Archive for September, 2015

Three hurt in semi vs. car crash near Harvey/Marion County line

By Angela Smith
KWCH – September 30, 2015

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Harvey County dispatchers say emergency crews responded to the scene of a car vs. semi accident along the Harvey/Marion County line on Hwy-50 near Peabody.

The crash, between a semi truck and a Toyota Corolla, was called in about 5:40 p.m.

Dispatchers confirm three people were hurt in the crash. We don’t know their conditions at this time. Heavy damage was spotted on the front and passenger side of the Toyota Corolla.

The semi truck overturned, scattering debris onto the roadway.

An emergency helicopter was launched to the scene to assist with treating and transporting the patients.

Minor fire Sunday at Plumb Thicket

Harper Advocate – September 9, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 30, 2015

Harper fire units were at the Plumb Thicket Landfill Sunday afternoon about 20 minutes keeping fire from the facilities high-dollar “tipper” machine in a fire in 101 degree temperature which was quickly controlled by Plumb Thicket employees.

A Harper truck used foam to stop flames headed towards the tipper as the Plumb Thicket crew pushed the fire up in a pile with a bulldozer and then covered it with dirt.

The tipper is a machine that takes the big semi truck trailers that arrive with trash and tips them up in the air to dump them into the landfill.

Firefighters respond to Burlington apartment fire

By Mark Petterson
Coffey County Republican – September 24, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 30, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

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A grease fire on a stove caused damage estimated at up to $8,000 Monday afternoon at a Burlington apartment house, located one-half block from the fire station.

Burlington and New Strawn firefighters responded to the fire at 2:55 p.m. at 504 Hudson, apartment 3. The tenant, Misty Rabon, reported the fire by calling 911.

Coffey County Fire Chief Administrator Randall Brown, the first to arrive at the scene, found the apartment filled with smoke. He used a fire extinguisher to knock down the fire, before other firefighters arrived at the scene.

Once other firefighters arrived, they made sure the fire was extinguished and ventilated the apartment. The fire was confined to the stove, exhaust hood, area above the stove and siding outside the house where the exhaust vent was located.

Brown said Rabon tried to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher; but she was unable to turn the stove off and the fire reignited.

The apartment house has four apartments, two at ground level and two on a second story. The fire was located in a lower level apartment on the west side. None of the other tenants were home at the time of the fire.

Brown classified the fire as unintentional. Brown’s loss estimate includes smoke damage throughout Rabon’s apartment, as well as some smoke damage in adjoining apartments. Delvin Garrett, the landlord, has insurance on the structure; however, Rabon did not have renter’s insurance, according to Brown. She and her son were displaced for the night and stayed with family.

Burlington Fire Station responded with the aerial truck and New Strawn Fire Station brought a pumper truck. Eleven Burlington firefighters and three New Strawn firefighters were on the scene for about 50 minutes.

1 hurt in apartment fire near downtown Wichita

By Ben Bradley
KAKE – September 30, 2015

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A person has been hurt in a fire at a small apartment building near downtown Wichita.

The fire broke out shortly after 9 a.m. in the 900 block of South Topeka. Crews who arrived first on scene reported seeing smoke showing.

The former two-story house had been converted into a four-plex, and there were 11 people inside when the fire started. Everyone made it out, but one person was taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.

Red Cross has been called in to assist the residents.

The fire began in a bedroom on the first floor. A damage estimate is not yet available.

Youth Career Expo

Kansas City Star – September 30, 2015

Photo by Keith Myers

Photo by Keith Myers

A Youth Career Expo focused on public service career paths hosted about 3,000 middle and high school students on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Bartle Hall. Austin Anderson (right), a sophomore at Belton High School practiced his paramedic skills on an intubation training mannequin under the guidance of John Zimbelman, fire marshal of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department. The expo featured over 60 booths from Kansas City, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Johnson County, Jackson County and other surrounded cities.

Officials evacuate area of Pottawatomie Avenue for gas leak

Manhattan Mercury – September 30, 2015

Manhattan Fire Department officials evacuated residents within a quarter-mile radius of 916 Pottawatomie Ave. on Tuesday afternoon because of a gas line break. Officials responded to a report of a natural gas line rupture just before 3 p.m. They asked residents to leave the area or stay away while they worked to fix the leak. The affected area includes the 800 to 1000 block of Pottowatomie, including Pottowatomie Court, Greenfield Circle and Sunrise Circle, officials said in a report. The leak was fixed at about 5:30 p.m., and residents were allowed to return to their homes. No injuries were reported.

Fire chief confident of response times despite existence of train traffic

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – September 30, 2015

With more people moving to downtown Hutchinson, a business owner thinks this is the wrong time for the city to close a downtown fire station, which the Hutchinson Fire Department plans to do within a couple of years.

The city is nearing the start of work to replace the fire station at the intersection of Avenue E and Walnut Street, which will be followed by replacement of the station at 11th Avenue and Hendricks and movement of the 20th Avenue station somewhere closer to 17th and Severance, provided budgets allow the work.

After those projects are done, the fire department plans to shut down the station at Avenue B and Walnut as an active fire station and turn it into a resource and storage site. The firefighters and equipment stationed at Avenue B and Walnut would then move to the Avenue E and Walnut station.

Those plans have Lloyd Armstrong of Armstrong’s Antiques worried about downtown’s safety. His main concern is that two sets of railroad tracks run between avenues C and D. When trains are on the tracks, fire trucks would need to spend extra time to go over the tracks on the Woodie Seat Freeway to get downtown. Armstrong said a friend saw 37 trains cross Main Street between the two stations.

Parker Exposito of Alexander’s Jewelers said he remembers a time when minutes made the difference for a building. The store was the victim of an arson fire in October 2008.

“They said if they’d been 15 minutes later, this building would have probably burned down,” Exposito said.

He said the business’ proximity to a fire station may have saved it, and he is concerned about the extra time it might take firefighters to get around with the planned closure.

Armstrong said he is especially worried about fire trucks taking the Woodie Seat Freeway during bad weather. He said increased fire truck traffic on the freeway when it is slick is bound to cause crashes.

“There’s been a million wrecks on that freeway,” Armstrong said.

He said he thought even eight minutes would be too fast for fire trucks to safely take that detour when roads are slick.

To the extent that there can be a right time, Armstrong thinks this is the wrong time to close the Avenue B and Walnut fire station. Between the Wiley Building and loft apartments above businesses – including Armstrong living above his own business – he sees downtown’s population booming.

“We have more people living downtown than we have in probably five decades,” he said.

Jim Seitnater, downtown development director for the city, estimated that more than 400 people live in the area bounded by Adams and Poplar streets, Fourth Avenue and Avenue C. “I appreciate Lloyd’s concerns as he has been a longtime downtown leader and is a downtown resident,” Seitnater said.

The extra drive time to calls closer to the Avenue B station from the Avenue E station would be a relatively small concern, Fire Chief Kim Forbes said. Once a truck is out of the station, it takes only a minute to get from the Avenue E station to Avenue A, provided no trains are on the tracks.

In the event that a train is on the tracks, taking the Woodie Seat Freeway increases the drive time to 2½ to three minutes. Forbes said the Kansas and Oklahoma tracks have one train on them a day. A Union Pacific representative said traffic on that company’s tracks varies but is normally five to 15 trains a day.

Driving time is just one piece of the response times for firefighters. Forbes said that from the time someone dials 911 to the time communications calls out responders is typically a minute if all goes well. Once firefighters get the call, the goal is to be out of the station within another minute. And when the first truck gets on the scene, firefighters can start getting water on the fire in about a minute and a half, he said.

