Archive for November, 2015

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Fire victim succumbs to injuries

Hutchinson News – November 30, 2015

A Hutchinson man injured in Saturday morning house fire has died, fire officials confirmed.

Officials have not released the victim’s name, pending positive confirmation of his identity, said Fire Chief Kim Forbes.

Firefighters rescued the man from a second-story window at 526 E. Ave. C, but the rescue was hampered by furniture partially blocking the window.

The man was not breathing when pulled from the house, Forbes said. An ambulance transported the man from the scene in critical condition, suffering from smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Investigators expected to return to the scene today, said Battalion Chief Rex Albright.

“To my knowledge there isn’t anything that speaks of foul play, but with it being a fatality, we work it a little differently,” Forbes said. “So it’s still under investigation.”

Two people lived in the home, and the other occupant was not home at the time of the fire, Forbes said.

Sunday Fire Damages Duplex

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – November 30, 2015

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A fire Sunday evening badly damaged one half of a Central Salina duplex. First responders were called at around 6:00 to the report of a fire a 404 Rahm.
Salina Fire Department Captain Jeff Rittel told KSAL News at the scene that one half of the duplex was fully involved when the first crews arrived. All of the occupants had already safely exited.
Rittel says that firefighters aggressively attacked the fire, quickly entered, and conducted a search. The fire was brought under control in about 10 minutes.
Rittle says that there is extensive damage to one half of he duplex, and it is uninhabitable. The other half sustained relatively no damage at all. As a precaution though, mainly because of a baby, firefighters recommended that the family in it find another place to stay, at least for one night.
There were no injuries in the fire.
Investigators were on the scene Sunday evening to determine an exact cause of the fire.

Sculptor tabbed for fire station work is a firefighter himself

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – November 30, 2015

The Hutchinson City Council on Tuesday will be asked to approve an agreement for a $12,000 bronze statue to be included at a new fire station at the intersection of Avenue E and Walnut Street.

The statue would be the first piece of art approved under the city’s public art program, established May 19. The program sets aside 1 percent of the cost of construction for public art.

Austin Weishel of northern Colorado was selected by the Public Art Design Council from among five artists who entered the competition for the fire station commission. In an interview Wednesday, Weishel said the sculpture would be a pair of firefighting boots, helmet and axe.

Weishel is a firefighter himself, starting as a teenager in Loveland, Colorado, and his first bronze sculpture was of a firefighter. Firefighters have remained a major theme of his work. A sculpture of a firefighter and arson investigation dog, “Ashes to Answers,” is the National Fire Dog Monument.

Austin Weishel has a gallery of his previous bronze sculptures at his website,

Child dies, two injured in Rock Rd. vehicle crash

By Gordon Bassham
KSN – November 30, 2015

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A young child was killed and two others were injured in a vehicle crash on Rock Rd. Sedgwick County.

Officers at the scene said the child was a two- to three-year-old girl who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash occurred in the 4500 block of S. Rock Rd. around three o’clock Sunday afternoon.

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Captain Mark Pierce said a woman and child were in a car headed southbound in the lane nearest the edge of the roadway when for some reason it began to slide, crossed the center line and slid into the path of a northbound pickup truck.

Pierce said the 28-year-old woman who was driving the car was taken in critical condition to Wesley Medical Center. A man in his 50s who was driving the pickup also was taken to a Wichita hospital in serious condition.

Police said a witness saw the car slide, but no ice was found by investigators. Pierce said the roadway was wet, and that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Investigators said there was a child seat in the car, but it has not been determined if the child was buckled into the seat, or if the seat was installed or working properly.

Rock Road was closed from 39th Street South to 47th Street South following the crash.

KCK Fire Department officials say they need upgrades

By Lexi Sutter
KSHB – November 30, 2015

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KCK Fire Department officials said the department is dealing with old equipment, poorly maintained buildings and a staffing level below what the National Fire Protection Association recommends.

Three of the 18 fire stations are not up to building code.

“If you were a homeowner, or a business owner and your building wasn’t up to code, the government would shut you down, and they’re not doing a damn thing about this,” said KCK Fire Captain Bob Wing, who also serves as the IFF Local 64 Business Manager.

Wing has been pushing for upgrades to help the department.

The conversation started in October, when the city received the results of a study of the fire department , completed by FACETS, a third-party consulting firm.

The goal was to identify needs within the department. Some of those include upgrading equipment and the fire stations.

Mayor Mark Holland addressed the issue on his Facebook page this week. He told 41 Action News the upgrades are long overdue and that public safety is a priority for him.

Wing and the fire department want an action plan: short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals to keep the taxpayers safe and the department in good standing.

“You’re talking about $40 million, an estimated $40 million in station repairs or replacement. You’re talking about $20 million in equipment that needs to be replaced, and you’re not going to find that money overnight,” Wing said.

Mayor Holland and the KCK Fire Department also want to improve response times to four minutes. There is talk of consolidating some stations in order to build new ones, but nothing has been finalized.

Crews work to put out fire at Mission Hills home

KMBC – November 29, 2015

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Firefighters are working to put out a fire at a home in Mission Hills.

Heavy smoke was pouring from the home in the 6700 block of Willow Lane when firefighters got there. A neighbor saw flames coming from the roof and called for help.

The people who live in the house are not home and firefighters said they’ve been having trouble getting in contact with them.

No injuries have been reported.

Transformer catches fire outside Olathe school

KMBC – November 30, 2015

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Photo by Olathe Fire Department

Olathe firefighters said a transformer box caught fire outside an elementary school Friday afternoon.

A family living near Black Bob Elementary School at 14701 S. Brougham Dr. saw flames and smoke and called 911. A crew from Kansas City Power and Light was in the area and shut down power to the box so firefighters could battle the flames.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and were able to put the fire out before it spread to the inside of the building. Capt. Mike Hall of the Olathe Fire Department credited the family’s call with preventing more extensive damage.

No injuries were reported.

Butler County EMS receives Golden Living donation

By Kari Adams
Butler County Times Gazette – November 30, 2015

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Representatives from El Dorado’s Golden Living Center showed their appreciation for the efforts of the Butler County EMS Department by donating $1,000 during the Butler County Commission meeting on Tuesday morning. Photo by Kari Adams

The Butler County Commissioners welcomed representatives from El Dorado’s Golden Living Center along with members of the Butler County EMS Department to the meeting room on Tuesday morning.

“On behalf of Golden Living Center of El Dorado, we’d like to donate this check to the Butler County EMS Department,” began Professional Sales Representative of Golden Living Center Jessica Folk. “This donation of $1,000 is part of our community support initiative that we do through our parent company. We appreciate everything you do for the community and for us.”

Butler County EMS Deputy Director Scott Stueven expressed his gratitude toward the donation.

“On behalf of Butler County EMS, we really want to say thank you for this,” said Stueven. “Our plans are to use this for non-disposable medical equipment and we hope to continue on helping the citizens in the communities of Butler County.”

1 dead, 1 hurt in Olathe crash at 119th and Strang Line Rd.

KMBC – November 30, 2015

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Photo by Will England

A woman was killed and another person was hurt in a crash Friday at 119th Street and Strang Line Road in Olathe.

Police said the accident happened just after 10 a.m. in the intersection.

A passenger car being driven by a 21-year-old woman struck a pickup truck being driven by a 48-year-old man.

The woman died at the scene. Police identified her as Shyra Graham, of Olathe. The man was transported to a hospital in serious but stable condition.

Olathe Police say this accident remains under investigation. Traffic officers are continuing to obtain witness information to determine what direction each vehicle was traveling.

Independence man killed in tire blowout accident

By Matt Campbell
Kansas City Star – November 30, 2015

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The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the man who was killed Saturday in a rollover accident caused by a tire blowout as 47-year-old Bradley Cox of Independence.

Eleven other people, including several children were hurt in the incident that happened about 3:25 p.m. on U.S. 69 in Miami County.

The 2001 Ford van was southbound when the right rear tire blew, causing Cox to lose control of the vehicle. It rolled multiple times before coming to rest upside down in the northbound lane.

