Fire Department was kept fairly busy this past weekend as they were first called to the scene of a vehicle on fire in northwest Hodgeman County on Friday evening. An electrical malfunction caused the fire that destroyed the cab of a pick-up near 204 and O Road. Strong storms passed through Hodgeman County late Sunday evening that had the area firemen jumping to the sound of the siren on several occasions as lightning strikes combined with dry fields was not a stable combination. Kudos to our men in bunker gear as they again went that extra mile…literally…to serve and preserve our community and its residents.

Redfield family loses home to fire

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – May 6, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2015

Rural fire departments battled a fire that blazed through a Redfield residence early Monday morning.

Multiple fire departments responded just after 3 a.m. Monday to a fire in a house located at Third and Pine streets. Redfield Fire Chief Troy Johnson said Tuesday the family that was at home at the time of the fire was able to get out of the house in time and no injuries were reported.

“There was a husband and wife and I believe two children at the time of the fire,” Johnson said. “They’re all safe.”

Johnson said Mercy EMTs on the scene administered oxygen to the mother, who had “inhaled too much smoke.”

Johnson said the home was a “one-story double-wide with an addition on the back.”

“The inside was gutted,” he said. “The west half of the trailer is totally burned. The east side of the trailer is just water and smoke damage.”

Although there were no reported injuries to the residents or firefighters, Johnson said the home had four dogs that were “lost to the fire.”

Johnson said the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene and while the official cause of the fire is still undetermined, the fire has been labeled as accidental in nature.

“At this time, it’s undetermined how it started,” he said. “We know it was accidental and not intentionally caused…it wasn’t set by cigarette smoke or someone doing something wrong.”

Johnson said there are a couple of possible causes that fire officials are looking into, both related to electrical wires or cords inside the house.

“It could have been caused by an electrical cord under a child’s bed,” he said. “It started in the northwest corner of the house.”

According to the fire marshal, a dog had chewed into an electrical wire in the home, Johnson said.

Johnson said Redfield Fire Department was first on scene with four personnel and one tanker. They called for mutual aid from Bourbon County Fire District No. 3, which brought seven trucks and 14 personnel, Scott Township which responded with six trucks and 13 personnel, and the Fort Scott Fire Department which came with one truck and two personnel.

“Redfield appreciated all the mutual aid,” Johnson said. “I feel all the fire departments work good together. We were very thankful.”

It took a few hours to get the fire under control and once it was out, firefighters remained on scene to watch “hot spots,” Johnson said. He said firefighters did not encounter any problems while fighting the fire.

“About 7:30 or 8 (a.m.) we were making sure the hot spots didn’t fire back up,” he said.

Johnson said the house is not livable and there are plans to remove it by Saturday.

“They will finish tearing down and dispose of the house Saturday,” he said, adding the residents may be “going to try to salvage” some belongings in the east part of the house, “but there’s a lot of water and smoke damage.”

McPherson Fire Department news

By Cheyenne Derksen
McPherson Sentinel – May 27, 2015

Capt. Greg Heiman of the McPherson Fire Department will retire from service June 22. He served more than 20 years with the department, with more than 10 of those years as captain of his five-man crew. Now, Heiman plans to work his construction company with his son.
“He’s been a great asset to our department,” Rick Unruh, assistant fire chief, said. “He has very good leadership skills, so he will be greatly missed.”

House fire

Miami County Republic – May 6, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2015

A Paola family was displaced by a house fire early Sunday morning, but no injuries were reported.

Deputy Paola Fire Chief Bruce Hartig said crews responded to the fire at 210 S. Silver St. at about 1 a.m. Sunday. First arriving crews witnessed fire showing from the first floor of the two-story, three-bedroom home, Hartig said.

One adult and one child were home at the time of the fire, and they were awakened by the family cat and smoke alarms. Another adult and two other children who live at the residence were not home at the time of the fire, Hartig said.

The entire family was displaced by the fire, and the estimated loss is $90,000.

Paola fire crews extinguished the fire with assistance from the Osawatomie and Louisburg Fire Departments.

Elk City church destroyed by fire

Wilson County Citizen – May 7, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 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.