As far as safety on the freeway is concerned, that is something the fire department already deals with. When the freeway is slick and there are crashes on it, firefighters are among the emergency workers who respond, Forbes said. He added that during inclement weather, the fire department works with city public works to identify which emergency routes need to be prioritized for treatment.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time, coming and going over that Woodie Seat Freeway,” he said.

Forbes also sees value in combining the two stations into one. Having the units together means sending the ladder truck on fewer calls, which means less wear and tear on it. It also will give the crews more ability to train and practice together and the ability to arrive on scene at the same time.

When two trucks arrive at a fire at the same time, one crew can get to work breaking down any doors that require it while the other crew gets the hose running. If just one crew arrives at a time, its members may have to switch back and forth between entry tools and the fire hose.

Fire coverage elsewhere in Hutch

Armstrong is also worried about the plan to close the fire station at the intersection of 20th Avenue and Main Street to move it closer to 17th and Severance and its effects on the core of Hutchinson.

“Everything is moving away from the core area, period,” he said.

Forbes, though, says the plan is based on development trends that almost anyone can see in Hutchinson. More and more development is happening in the northeast quarter of the city. Just last week the city approved building permits for two new restaurants on 17th Avenue.

He said that even with the move, the least-covered portions of the city can still have three fire trucks on the scene within eight minutes.

“I trust Chief Forbes’ analysis of the best future coverage for all of Hutchinson, replacing the aging stations within a budget and the city’s continuing growth to the northeast,” Seitnater said.

2 hospitalized after I-70 rollover accident

Salina Post – September 29, 2015

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Two people were injured in an accident just after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Ellis County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2004 Buick passenger vehicle driven by Myra J. Kirkelie, 75, Colorado Springs, CO., was westbound on Interstate 70, one mile east of Victoria.

The vehicle entered the median, struck the guardrail and rolled.

Kirkelie and a passenger Dennis K. Kirkelie, 75, Colorado Springs, CO., were transported to Hays Medical Center.

They were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.

Fire departments receive mini-grants

September 29, 2015

The Fire Education Association of Kansas and the Fire Marshals Association of Kansas awarded Fire Prevention Week™ mini-grants to the Fort Scott Fire Department, McLouth Fire Department and Seward County Fire Department. The mini-grants provided each department with a Fire Prevention Week™ In A Box from the National Fire Protection Association. Each box contained safety materials for 100 adults and 100 children. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Hear the BEEP where you Sleep.” Learn more at

Since 2009, FEAK and FMAK have provided 42 Fire Prevention Week™ mini-grants to Kansas departments. FEAK President Mike Hall said, “Awards like this are a great way to get safety information to fellow Kansans.” “We applaud the safety and prevention efforts of all organizations who work to make Kansas a safer place to live,” added FMAK President Brad Henson.

Edwardsville EMS saves kitten

Bonner Springs Chieftain – September 29, 2015

Tony Burr, Edwardsville EMS supervisor, holds the kitten that EMS staffers saved when a citizen brought it to the fire station, choking on a piece of chicken.

Tony Burr, Edwardsville EMS supervisor, holds the kitten that EMS staffers saved when a citizen brought it to the fire station, choking on a piece of chicken.

Edwardsville Fire and EMS officials today had a unique patient: a tiny kitten.

Fire Chief Tim Whitham reports that the fire and EMS crews at the Edwardsville Fire Department were wrapping up scheduled hose testing when a citizen came to the station advising she had a kitten that was choking. Immediately crews attempted to follow typical protocols of clearing the airway and dislodging the material in the throat.

With the young age of the kitten, crews rapidly used a bulb syringe, typical for clearing the airways of newborn infants, to clear and suction the material in the kitten’s throat, Whitham said.

After a few attempts of dislodging the material with stomach thrusts and the bulb syringe, a piece of chicken was dislodged and the kitten resumed normal breathing.

“While it is not an everyday experience in the fire station, fire and EMS personnel continually utilize lifesaving skills for all the worlds’ residents,” Whitham said.

Richard “Dick” D. Trotter


Richard D.“Dick” Trotter, 81, died Sept. 22, 2015, at Hospice House, Hutchinson. He was born Dec. 4, 1933, in Hutchinson, to Wesley Trotter and Dorothy (Search) Trotter Taylor.

He was a firefighter for the Hutchinson Fire Department for 35 years before retiring in 1992. Dick enjoyed going to McDonald’s almost every morning for coffee and seeing his friends he made there over the years.

On July 13, 1952, he married Melba Eisiminger in Hutchinson. She survives. Other survivors include: sons, Terry Trotter and David Trotter; daughter, Cindy Sorensen and husband Ron, all of Hutchinson; grandchildren, Carrie Mourn, Amy Bolend, Mitch Trotter, Tara Stewart, Allison Deetz, and Ryan Trotter; 10 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Donald Taylor and wife Connie, Napoleon, Mo. He was preceded in death by: his parents, Wesley Trotter and Dorothy Taylor; son, Michael Trotter; and a daughter-in-law, Toni Trotter.

Funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, at Elliott Mortuary, Hutchinson, with Pastor Matt Stafford presiding. Burial will follow in Fairlawn Burial Park, Hutchinson. Friends may call from 1 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, with the family to receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., at Elliott Mortuary.

Memorials may be made to the Hutchinson Animal Shelter in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501.

Notice of Vacancy – Fire Prevention Inspector – closes 10/14/2015

The Office of the State Fire Marshal has an opening for an Unclassified Fire Prevention Inspector. This is advanced technical fire prevention work within an assigned district of the state with occasional statewide travel. The inspector conducts fire and life safety inspections of facilities under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Fire Prevention Code and Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services. Inspection work is governed by division directives which address inspections, inspection protocol, interpretative guidelines, local agency liaison and limits of authority. Special inspections are periodically conducted to support ongoing enforcement activities or investigate complaints. Inspections entail climbing in and out of attics, crawling in small areas, climbing stairs, extensive walking, communicating, independent thinking, using a computer, etc. Extensive travel, including overnight is required of this position.

Salary: $19.16 per hour.

Minimum Requirements: Two years’ experience in performing inspections and obtain Kansas certification as a Fire Inspector I from KU Fire Service Training within twelve months of hire date. College courses in fire science may be substituted for the required experience at the rate of two semester hours 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 driver’s license. Must have knowledge of the Kansas Fire Prevention Code, the 2000 National Fire Life Safety Code, International Building Code and International Fire Code. Must have extensive field experience as well as code and mechanical aptitude background. Must have exceptional skills in oral and written communication; must have strong computer skills. This position requires certification with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within twelve months of hire date.

The territory that this position covers will be the counties of Jewell, Mitchell, Lincoln, Republic, Cloud, Ottawa, Washington, Clay, Dickinson, Marshall, Riley, Pottawatomie and Geary. Residency within the territory is preferred however; this will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

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 (must be received within two business days after the job post closing)

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

Olpe, Emporia Fire Departments battle fire

By John Giffin
Emporia Gazette – September 29, 2015

A fire that engulfed about three acres of grass and 12 hay bails was extinguished by the Olpe and Emporia Fire Departments Monday afternoon, according to Olpe Firefighter J.J. Stutler.
The fire at 217 Road 20 in southwest Lyon County was reported about 2:10 p.m. Monday. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Duling returns to Colwich Fire Department

By Fred Solis
Mount Hope Clarion – September 10, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Septembe 29, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Colwich Fire Department has named Brent Duling as its Firefighter of the Month.