Other occupants of the van included seven children, ages 11 months to 15. Everyone was using a seat belt or other safety restraint.

Fire at 503 NW Lyman

By Greg Palmer
WIBW – November 30, 2015

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Photo by J Downing

Officials told 13 NEWS that there was no foul play suspected in a Wednesday night fire that gutted a north Topeka business.

Dispatch informed 13 NEWS that reports of a fire began coming in just after 8:00 p.m. for the building at 503 NW Lyman.

13 NEWS has confirmed that the location of Wrench It Automotive.

When firefighters arrived, they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the building.

After searching the building, they came out with two dogs, one of the dogs was unresponsive, but crews were able to revive the dog, which was later taken to a veterinarian for care.

The other dog was not injured, however a turtle kept in the building did die in the fire.

Fire crews were able to get the blaze under control within 30 minutes and had it completely contained in less than an hour.

There is no word on the cause of the fire and no foul play is suspected.

Officials told 13 NEWS that the loss is estimated at $30,000

Truck crashes into home on Thanksgiving Day

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – November 30, 2015

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Photo by Hutchinson Fire Department

A home is damaged, but no one is hurt after a vehicle runs into it on Thanksgiving Day.

The Hutchinson Fire Department says it was called out to the 1600 block of Marland a little after 2 p.m. Thursday.

Chief Rex Albright posted on the organizations Facebook page that the vehicle struck an attached garage of the home. The home was unoccupied at the time of the wreck. The driver and the passenger of the vehicle refused medical treatment.

Albright says the vehicle was removed and crews were able to stabilize the structure.

The home has about $16,000 in damages.

The Hutchinson Fire Department responded 5 units to the scene. There is no word on what caused the crash.

Two killed in separate crashes in Western Kansas

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – November 30, 2015

Icy roads are to blame for two separate fatal accidents in Western Kansas.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the first crash happened in Hodgeman County a little before 2 p.m. Thursday.

Frank Espinoza, 70, was Eastbound on K-156 when he lost control due to the slick road conditions. His vehicle went into the ditch and rolled. Two others in the vehicle were taken to Hodgeman County Health Center with unknown injuries.

The second accident happened in Finney County around 4:30 p.m.

That’s when the KHP says a vehicle was eastbound on U-50 when it hit a patch of ice, went into the median and rolled. A passenger in the vehicle, 23-year-old Josh Huber was ejected from the vehicle, striking a second vehicle on the roadway. Huber was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Two others in the vehicle were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

There were no injuries reported on the second car involved.

Crash on Eisenhower

Leavenworth Times – November 30, 2015

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Members of the Leavenworth Fire Department and Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 work to extricate people following a collision Tuesday on Eisenhower Road near Shrine Park Road. The crash was reported at 5:43 p.m. Not many details have been released about the crash. Leavenworth Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus said a report had not been completed Wednesday afternoon. Rick Huhn, chief of Fire District No. 1, said firefighters extricated two people.

Ice on U.S. 77 overpass causes series of early morning accidents Fri.

Winfield Courier – November 30, 2015

Three separate accidents occurred between 6 and 7 a.m. Friday morning south of Winfield on the overpass that goes over the railroad crossing about a mile south of the city limits on U.S. 77.
The first wreck involved a vehicle that spun out and hit the guard rail. Cowley County sheriff’s deputies and Winfield Fire/EMS responded to that accident. As they were working at that scene, another vehicle spun out and hit the first car, according to Sgt. Chad Monroe of the sheriff’s office.
Later a third vehicle spun out, crossed the median and hit the guard rail and then rolled.
The Kansas Highway Patrol helped work the third accident.
Monroe said Winfield EMS checked all the drivers and passengers, but none needed to be transported for further treatment.
“These were all due to the rain and cold temperatures,” Monroe said.
“This is what usually happens when we have our first cold spell. Drivers are just cruising along, and they forget that bridges and overpasses tend to ice over before there’s ice on the roads. Drivers just need to be more aware.”

Stuff the Ambulance events exceed amount collected last year

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

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Photos by Julie Clements. Members of EMS and emergency services unload two ambulances of donated items at the Salvation Army Wednesday.

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EMS Captain Josh Whiteside presents Salvation Army Lt. Julie Tamayo with a check for $1,170.

Each year, the Butler County EMS sets the goal of raising more items and money through their Stuff the Ambulance campaign, and they once again met that goal.
The EMS and emergency services staff unloaded two “stuffed” ambulances Wednesday at the Salvation Army in El Dorado.
They had collected a total of 4,740 pounds of food, as well as $1,270. Last year they had collected just one ambulance full of food and $1,100.
“Last year we had a good turnout and it is even better this year,” said EMS Captain Josh Whiteside.
“This is a very good Thanksgiving blessing,” said Lt. Julie Tamayo, with the El Dorado Salvation Army.
The next step is for the fire department members to pack food boxes on Dec 15. These boxes will include gravy, fruit, jello, stuffing, green beans and corn.
Then Numana will host the distribution at their building, where there also will be a gift wrapping station set up this year, for which they also need volunteers. There also will be a “free” table, where people can choose from used items and toys that have been donated, in addition to the new toys that will be distributed.
But before the distribution, they need volunteers to come in and sort the items. People can volunteer for this by calling Tamayo at 316-889-3751.
Looking at the needs that remain, Tamayo said they are short on teen toys and infant toys, as well as instant potatoes.
“Everything else fills in so fast and that is great to see,” she said.
She said if they get these extra things that will fill in the gaps that will allow them to give each person four toys this year, which is her goal.
Those wanting to sign up for assistance have through Monday to do so. People can stop by the Salvation Army from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. They don’t need to bring any paperwork with them.
Tamayo said she has seen a shift in who they are serving this year, which also happened at the back-to-school event.
Ninety-nine percent of the people are new to receiving assistance from the Salvation Army.
“The economic decline has hit our area,” she said. “Most people’s attitudes who come in are not of entitlement but of shame. It’s hard to ask for help when you don’t usually have to ask.”
She said they have had people sit in their office and cry.
“We have been able to pray with some people and been able to cry with some,” Tamayo said.
After the ambulances were unloaded, EMS Director Chad Pore recognized the crew that helped them unload.
“We’re hoping to top this in the future as well,” he said. “We did more this year than last year.”
He thanked everyone in the county who donated.
Whiteside also offered a special thank you to Dillons stores in El Dorado and Andover and Walmart stores in El Dorado and Augusta for allowing them to host the collections in front of the stores.

KTA identifies women killed in crash near Andover

KAKE – November 30, 2015

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Photo by Paul Michael Koenig

The Kansas Turnpike Authority has identified two people killed in a crash late Friday afternoon near Andover.

The crash happened around 5 p.m. on I-35 near Andover. According to the KTA, a Ford truck was heading southbound, lost control on the ice and jackknifed. The truck continued through the median barrier and hit a northbound SUV.

The driver of the SUV died at the scene. She is identified as 65-year-old Shirley Ann Starr of Kansas City, Missouri. A passenger, 28-year-old Lafatte Hartfield, was taken to a local hospital.

A passenger in the Ford truck was also killed. The KTA identified her as 60-year-old Arlene Harrison of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. The driver, 66-year-old Robert Harrison, was hospitalized.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said Friday night that four more people were hurt in the crash. Their identities and current conditions are still unknown.

Harvey County crash killed two teenage boys

By Tim Potter
Wichita Eagle – November 30, 2015

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Harvey County

Officials released new information Saturday about two weather-related traffic accidents that killed four people in Harvey County and on the Kansas Turnpike near Andover.

Icy road conditions were cited in both accidents.

The Harvey County accident Friday afternoon killed two boys, both between 13 and 14 years old. One boy was from Whitewater, the other from Kingman, said Harvey County sheriff’s Cpl. Tim Boese. He said he couldn’t release their names.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority also provided information about a two-vehicle crash on Friday evening that killed two women on the turnpike near Andover. That accident happened when a southbound truck lost control on ice, “jack knifed” and “went through” the median barrier and struck a northbound car, an accident report said.

In the Harvey County accident, a 35-year-old Whitewater woman driving the small SUV in which the boys were riding. She was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis with serious injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening, Boese said. He said he could not release her name because relatives are still being notified.