Fire destroyed the century old First Christian Church in Elk City Wednesday. Firefighters from Independence and the Montgomery County fought the fire.

An Elk City resident first saw smoke at about 8 a.m. Wednesday and by 10:30 a.m. the roof had collapsed. Firefighters from the Elk City Rural Fire, the Montgomery County Rural Fire, and Independence Rural Fire districts fought the blaze. Residents speculated the fire started at a lighted cross on the front of the building.

The church was believed to be about 140 years old and had suffered a costly loss in a hailstorm about a year ago. Recent repairs to the church and parsonage cost $64,000 according to church members.

Elk City’s water system was pumping, and firefighting efforts had to be shut down periodically, it was reported, to allow the clear well to refill and fill the water tower.

Firemen called to put out oil tank fire

By Amanda Miller
St. Francis Herald – May 21, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2015

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

cheyenne co fire 5272015b

The St. Francis Volunteer Fire Department was called out to Road 7 and Road R, west of St. Francis, at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday morning after an oil tank caught fire. After the initial response to assess if the fire could be controlled or suppressed, at about 1:30 p.m., Rosewood Resources staff members determined the fire department could stand down and the company’s safety manager kept watch as the oil tank burned down.

The oil containers are the property of Rosewood Resources. Four hours after the first tank caught fire, a second tank that sat close by also ignited. All three tanks eventually caught fire, and the oil burned until it went out at 6 p.m. according to Tom Roelfs, spokesman for Rosewood Resources.

The St. Francis Fire Department requested additional water tanks from the county after they arrived on the scene. At 11:24 a.m., they called the Bird City Volunteer Fire Department requesting back up and more water as well. The emergency responders also requested dispatch call surrounding farmers to ask if they had water tanks available to help respond to the scene. Some nearby farmers did respond.

Mr. Roelfs said that there is an internal investigation to determine the cause of the fire. First reports from dispatch said a battery was being cleaned when the oil tank caught fire in the process.

Rosewood Resources did not have a press release at the time of publication.

Howard teen killed in rollover

KSN – May 27, 2015

One person is dead following an accident late Tuesday night. The accident happened around 10 p.m. when a vehicle was southbound on Highway 99.

The vehicle, driven by 16-year-old Damon L. Wilson of Howard, was attempting to pass another vehicle, when the back passenger tire ruptured for an unknown reason.

The vehicle lost control and went into the ditch, rolling several times before coming to rest on its top.

Wilson was not wearing a seat belt and did not survive.

Two other passengers were in the vehicle at the time. They were both flown by Eagle Med to Via-Christi in Wichita.

Hail damage reported in El Dorado

By Matt Heilman
KWCH – May 26, 2015

Severe storms have again hit South Central Kansas with heavy rains and hail.

At about 7 p.m., golf ball-sized hail was reported in El Dorado. About 30 minutes later, emergency traffic indicated some of the hailstones were closer to baseball-sized.

Butler County remained in a severe thunderstorm warning until 8 p.m. while the warning one county east in Greenwood County was in effect until 8:15 p.m. Previously, the National Weather Service allowed the severe thunderstorm warning for Sedgwick County to expire at 7:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service reported hail measuring 2.75 inches in El Dorado and damage to some businesses and homes in the city. The Walmart store located in the 300 block of South Village Road was closed, after reports of skylights at the store being damaged by hail.

We reached out to Walmart corporate and expect to have more information, including how long the store was closed.

Butler County 911 said there were reports of damaged car windows at Butler Community College in the 900 block of North Haverhill Road.

There were also windshields broken out of vehicles at the Butler County Courthouse in the 200 block of North Gordy.

Dispatch said vehicles were also damaged at the Butler County 4-H building near the 200 block of Griffith Street near McDonald Baseball Park.

There were no serious injuries reported in the storm, but a few firefighters with the El Dorado Fire Department received minor injuries as they moved fire vehicles out of the hail and under cover.

Earlier in the evening, smaller hailstones were reported in southeast Wichita and on the north side of Derby as the storm moved north and east. At about 6:20 p.m., the National Weather Service reported golf ball-sized hail falling along Kellogg near the Kansas Turnpike.