A 2001 graduate of Bishop Carroll High School, Duling 32, grew up in Wichita. He was previously on the Colwich Fire Department from 2011 to 2013 but resigned his position when he relocated to Wichita.

He recently moved back to Colwich and rejoined the fire department.

Being a firefighter is something that has always interested him, and he likes to be there when somebody needs help, he said.

Duling is also interested in making firefighting a career someday.

He completed Firefighting I and II at Hutchinson Community College, along with emergency medical technician training.

Duling is married with children and enjoys hunting, fishing and camping in his free time.

Garage destroyed by fire at Mulberry

Mulberry Advance – September 11, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 29, 2015

On Friday, September 6, 2015, at 8:33 p.m., the Mulberry Volunteer Fire Department was called out to a vacant garage fire at 419 W. 8th Street. The fire completely destroyed the garage which was owned by Jessica Morgan.

Cause of the fire is undetermined at this time. After the fire, firemen stayed on scene and helped the city light crew repair the electric line that was down due to the fire. Firemen returned to the station at 9:26 p.m.

Wheaton fire station takes step forward

Manhattan Mercury – September 22, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 29, 2015

The Pottawatomie County Commission is close to moving forward on a new fire station for the city of Wheaton.

Fire Supervisor Jared Barnes presented a proposed floor plan Monday for a 50 x 88-foot structure with four truck bays, offices, rest rooms with showers and a conference area.

The plan also included a small rest room addition with outside access for use by patrons in the community’s city park. To save cost, however, commissioners suggested adding the public rest room to the original footprint with an outside door that doesn’t allow access to the rest of the station.

Barnes and County Administrator Robert Reece said they would try to have a modified floor plan for consideration at the commission’s September 28 meeting. If commissioners approve the floor plan, the county can solicit proposals for the project.

“We’d like to move forward real quick,” Barnes said.

Commissioner Stan Hartwich agreed. “I know time is of the essence, as far as they’re concerned,” he said.

Barnes also told commissioners a recent structure fire in Onaga is under investigation by his office, Onaga Fire Department and the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office.

Two firefighters promoted to division chiefs

By Teri L. Hansen
McPherson Sentinel – September 22, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – September 29, 2015

Two captains of the McPherson Fire Department are being promoted to division chiefs in accordance with the new fire department structure, by city commissioners Monday.

Beginning next Monday, Capt. TJ Wyssmann will become the division chief of training and operations, and Capt. Randy Willems will become the division chief of inspection and maintenance.

The department comprises of 17 full-time firefighters and five paid-call firefighters. The previous structure when looked at on paper had nearly the entire department, including three captains and one training captain, reporting to the assistant chief (now vacant) who then reported directly to the chief. The chain of command didn’t allow for much advancement or grooming for command.

Now the department chief still sits at the top, with the deputy chief directly below the chief. Wyssman and Willems now report to the deputy chief, though the position is currently vacant. The lieutenants on each shift will now report to Wyssman and Willems, while firefighters report to their shift lieutenants.

Atchison Area Law Enforcement and First Responders Honored

By Jonathan Cooper
St. Joe Channel – September 29, 2015

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From police to firefighters to EMS, first responders sometimes risk their lives to help others.

In Atchison, Kansas on Monday, they were honored.

“When the city and community come together in support of us, it makes our job so much easier to get up and go to,” said Joe Butner, the Undersheriff of Atchison County.

The Atchison Area Ministerial Alliance, which is a collection of churches, hosted Blessing of the Badges, a ceremony to honor law enforcement and first responders.

A blessing of holy water was placed on each and every badge and hand attending.

“It’s ymbolic of washing away all of the pain and the grime and the dirt of lives that they deal with and then handing it back, washed and blessed,” said Pastor Nancy Kollhoff, who helped organize the event.

Monday’s ceremony is the third time the group has held the ceremony.

The churches started the program after a tragedy in 2011 when Atchison Police Seargeant David Enzbrenner was shot and killed in the line of duty.

“We wanted to initially commemorate that but then its grown out of that to be more,” said Kollhoff.

Now, the ministerial alliance sends personal invitations to every area police officer, sheriff’s deputy, paramedic and firefighter.

“This takes me back to when there was a lot of honor and pride and I don’t want any young people that want to get involved and who are involved to not get discourage,” said Butner.

And with music, prayer and a whole lot of thank yous, these officers won’t.

Pittsburg search and rescue task force training

By Ike Ejiochi
Four States News – September 29, 2015

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The Pittsburg Fire Department is working in conjunction with several towns to form a regional search and rescue task force.

“Fort Scott, Iola, Chanute, Parson , Pittsburg of course, Neodasha. And it’s a good way for all of us that are relatively smaller departments, that we’re able to pull our personal and our resources together in order to supply services to the entire region and beyond,” said Mike Simons, Pittsburg Fire Chief.

Those services were used during the May 2011 tornado; a tragedy that served as a lesson to the firefighters.

“There was some things we took away from the Joplin Fire, that have really helped us to propels in a different direction as far as training and our exercises,” said Chief Simons.

Simons said the department began to focus more on the task force and how the group could perform better. He applied for grants from the Department of Homeland Security for some much needed training and equipment. Once those funds came in, Chief Simons set up training exercises that were aimed to copy realistic situations.

“We did some different things. We actually had multiple incidents going on at the same location with a base of operations set up, and so we had to manage that, which is a lot more realistic than just going out and doing one item,” he said.

He also said the station used the funds to buy vehicles that will be used to transport search and rescue equipment.

“That’s going to provide a prime mover and a trailer. And a prime mover basically is a vehicle that moves that trailer, because we had some equipment, we just don’t have the means to, to get it anywhere,” Chief Simons explained.

Simons says the vehicles should arrive within a month and a half. As far as the training, the task force still runs unique exercises aimed to prepare them for any type of situation.

Pittsburg Fire Department Fire Prevention Tour

Four States News – September 29, 2015

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It’s the stations first stop on its week long “Fire Prevention Tour.” Students received hands on fire safety tips and training on what it takes to fight a fire. The department says this is the best time to promote the importance of fire safety because of the change in weather. With the colder temperatures in the fall and winter, more people will be using fires inside their homes to keep warm. Firefighters say they have been conducting the tour for the last eight years as a way to help spread the word through the students to their families.

“We always feel like it’s important to talk to the kids. Then they’ll go home, talk to their families, ‘Hey, this is what I learned today. Hey, do you have a smoke detector? Does it work? Does it have a battery in it? Do you know what to do in case we have a fire?’ They’re actually our best teachers when they go back to the house,” said Bob Gardullo, Captain Fire Department.

Pittsburg Fire Department ends its tour at Nettles Elementary on October 2nd.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Home Page

Lee Miller

Miller, Lee, 85, passed away after a short illness September 26, 2015. Lee moved to Great Bend in 1955 from Gove County, Kansas and worked for 32 years for the Great Bend Fire Department. A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Great Bend Senior Center, 2005 Kansas Ave. He is survived by his daughters, Cathy Peacock of Nevada and Pam Miller Finley of Arkansas; son, Robert Miller of Texas; four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Herlan and Edith Miller; brother, Harold Miller; grandson, Wesley Turnbull. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 3111, 504 Washington, Great Bend, Ks 67530 or Great Bend Senior Center.