The boys and the women are related, Boese said.

Boese gave this account of the accident: The SUV, an Infiniti QX, was going north in the 9800 block of South Eastlake Road, in Harvey County, just north of Sedgwick County. It happened around 2:50 p.m. Friday on a paved road with a 55-mph speed limit in a rural area.

The SUV apparently lost control because of ice, veered into a ditch and rolled into a utility pole.

The force ejected one of the boys, who died at the scene. Fire and EMS worker extricated the other boy from the vehicle, and he was pronounced dead at Newton Medical Center.

The three in the SUV were on their way to a family home, Boese said.

The accident is one of five rollover crashes on Harvey County roads since Friday, Boese said Saturday afternoon. Although some highways in the county were fairly clear Saturday, the county’s other paved and gravel roads “are a sheet of ice,” he said.

“The back roads are terrible right now.”

And he expected driving conditions would get worse “now with it misting again.”

In the turnpike accident, authorities identified the two women who died as Shirley Ann Starr, 65, of Kansas City, Mo., and Arlene Dale Harrison, 60, of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Starr was the driver of one vehicle. Harrison was a passenger in the other vehicle.

The accident also injured four people: three passengers in the 2014 Ford Explorer driven by Starr, including an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, also of Kansas City. The boy and girl were in fair condition late Saturday afternoon.

The 66-year-old Winnipeg man driving the other vehicle, a 2001 Ford truck, also was injured. He remained in critical condition late Saturday afternoon.

Man in critical condition after Hutch house fire

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – November 30, 2015

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Photos by Jacob Byk

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A Hutchinson man was in critical condition Saturday afternoon after a house fire at 526 E. Ave. C.

When police arrived at the scene ahead of firefighters, the man was shouting for help from a second-story window, Fire Chief Kim Forbes said. The man couldn’t fit out of the window, though.

Heavy smoke was pouring out of the second-story windows and the front door. When firefighters went in the front door, they encountered large flames and found the top of the stairs had burned through.

When firefighters reached the man, it took time to get him out because furniture was in the way of the windows, Forbes said. Firefighters working on the second floor had to lay ladders across the floor because it was badly weakened by the fire.

Forbes said the man was in critical condition due to smoke inhalation when he was taken by ambulance to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. The fire department did not release the man’s name.

It was unclear Saturday afternoon what the cause of the fire was. Battalion Chief Rex Albright said it appeared the fire started on the first floor, possibly in the living room.

Explosion Sends Randolph Man To Hospital

By Derek Nester
KNDY News – November 30, 2015

Riley County authorities on Saturday afternoon responded to a report of an explosion in northern Riley County. Approximately 20 fire and EMS workers responded to the scene at 3:40 p.m.

Riley County Fire Chief Pat Collins says a man and a dog were injured when a building exploded.

According to reports, Ken Specht was inside a shop building at 2217 Ober Road in Randolph when the explosion occurred. Windows in a house approximately 100 feet away were also blown out.

Specht was reportedly checking a furnace inside an out building when the explosion occurred. He was transported to Via Christi Hospital.

Weather Keeps Emergency Responders Busy

KSAL – November 30, 2015

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Photo by Salina Fire Department

Freezing rain that has been persisting across portions Kansas since Thanksgiving Day has kept first responders busy.
Slick roads have prompted numerous crashes and slide-offs throughout Central Kansas. Late Friday into Saturday the Salina Police Department, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Salina Fire Department and EMS, and rural firefighters worked over two dozen weather-related emergency calls. On Saturday, the Kansas Highway Patrol worked at least a dozen crashes that involved injuries.
At least six people have been killed in weather-related crashes in Kansas.
Accumulating ice has also created sporadic power outages. Westar Energy crews have worked overtime, restoring power as quickly as possible.
According to the National Weather Service, ongoing freezing rain will continue to impact portions of central and south central Kansas through much of the day Sunday. Temperatures will gradually warm to above freezing this afternoon across portions of south central Kansas, so freezing rain could transition to rain throughout the afternoon hours along and south of the Kansas Turnpike.

Firefighters battle blaze, some ice in morning house fire

KSN – November 30, 2015

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Wichita fire crews say two people escaped an early morning fire that caused extensive damage to their home.

The fire broke out after 4 a.m. in the 1100 block of North Minneapolis. Fire crews say it took some time to get the fire under control, because it got into the walls and attic.

They also had to deal with some ice around the home.

“Crews are having to be very cautious because there is patches of ice on the structure and on the roof,” said Joe Bickel, Battalion Chief for Wichita Fire Dept.

The temperatures had risen above freezing by the time crews were called out, so that did help with their fire attack.

“With the rain it melted some of this ice, we were anticipating it being very slick and dangerous out here, but it’s warmed up just enough,” Bickel said,

The two people who lived in the home are getting some help from the Red Cross, since the house will not be safe to live in.

The cause is still under investigation, and the dollar amount of the damage is still unknown.

OP firefighter cooks up a Thanksgiving surprise for his wife who is battling breast cancer

By Cynthia Newsome
KSHB – November 25, 2015

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Overland Park firefighter Brian Minick is smiling because he pulled off a Thanksgiving surprise for his wife Nikki on Wednesday at Overland Park Mazda.

Nikki is battling breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy and suffered an infection that put her in the hospital. Nikki was recently released from the hospital and came to work to tell her coworkers happy Thanksgiving, but she had no idea the real Thanksgiving surprise was for her.

When Nikki walked into the service area her old beat-up ‘67 Chevy Impala had a brand new look.

Ussery Auto Body mechanics have been working on it since June, and for the past two weeks they put in extra hours at night and on weekends to get it ready by Thanksgiving.

“We’ve all (our mechanics) had someone we know – a friend or relative – who has had cancer, and so we wanted to make sure we did something that helped her have some joy while she’s struggling with breast cancer,” said Ghafari Naraghi, the owner of Ussery Auto Body.

The remodeled car has power steering, air conditioning, tinted windows, new tires and a jet black sleek paint job.

“It’s wonderful,” Nikki said. “Words cannot express how beautiful it is.”

Nikki thanked the Ussery Auto Body mechanics who were there for the big reveal. She also hugged her coworkers and family who were there to see her smile.

Brian Minick said his wife is a good mother, the love of his life and his rock.

“She’s been there for me, and now I’m going to be there for her,” Brian said.

Castaneda shows thanks with food

By Derrick Mead
Wellington Daily News – November 25, 2015

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Mike Castaneda (in truck) shakes hands with a police officer. Photo by Derrick Mead.

With Veterans Day and Thanksgiving both in November, local chef Mike Castaneda wanted to do something to show his thanks and give back.

He did just that last week, as the expert in ‘extreme sandwiches’ was able to sandwich his appreciation in between the two holidays.

Castaneda, a veteran himself, who also spent some time with the sheriff’s department, wanted to show his thanks for local public safety workers.

Using his talents as a chef and resources with his new food truck, Castaneda set up his Bade Truck outside the public safety building in Wellington.

For a change, Castaneda was not selling food, but giving it away to public service members as a thank you for the work they do.

“I worked for the sheriff’s department for a little bit, and being a soldier, you hear a lot of negativity,” Castaneda said. “People just don’t care about a lot of the stuff you go through.”

The event went over extremely well, as Castaneda and his food truck continue to gain popularity.

Police Chief Tracy Heath was very appreciative.

“Mike actually approached us as a ‘thank you’ standpoint for all public safety,” Heath said. “The food was awesome.

What did Heath eat?

“I had the Smokehouse. It was delicious,” he said. “My guys talked about it for hours. All were very appreciative. … That was a huge gesture as a sign of support.”

Fire Chief Tim Hay was unable to get to Bade Truck for a meal, but said his guys loved it.

“I did not personally eat from the truck, but the on duty shift did and they said the food was good,” Hay said. “The police chief and sheriff also commented that what they ate was very good. We are very appreciative of what he (Castaneda) did and took the time and at his own expense to provide lunch.”

Castaneda says he just wanted to do some good in light of so many bad things going on lately in the world.

