Archive for March, 2016

Man hurt in Sherman County crash

KWCH – March 31, 2016

Photo by Sherman County Sheriff's Office

Photo by Sherman County Sheriff’s Office

One man was hurt after a crash in Sherman County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports the man was east-bound on I-70 and went off the roadway to the right.

It says he over-corrected attempting to get back on the road.

He hit a concrete barrier on a bridge. and the trailer came off the cab.

Both came to a stop under the bridge.

The man was wearing his seat-belt and should be alright.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One man dead after afternoon house fire near Ninth and Pennsylvania streets

By Conrad Swanson
Lawrence Journal World – March 31, 2016

Photo by Nick Krug

Photo by Nick Krug

One man is dead after a Thursday afternoon house fire in East Lawrence, fire officials said.

At 2:49 p.m. emergency responders were dispatched to a one-story home at 923 Pennsylvania St., said Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Eve Tolefree. Lawrence Police officers arrived on the scene first.

At the scene, responders found a man, partially inside the home, and pulled him away from the fire, Tolefree said. He was declared dead shortly afterward.

The man’s name has not yet been released.

The fire was fully extinguished by 3:07 p.m., Tolefree said, although firefighters and police officers remained on scene to investigate.

A cause for the fire or preliminary damage estimates were not available Thursday afternoon, Tolefree said. She did say the home was not considered a crime scene.

No other injuries were reported in the fire, Tolefree said.

This is the second deadly fire in Lawrence in as many days.

One man died Wednesday in an early-morning house fire on Rawhide Lane.

Police said the fire followed a domestic dispute and reports that the man was armed with a handgun and threatening the home’s occupants.

Further information on the cause of Wednesday’s fire and the name of the victim were not being released Thursday afternoon, Tolefree said.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Volunteers still fighting Big Barber County wildfire

By Chris Arnold
KSN – March 31, 2016

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The Anderson Creek wildfire has been burning 24/7 since Tuesday a week ago, and that’s exactly what crews have been putting into fighting the fire – a full-time, non-stop effort.

The volunteer firefighters in Barber County have been on roving patrols throughout the day in known areas where hot spots are still burning, and along the fire’s perimeter. And while the fire is largely contained, it’s still not out.

Barber County Attorney Gaten Wood says fire crews continue to work around the clock.

“We believe we had about 10 acres burned amongst five different events,” said Wood.

There were more hot spots on Thursday, more than a week after strong winds blew the fire into Kansas from Oklahoma.

Most of the more than a hundred agencies that helped aid local crews have left, leaving local volunteer firefighters to continue to battle the blaze.

Jason Hartman with Kansas Forest Services is continuing to coordinate firefighting efforts. He says they’re making progress with the containment.

“If you take the entire perimeter and consider that 100%, 89% contained, what that term means is that we consider that area a low threat of any flare-ups,” said Hartman.

But Hartman stresses that doesn’t mean the fire is completely out.

“This fire is not out, there’s going to be days if not weeks of monitoring and addressing flare ups as they occur,” Hartman said.

With dry, windy conditions continuing, Barber County officials know their work could be far from over fighting those flare-ups and spreading fires.

“Everybody’s on edge, our Barber County Volunteer Fire Department is doing those patrols, we’re not going to let up on that,” said Wood.

Wood is asking for the public’s help, saying if anyone sees any flames or smoke they should call the Barber County Sheriff’s Office immediately.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Training goes to blazes for area team

By Patty Moore
Hiawatha World – March 31, 2016

Luke Pollock, Powhattan (second from left), and Adam Rogers of Horton (by truck) and their firefighting crew take a break from the fire line near Medicine lodge, where they battled the Anderson Creek Wildfire in South Central Kansas.

Luke Pollock, Powhattan (second from left), and Adam Rogers of Horton (by truck) and their firefighting crew take a break from the fire line near Medicine lodge, where they battled the Anderson Creek Wildfire in South Central Kansas.

Wally Leander Jr. of Hiawatha (second from left) and Ross Hauck (foreground) of Kansas Forestry Service worked on logistics team to keep personnel and supplies moving to the fire lines of the Anderson Creek Wildfire in South West Kansas. Leander is with the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Horton, and left his work with a training program at Hutchinson to help bring the huge burn under control.