RV catches fire on U.S. 59 north of Ottawa

By Sheila Holle
Ottawa Herald – September 28, 2015

Photo by Sheila Holle

Photo by Sheila Holle

A recreational vehicle (RV) rests along U.S. 59 near the Stafford Road exit after fire crews worked to extinguish a fire mid-morning Monday on the roadway. Crews from the Centropolis Township Fire Department responded about 10:34 a.m. to reports of an RV on fire, Tim Matthias, assistant fire chief for the City of Ottawa Fire Department, said. Willow Springs Township Fire Department out of Douglas County and City of Ottawa Fire Department also assisted on the scene, Matthias said. Southbound U.S. 59 was blocked during the incident and no one was harmed in the fire, he said.

Crews battle structure fire Monday afternoon

Hays Daily News – September 28, 2015


At 1:52 PM Monday, the City of Hays Fire Department, assisted by the Hays Police Department and Ellis County EMS, was dispatched to an outbuilding on fire behind 3103 Thunderbird Drive. The Ellis County Emergency Manager also responded.

On arrival, firefighters found two yard sheds and the fence on fire at the rear of the building. Firefighters used one hoseline to extinguish the fire. One outbuilding was totally destroyed and the second, behind 3105 Thunderbird Drive, was damaged. The houses were not damaged.

The most probable cause of the fire was accidental but undetermined due to the extensive damage.

Four fire trucks and fifteen firefighters responded. The last firefighters left the scene at 3:07 PM.

Seward County Fire To Kick Off Fire Prevention Week

KSCB – September 28, 2015


The Seward County Fire Department will kick off Fire Prevention Week 2015 with an open house in Kismet on Sunday, October 4th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event will be held at the new Kismet Fire Station located at 504 Locust in Kismet. This year’s theme is ‘Hear the beep where you sleep—Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm.’

We will be handing out packets that contain fire prevention and smoke detector information. These were obtained through a mini-grant that we received from the Fire Education Association of Kansas and the Fire Marshals Association of Kansas. We will also have fire trucks and HazMat equipment on display. For the kids we will have our ‘fire house’ prop set up so they can spray some water!

There will be free hamburgers, etc., and we will have drawings for smoke detectors, CO detectors and a combustible gas detector.

Please drop by the Kismet Fire Station between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday October 4 to help us celebrate the beginning of Fire Prevention Week 2015!!!

Crews investigate report of fire at downtown tanning business

Lawrence Journal World – September 28, 2015

Photo by Mike Yoder

Photo by Mike Yoder

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Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical crews responded to a report of fire at HD Tan, 831 Massachusetts St., around 10:15 a.m. Monday. Fire chiefs on scene said the situation was under control as of 10:40.

No smoke was visible from the front of the building, though a burning smell was present from outside as firefighters investigated the inside of the building.

The 800 block of Massachusetts was closed to traffic during the incident. Reports over emergency radio channels indicated that occupants of neighboring buildings were initially evacuated but were allowed back in around 10:40 a.m.

Overnight crash shuts down I-70 in Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 28, 2015

One person was critically injured early Monday in a single-car crash on Interstate 70 in downtown Topeka.

Authorities said the accident was reported at 2:24 a.m. on eastbound I-70 on the Polk-Quincy viaduct, between the S.W. 1st and S.E. 3rd Street exits.

Topeka police responding to the crash found a small, red truck against the center retaining wall

with heavy damage.

Police Lt. Joe Perry said the driver, David A Cottrell, of Topeka, had to be extricated from the vehicle by Topeka Fire Department crews.

Cottrell was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to a local hospital with what at first were believed to be critical injuries.

However, Topeka police shortly before 5 a.m. said the driver’s condition had stabilized after he was taken to a local hospital.

Eastbound I-70 was shut down for around an hour at the S.W. 1st Street exit while the accident scene was cleared.

The roadway had been reopened as of 4:30 a.m.

Additional details weren’t immediately available.

Crews fight overnight house fire in Overland Park

KSHB – September 28, 2015

Firefighters have contained a house fire that broke out in Overland Park late Sunday night.

According to reports, shortly before Midnight Overland Park Firefighters were called to a house fire in the 9800 block of W. 115th Terrace.

Firefighters observed smoke coming from a second story window of a two story, single family home.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control, containing it to a second story bedroom.

According to reports, the occupant was able to make it out the home safely and was treated for minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

Reports say while the fire was contained to the bedroom, the home did suffer moderate smoke and water damage.

Authorities are investigating the exact cause of the fire.

Fire crews battle house fire in Haysville

KAKE – September 28, 2015

Firefighters battled a house fire in Haysville Sunday night.

The fire broke out in the attic of a home in the 100 Block of South Western Avenue just after 8 p.m.

There are no injuries to report and the damages or cause of the fire is unknown.

Fire destroys Scott City Wendy’s restaurant

By Michael Maresh
Garden City Telegram – September 28, 2015

Photos by James M. Dobson

Photos by James M. Dobson

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An early Sunday morning fire that fully engulfed the Wendy’s restaurant on South Main Street in Scott City is still under investigation.

Kansas State Fire Marshal Investigator Chris Smith, who was at the restaurant most of Sunday, said the fire started at 3:26 a.m. When he arrived at about 10 a.m., firefighters from the Scott City Fire Department were putting out hot spots.

On Sunday afternoon, Smith was taking photos of the inside of the restaurant. He said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire or where it started.

“It depends on where things go,” he said, when asked how long the investigation would take. “It’s too early to say.”

Ted Morris, co-owner of the Wendy’s, said in a press release that the restaurant was closed for business at the time the fire was reported, no employees or customers were present and no one was hurt.

“We appreciate the work of the Scott City Fire Department to safely contain the fire and for all emergency responders,” Morris said in the press release. “Our present concern is for safety at the site to the public and to our valuable employees. We will be meeting them in the days ahead with our plans moving forward.”

Morris said it is now anticipated that the restaurant will be re-built on the site with a more modern design. The franchisee’s most recent newly designed Wendy’s in the area opened in Garden City in December 2013, and he said the replacement restaurant in Scott City will resemble that location.

“We have had a wonderful response from our Garden City Wendy’s design, and it is important for us to give the people of Scott County and our outstanding Wendy’s crew a similar experience,” Morris said.

Fallen firefighter’s family says “Thank you”

By Jade DeGood
KWCH – September 28, 2015

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Earlier this month, dozens of Kansas firefighters climbed more than a hundred flights of stairs in honor of the firefighters killed in the September 11th attacks.

Each carrying a photo of a man or woman, no longer here.

This weekend, one of those firefighters was united with the family of the fallen firefighter he climbed for.

Olathe firefighter Jerry Connell carried the photo of Greg Chevally up the 110 flights of stairs in his memory.

Chavalley was on ground zero helping with search and rescue efforts for days after the attack. He died this past April of lung cancer that has been tied to that service.

When Chevalley’s cousin heard that someone was climbing in his honor, he knew he had to meet him.

“My family is amazed by the fact that you guys out here in Wichita, middle America, are still reaching out to the guys back in New York,” said John Montalbano, Chevalley’s cousin. “I was asked to pass on their thanks, their love and that’s really what I wanted to do.”

The two met Saturday at the Firefighter Museum in Wichita to share memories of Chevalley.

343 firefighters died when the Twin Towers collapsed in 2001. Last year, the New York Fire Department documented 863 firefighters and ambulance workers with cancers related to their work after the attack.

6 agencies battle house fire in Andover

KSN – September 28, 2015

Forty firefighters from six agencies battled a house fire in Andover Sunday afternoon.