“I just want people to be happy. I’m tired of seeing all the negative,” Castaneda said. “I’m hoping this will make people want to do something their own way. Like, if I could do something food related, maybe someone else can use what they do to help others, too.”

He even said he wants others, especially people in Wellington, to flourish.

“Why not support each other? Even if these local places (restaurants) are competition, I still want them to succeed.”

Following his goodwill efforts in Wellington on Wednesday, Castaneda took his truck to South Haven Thursday evening before returning to Smoker’s Choice in Wellington Friday evening and heading to Hopping Gnome Brewing Company in Wichita on Saturday.

Castaneda, who always seems to sell out, said he took extra stuff to South Haven (population 357) and still sold out.

“In towns like that, people tell their friends and those friends tell their friends — word spreads quickly,” Castaneda said on Friday.

He added he plans to be in Caldwell for the Christmas Bazaar this weekend.

For updates on where Bade Truck will be next, be sure to “like” Bade Truck on Facebook and follow along on Twitter and Instagram.

Longtime volunteer firefighter celebrates 90th birthday

By Scott Elpers
Derby Informer – October 28, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 25, 2015


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Just the mention of car keys, and Chuck Fields starts to laugh.

“Lose my keys once and I haven’t lived it down since,” Fields said surrounded by family and friends at his 90th birthday celebration on Sunday at Derby Masonic Lodge No. 365, where he’s been a member since the day it opened in 1956.

It seems like everyone in Derby has a story about Fields. That’ll happen when you’ve been involved in the community as long as he has.

“The story that comes around the most was the time he lost his keys,” said Peter Herring, master mason of lodge No. 365. “To this day, everyone still asks him if he has his keys when he’s leaving.”

Fields’ biggest contribution to Derby was the 56 years he served on Derby’s volunteer fire department. He joined shortly after he moved to Derby in 1955, and didn’t retire until 2011.

The department was only three years old when Fields moved to Derby following a stint in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1951. He joined to serve as a volunteer while working at Boeing in industrial engineering and electronics.

Fields also served as the city’s civil defense director, was on the city council, a municipal judge for a number of years and worked as a fire inspector and secretary to the department.

His passion for firefighting can be seen in Hose No. 1, a fully restored 1916 Seagrave Fire Truck purchased for $1. Fields was among a group of firefighters that was instrumental in acquiring the antique engine, which he also drove during Derby parades.

The fire truck made its way from the old Wichita Historical Museum to Cow Town, where it sat outside and rusted. The Derby Volunteer Fire Department, with the help of Wichita firefighter Tom McGauhey, bought the truck from Cow Town for $1 and restored it in 1966.

In 1968, McGauhey and three other firefighters were killed in the Yingling Chevrolet fire. Derby had eight men assisting on that fire, including Fields.

The dates are blurry in Fields’ mind, but the evnts were not. He remembers the Udall tornado in 1955 and the fire at Yingling Chevrolet that claimed the life of McGauhey.

“We spent three days carrying bodies out of Udall,” Fields said. “Then there was Yingling Chevrolet fire. I helped uncover four of my friends out of there when the roof caved in.”

It’s stories like the Yingling fire that mean more to some than just a pair of lost car keys.

“He’s always been someone who’s been there for me and looked after me. In fire service you meet guys like Chuck that have an impact on your life and mean a lot to you,” said Ted Austin, who’s known Fields through the fire department for the past 40 years. “He was always a driving force at the department for getting stuff done and getting everyone to work together. He was the first one there and the last one to leave type of guy.”

Smoking blamed for mobile home fire

KAKE – November 25, 2015

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Fire broke out Tuesday night at a mobile home park in southwest Wichita. Investigators think careless smoking was the cause.

Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading beyond one unit on West Carey Lane, not far from Interstate 235 and Seneca. A family inside was able to get out safely.

Crews were called to the fire around 11:00 p.m. They found flames coming from a back bedroom at the mobile home. Things were brought under control quickly, but damage is estimated at $9,000.

Despite the damage, the three people who live there apparently decided to stay overnight. Neighbors told KAKE News they provided jackets and water to help them cope.

Mother accused of starting apartment fire with daughter possibly inside

By Emily Rittman
KCTV 5 – November 25, 2015

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Neighbors said a woman hoping to cash in on renter’s insurance put her own daughter and an apartment complex full of families in danger.

Angel Walker is in jail, charged with aggravated arson and endangering a child.

The River By the Woods apartment near North 27th Street and Sewell Avenue in Kansas City, KS, is boarded up. Burned clothing, speckled with soggy drywall, is on the ground.

“I saw a whole bunch of firemen,” neighbor Heri Williams said.

Firefighters put out flames at the apartment Friday. Investigators said Walker started the fire on purpose despite the fact that her little girl lived in the apartment with her.

“She just lit it up on purpose trying to get insurance, but it didn’t work,” Williams said.

Neighbors said the timing is suspicious because the fire started right after Walker got renter’s insurance. Investigators believe her child may have been inside when the fire started.

Neighbors said the little girl, who is old enough to walk, could have been seriously hurt.

“That’s what the whole building was worried about. The girl, the baby and not the mother. The mom was not taking care of the baby whatsoever,” Williams said.

People who live at the apartment said Walker’s daughter would often rely on them for help.

“Everybody gathered around the child trying to be there for the child,” Williams said.

Neighbors said Walker’s daughter is staying with a family member.

The mother is held in the Wyandotte County jail on a $40,000 bond.

Electrical issue to blame for S. Wichita fire

KWCH – November 25, 2015

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Two residents were able to safely escape, but more than $20,000 in damage was estimated in a Tuesday evening fire to a home in south Wichita.

The fire was reported in the 3900 block of East Cessna. When crews arrived on the scene, they found fire coming out of the attic of the home.

Investigators say the fire was caused by an electrical issue.

Mutual aid dispatched to river fire on Monday

Great Bend Tribune – November 25, 2015

Great Bend Fire Department dispatched units to the west of Radium Road in the area of the Arkansas River (SW 60 Ave. and West Barton County Road) at 12:06 p.m. Monday for the report of hay bales on fire. They arrived on scene and found several large hay bales as well as grass and trees on fire.
Another fire was located down in the river about one mile from this fire (SW 70 Ave. and SW 60 Road) at 4:31 p.m. Crews found more grass and trees burning down in the river at that location. Mutual aid crews from Pawnee Rock and Stafford County were called to assist.
Crews remained on scene for several hours. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Man injured after pickup crashes into cemetery

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

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Bob Wiebelhaus of Wiebelhaus Tree Service cuts branches from a tree that was knocked over when it was struck by a pickup truck Monday night at Evergreen Cemetery. Photo by Jason E. Silvers.

A Uniontown man was life flighted following a one-vehicle injury accident Monday about one mile south of Fort Scott.
A Kansas Highway Patrol crash log said 22-year-old Brandon Weyant was injured in a wreck that took place just after 5:30 p.m. on 215th Street at Irish Road.

Weyant, who was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup north on 215th St., left the west side of the roadway and drove about 1,000 feet across Evergreen Cemetery, striking several headstones in the cemetery. The vehicle then became airborne and struck a cedar tree. The vehicle finally came to rest on the passenger side facing south, the KHP report said. There were no other occupants in the vehicle.

The Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office, Scott Township Fire Department and Fort Scott Fire Department responded to the crash.

Weyant, who was wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck, was transported by Mercy EMS to Mercy Hospital Fort Scott and later flown to Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Mo., the report said. He was listed in the crash log as having disabling injuries.

Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin said Tuesday at the request of the BCSO, blood was drawn from the driver by Mercy EMS personnel at the scene. He said this is done to determine if an outside substance such as drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash.

“This is typical for an injury accident when somebody is transported, we draw blood as part of the investigation,” Martin said.

Martin said the blood sample is then sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for testing. He said at this time, it is not known if drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident.

“We don’t know that until the blood results are done,” he said.

KHP Technical Trooper Rick Wingate said Tuesday a report on the incident is not yet complete and the crash is under investigation.

The pickup was towed from the scene. A local tree service was working Tuesday afternoon to remove the large tree that had split and fallen over as a result of being struck by the truck.