Fire at community center under investigation

Leavenworth Times – May 26, 2015

Investigators are trying to determine what caused a small fire Monday night at the Riverfront Community Center, a Leavenworth Fire Department official said.
The fire was reported at 10:31 p.m. Monday at the community center, 123 S. Esplanade St.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Nietzke said the fire was contained to a storage room on the main floor of the community center.
Nietzke said the fire was extinguished by water from a sprinkler system. The fire was already out when Leavenworth firefighters arrived on scene.
“The fire was contained to a pretty small area,” Nietzke said.
Nietzke said fire investigators are in the process of eliminating other possible causes to determine what led to Monday night’s fire.
“It’s taking us a little while to get through everything,” he said.
The Riverfront Community Center is owned by the city of Leavenworth.
City spokeswoman Melissa Bower said employees will be doing cleanup work this week, but the fire will not result in the cancellation of any events at the Riverfront Community Center.

Pleasantview emergency response at issue

By John Green
Hutchinson News – May 26, 2015

The seemingly delayed response to a recent traffic accident on K-61 in front of People’s Bank at Pleasantview, during which responders had to extricate a pinned driver, has prompted a discussion among Pleasantview merchants about emergency coverage in their area.
Those questions, in turn, ended up Tuesday before the Reno County Commission.

An initial discussion decided nothing – except a determination that coverage legally can’t change for at least a year because of the timing of the request. That’s because any change in fire district boundaries requires legal notices, which can’t be accomplished before fire district budgets must be set in July.
At issue is a unique convergence of fire district boundaries in the Pleasantview area, a primarily commercial development about 8 miles southwest of Hutchinson.
Four different fire districts divide the three-block area, which boasts 17 merchants.
Rural Fire District No. 8 has a fire station within a half mile of the development’s core, but it is not the designated responder for the majority of the neighborhood.
In fact, the location where the accident occurred was within the boundaries of Fire District 2, requiring a response from Hutchinson, which officials said took about 10 minutes. If the accident had happened on the other side of the highway, a different fire unit would have responded.
“I’m one of three businesses in Pleasantview that fall in District 4,” said Keith Nisly, owner of Fairview Service, who brought the issue to the attention of County Administrator Gary Meagher. “The others are Dutch Kitchen and Stutzmans Greenhouse. Half of Stutzmans is actually in a different fire district because its commercial greenhouses are across the road.”
There is an agreement between fire districts 3 and 8 for shared response for about 6-square miles north of Morgan Avenue, between Dean and Partridge roads. Created in 1989, it allows Fire District 8 to respond until a Fire District 3 unit, coming out of Nickerson, can arrive. But upon its arrival, District 3 takes over the response scene and District 8 is supposed to bill the other district for responding.
District 8, O’Sullivan noted, hasn’t been billing District 3 – $100 a run plus other expenses – as it is supposed to.
There are also mutual aid agreements between all the departments, allowing each district to call for assistance from the others.
Those agreements, however, emphasized County Counselor Joe O’Sullivan, do not legally allow Fire District 4, for example, responding out of Partridge, to ask Fire District 8 to send its unit because its closer – even though, according to E911 Director Michelle Abbott, that’s what they are training fire commanders to do.
“Mutual aid is not a matter of who can get there first,” O’Sullivan said. “If you need additional help because it’s going to take five minutes longer to get there, it can’t be justified unless you’re willing to pay for that… You’re supposed to make that (mutual aid) call on-site because you need help. If it’s a big prairie fire and you know you’ll need help, you can call sooner. But if the responding chief is always five minutes further away, there’s going to be a problem with that because it’s pretty close to automatic.”
Residents can petition to be detached from one fire district and then petition to join another, Meagher said. However, even that creates issues because it changes the taxing districts contributing to an operation, and “everyone wants to be in the district with the closest station.”
There has to be 10 percent of residents or businesses in an area petition for the change. They must publish a legal notice twice of the petition, giving opponents 90 days to respond. A protest petition to stop the change must then contain signatures of at least 19 percent of taxpayers in the district. Even then, it is to the commission whether to proceed or not, Meagher said.
One other option, O’Sullivan noted, is consolidation of all the county’s fire districts into one. Then it wouldn’t matter who responded, because taxpayers from throughout the county would support all operations. That, however, may be politically difficult to do. Most rural fire districts have a mill levy capped at 5 mills for fire protection, while District 2, in the city, is collecting 21 mills.
“I represent the Pleasantview merchants,” Nisly said after the meeting. “We’re just after some common sense. We’d like to see a little better response times.”