Andover Fire Marshal MIke Roosevelt said the call for the fire at the home in the 600 block of N. Phillips came in at 12:35 p.m. He said the first firefighters on the scene found smoke inside the home.

Roosevelt said firefighters had a difficult time getting access to the fire since it was in concealed spaces. He said the family that lives in the home was able to get out without injuries.

The fire agencies involved in fighting the fire included Andover, Butler County, El Dorado, Augusta, Sedgwick County and Rose Hill.

El Dorado FD adding drone to life-saving arsenal

By Jade DeGood
KWCH – September 28, 2015

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From Hazmat spills to search-and-rescue efforts, sometimes getting a bird’s-eye view can make a big difference in life-saving measures.

That’s why the El Dorado’s Fire Department is adding another tool to its fire fight.

The department is partnering with NMotion UAS, a newly formed unmanned aircraft business based in Kansas. Through an agreement the El Dorado Fire Department will be able to use the drone at no cost in exchange for NMotion using the video taken at the scene of fires.

“It allows El Dorado to work with a new technology and it allows us to test and evaluate this new tool in their industry,” said John Martens, firefighter and founder of NMotion UAS, a Kansas-based unmanned aircraft company. “We’re equipping El Dorado with an unmanned aircraft system that will allow them to fly approximately 20 minutes and allow them to get live situational awareness, taking what the camera sees and putting in in the hands of the person on the ground so they can make real-time decisions based on that information.”

The first test was with a vehicle fire. Moody said on real calls, the drone would be utilized for larger incidents.

“Not necessarily for a car fire, but for a hazardous materials, absolutely, and for a wild land fire where you’re having difficulty seeing, absolutely,” Moody said. “If someone was on the lake, as long as they are above the water, it can pick up that person real quickly and hasten that rescue.”

The El Dorado Fire Department will be training with the drone for several weeks to prepare themselves to use it as part of their fire fighting efforts.

“We saw an enormous value in being able to deploy a tool down range without putting anybody at risk and that right there is a valuable asset that we need in our industry,” Martens said.

The fire department will also be working with NMotion UAS to get its “Certificate of Authorization” from the FAA to make it legal for them to fly the aircraft during calls.

“There’s several steps that need to be taken and we’re going to help them through each of those and make sure they become successful at it,” said Martens.

Fire damages half of duplex

By T J Rigg
KWCH – September 28, 2015

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A fire on east Pawnee in Wichita damages half of a duplex home.

The fire reportedly started in the back bedroom on one side of the duplex.

That half of the duplex was damaged by the fire, although fire crews were able to contain it.

The woman who lived in that side of the duplex was not hurt.

A family of four living in the side of the duplex not affected by the fire were evacuated, but are expected to return home soon.

Pratt County chase ends in fatal crash

By T J Rigg
KWCH – September 28, 2015

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A 15-year-old girl was killed in a Sunday morning crash on US 54 in Kingman County. The crash, reported a little after 7 a.m. followed a chase that began in Pratt County.

Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn says the chase began after the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a truck driver reporting an erratic driver on US 54.

Deputies found the suspected vehicle and saw the girl behind the wheel driving erratically. Deputies tried to pull the vehicle over and the driver sped off, starting the chase.

The vehicle was a Toyota Forerunner with Oklahoma license plates.

Authorities say the chase along US 54/100 highway reached speeds greater than 100 miles per hour.

Kingman County and the Kansas Highway Patrol were notified of the chase.

As the chase entered Kingman County, the 15-year-old driver of the Toyota exited onto 170th Ave. near Cunningham. The driver lost control of the vehicle, which went down the shoulder of the exit ramp and rear-ended the trailer of the semi truck, which was parked legally on the shoulder.

The teen driving the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene. Her family was notified by the Stanton County, Texas Sheriff’s Dept.

The occupant of the parked semi truck was not injured. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

Four-vehicle accident at Last Run

By Jeni McGee
Winfield Courier – September 28, 2015

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The scene of a wreck at the Last Run car show in Arkansas City Sunday afternoon. The driver of the red and blue car in the center of the photo apparently lost control of the vehicle and hit three parked cars.

The scene of a wreck at the Last Run car show in Arkansas City Sunday afternoon. The driver of the red and blue car in the center of the photo apparently lost control of the vehicle and hit three parked cars.

The Arkansas City fire-EMS and police departments responded to a four-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon at the Agri-Business Building.
Jim Dale, the driver of a custom car entered in the Last Run Car Show, apparently lost control of his vehicle and hit three parked vehicles, according to initial reports.
Witnesses to the accident said that Dale was “showing off,” after winning an award, when the throttle of his vehicle seemed to get stuck in a wide open position.
“We heard him gas up in (the Agri-Business Building) ─ made a lot of noise,” said Ray Berry.
Berry was seated just outside the building, next to the drive, when Dale sped by, only two feet from him.
“He didn’t brake, he might have been trying to, but he didn’t,” Berry said. “He went right between (my) mustang and (the white car) and hit that ’55 Chevy.”
Berry said that he saw Dale stand in the car after hitting the Chevy and that Dale had not been properly restrained in the vehicle.
“His hotrod caught afire,” Berry said.
Multiple eye-witness accounts indicted that the hotrod may have been travelling at a very high rate of speed ─ some said near 100 miles an hour, an estimate that could not be verified.
John Postalwait was one of the individuals who put the fire out before the ACFD arrived on scene.
“You could see him trying to shut it down coming out, but he couldn’t do it,” Postalwait said.
He said that Dale’s vehicle “jumped up in the air” before coming down on the Chevy.
According to him, there were two others that helped put the flames out.
The driver was transported in serious condition to South Central Kansas Medical Center.
Updates on his condition from friends indicated that Dale suffered from multiple laceration and abdominal pain.

Lyndon man killed in roll over accident

By Carrie Larsen
WIBW – September 28, 2015

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office has reported that a Lyndon man was killed in a single-vehicle rollover accident Saturday evening.

Responding to a report of an accident about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, in the 32900 block of south Morrill Road, sheriff’s deputies found Cory J. Sprecker, 26, Lyndon, had been fatally injured after being ejected from a 2008 Ford pickup, which had rolled several times.

The accident location is about three miles south of Melvern Lake Dam. Assisting at the scene were Osage County EMS, Osage County Emergency Management, Osage County Fire District No. 3, and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The accident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.


The Osage Co. Sheriff’s Office identified the teenage driver in last Saturday’s wreck that killed a 26-year-old Lyndon man.

Fifteen-year-old Samuel Chase Jones, of Melvern, was behind the wheel of the truck when it crashed in the 32900 block of S. Morril Road, about three miles south of Melvern Lake’s east side, according to Sheriff Laurie Dunn.

Cory J. Sprecker was killed in the crash. He owned the 2008 Ford pickup and was riding in the passenger seat at the time. He was thrown from the truck as it rolled several times, Dunn said.

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Totty, of Lebo, and Jackson Fitch,12, of Lyndon were riding in the back seat. Both of them, as well as Jones, suffered minor injuries in wreck and were treated at the scene, according to Dunn.

Authorities believe the three teens were not wearing seat belts at the time, while Sprecker was not. They are continuing to investigate the crash.

Crews respond to a car engulfed in flames on I-70

By Regan Porter
WIBW – September 28, 2015

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Video 1004

Just after 8 Saturday evening, crews responded to a car engulfed in flames on I-70.

The Topeka fire department confirms the car fire was near the I-70 turnpike.

The two passengers in the vehicle say they pulled over when they heard a strange noise coming from the engine.

They were able to get out of the car before it started on fire and no injuries were reported.