Wally Leander Jr. of Hiawatha (second from left) and Ross Hauck (foreground) of Kansas Forestry Service worked on logistics team to keep personnel and supplies moving to the fire lines of the Anderson Creek Wildfire in South West Kansas. Leander is with the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Horton, and left his work with a training program at Hutchinson to help bring the huge burn under control.

More Pics

Five residents of Brown County and one from Jackson County were in the right place at a bad time, and found themselves going to blazes. They went from training students in firefighting to walking the lines at the massive wildfire that roared into South Central Kansas from Oklahoma last week.

The six who work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Horton Agency left Horton for Hutchinson Community College May 20 to help conduct the 2016 Mitigation Project, an annual multi-agency firefighting training session for students in the college’s Fire Science Program.

The session was well underway on March 22, when the wildfire that began in the Anderson Creek area of Wood County, Oklahoma, roared across the border into the Kansas counties of Barber and Comanche. The Kansas Forestry Service set up firefighting operations in Barber County, which is just one county away from Reno County and Hutchinson.

The mentors, trainers and support staff of the training session, most of whom are experienced in firefighting, were dispatched on May 23 to Medicine Lodge in Barber County. The 38 students volunteered to go on line for “the real thing.”

Those from the BIA-Horton Agency who joined in fighting the Anderson Creek Wildfire:

* Adam Rogers of Horton was in the field as an Operations Division Supervisor, overseeing crews and engine groups on the fire lines.

* Luke Pollock of Powhattan and James “Taps” Simon of Horton were squad bosses on the fire lines, overseeing crews made up of the Fire Science students from the college.

* Wally Leander Jr. of Hiawatha worked out of Heritage Center in Medicine Lodge on logistics,helping to keep personnel and supplies routed to hot spot areas as needed.

* Shannon Scott of Everest worked with the public information group, assisting in the Barber County Sheriff’s Office with dispatch and transferring phone calls for fire personnel to Operations at the Command Center, and accompanying media crews to fire lines, and assisting with news conferences. News crews from as far away as The New York Times were in Medicine Lodge, and phone inquiries came from media as far away as France.

* Denise Lundin of Mayetta worked on finance, assisting Kansas Forestry Service personnel and other agencies in keeping paperwork and funding moving.

“The drive from Hutchinson was surreal,” Scott said, “with heavy smoke encountered at the town of Cunningham, the city of Pratt dark at mid-day, and Medicine Lodge seen in a dark, dirty orange.”

She added that the air was heavy with soot, ash, dirt and sand, making eyes, mouths and surfaces gritty, and in three days of heavy winds at various times from all four directions (some gusts up to 60 mph or more), the flames also changed direction repeatedly.

Smoke from the fire drifted as far away as Kentucky.

“The fire roared through Barber and Comanche counties in towering walls and at frightening speeds,” Scott said, adding that in most cases, the Horton crew didn’t see one another until they were dispatched to return home Saturday, when the fire neared 90 percent containment.

Kansas National Guard Black Hawk helicopters dumped thousands of gallons of water on the flames. When several drones were spotted flying over the burn area, hampering control efforts, a flight restriction was put in place until sunset on Sunday, making it a federal offense to put “non-fire air traffic … within the (burn) area.”

Snow on Sunday helped bring the blaze under 90 percent control by that evening, according to Barber County officials. Crews continued on the lines throughout this week.

The First Christian Church in Medicine Lodge cancelled the Easter Pageant and converted its auditorium into a feeding center for the firefighters, many of whom, including most of those from the Horton Agency, spent nights there on cots. Scott bunked in the basement of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office.

There were no deaths or injuries at last report, but 12 homes had been destroyed by the fire, along with heavy losses of livestock, pastures, outbuildings, equipment, pets, fences, bridges and train trestles. However, the hundreds of firefighters who fought the blaze prevented what could have been huge additional losses.

Help is pouring in for those who sustained heavy losses, including feed for livestock and other recovery efforts. Losses will have long-lasting effects, and multi-million dollar costs,with Barber County hit hardest. The fire is the largest in recorded Kansas history and one of the largest in the U.S., with the burn scar visible in photos from weather satellites out in space.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Benefit breakfast to raise money for County Task Force 3, 4 firefighters

Butler County Times Gazette – March 31, 2016

The First Christian Church will be hosting a benefit breakfast Saturday to raise funds for the Butler County Task Force 3 & 4 firefighters.