Reading Benefit Fire Department Goes to Unruh Fire for Light Rescue Fire Apparatus

By Adam M. Petrillo
Fire Apparatus Magazine – May 26, 2015

Photos by Reading Benefit Fire Department.

Photos by Reading Benefit Fire Department.

reading fire 5262015b

The firefighters at the Reading Benefit (KS) Fire Department wanted a light rescue truck but wanted a lot of customized features on the vehicle that typically wouldn’t be found on a rig that size. When the firefighters saw two units that Unruh Fire had built for the Boston (MA) Fire Department, they knew they had found the manufacturer to build their rescue.

Wes Schamle, sales manager for Unruh Fire, says his company had completed two emergency medical services (EMS) Tango units for Boston, which the Reading Benefit firefighters got to look over. “They liked the outside dimensions of the truck,” Schamle says. “The top header rises up 10 inches to create a false outer wall around the top of the vehicle, which gave added protection to Boston’s generator, light tower, and storage boxes. That protection was important to Boston because of their narrow streets and tight areas.”

Mark Shoemaker, Reading Benefit’s assistant chief, says the truck committee firefighters liked the extra space and height on the Boston rigs. “With all the extra area used on top for box storage, it made space in the compartments below for added equipment,” Shoemaker says. “When we saw the Boston truck, we realized how much custom work Unruh could put into it for us.”

Shoemaker notes that the committee also wanted to have fire suppression ability on its light rescue, and it wanted its extrication equipment to be easily accessible. The end result was a light rescue on a Ford F-550 4×4 extended cab chassis with all aluminum body, multiple slide-out trays, a polypropylene storage box in the rear compartment, and a Tri-Max 30 compressed air foam system (CAFS) skid unit.

“The Tri-Max 30 is a standalone system that runs off two self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) tanks,” Shoemaker points out. “The truck can be off when you use it or you can do pump-and-roll with it. The system is on a slide-out tray that holds a 30-gallon foam-water mix.”

Schamle notes that Unruh Fire plumbed the Tri-Max system to the back bumper to supply two 1-inch discharges. “A 30-gallon Tri-Max system is equivalent to a 600-gallon water tank,” he says.

The light rescue truck is a single track conversion to Super Single International Race of Champions (IROC) tires that have a 6,400-pound load rating, Schamle says. The vehicle has a 3-inch lift to allow it to get places, Shoemaker says, “because we are predominantly gravel roads and pasture land, so we need a high-riding rescue truck.”

Other custom features on the light rescue, Shoemaker notes, include 110-volt household outlets in every compartment, as well as LED strip lighting in each compartment. “Some of our compartments also have 12-volt, and we have 110-volt plug-ins in the cab for the forward looking infrared (FLIR), thermal imager, night vision goggles, radio battery bank, and cell phones. The vehicle also has rub rails around the body to protect door hinges, and all lights on the front bumper are recessed. Unruh Fire built in slide-out trays that can be accessed from either side of the vehicle, Shoemaker adds. “Depending on which side you’re working on, you have access,” he says,” because you can’t always put your truck where you want it.” The trays hold a Hurst eDraulic cutter, spreader, rams, and air bags and air chisels.

The light rescue also carries “an incredible amount of lighting,” according to Shoemaker. It includes a Command Light Knight series light tower with six Whelen Pioneer LED heads, two telescoping Whelen LED Pioneer scene lights, and two remote control Golight spotlights on the cab that work independently. All the lights are run off a 8-kW hydraulic generator.