However, the 91 Cadillac was completely destroyed.

Fire/EMS dedicates new truck

By Jeff Guy
Newton Kansan – September 28, 2015

Photo by Jeff Guy

Photo by Jeff Guy

The Newton Fire/EMS Dept. took another step into modern technology with the arrival of a dual fire/rescue engine, the second such truck the department has purchased this year.

A dedication ceremony for a new truck took place Thursday at fire station 3, 2520 S. Kansas Ave. The newly custom-built truck will do the work of two trucks made in the 1990s. They were retired at the beginning of the ceremony and the new truck was driven into the garage.

The new truck, to be used by station 3, is identical to the first fire/rescue truck the department acquired last February. That truck is being used by station 2, 1015 W. Broadway. These are the kinds of trucks the fire/EMS department will acquire from now on.

“Our goal is to have each engine identical to the others,” said Newton Fire/EMS Chief Mark Willis. That will make the trucks easier to operate for different crews, he added.

The new trucks release foam, as well as water, reducing property damage, the amount of water used and providing for more visibility. Foam can penetrate through “void spaces”, such as between walls, in attics and between roofs and ceilings better than water can, Willis said.

Today, structures are being built differently than they were when Willis became a firefighter 30 years ago. There is more plastic and lightweight construction and structures are prone to collapse. The foam will help cool fires quicker in those kinds of structures, Willis said.

“Compressed air foam is probably the most cutting edge technology to come out for fire fighting in a long, long time,” Willis said.

While a new structure fire might require mostly foam, something such as a grass fire will require all water, said Willis. Firefighters can use different controls on the side of the truck to use whatever is needed to fight the fire.

“You can basically dial-up the right receiver for whatever kind of fire you’re fighting,” he said.

The department bought the two new trucks with money it has been placing in a savings account for several years.

“We didn’t have to borrow money, we didn’t have to lease,” said Willis. “They’re ours. We bought them outright with cash for $50,000 less than they would’ve been.”

The department will sell the retired fire truck to a volunteer fire department in Nebraska and is in negotiations to sell the rescue truck to a department in Arizona, Willis said.

Jason Reynolds and Brad Penner, chaplains for the police, sheriffs and fire departments, said a few words at the ceremony. Penner said a prayer, and Reynolds placed oil on the truck, emulating how priests consecrated temples and tools in the Old Testament.

“We dedicate this apparatus and all its glory for those who use it and for all those who receive its services,” Reynolds said.

2 men killed, 1 unharmed in single-vehicle crash

Associated Press – September 28, 2015

Two men are dead and one escaped injury in a one-car crash Saturday morning in northeast Kansas.
The Kansas Highway Patrol says 25-year-old Donte Gardner was driving a 1999 Cadillac Deville at 5:05 a.m. on U.S. 59 in Jefferson County when he failed to stop at the intersection with Kansas Highway 4 in Nortonville.
The patrol says the car went into the ditch and rolled multiple times.
Gardner, of Oklahoma City, and 22-year-old Tevin Gillum of Atchison, Kansas, were killed in the crash. Neither was wearing a seatbelt.
A second passenger, 25-year-old Kenton Russell II of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was wearing a seatbelt and wasn’t hurt in the crash.

Life Savers

By Jim Misunas
Great Bend Tribune – September 28, 2015

Firefighters must secure a victim that is transported from an elevated building in a training exercise at the Great Bend fire department No. 2 station. Photos by Jim Misunas

Firefighters must secure a victim that is transported from an elevated building in a training exercise at the Great Bend fire department No. 2 station. Photos by Jim Misunas

Firefighters from Hays, Russell, Ellsworth and Great Bend practice fighting a fire during a training exercise Saturday at Great Bend fire station No. 2.

Firefighters from Hays, Russell, Ellsworth and Great Bend practice fighting a fire during a training exercise Saturday at Great Bend fire station No. 2.

A firefighter gathers himself before starting the next step in a maze that tests flexibility and ability to manevuer in tight spots.

A firefighter gathers himself before starting the next step in a maze that tests flexibility and ability to manevuer in tight spots.

Firefighters from central Kansas enjoy the camaraderie just as much as the training provided by the Great Bend fire department.
The firefighters passed tests of flexibility, rescue and fire prevention at fire station No. 2 west of town in Great Bend. The department provides fire protection and rescue for Great Bend and four surrounding townships. More than 45 firefighters from Ellsworth, Russell, Hays and Great Bend attended Saturday’s training.
“Firefighters have a passion for what they do,” said Michael Reifschneider, Great Bend firefighter and paramedic. “This type of work gets in their blood. They come to work every day loving what they do. It’s all about teamwork to achieve a common goal whether it’s to calm some chaos or provide some rescue help. When they meet someone for the first time, they all work together really well.”
The most challenging test required firefighters to secure a victim from an elevated structure. Rescue was coordinated by units from the Hays and Great Bend departments equipped with ladders. The victim is rescued either by ladder or via a bucket truck that is lowered to the ground.
“We simulate a rescue on top of a building. The victim has a medical condition where they have to be removed from the top of a building,” said Reifschneider.
They had to pass through a maze that tests the firefighter’s capability of bending and stretching heavy equipment past possible obstacles that might face. Some firefighters are flexible enough they can pass easily through the maze. Others have to take their time.
Firefighters have to familiar with the equipment and everything they wear,” he said. “You learn what works best for you. This type of training is valuable for all of the fire departments.”
Of course, regular firefighting technique was practiced in the complex that provides a perfect venue to practice firefighting techniques. Crews were given a variety of fires to fight.
The firefighters face hazardous duty when practicing their profession.
Temperatures will exceed 1,000 degrees at the edge of the fire. There’s bulky protective gear to wear, noise, heat, water, smoke and limited visibility.
Firefighters learn how a fire reacts and how best to extinguish the flames.
The fans feature improved technology. They used to suck smoke out of a building. Now, they are commonly used to blow smoke out of the building for improved visibility. A firefighter will quickly inspect the building to discover the best way to attack the fire and where it’s best to ventilate the fire.
Firefighters practice opening the best window for ventilation and understand how to use their firefighting equipment.
A fan also quickly lowers the temperature inside a burning building. It was common in the past that firefighters would face thick black smoke when entering a building. Now, there’s a better likelihood that visibility will be passable.
A thermal imaging camera is a valuable device that uses infrared radiation that detects heat and temperature.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano supervised the operation with an even-handed approach. He made a check list to insure that equipment and verified that everything was in order for the fire training.
The Great Bend fire department also provides EMS response and transport to the same area plus an additional 2 1/2 townships west of Great Bend. The total population served is 20,000 people, and the average response time is 3.5 minutes in the City and eight minutes in the county.

Garage fire in North Topeka intentionally set

By Samantha Foster
Topeka Capital Journal – September 28, 2015

A garage fire in North Topeka on Saturday afternoon was intentionally set, according to investigators.

Fire Investigator Zach Bottenberg said in a news release a homeowner pulled into his driveway in the 1400 block of N.W. Logan Street about 3:45 p.m. and saw smoke billowing from the side of his garage.

The man quickly exited his car and found the side of his detached garage on fire, Bottenberg said.

Fire crews arriving at the scene reported flames and smoke coming from the garage’s north side. They forced entry into the garage to ensure no one was inside, then quickly extinguished the fire.

The scene was cleared just after 6 p.m., Bottenberg said.

Preliminary investigation indicated the fire was intentionally set and originated in the north exterior wall. The garage sustained an estimated $3,000 in structural damage and $500 in content loss, Bottenberg said.