The “Flapjacks for Firemen” benefit breakfast will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at First Christian Church, 300 W. Central Ave., El Dorado. There will be a free will offering taken.

Task Force 3 and 4, made up of fire departments throughout the county, worked several fires in the area recently, including in Harvey and Barber counties.

These units also provide protection to the areas north and south of El Dorado, including Towanda and Benton.

All of the proceeds from the breakfast will go to the task force volunteers to help replace damaged equipment or any other needs.

A portion also will be directed to Barber County due to their expenses in the recent fires.

The goal is to say “thank you” to the firefighters for all of their work protecting property and homes.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Hays Fire Department to conduct airport firefighter training Friday

Hays Post – March 31, 2016

Photo by Hays Fire Department

Photo by Hays Fire Department

Hays firefighters will be completing practical fire attack training to re-qualify as airport firefighters tomorrow, April 1.

The practical firefighting training will be presented by the University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute and conducted at the Hays Regional Airport. The University of Missouri’s mobile aircraft fire trainer will be used to simulate various aircraft firefighting and rescue situations.

To support airport operations, city of Hays firefighters are required to complete a comprehensive airport firefighter training program meeting FAA standards. This includes a 30-hour airport firefighter refresher course each year for firefighters to remain qualified for airport firefighter duty.

Because this training will be conducted in the secure flight operations area of the airport, it will not be accessible by the general public.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire in Ventilation System Reported at Exide Battery

Salina Post – March 31, 2016

No one was hurt when a fire broke out in the ventilation system at Exide Battery, 413 E. Berg Road, late Wednesday night.

Saline County Undersheriff Roger Soldan said the Salina Fire Department was called out at about 11:30 p.m. to a report of a fire in the ventilation duct on the northwest side of the plant.

Employees were evacuated from the building. The fire was reported to be under control at 12:37 a.m., out at 12:58 a.m., and employees were allowed to return to the plant at 1:05 a.m.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No injuries, property damage in Monday brush fire

Ottawa Herald – March 31, 2016

No injuries or property damage were reported from a fire Monday afternoon near the Ottawa Police Department’s gun range.

The fire started at about 2 p.m. Monday at the City of Ottawa’s brush disposal location, which is south of the police department’s gun range on West Second Street, Tim Matthias, Ottawa Fire Department chief, said in a report.

City workers started the brush pile on fire Monday morning, which spread to some standing trees and brush, Matthias said.

Firefighters with the Ottawa Fire Department contained the fire to the area and wet the area down, Matthias said, and no injuries or property damage were reported.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Roll-over accident

By Donita Clausen
Arkansas City Traveler – March 31, 2016

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Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department responded with the rescue unit and an ambulance, along with Cowley County Sheriff’s Deputies, to a one-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon. The rollover accident occurred at the intersection of 41st and 302nd roads. A man driving a white Ford Explorer lost control of his vehicle as he maneuvered through a curve in the road. The driver was trapped inside until emergency crews arrived. There were no injuries.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters battle early morning fire in Newton

By Hannah Davis
KWCH – March 31, 2016

Video 613 & Update

Firefighters are on scene of a house fire in Newton.

The fire is near the intersection of 6th and Walnut. According to Harvey County Emergency dispatchers, crews were initially in defensive mode. This means the flames were too intense to go inside.

Two people were home at the time of the fire. They were able to make it out okay. The Red Cross is on scene to assist the family.

Crews have been fighting the fire since 2 a.m. Thursday. At some point, the fire reignited.

Several crews remain on scene.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Family, pets escape house fire in north Wichita

KSN – March 30, 2016

Photo by Dylan Dietz

Photo by Dylan Dietz

Wichita firefighters were called to the scene of a house fire Wednesday afternoon that forced a family with pets to look for another place to live.

The fire took place in the 800 block of N. Fabrique shortly before 3:30 p.m..

The first firefighters on the scene reported seeing smoke and flames coming out of a one-story home. When they got inside the residence they found fire in the home’s basement.

The family who lives in the home were able to get themselves and their pets out safely.

No damage estimate has been given at this time.

No one was injured in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Training Day

Leavenworth Times – March 24, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2016

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ft leavenworth fire 3302016b

Members of the Fort Leavenworth Fire And Emergency Services division participate in the annual aircraft live-fire training Wednesday at Sherman Airfield. Fourteen Fort Leavenworth firefighters are taking part in the three-day exercise. Firefighters use a hose to douse the flames of a simulated fuel fire. Check out the video (link below).