The vehicle, which has front and back receiver hitches for a 9,000-pound Warn winch, also carries come-alongs, chains, Stokes basket, spine boards, cribbing, chain saws, Sawzall, grinders, cordless impact tools and the department’s rope rescue equipment. Total cost of the light rescue was $247,000, Shoemaker says. “We finally got a truck where we could consolidate all of the equipment we need,” he adds.

The Reading Benefit Fire Department is staffed by 20 volunteer firefighters to protect a fire district of 100 square miles and 1,100 residents. The district is mostly rural but includes a gas turbine plant, part of an interstate highway, and other major state highways.

Shawnee firehouse honors memory of fallen hero John B. Glaser

By David Twiddy
Kansas City Star – May 26, 2015

After unveiling a new sign on the station, the captains and battalion chiefs who were on duty the night Glaser died shared a hug. Photos by Jill Toyoshiba. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

After unveiling a new sign on the station, the captains and battalion chiefs who were on duty the night Glaser died shared a hug. Photos by Jill Toyoshiba. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Amber Glaser, Glaser's widow, spoke at the ceremony with daughter Emma Grace by her side.

Amber Glaser, Glaser’s widow, spoke at the ceremony with daughter Emma Grace by her side.

Gathered firefighters stood at attention as the national anthem was played.

Gathered firefighters stood at attention as the national anthem was played.

It’s been five years since Shawnee firefighter John B. Glaser rushed into a burning house and to his fate.

He’s rarely been far from his colleagues’ minds since his death in 2010 with his memory preserved on their uniforms, on a monument in front of the Fire Department headquarters and a symbolic street sign posted in each of the city’s firehouses reminding the firefighters to be careful.

Add one more memorial for the first Shawnee firefighter to die in the line of duty — the city’s Station No. 71 at 6501 Quivira Road is now named the John B. Glaser Fire Station.

Most of the department’s 59 firefighters, Glaser’s family and several hundred residents and well-wishers attended the ceremony Friday evening — five years to the night he died — to see the name unveiled.

“We think it’s a great tribute,” said Fire Chief John Mattox.

Glaser, 33, a former Marine Reservist, had been a member of the department for six years on May 22, 2010, when his unit was sent to a burning house in the 13400 block of West 75th Court. Reports said he rescued a dog from the house and went back in after hearing an invalid resident might be trapped inside. He got separated from his partner and, at some point, was overcome by smoke and toxic fumes. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

The ceremony on Friday began with a bagpiper playing the “Marine’s Hymn” as an honor guard laid a wreath and Glaser’s fire helmet on Shawnee’s memorial to firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.

Speakers remembered Glaser’s sense of humor, friendliness and his love of the University of Kansas. The unveiling of the new sign bearing Glaser’s name was accompanied by members of the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School band playing KU’s “Crimson and the Blue.” The four captains and battalion chief who were on duty the night Glaser died, four of whom came out of retirement for the ceremony, helped pull down the tarp covering the new sign.

“The renaming of this fire station will not take away the pain of losing John, but it will ensure we never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made,” said Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler.

Glaser’s widow, Amber, said her husband made “probably one of the best decisions he could have made” when he decided to become a firefighter following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“He was always wanting to help people, and his dream came true,” Amber Glaser said. “He had found something where he could make a difference in people’s lives. It’s an honor and we feel truly blessed that his legacy will live on forever, and I know he’s looking down on us and is so proud.”

Glaser’s daughter, Emma Grace, who was only 5 months old when she lost her father, thanked the crowd for coming. The couple also had a son, Brecken.

The department has honored Glaser in other ways over the years. The firefighters wear a lapel pin in his memory on their dress uniforms and an annual 5K race in October raises money to support the families of other first responders who have died in the line of duty. The department also has posted a street sign in each fire station bearing the date and address of Glaser’s fatal call that firefighters pass on their way to the equipment bays to remind them to be prepared.

Mattox said the department considered conventional tributes like renaming a street or park after Glaser but that those ideas didn’t seem “personal” enough, leading to renaming the fire station where Glaser spent so much of his life.

“We all remember the night (he died) and we all live it all the time,” Mattox said. “But we’re all going to be gone someday. It’s part of Shawnee’s history, so this way John will always be a part of Shawnee.”