CFD Responds to Structure Fire at 1911 W. 7th Street

Coffeyville – November 25, 2015

The Coffeyville Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 1911 West Seventh Street at 4:43 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, smoke was seen coming from the eaves of the house, and the fire extended into the attic. Off duty fire personnel and the South Coffeyville Fire Department were called to assist with the fire, and the structure sustained an estimated $35,000 damage.

The house was unoccupied at the time of the fire which is owned by Margaret Thompson and Roger Thompson. There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire was determined to be a furnace malfunction.

Fire destroys home in Pratt Tuesday afternoon

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – November 25, 2015

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Pratt firefighters Lee Van Slyke (standing) and Jarod Gilmore

An investigator from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to determine which of two possible sources started a fire Tuesday afternoon in Pratt that caused extensive damage to a house and caused the loss of two dogs and three cats, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.
The two possible causes for the fire are a space heater that was found tipped over and was face down on the floor in the living room. There was also an old gas fed fireplace that had been capped off but there were valves and fittings near the tipped over space heater.
There is evidence that natural gas fed the flames but it was difficult to determine if it was the space heater or the gas line that started the fire in the first place.
Kramer said determining which source stated the fire was the only reason the fire marshal was called in to investigate. There is no criminal activity associated with the fire, it is just an accident, Kramer said.
A daughter of the homeowner of 224 Cambridge Drive came home, found the house full of smoke saw the heater face down on the floor. The resident was unable to enter the home and went next door to get help.
Firefighters had the initial fire knocked down quickly but it had already burned its way through the floor leaving a two feet square hole, it had burned up inside the wall setting the insulation on fire creating a lot of smoke and fire damage in the living room and heavy smoke damage throughout the house for about $50,000 in damages, Kramer said.
After about an hour the firefighters were starting to put their equipment away when they discovered more burning insulation inside a wall and had to go into the wall to put out the fire.
The firefighters had a good response and had the fire out quickly.
“We had an excellent response and attack on the fire,” Kramer said. “The guys did a great job.”
Sadly, the firefighters were unable to save two dogs and three cats that had been in the house at the time of the fire, Kramer said.
Fire fighters were on scene for about three hours.

Semi truck burns behind Home Depot

By James Bell
Hays Post – November 25, 2015

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At around 5:45 p.m. Hays Police and Fire Departments responded to a vehicle fire behind Home Depot, 1310 E. 41st St.

The fire fully consumed the engine and passenger compartments of the truck as HFD worked to put out the fire. As the location of the fire was the road behind the store, traffic in the area was not affected.

The driver of the truck was not injured in the fire, according to HPD on scene. The driver had parked just minutes before the truck caught on fire.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

By around 6:15 p.m. the fire had been extinguished.

Larsen’s fate to be decided Monday

By David Colburn
Marion County Record – November 24, 2015

Peabody EMS crew members made impassioned pleas Monday for reinstating fired Peabody paramedic Larry Larsen, and county commissioners agreed to rule on the matter next week.

Crew chief Tammy Whiteside, Brian Whiteside, and Lyndsay Hutchison met with commissioners to describe the impact Larsen has had and ask for him to be put back on the Peabody crew.

“There’s a petition going around Peabody to get Larry Larsen reinstated,” Tammy Whiteside said. “We’re looking right now around 100 altogether. I’ve received calls this morning from other people in the county who were afraid to come in because of retribution. It’s not just us and Peabody wanting it, there’s people all over the county.”

Hutchison said Larsen was “the sole reason I ever decided to join” Peabody EMS, and that Larsen has been a mentor for the crew.

Whiteside agreed.

“I’ll be honest, I’m scared to death on some of these calls that I go on,” she said. “If I’ve got questions, I’ll pick up the phone and call Larry. He’ll either come ride with me or tell me, ‘Calm down, you’ve got this.’ He’s been a mentor to all of us.”

Brian Whiteside talked about Larsen’s value to the county as a trainer, and Tammy Whiteside listed about a dozen emergency medical topics that she said Larsen was certified to train on.

Tammy Whiteside also expressed frustration over the temporary removal of Peabody’s ambulance the day Larsen was fired. EMS director Brandy McCarty had the ambulance taken to Marion for inventory, but a note posted on the ambulance garage door said the ambulance would no longer be housed in Peabody. McCarty said later that it had been a poor choice of words, and that there was never any intention to remove the vehicle permanently.

Whiteside asked for a speedy resolution to the issue of Larsen’s reinstatement.

“I know you want to put it off a week, but our schedule right now is just crazy,” she said. “We need the body, we need the person. We just want our crew back. We’re like a family down there.”

Commissioners declined to make a decision at that time, but agreed to put it on Monday’s agenda. The discussion is scheduled for 10:40 a.m., and time will be allotted for public comment.

Consultant hired

Rice County EMS director Terry David was hired to evaluate EMS and recommend improvements, which could include changing the county’s model of service to one that includes at least some full-time EMS responders.

David said he knew of several counties, including his own, that have fewer annual runs than Marion County but have nine to 13 full-time EMS responders.

David’s consulting fee is $50 an hour, and commissioners approved spending up to $2,500 for the appraisal.

McCarty’s resignation was effective Monday, but per a Nov. 9 agreement she was to have continued indefinitely on half-time status. Commissioners modified that agreement Monday, asking McCarty to be available “as needed” for administrative duties through Monday.

Eastbound I-435 at Antioch reopens after cement truck driver dies in rollover accident

By Brian Burnes
Kansas City Star – November 24, 2015

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The driver of a cement truck died Tuesday in a rollover accident in Overland Park, authorities said.

Overland Park police identified the victim as Joshua Martin, 26, of Kansas City, Kan. Medical personnel declared him dead at the scene.

The truck overturned about 11:20 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 435 west of Antioch Road, according to Rick Breshears, Overland Park police public information officer.

The eastbound lanes of I-435 reopened by rush hour after being closed during the accident investigation.

A passenger in the truck was hospitalized with injuries considered not to be life-threatening.

Police continued to investigate the accident scene.

Mulberry home destroyed by fire

Mulberry Advance – October 30, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 24, 2015

On Friday, October 23, 2015, the Mulberry Volunteer Fire Department was called to a structure fire at 308 North Military, the former Montanye Funeral Home residence. The fire call to the fire department was around 3:35 a.m. that morning and when fire crews arrived most of the structure was engulfed in flames.

Susan Montanye, 59, was inside the home at the time of the fire and died as a result of the fire. There were no other injuries reported at the fire.

The Arma Rural Fire Department along with the Frontenac Fire Department provided mutual aid to Mulberry.

The Mulberry Volunteer Fire Department remained on the scene for most of the day Friday putting out hot spots and was called back out Saturday, October 24th, after the fire rekindled. The fire is being investigated by the Kansas State Fire Marshal Office. No dollar amount on the structure has been released. The home was insured.

Shawnee employees honored for service

By Nico Roesler
Shawnee Dispatch – November 18, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 24, 2015

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Between the two, the John and Mike Hartman have spent almost 90 years working for the Shawnee Fire Department.

It started with John Hartman many years ago. He became a volunteer firefighter in the city and found a career in it that would last his professional lifetime. He was a firefighter for 57 years.

In that time, he had a son named Mike Hartman. Mike grew up around the fire station, and John says he always wanted to become a firefighter.

“There was no doubt,” John Hartman said.

Mike Hartman said he was always trying to go to the station early in the morning with his father.

“That’s really the only reason I’m here: my dad,” Mike Hartman said.

Mike Hartman followed in his father’s footsteps and last week was honored for working 30 years with the Shawnee Fire Department. He is currently a fire captain in the department.

John Hartman looked on and took pictures as Mayor Michelle Distler and City Manager Carol Gonzales honored and thanked his son, among many other city employees who were honored for their years of service to the city.

Mike Hartman was just as happy to have his father at the event as his father was to be there. Also in attendance was Mike Hartman’s son Paul and daughter Grace. Mike Hartman said the line of firefighters in his family may end with him as his children wish to pursue other dreams, which he is fine with.