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Smoke chokes county, draws responders

By Oliver Good
Marion County Record – March 30, 2016

Smoke from a 15 square mile blaze near Burrton intertwined with smoke from a massive 75-mile wildfire along the Kansas/Oklahoma border near Medicine Lodge, and followed a weather front up through Goessel, inundating large portions of the county with fog-like vapors March 23.

Particulate ash was seen falling in many parts of the county. The sun took on an ominous red glow and disappeared altogether in western portions of the county.

“The smoke was enough to show up on radar,” Marion County Emergency Management director Randy Frank said.

Eric Schrag, CEO Administrator of Bethesda Home in Goessel, said the smoke “looked really ominous and smelled really strong” but didn’t really affect residents because they closed windows and have a closed heating and cooling system.

Frank said 18 county firefighters contributed time and effort to the Burrton blaze.

South Central Incident Management Team deployed Frank to the fire at 8 p.m. March 23, he said.

“It was a very active and fluid situation,” he said. “The fire was only 60 percent contained when I left the next day.”

Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner and three other firefighters responded to the Burrton blaze in a brush truck and tanker truck.

He said his firefighters were part of a relief crew that was brought in after other firefighters, including six from Goessel, that had battled the blaze all night.

Firefighters from Hillsboro and Lehigh also responded to the fire, Frank said.

Penner said firefighters were split into task force groups and assigned certain areas.

“We put out spot fires that flared up in our area,” Penner said. “The most difficult thing about the fire was the sandy soil that was hard for trucks to traverse. There were people getting stuck. Two trucks, I think from Halstead and Newton, were consumed by the fire. The howling wind made things more difficult, too.”

However, he said no one on his task force had any problems, and the whole operation seemed to run smooth otherwise.

“We just had to be very aware of where we were driving,” he said. “Randy Frank was also a big help. He briefed us at the beginning of the day so we knew what we had to get done.”

Frank was part of the support crew stationed in the incident command area.

“I didn’t see much of the fire which was fine,” Frank said. “There were 107 firefighters from 21 departments there when I was there. The smoke might have caused a small health hazard for some people in our county.”

He said smoke in the atmosphere also caused the sun’s extra red appearance.

On Friday, Frank, two Tampa, and two Durham firefighters responded to the ongoing fire near Medicine Lodge.

Frank said Lincolnville Fire Chief Lester Kaiser was deployed by Homeland Security as a member of a type-3 fire response team.

Frank again worked in incident command, focusing on keeping tallies on where everyone was at for safety reasons, he said. Frank returned to Marion County on Sunday.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Marshall countians help fight state’s south central wildfires

By Sarah Kessinger
Marysville Advocate – March 30, 2016

High winds buffeting huge flames created a chaotic scene as Blue Rapids and Waterville firefighters arrived in south central Kansas Friday to join hundreds of emergency responders battling one of the largest grass fires in U.S. history.

“It was a challenge. It was pretty much chaotic from the get-go,” said Blue Rapids Fire Chief Jason Hemry. “We were in an unfamiliar area, it was dark and flames were everywhere.”

The crew of six volunteer firefighters from Marshall County drove through pastures south and west of Medicine Lodge during their 12-hour shift. They had responded to a general call for more help in battling the blaze that eventually burned 397,420 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas.

With Hemry from Blue Rapids’ volunteer department was Monty Shanks. From Waterville were Mike Vermetten, Scott Blaske, Bob Saleska and Brent Martin.

“By the time I got down there, things were pretty calm to an extent,” Hemry said. “As the night went on, things started to get more aggressive so we did a lot of traveling between fire scenes. It wasn’t one big fire, it was several big fires.”

Once they completed a task, they would radio in to the command unit to learn where to go next.

“We read maps. We were unfamiliar with the area, so we had to do everything with maps,” Hemry said. “We stuck together; we were afraid we’d get lost.”

They had to watch for the steep drops into canyons. Helicopters dumped water on the terrain where trucks couldn’t go.

“We were driving on county roads, and they were very far and few between. You could go 15 miles before you’d get to the next one,” Hemry said. “There were also oil roads that were six to 10 miles back into a pasture to an oil well at a dead end.”