Emergency crews rescue man from trench collapse in KCK

By Molly Balkenbush
FOX 4 News – May 26, 2015


One man in a three-man crew was rescued from a trench collapse at a home near 44th and Metropolitan on Tuesday evening. FOX 4’s Molly Balkenbush reports that the men were doing home repairs, and one got trapped when a trench they dug collapsed in the basement at about 5 p.m.

Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department Assistant Chief Craig Duke said the man was trapped in dirt up to his chest, and first responders had to work feverishly to free him. The man was pulled out through a basement window and an ambulance took him away from the scene.

Emergency crews at the scene didn’t give his official condition, but feared he may have suffered fractures or broken bones, which is also what his son told FOX 4.

EagleMed dedicates helicopter in Shocker colors

KSN – May 26, 2015

Photo by Raoul Cortez.

Photo by Raoul Cortez.

A new helicopter was dedicated Tuesday at the EagleMed headquarters at Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

The new helicopter features WuShock and Shocker colors. WuShock was in attendance for the dedication along with representatives of EagleMed.

“We were able to purchase this new Bell 407 helicopter. It came in the colors that represent the home team here for which we’re all really proud and so yes, it was just a no brainer,” said Larry Bugg, EagleMed President.

Last year, the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad unveiled a newly painted locomotive with several Shocker logos.

EagleMed LLC, headquartered in Wichita, is a privately owned and operated critical care air medical and ground transport service.

EagleMed has 475 employees and operates 15 medical helicopters, 20 Beechcraft King Air fixed-wing aircraft, and six ground ambulances in 12 States.

Fire officials urge people to use caution around water banks

KSN – May 26, 2015


Recent rains have caused water levels around the state to rise. On Tuesday, the Wichita Fire Department cautioned people to be aware of the conditions of the water banks.

Near Exploration Place in downtown Wichita, the water is rising up to the sidewalk on the Arkansas River.

The fire department warns as water erodes the banks, they could give way at any moment, sweeping away those standing too close by.

“People are just watching and throwing rocks or just playing around with the kids. They could just easily, that ground is so saturated, they could just fall in and just take you away,” said Jose Ocadiz, Wichita Fire Department.

Forecasters are predicting more rain throughout the week.

Stranded canoeists rescued from Kansas River

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – May 26, 2015

Two Kansas River canoeists who found themselves unable to make it to shore were rescued east of the river’s Belvue boat ramp late Monday by Manhattan firefighters in the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office’s rescue boat, said Sheriff Greg Riat.

Authorities weren’t releasing the names of the pair, whom Riat said were released after being treated for signs of hypothermia by Pottawatomie County emergency medical services.

Riat said the sheriff’s office received a report at 9:45 p.m. that that canoeists were stranded on the river east of the Belvue ramp.

“The two individuals had been attempting to make it back to the Belvue boat ramp but were unable to because of the hazardous conditions of the river,” he said.

Various law enforcement, emergency management and firefighters were sent to the scene, where the two were located and rescued further east of the ramp, Riat said.

He said the Kansas River rescue was the second in two weeks in Pottawatomie County, with the other occurring during the late evening on May 16.

Riat said, “The sheriff’s office urges those persons using the Kansas River for recreational purposes to take into consideration the weather and river conditions. Both of these rescues involved rain, lighting and high water with debris floating in the river, making for hazardous condition for the rescuers.”

Cowley only college in Kansas to offer ‘Difficult Airway’ course

By Rama Peroo
Arkansas City Traveler – May 26, 2015

Derek Champlin, a firefighter-paramedic from Concordia, and ‘Difficult Airway’ faculty member Malachi Winters work with a Laerdal Airway Management Trainer.  Photo by Rama Peroo.

Derek Champlin, a firefighter-paramedic from Concordia, and ‘Difficult Airway’ faculty member Malachi Winters work with a Laerdal Airway Management Trainer.
Photo by Rama Peroo.

Cowley College — which has one of the few paramedic programs in the nation and the only one in Kansas to offer “The Difficult Airway” course as part of its core curriculum — conducted the intensive, two-day, national level course designed for paramedics, critical care transport nurses, physicians and other advanced providers on last Tuesday and Wednesday in Arkansas City.