Shawnee is the one department he has ever worked for. Shawnee is also the only town he has called home.

“This is my home,” Mike Hartman said. “It’s going to be hard to leave this position eventually.”

Hartman was one of two people honored for 30 years of service to the city of Shawnee at the city employee recognition event. Volunteer Jerry Meyer was also honored for his 30 years, or as he said, “time for two World Series,” on the civil service commission.

Other employees honored included Robert Myers, master firefighter with the Shawnee Fire Department who has dedicated 25 years to the city.

Employees who were also honored but were unable to attend were (from the Shawnee Fire Department), Ethan Foster, Josh Chaney, Daniel Hammontree, Jeff Weltmer, Timothy Wigginton, David Wolff and Larry Beets were thanked for their years of service ranging from 10 to 20 years.

Shawnee Mission to create police, fire training program for students

By David Twiddy
Kansas City Star – November 24, 2015

The Shawnee Mission School District is looking to help area law enforcement agencies and fire departments fill their vacancies by offering training to interested high school students.

During the district school board’s monthly meeting Monday, John Douglass, the district’s director of emergency services, announced the early planning stages of a signature public safety program. A law enforcement component would begin in January 2017 while a fire/emergency medical technician component would begin in January 2018, although those dates are subject to change.

Superintendent Jim Hinson said the program came about earlier this fall after he was approached by Lenexa city officials about the difficulty they and other cities in Johnson County are having finding enough applicants to fill spots in their police and fire departments.

Given that the district already has professional preparation programs for culinary services and biotechnology, the proposed program could create a pipeline of graduates ready to move to the next level of emergency training, Hinson said.

“It’s going to be a brand-new approach for us,” Hinson said after the meeting. “A part of the mission that we’re on is to address the needs that exist from the employers and, in this case, our cities are one of our employers.”

Douglass said he had no indication how many students would sign up for the program, which will likely be taught at the future Center for Academic Achievement under construction at 8200 W. 71st St. in Overland Park.

“A lot of it will depend on how we spell it out and market it,” Douglass said. “Right now, there is so much media coverage on police work that there is somewhat of a downturn. But I think if we offer it up as a very ethical and straightforward profession and opportunity to make a difference, I believe we will get a quantity and quality of applicants.”

Edwardsville purchases new fire apparatus

Chieftain – November 19, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 24, 2015

A new fire apparatus should prove useful in several different emergency situations for the Edwardsville Fire Departments and other first responders.

The Edwardsville City Council last week approved the purchase of a 2016 “Quick Attack” Fire Truck. The fire department last year determined it would need to replace a brush truck, budgeting for payments on a $130,000 truck in 2016, funded through special sales tax revenues. Department staff decided the community would be better served with a multi-role apparatus.

The new Dodge 5500 will cost $128,352, financed over four years with annual payments of $34,236. It will carry a 400-gallon water tank, a 10-gallon foam cell, an “attack” fire hose as well as two wildland firefighting hoses, water intake and discharge valves and 12-volt LED scene lights. The truck should be in operation beginning in 2016.

Barfoot retires as Humboldt’s fire chief

By Heather Bosler
Humboldt Union – November 19, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 24, 2015

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Kent Barfoot celebrates his 55th birthday Saturday, November 21, the same day he will also retire as Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Chief after 29 years of service to Humboldt and it’s surrounding area. It’s in the Municipal Code of the City of Humboldt that fire department members must retire after reaching the age of 55.

Barfoot has been a staple around Humboldt for many years, whether he’s seen rushing to the scene of a fire, cruising the town from one job to the next on his Bobcat, or engaging customers at Barfoot Lumber Co., which he co-owns and operates alongside brother Kirk Barfoot. When he’s not working, he’s a father to two grown children, Stevie Barfoot, 21, and Mike Barfoot, 27.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Technology from Pittsburg State University in 1983, an education he says has been an asset in dealing with structure fires, having an understanding of the construction process behind a building.

He joined on as a volunteer firefighter in August of 1986, and was officially ratified by the Humboldt City Council in October. Jim Crismas was the fire chief at the time, and when Crismas and fellow firefighter Chuck Morris came to the lumberyard and asked Barfoot if he was interested in volunteering, he couldn’t resist. He was voted on, and has been there ever since. He was appointed fire chief in April of 1999.

Before signing on with the fire department, he was employed at Barfoot Lumber Co., in Humboldt, which has been owned by his family since 1950. For the past 30 years he has also owned a dirt moving business, and says that after he retires, he’ll most likely spend his time between the two. “I don’t know, I guess I’ll be watching the fire trucks as they leave the station,” he lightheartedly laughs. “I’m usually busy doing some project somewhere.”

“It’s been a good community service,” said Barfoot of his fellow firefighters. “We develop a camaraderie between each other here. Everyone gets along well. A lot of us have been together five, ten, 15 years. We pretty much know what to expect of each other and who’s going to do what out on the fire call.”

Over the years he’s gotten the chance to know many mayors, city clerks, city administrators, and rural fire board members, all of whom he has developed working relations with as fire chief.

In 1870, Humboldt’s City Council voted to implement the first fire brigade. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the city finally acquired enough funds to purchase its very first fire wagon, a Howe No. 5. The fire wagon was bought used for $800, and was shipped to Humboldt by rail. The fire wagon was pulled by a two-horse team, whose names were Shotts and Smuggler.

Since those days, the department has expanded to serve not only the city of Humboldt, but also surrounding Humboldt and Logan Townships, and Fire District #4. A maximum of six volunteers are allowed to respond to rural fires, while any number may respond to calls within town.

Calls may range anywhere from structural fires, to grass fires, vehicle accidents, and equipment fires, although Barfoot says rural fires are most common. The department stays fully equipped and ready for any emergency that may occur. Over the years, through fundraising, the fire department has been able to purchase Jaws of Life and thermal-imaging cameras, which are able to see hot spots in buildings and minimize water damage to a resident’s home. The department has also recently purchased new breathing apparatuses, which is an air supply lasting up to 45 minutes. “We’ve got a pretty well rounded group of equipment to work with,” he says. “The element of safety has been of the department’s utmost importance.”

A typical day in the life of a volunteer firefighter means volunteers attend their regular jobs when they’re not answering calls, and waiting for the radio pager they wear throughout the day to go off or the sound of the fire siren in town to ring.

Immediately, they drop everything and rush to the fire station to jump into their personal protection equipment, get the location of the fire from the Allen County Critical Response Center, and head out.

Monarch Cement Company and B&W Trailer Hitches both have employees who are also volunteer firefighters, and the employers allow flexibility for those employees to leave during their shifts to respond to calls.

Barfoot says he most enjoys the tactical aspects of the job, such as figuring where to position the trucks at the scene, deploying fire lines, and figuring out how to deal with suppressing the fire.

During the department’s less busy times, they can be seen at the annual Halloween Spook Parade, as well as being responsible for bringing Santa Claus to town during Christmas. Volunteers also educate kindergartners and pre-school students about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week in September.

Dr. Sean McReynolds will replace Barfoot as fire chief after his retirement is official Saturday. McReynold’s also celebrates his 24th anniversary of service with the fire department Saturday.

New firefighters join Sterling volunteers

Sterling Bulletin – November 19, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 24, 2015

Three new firefighters have joined the Sterling Fire Department including Justin Ayala, Brett Laymon and Brian Rife.

While Rife has previous firefighting experience having retired from the Hutchinson Fire Department, Laymon and Ayala will both be completing Firefighter 1 training.

Fire Chief Dicko Jones said the department now has 23 volunteer firefighters.

Family can’t save pet in rural house fire

By Oliver Good
Marion County Record – November 24, 2015

A house fire caused extensive damage to a rural Hillsboro residence and claimed the life of a family pet Friday.

Firefighters had to restrain homeowners who attempted to rescue their beloved pet, said Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee who was first on the scene.

“Unfortunately they lost a cat in the fire,” Steketee said. “It was really sad. The cat was special to the family.

“I am sure it was frustrating to them because everything looked pretty good through the front door on the ground floor, but I couldn’t let them go inside to search for their cat because of the potential danger involved. We are responsible for the safety of everyone on scene.”