Fire Destroys Barn, Kills 3 Horses

By Jackie Nelson
Hesston Record – September 25, 2015

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Hesston Emergency Services Director Russ Buller said Newton Fire Department took the lead on the fire.

Newton Fire Marshal Randall McBee said in the initial investigation the fire was accidental.

“We’re looking at electrical. That’s the only ignition source so far. We don’t know what insurance is or any losses,” he said.

Buller said Hesston Fire Department had six firefighters on scene to support Newton.

“Newton chose to approach it defensivley, which is the correct approach since it was too fully involved when they arrived to do anything else,” he said.

1 person killed when small plane crashes in west Wichita

KAKE – September 25, 2015

One person has died after a small plane crashed in west Wichita.

The crash happened late Friday afternoon near the Cowskin Creek in the area of Maple and Maize Road. An official with Eisenhower National Airport said the twin-engine Cessna took off from the airport and and crashed two miles north-northwest of the runway.

Dispatchers confirm that one person has died.

Anyone traveling in that area will want to find an alternate route, as many emergency vehicles are in the area.

KAKE News has a crew at the scene gathering information. Check back for updates.

1,800 gallons of fuel spill at McConnell Air Force Base

KAKE – September 25, 2015

Officials at McConnell Air Force Base say a fuel leak has been contained after spilling 1,800 gallons in an airplane parking area.

The incident happened around 4:30 a.m. Friday. 2nd Lt. Krystal Jiminez said the base fire department, aircraft maintenance and HAZMAT personnel were able to stop the leak and contain the spill. A cleanup effort is underway, and no mission impact is expected.

Jiminez said there were no injuries and no health risk to the public or base population. The cause of the leak is under investigation.

Rollover accident along Highway 24 kills 1

By Lindsay Sax
WIBW – September 25, 2015

One person has died after a rollover wreck on Highway 24 in Pottawatomie County Thursday night.

Sheriff Greg Riat says that deputies were called to the scene at Highway 24 and Deer Haven Lane just after 10 p.m. When deputies arrived on scene they found a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer in a ditch.

Riat says that the Trailblazer was heading west on Highway 24 when it left the roadway on the north side of the road and rolled.

The driver, 40-year-old Pamela Parker from Wamego, was ejected from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Riat says that the accident is still under investigation.

2 adults, baby suffer minor injuries in Wichita house fire

KAKE – September 25, 2015

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Three people have suffered minor injuries in a house fire in east Wichita.

Fire crews were called just before 2 p.m. Friday to a home in the 2100 block of east 1st Street, just east of I-135. When they arrived on scene, firefighters reported seeing smoke and flames emanating from the residence.

Battalion Chief Randy Cole said two adults and a baby were in the basement, and crews helped them out of the house. They were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The Red Cross was called in to assist the family.

Cole said the cause of the fire appears to be unattended cooking. It caused about $10,000 in damage to the home and its contents.

Aircraft makes emergency landing at Salina airport

By Tim Horan
Salina Journal – September 25, 2015

No one was injured Friday morning when an airplane carrying 70 passengers made an emergency landing at Salina Regional Airport because of an indication of smoke in the plane’s cockpit.

According to Salina Airport Authority Executive Director Tim Rogers, the incident involving a United Express flight, operated by Shuttle America, occurred at about 10 a.m.

“The aircraft landed without incident,” Rogers said about noon Friday. “The aircraft is still on the ground in Salina. The passengers have disembarked the aircraft and are in a holding area, a space to wait until Shuttle America brings in another aircraft.”

He said as standard operating procedure, firefighters from the Airport Authority and Salina Fire Department responded, along with members of Emergency Medical Service.

Rogers said a passenger was treated by EMS for a nosebleed unrelated to the emergency.

Intentionally set house fire does $13,000 in damage

Topeka Capital Journal – September 25, 2015

Photo by Katie Moore

Photo by Katie Moore

A fire intentionally set Thursday night caused $13,000 in damage to a home in central Topeka, a Topeka Fire Department spokesperson said.

Fire crews were called at 8:45 p.m. Thursday to 1107 S.W. Woodward Ave., on a report of a fire, fire official Zach Bottenberg said.

The call came from neighbors who discovered the fire after smelling smoke.

Crews who arrived first reported flames and smoke from the back of the house.

Crews entered the two-story house and performed a search for occupants. During the search, the staircase collapsed.

No occupants were found in the house and no firefighters were injured.

Crews performed an aggressive attack to prevent the fire from spreading to other houses.

The fire was extinguished and the smoke was ventilated, as fire officials contained the flames to the one home.

The origin of the fire was on the first floor in a the southwest exterior corner.

Crews were on scene until about 11:30 p.m.

Other agencies providing assistance were the Topeka Police Department, American Medical Response, Kansas Gas Service and Westar Energy.

You Are What You Preach

By Sal Scarpa
Fire Engineering – September 25, 2015


How do you know what people believe in? How do you know what someone stands for? What is it that guides an individual? What are his or her principles? Think about your supervisor or the chief of the department–do you know what is important to them? How did you come to that conclusion?

If I were to tell you that laziness is a virtue or inconsistency is everyone’s right, would you believe me? What if my actions (or inactions) led you to believe that I was an indecisive person or you observed me being impatient with my employees? Wouldn’t you come to the conclusion that I had a difficult time making decisions and was rather short tempered?

People judge you on what you say and what you do; and what you do is often a physical manifestation of you say. Generally, people do and say what they believe. Their actions implicate their beliefs and we form opinions based on what we observe. If this is true, the axiom–you are what you preach—is an important concept for officers to grasp.

Power in Preaching

Becoming an officer in the fire service is a big step for many individuals. For those who make that critical first jump from firefighter or driver to officer (captain, sergeant, or lieutenant), the first supervisory position you will hold is fraught with challenges and changes. Fortunately, for many of the opportunities (a.k.a. challenges) you will face, training is available to help prepare you for those challenges (we’ll call this the officer development program). For example, I would expect a new officer to be well versed in patient care, extrication, firefighting strategy and tactics, etc. In addition, my hope is that you also received some mentoring along the way that perhaps will help you with decision-making challenges and important concepts like situational awareness. Needless to say, not all the answers come along with the shiny gold badge.

Some challenges are not so obvious, however. For example, when you utter something at the kitchen table about uniforms, suddenly the chatter amongst the crew turns to the day’s attire. You may turn around and notice that your members have tucked in their T-shirts or polished their shoes, or something similar. Or perhaps they overheard you grumbling about a new standard operating procedure (SOP) that’s come down from the chief. Next thing you know, you may find your members blatantly disregarding it because they thought that you were not in favor of it and were going to disregard it as well. Suddenly you realize that the words you say carry a bit more meaning than perhaps they used to.

The fact that you are an officer now means you must exercise a bit more caution when making offhand remarks. Your words carry a little more weight now and have a bit more meaning. Something you may say in jest or casually speaking can readily be misconstrued. If it is perceived that the rumor mill has started because of something you said, you may quickly find yourself in the shift chief’s office explaining a comment that was taken completely out of context.

A Higher Standard

The higher the rank, the more pronounced the effect. Offhand comments by the fire chief or his/her staff can quickly become policy. If the operations chief was quoted in a casual conversation as saying that he supported duty shorts during the summer months, he may be surprised to find officers at the kitchen table later discussing different styles and colors of shorts the department should buy. Thus, care should be taken when making statements or issuing directives as an officer. This may not have been something that was taught in your officer development program, but it is surely an important consideration.