Fifty students took part in the course. Students were from Cowley College’s paramedic program cohorts in Winfield and its online program, and also from several different states and various service areas around the area.

The course is designed to help individuals to learn the important airway algorithms and mnemonics.

Individuals in the course also used all of the proven airway devices in small group sessions, while practicing decision making and airway techniques in Code Airway Stations.

Participants were presented with challenging patient scenarios such as elevated ICP, pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock, status asthmaticus, a foreign body in the airway, direct airway trauma, and multiple trauma with shock.
The didactic and hands-on training covers RSI (Rapid Sequence Intubation), prediction of the difficult airway, difficult airway interventions using video laryngoscopes and other devices designed for EMS, and surgical airway techniques.

The group used advanced patient simulators to mimic airway problems.

The course was conducted by local instructors, consisting of 12 Cowley College “Difficult Airway” faculty, as well as Nick Wride, with STORZ Medical, and Bud Abbott, with Laerdal Medical.

Laerdal Medical provided adult, pediatric and infant simulators for the two-day course.

“We want individuals to leave with the tools to manage the most critically ill patient they will see, and to be equipped with the thinking and skills to improve patient outcomes,” said Chris Cannon, Cowley Allied Health Department chair and director of EMS education.

Cannon was assisted by Cowley instructors Dr. Rob Dillard, Scott Ten Eyck, T.J. Popp, Deryk Ruddle, Megan Russell, Steve Storm, Samantha Troyer, Cindy Webster, Lyle Webster, Andrea Winters and Malachi Winters.

Missing Paola man’s remains pulled from Kansas lake 23 years later

By Brian Burnes
Kansas City Star – May 26, 2015

miami co fire 5262015

A car pulled from a Miami County lake last week contained the remains of a man missing since 1992, authorities announced Tuesday.

An autopsy identified him as Fremont O’Berg, a resident of rural Paola, Kan., who vanished more than 23 years ago. The 1981 Chevrolet Citation found in Hillsdale Lake had been registered to him.

After O’Berg disappeared at age 57, authorities conducted searches across Miami County, including at Hillsdale Lake and other bodies of water. Hillsdale Lake is in northern Miami County, between Spring Hill and Paola.

An angler recently fishing the lake with underwater sonar equipment detected what appeared to be a submerged vehicle about 40 yards from the lake’s Jayhawker boat ramp.

On Thursday, representatives of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, the Osawatomie Fire Department and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism pulled the car from the water. O’Berg’s remains were in the driver’s seat.

Information circulated after O’Berg’s January 1992 disappearance noted that he suffered from heart and liver issues as well as acute bronchitis.

According to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, family members have been notified. The case remains under investigation.

Hubbard resigns as 911 director

By Dale Hogg
Great Bend Tribune – May 26, 2015


With much regret, the Barton County Commission Monday morning accepted the resignation of 911 Director Doug Hubbard.
“I think he worked hard as 911 director,” said County Administrator Richard Boeckman. “He will be missed.”
Hubbard cited the pursuit of private business interests as his reason for leaving the post he’s held since 2011. He will remain on the job through the end of May.
“I appreciate the support over the years,” Hubbard said. Even after leaving, he offered to help with the transition to new emergency technology being deployed in the department.
Since being hired, Hubbard has worked to improve communications throughout the county, completed the narrowbanding project in the county and replaced console furniture at 911. He has also been involved with the Next Generation system development and the use of Active911, a digital messaging system for first responders, Boeckman said.
“It’s been a very enlightening experience,” Hubbard said of being the director. “I’ve done a four-year tour of duty and I have deep down that this was a duty.”
He will remain fire chief in Claflin and serve as a emergency medical responder.
Following this action, the commission appointed Boeckman as the interim director until a new director is hired. Boeckman has filled in for the office in the past.
“That’s not an easy job to fill,” said Commissioner Jennifer Schartz. She hoped the search would e quick and they would able to find someone from the region to take the position.

Sunken Mustang Found In Kaw River

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – May 26, 2015

Click on photos to view full-size images.