Many of the homeowners’ family and friends came to stand with them at the scene, he said.

Before that, emergency crews responded at 4:46 p.m. to a report of smoke coming from the roof a house at 2252 Limestone Rd., near Marion Reservoir.

Homeowners Doug and Jeanne Penner were not there initially. However, a crew of roofers, who had been working, was present. Steketee said someone from the crew made the call for help.

Heavy smoke was coming from both attic vents, and Steketee observed flames that appeared to be coming from the attic.

Hillsboro ambulance as well as Marion and Tampa fire crews were on scene soon thereafter.

“We had a little trouble securing the scene,” Steketee said. “The roofers were trying to move stuff out of the way. They were concerned about the property.”

Steketee “corralled” the roofers away from the fire, and fire crews kept them at a safe distance.

Scanner transmissions indicated that firefighters entered the building in breathing apparatuses.

The fire breached the roof, Steketee said, and firefighters discovered that an “interior attack” wasn’t as effective as originally planned, so they withdrew and battled the fire from outside.

Flames spread down to the second floor through a whole house fan opening, Steketee said. Firefighters were able to stop the fire before it reached the first floor, but Steketee said the first floor suffered smoke damage.

Crews had to open up some interior walls to check to see whether studs were catching fire, he said.

“The house was a balloon-style construction, which is something that gets our attention as firefighters,” Steketee said, “The 2×4’s in a that style of house run all the way from the basement to the attic, so a fire could really be anywhere inside. It travels in the walls.”

Eventually, the fire was extinguished with 5,000 gallons of water and 30 gallons of foam.

“The house wasn’t totaled, but it’s not habitable,” Steketee said Friday. “Fire Marshal Chris Mercer said the official cause of the fire was undermined, but before he left the scene he was leaning toward its cause being accidental.”

Crews were called back to the scene at 11:41 p.m. Steketee said smoldering bookers were discovered and removed, while a thermal imagining camera was used to confirm that there were no other hotspots.

PFD sponsors Safehouse Thanksgiving

By Sarah Gooding
Pittsburg Morning Sun – November 24, 2015

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Captain Bob Gardullo, of the Pittsburg Fire Department, and Brooke Powell, of the Safehouse Crisis Shelter, review supplies donated to the shelter Monday so that the women and children living there can prepare Thanksgiving dinner together this week. SARAH GOODING/THE MORNING SUN

Thanksgiving can be a tough time for the women and children seeking refuge at the Safehouse Crisis Center.
For many, it’s tough to be away from home and family, seeking protection from past abusers, while others around the nation are gathering with family and friends for the holiday.
To offer support, members of the Pittsburg Fire Department have adopted the shelter, providing Thanksgiving dinner for its families each of the past several years.
“We got them a turkey, ham, potatoes, whatever they need,” said Captain Bob Gardullo of the Pittsburg Fire Department. “Whatever they need, we go shopping for them.”
“Having a Thanksgiving meal they can prepare together almost makes them feel like they’re home again,” said Brooke Powell, program director for Safehouse, as she accepted the donation Monday morning. “It gives them that positivity, ‘Somebody else cared.’ It comes down to somebody else supporting them.”
Gardullo said the firefighters personally contribute to a charitable fund that the department uses to help households after fire-related losses, as well as for this and other seasonal charitable work.
“We look at the community and ask, ‘Who could really benefit?’” Gardullo said.
Powell said the organization is grateful to be a recipient of the fire department’s generosity..
“It’s going to be used to provide a Thanksgiving meal for our ladies living in shelter,” Powell said. “The holidays are really difficult for them.”
For the firefighters, who have provided Thanksgiving dinner for Safehouse for at least 10-12 years, it’s a way to further impact the community they serve.
“We’re giving back to the community in our way,” Gardullo said.

Job Opening -Firefighter/AEMT/Paramedic – Emporia Fire Department

Position Title: Firefighter/AEMT/Paramedic
Opening Date: 11/18/2015
Closing Date:
Salary: Firefighter/EMT: $11.97 per hour
Firefighter/AEMT: $14.17 per hour
Firefighter/Paramedic: $14.90 per hour


Under the supervision of a Fire Captain, the Firefighter/EMT, Firefighter/AEMT, Firefighter/Paramedic performs specialized work in the prevention and suppression of fires and providing life saving services (EMS). Firefighting work includes combating, extinguishing and preventing fires, operating and maintaining fire department equipment and apparatus. EMT/AEMT/Paramedic duties include responding with ambulance service to emergency medical service calls, transporting sick and injured persons in response area. Duties follow prescribed policies and procedures, but independent judgment may be required in certain circumstances. Some positions start out as part time until a full time position opens.
Please watch for more information on Written and Agility tests date.


$ Must be at least 18 years of age;
$ Available for written and physical agility test
$ Possess a high school diploma or equivalent;
$ Possess Kansas or National Registry Paramedic Certification, AEMT Certification or EMT Certification or be registered to test for certification;
$ Must possess valid driver’s license;
$ Must successfully complete aptitude, physical agility tests;
$ Ability to communicate in a courteous manner and to work effectively with other employees, supervisors, and the public.
$ Must be able to function calmly under stressful situations;
$ Must be a non-tobacco user;
$ Upon conditional offer of employment must pass physical exam & drug/alcohol screening;
$ Must be resident of Lyon Co. or relocate.

Please watch for more information on Written and Agility tests date


City of Emporia Human Resource Department
515 Market, PO Box 928
Emporia KS 66801
Or apply online

Doniphan County wrestles with tragic death

By Kristin Hoppa
St. Joseph News Press – November 23, 2015

The tragic accident that claimed the life of an 8-year-old driver in an unusual traffic crash Sunday continued to radiate through the Northeast Kansas region Monday.

Cadence Orcutt, of Troy, Kansas, was killed after she drove a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt west along the gravel 175th Road around 3:30 p.m., troopers with the Kansas State Highway Patrol said.

While the young driver reportedly had permission from her passenger and grandfather, Dennis Meers, 56, of St. Joseph, to drive along the rural roadway, about two miles west of Wathena, Kansas, Cadence lost control of the vehicle. The car traveled off the left side of the roadway, overturned and landed in a shallow creek.

One of the first responders on scene, Deputy Raymond Hall with the Doniphan County Sheriff’s Department said the initial responder found the vehicle flipped onto its top, with the young girl pinned underneath. The preliminary investigation revealed that the young driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is very unfortunate, because there are rules and laws that are set forth by the Legislature that we try to enforce the best we can and sometimes people don’t follow those,” Mr. Hall said. “There are consequences that can result in tickets, jail time and unfortunately a very important law wasn’t followed and in this particular incident, it cost an 8-year-old girl her life.”

Doniphan County Sheriff’s Department investigators partnered with the Kansas Highway Patrol, which began to act as the lead agency in the investigation. Master Trooper Adam Simon previously told the News-Press that Mr. Meers gave his granddaughter permission to drive the vehicle as he sat as he said in the passenger’s seat.

“She was one of the most well-respected, outstanding, and popular students in her grade,” said Troy Public School District Superintendent and Elementary School Principal Brain Harris. “Anytime you lose a student or staff member, it becomes a very difficult time for everyone.”

Cadence attended third grade at the Troy Public School District and had several friends. Described as a small, close-knit school district, regional school districts, including Riverside School District, sent additional counselors to aid in helping students grieve.

“We will continue to monitor students and be here if they need help,” Mr. Harris said. “It is just really tough for a lot of our younger students who are having to understand this tragic situation.”

As investigators continued to work the scene into Sunday evening, Mr. Hall said family members arrived at the loose-gravel road. He said the circumstances around the accident remain under investigation, but the Northeast Kansas community was rattled.

“I think, especially in a tragedy like this, people are real quick to judge others and I’m no angel, because we’ve all made bad choices and bad mistakes,” Mr. Hall said. “This bad choice and mistake that was seemingly allowed to happen cost somebody and a family very dearly.”

Officers believed Mr. Meers allowed the young girl to take the wheel shortly after the blacktop ended and the road turned to a gravel surface. Down a small hill and a short distance away was where the girl traveled off the roadway.