One of the things that my boss told me when I was promoted to battalion chief was that now more than ever I would be held to a higher standard. I always knew the fire service and public service employees in general were held to a higher standard. The public expects more of us than they do the private sector. There was a time when scandalous headlines were the bane of private sector organizations–some CEO ripped off his shareholders or insider trading brought a corporate giant to its knees. Today, unfortunately, you can’t watch the evening’s news or read a newspaper without learning of some government corruption or a public official being disgraced by a scandal. Ever notice that when a firefighter is arrested for a DUI accident that the headline is not simply “Joe Smith was arrested and charged with DUI” but rather “Fire Captain Joe Smith from the XYZ Fire Department was arrested and charged with DUI”? This somehow seems much more newsworthy.

It’s true, we are held to a higher standard. Our customers expect public servants to operate in a fashion that does not allow us to bad mouth our bosses. When was the last time you saw a fire chief blast the mayor or city manager on the evening news? My guess is it would be shortly before they were fired. As public servants, being held to a higher standard means that everyone around us–our customers, our employees, and our bosses–pay attention to what we say. So we must choose our words wisely.

Lead by Example

As an officer, you must also realize that although your subordinates are looking up to you and listening to what you say, they are also watching to see what you do. We’ve all heard the phrase about talking the talk and walking the walk, but this is especially true for officers. The people who work for you (as well as those who work beside you and above you) are watching to see that you embody what you espouse. If you are adamant about safety and always harping about seat belts, speed limits, and safety vests (all incredibly important), then you best be sure to model the behavior you expect in others. Lead by example, not by direction. Being the only one on the highway at a traffic accident who steps off the rig without your safety vest will not go unnoticed.

As a leader it is important that you practice what you preach. Do you say what you do, and do what you say? If you say you’re going to check on a part for one of your drivers, you have to follow up and do it or your will quickly lose credibility and become known as that unreliable officer. One thing you will learn fairly quickly if you haven’t already is that a reputation is something that is easily earned and hard to shake. Make sure that the reputation you build for yourself is one you will be proud of and something you would like in your superiors.

Silence is Not Golden

It seems like many years ago, in grade school perhaps, I remember hearing the phrase “silence is golden.” As a parent, and a movie-goer, I can appreciate this concept as much as any librarian. Few and far between are the times when we are left alone with our thoughts or a good book. Moments to reflect and opportunities to plan are more deliberate if they can be accomplished in silence.

Yet the silent officer is often ill-perceived. If as an officer you simply don’t say much, what do you suppose you crew thinks of you? Do you think they wait around wondering when you will bestow some words of wisdom upon them? Do you believe that a philosophy of “I will speak only if it’s important” will enhance their trust in you and your ability? I would venture to say probably not. Chances are they will simply see you as disengaged or disinterested in them and/or the organization. Either way, “dis”-ing them will not help make you a good leader.

In a similar vein, as an officer you probably have more of an opportunity to weigh in on policies or projects that impact your people and your organization. In the interview component of my company officer promotional process I was asked, “Sal, why do you want to be promoted?” Without hesitation and with conviction I responded, “I want to be in a better position to influence change.” If you fail to voice your opinion in officers’ meetings or choose not to participate in committees or projects that impact your people and your work, you are failing to use your positional power to potentially generate something positive. Those whom you supervise may not share the same opportunities. If they perceive that you are squandering your chances by remaining silent or non-participative, you may have forfeited an opportunity to reinforce your relationship with them.

“Pipe Down Blowhard!”

The opposite of silence can also be problematic for officers. Every person probably has an opinion or thought on just about everything that goes on in the firehouse. Whether it’s an updated SOP, a shift in tactics, or a new truck–chances are every firefighter in the station has something to say about it.

Having an opinion on something is one thing; expressing your opinion about everything is quite something else. Do you know that person in your station or on the other shift who is quick to offer up their two cents on every little thing? Are they more often than not negative opinions? Or are they quick to jump on a bandwagon? People insist on commenting on everything under the sun often are not well informed about the topic at hand. Their views are often knee jerk reactions or first impressions rarely based on careful thought.

As an officer, your opinion matters and is important to many. However, be careful in passing judgment and judicious in offering praise. Take the time to learn the facts, ask the right questions, see for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. Once you’ve done so, choose when it’s appropriate to offer your insight. If you’re deciding on a new set of extrication tools, your input could be incredibly valuable and appreciated. If the topic is changing the color of the wash rags, maybe you don’t need to weigh in on that one. Remember, people are paying attention to what you say as well as how often you say something.

How Do You Say…

Finally, it’s important to note that how you speak is equally as important as what you say. Consider the many conversations you have throughout the day and the different folks you interact with. When you are at work and speaking with your boss, you generally will try to have a professional tone, use good grammar, and avoid slang terminology. With your peers, you may be more relaxed and much less formal. When at home playing with your kids, you may have an entirely different form of interaction– much more playful and with words that perhaps aren’t even actual words.

The point is that we can project a different persona with our language and our voice. I was presenting a training program recently at a conference. Conference staff were quite insistent that all presenters use the lavalier microphone that was provided. Unfortunately, the one that was given me didn’t work and I had to do without. The room wasn’t terribly big and had really good acoustics, so I was confident I could project my voice in a manner that ensured everyone could hear me. In general conversation at home and with friends, I have a tendency to mumble and mesh my words together, so I make it a point to be clear when I am presenting. After I was done, a gentleman came up to me, shook my hand and said, “Man you’ve got a set of lungs on you!” I thanked him for his remarks and knew that I had projected well.

Every circumstance you find yourself in, whether in your personal life or as a newly promoted officer, will require a different tone, projection, and use of language. Be selective in using your “I AM THE BOSS” voice with your personnel. It gets old fast! Be firm and emphatic when it’s appropriate and conversational when you’re around the kitchen table. Always be professional when dealing with your boss and the public. And consistently project a confident image with your personnel; it will help build their trust in you, which is crucial for every new officer.


In many ways, what you say (and how you say it) is a reflection of who you are. As an officer, your words carry more meaning than when you were firefighter. Choose your words carefully but don’t be afraid to voice your opinion or lend your expertise to a project. Consider your audience when you are speaking and use language, tone, and grammar that reinforce your persona and project a positive image of you and the fire department.

Sal Scarpa is the deputy chief for the Shawnee (KS) Fire Department. He has served more than 24 in the fire service for both career and volunteer fire departments and is a national presenter on leadership issues. Sal has an associate’s degree in fire science, a bachelor’s degree in public administration, and a master’s degree in leadership studies. Sal is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer (EFO) program at the National Fire Academy, recognized as a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) by the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and is a Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (MIFireE). You may reach him at or

Fire sparked by candles damages Hutch home

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – September 24, 2015

Photos by Sandra J. Milburn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Sandra J. Milburn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

hutchinson fire 9242015b

hutchinson fire 9242015c

Unattended candles appeared to cause a house fire Thursday evening in Hutchinson.

Hutchinson Fire Department Battalion Chief Rex Albright said the residents at 411 W. 15th Ave. had left the house just before candles sparked a fire in the home’s southwest bedroom.

Fire crews were called to the home a little before 5 p.m. Albright said they extinguished the fire within about five minutes of arriving on the scene. The fire was contained to the bedroom, but there was smoke damage throughout the house, he said.

Homeowner Mitch Voeltz said the fire was in the main bedroom. He wasn’t sure how bad the damage was. Albright said the damage could probably be repaired.

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