Click on photos to view full-size images.

shawnee co fire 5262015b

A dive team is working to pull a Ford Mustang from the Kaw River on Tuesday morning. They’re connecting it to a tow truck which will remove it.

Police spotted the convertible while they were checking the boat ramp.

Divers from the Shawnee Heights Fire Dept. searched the car for the driver or anyone else who might be inside before trying to get it out, but found no one.

Jefferson Co. Woman Rescued From Pond Drain

By Melissa Brunner
WIBW – May 26, 2015

A close call for a Jefferson County woman who spent nearly two hours stuck in a pond drain tube.

Jefferson Co. Sheriff Jeff Herrig says the woman was cleaning out the drain of a pond Sunday on her property near 132nd and Ferguson Road when a blockage broke free, and her leg got sucked in.

Several emergency response crews worked to free her. Herrig says she was taken to the hospital with a leg injury and possible hypothermia, but is expected to recover.

Lightning strike causes house fire in Goddard

By Gabriella Dunn
Wichita Eagle – May 25, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Lightning from severe thunderstorms Monday afternoon sparked a fire at a home in Goddard, and floodwaters swept an SUV off the road in Crawford County.

Lightning struck the back of the roof on a one-story house in Goddard at around 3:30 p.m. Eddie Fajardo, division chief for the Sedgwick County Fire Department, said the fire started on the roof line and spread to the soffit, or the overhang on the house.

The house was down the street from Sedgwick County Fire Station 35, so rescuers got to the scene shortly after the fire was reported.

“Luckily, they got it stopped on the back side,” Fajardo said.

Rescuers put out the fire within a couple of hours. Fajardo said investigators were still surveying the damage but that the house is likely livable.

“We had a little bit of a problem tearing into the roof because of the peaks of the ceilings and stuff inside, but we got it all torn out,” he said.

The house had vaulted ceilings, which Fajardo said make it harder to control the fire because of less attic space.

He said he didn’t know how many people were in the house at the time of the fire but that no one was injured.

In Crawford County, a 1993 Jeep Wrangler was swept off the road and then submerged in water off the roadway, according to a news release from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident happened on 520th Avenue, about half a mile west of 70th Street. The call reporting the incident came in at 2:08 a.m.

The news release identified the driver and three passengers. One of the passengers, Matthew Gath of McCune, managed to get out of the car and went to a nearby residence to call for help. Crawford County Emergency Management Services personnel rescued the driver, Terry R. Gath of McCune, and the other two passengers, Terry L. Gath of Scranton, Ark., and Rebecca Gath of Altamont. Rebecca Gath was transported to Via Christi Hospital with minor injuries. Officials could not be reached for an update on her condition.

The Wichita area might see a respite in rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Brad Ketcham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita, but stronger chances for rainfall are expected Thursday and Friday.

“With this kind of flow pattern, this kind of tropical air mass laying around, there will be chances (of rain) every day,” Ketcham said.

Contributing: Jerry Siebenmark of The Eagle

Fatal small plane crash in SW Kansas

KAKE – May 25, 2015

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of a small plane in southwest Kansas. The NTSB tweeted that the plane went down in Syracuse, in Hamilton County.

The NTSB said the plane that crashed is a Yak-52, a Soviet trainer plane.

Killed was Anthony Englert, 54, of Syracuse.

The Highway Patrol crash log indicates the plane traveled a short distance before impacting the ground nose first. The crash happened one mile south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 and Kansas Highway 27.

Tornado damage reported in Gray County

KWCH – May 25, 2015

Video & KAKE Video

We are receiving several reports of storm damage in western Kansas due to a tornado.

The National Weather Service in Dodge City has three reports of damage– one of the reports is near the town of Ensign where a home sustained significant damage. The owner of that home is a firefighter, he was checking for damage in other areas when the tornado hit. He says his home has a lot of damage on the backside.

The National Weather Service is reporting a barn and a porch were damaged in Gray County. A storm spotter also reported a tornado hit a wind turbine.

Victory Electric Cooperative Association posted on Facebook the tornado damaged a transmission line to a substation. It says that substation feed many small towns and they are working to repair the damage.

So far there have been no reports of injuries.

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