Mr. Meers was transported to Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph for treatment after the crash. Authorities continued to collect evidence before reports will be submitted to Doniphan County Prosecuting Attorney Charles Baskins for consideration of charges.

“This was a very, very bad tragedy that didn’t need to happen and unfortunately did,” Mr. Hall said.

Troopers reported that Mr. Meers was outside the vehicle when authorities arrived on scene and were not sure if he was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. Troopers stated that Cadence was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.

Hutch fire crews respond to two grass fires

By John Boyd
KWCH – November 23, 2015

The Hutchinson Fire Department responded to two fires over the noon hour, Monday.

Crews were called to a grass fire near Brandy Lake and G. Avenue. Crews got to the scene and found five to six acres of grass and brush on fire.

Fire officials say they crews made a quick stop and had the fire under control in around 30 minutes.

They believe an arcing power line sparked that fire.

Hutchinson responded with eight units and brought in help from Burrton’s fire department. Those crews stayed on the scene for 2 hours.

At the beginning, though, several crews were released to respond to a second fire.

That fire was called in at 12:36 pm in the 4100 block of E. 82ns. Three to four acres of land were burning there. Crews were concerned about a number of outbuildings and homes in the path of that fire.

Crews were still able to get the fire under control before it reached any structures.

No word yet on the cause of that second fire.

Job Opening – Firefighter – Mission Township Fire Department

Mission Township Fire Department is accepting applications through December 7, 2015 for a 2 fulltime positions. Positions to be filled: (1) 24 hour shift that works an ABC schedule. The other position will be a day time position. The successful candidate must:
• Have and maintain a minimum of a Kansas Certified Emergency Technician and maintain current CPR certification.
• Have and maintain a valid Kansas driver’s license.
• Must be 21 years of age. (If at least 18 and under 21 MTFD must get approval and waiver from our insurance carrier)
• Pass a medical exam and agility test.
• Must sign a no tobacco use agreement that is enforceable on and off duty.
• If not FFII certified, must obtain FFII certification within one year of hire.
• Applicant must attend and successfully pass the AEMT curriculum when available and approved by the Fire Chief.
• Will need to attend and successfully pass the Instructor I curriculum within 18 months. Special circumstances if class is not offered timely.
• Must meet the quarterly drill requirements per MTFD Policy each quarter.
• The day position does not guarantee any open 24 hour position.
• Must attend monthly staff meetings. (Rare circumstances are approved such as preplanned vacations)
Benefits include:
• Starting salary $30,000
• Member of KPERS
• Advance life insurance and disability insurance
• Accruing sick leave (up to 22 days)
• Overtime available, but not required
• Holiday pay at double time
• Special duty leave for approved training
MTFD is an equal opportunity employer and does not discrimination based upon that employees (or applicant’s) race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Public Law 88-352, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 253,
42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et. seq.).
Please submit a complete full-time application (see below for link) and resume to Chief Forrest Walter by December 7, 2015 by 1400 hours.

Application for full-time


Fire truck benefits from prisoners’ touch

By David Colburn
Marion County Record – November 23, 2015

florence fire 11232015

Florence firefighter Brad Morgan, left, and Chief Mark Slater.

Florence fire chief Mark Slater can be excused for resembling a kid with a new toy when showing off the department’s big tanker/pumper truck, even though the department has had it for nearly 17 months.
At a glance, the truck looks new, but it represents the ingenuity and hard work of Florence firefighters, with a helping hand from inmates at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility in Ellsworth.
Slater obtained the truck, a former military five-ton behemoth, through the Kansas Forestry Service in July 2014. The agency facilitates loans of used federal vehicles to local fire departments.
“It comes to us at no cost,” he said. “All we have to do is maintain it.”
What the department got was truck with a flatbed, but what they needed was a tanker to carry water to fires, and a pumper for situations in which they needed an extra hose to turn on a blaze.
The department had the truck about two weeks when rancher and Florence firefighter Brad Morgan decided it was time to start the conversion.
“Brad called me one day and said, ‘Can I take it out to the farm and start working on it?’” Slater said. “I said, ‘Sure, go right ahead.’”
Morgan said it took about two weeks to take a tank and other equipment off of an older, smaller tanker and fit it to the new truck.
Slater and Terry Britton worked on the conversion as well.
“The only thing that actually just slapped right on was the tank,” Morgan said. “The rest of it we either had to cut or refit. You kind of have a plan in your own mind, but everybody has different plans, so you have to take that into consideration. There was a lot of time involved.”
The pumping system was modified with a new manifold, electric valves, and 200 feet of hose. A new 10-inch water chute on the back allows the 1,200-gallon tank to be emptied at fires into a holding pool, releasing the truck to be refilled more quickly than before.
“One man can operate this truck if need be,” Slater said.
About the same time the truck was acquired, Slater contacted Ellsworth Correctional Facility. He had heard about a program in which inmates, working in the prison shop, could do additional wiring and painting for just the cost of materials.
It took nine months before the Florence truck was “next in line,” Slater said, and he and Morgan took the truck to the Ellsworth fire department so that the chief there could take it to the prison when inmates were ready for it.
“The guy that was in charge of doing this has about three years left on his time out there,” Slater said. “He’s the one that oversees all the painting and all the wiring; he’s super-talented.”
While the foreman stayed the same, different inmates rotated in and out of the shop, Slater said. Inmates who weren’t skilled in painting or wiring helped with prep work.
“One inmate sat for two days with a toothbrush and lacquer thinner cleaning the stainless-steel gauges,” he said.
Inmates rewired the cab and built an overhead box for the radio and switches for sirens and lights. They installed new lighting, gave the truck a fresh paint job, inside and out, and modified the steel rear bumper to accommodate backup lights. They even crafted unique chrome and painted metal department insignia for each side of the truck.
“All we had to pay for was the materials: The paint, the lights; it’s about $2,200 we have in the paint, the lights, and the wiring,” Slater said.
The truck was at the prison through July and August, and Morgan recalled his impression when he and Slater picked it up the Friday before Labor Day.
“It was real sharp,” he said. “I wouldn’t have imagined it could turn out like it did. It’s pretty awesome.”
The truck is more stable and easier to drive than the one it replaced, and Slater said the truck typically would roll for grass fires and rural structure fires.
Slater estimated the department invested about $3,500 in the project, and the truck would have cost close to $15,000 if not for the loaner program. He said getting the truck prepared for service brought an increased sense of pride.
“When you build one of these and start using it, you take better care of the thing,” he said, “because you spent a lot of time, effort, and elbow grease building the thing.”

Site of quadruple homicide burns in possible arson

By Amelia Arvesen
Ottawa Herald – November 23, 2015

A house located on the farm where prosecutors say four people were killed in 2013 burned to its foundation early Sunday.

Investigators are not yet ruling out arson as the cause, Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said. Richards hopes his office can arrest whoever was involved in starting the fire, he said.

“The fire has been deemed suspicion in nature,” he said in a news release.

The Franklin County 911 Center received the report of a fire about 2:38 a.m. Sunday at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa. The single-story residence, which had been abandoned after the homicides, was engulfed in flames upon the arrival of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Pomona Fire Department, according to the sheriff’s office.

The home was the site of multiple killings in spring 2013, according to Franklin County prosecutors. The case is still pending in Franklin County District Court.

Kyle Trevor Flack, 30, faces capital murder and other charges in connection the killings. Three adult bodies — Steven White, Andrew Stout and Kaylie Bailey — were found on the property May 6 and May 7. The fourth — Bailey’s 18-month-old daughter Lana Leigh Bailey — was discovered May 11 in a creek near the Osage-Franklin County line. Flack was arrested May 8 in Emporia.

Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney and lead prosecutor in the Flack case, said testing and processing inside the house had been completed. He said both the prosecution and Flack’s defense were finished with the property.

“The house fire I do not believe will affect the pending case regarding the quadruple homicides,” Hunting said.

The 4.75-acre farm is owned in part by Jackson Anderson, according to the Franklin County Appraiser’s Office. Anderson is the brother of Andrew Stout, one of three adults found dead on the farm.

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