The crew and four department trucks returned to Marshall County late Saturday night.

Hemry said none of the firefighters were injured.

He found the experience worthwhile.

“Hopefully if we ever needed assistance, they’d come up here.

It was a great learning experience and lots of excitement.”

Safety watch

Marshall County Emergency Management director Bill Schwindamann also spent the past several days at the scene. He was called down to Medicine Lodge as part of the Northeast Kansas Incident Management Team.

“We were called in Wednesday night and had to be in Medicine Lodge and ready to go at 5 a.m. We got down there at 2 a.m. and worked all day till 10 p.m. the next day,” Schwindamann said.

His job was safety management. He had to set up a safety plan and go out to make sure firefighters had on proper gear and followed safe practices.

On Monday, they turned operations back over to Barber County, confident the blaze was under control.

“It was an education,” Schwindamann said of the experience.

He has responded in the aftermath of tornadoes and floods. This was new.

He has firefighting experience as a volunteer firefighter in Marysville and as a current instructor for the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute with the University of Kansas. But he’d not seen any blaze this big.

“This was probably the 11th largest in U.S. history,” Schwindamann said. “The largest fire ever from east of the Rockies. It gives you a little bit of an idea of the huge scale.”

On an average day last week there were 500 to 600 firefighters on the ground at one time. Nobody got hurt and no emergency vehicles were lost, he said.

There was, however, plenty of damage. The fire took out numerous homes, outbuildings, miles of fence, thousands of hay bales and an unknown number of cattle, according to a news release from Kansas Farm Bureau.

Barber County was hit hardest with about 273,000 acres burned. The blaze, called the Anderson Creek Fire, may be the largest wildfire in Kansas history, the news release said.

A weekend snowfall helped snuff out the flames, and the fire was mostly contained late Friday.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Autism training for 1st Responders

Autism Recognition, Response and Risk Management

Presented by Dennis Debbaudt

Friday, June 10

2 sessions: 7:30-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-4:30 p.m.

At Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan, KS

Below is a brochure and registration form for your information. Participants also can register online at

First Responder flier

First Responder registration


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


El Dorado FD gives update on department, to donate truck

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – March 30, 2016

The El Dorado Fire Department saw a busy year last year.

Fire Chief Steve Moody gave an overview of their year to the El Dorado City Commission during a recent meeting.

He began by describing the department as a small group of dedicated officials, including volunteers, paid members and student interns.

“This past year, like ones before, was a busy one for the fire department,” Moody said. “Response times have gone up slightly, mostly due to how we record on-scene arrivals.”

He explained instead of registering the arrival time as the first crew, they started recording it when the second crew arrives because that is when they can make entry.

Last year, Station 1 responded to 657 calls, while Station 2 responded to 467 calls. Adding in the townships, they had a total of 1,298 responses.

Of their responses, 153 were fires and 749 were medical.

They also complete inspections each year.

Moody said the goal of their inspections is to reduce the number of fires.

“We try to inspect all the commercial properties on an annual basis,” he said.

They also flow test all of the city’s fire hydrants, inspecting them twice last year.

Maintenance is another big aspect of the department.

“More than 244 hours of maintenance was completed by members in-house providing the department a savings of over $30,000,” he said.

They also continued contracts with El Dorado Township, County Hazmat and Prospect Township, generating $608,005 for the department.

The department had two major purchases this past year.

One was a 100-foot arial ladder truck. There will be an open house and christening of the new truck at 6 p.m. April 18.

The second big purchase was the training tower being located at Station 2.

“We no longer need to train exclusively on demolition homes,” Moody said. “It will allow us to train on multiple facets.”

The department is partnering with Butler Community College on the project.

Public education also is important to them, with them being involved with Project 20-20, Junior Firefighter Program, fire extinguisher training and safety talks. They also completed 2,083 hours of training last year.

Some events included the MDA boot drive, Elks Flag Day, OK Kids Day, Fall Festival, Trick or Treat with Main Street, CCL Big Boy Toys, YMCA Kids Camp, 4-H Fair, Lantern Fest and parades.

In addition to the presentation, Moody also addressed the commission later in the meeting regarding donating a fire engine they no longer use.

He requested they deed over Fire Engine No. 8 to the Butler Community College Fire Science Program. He said the program used to have a truck, but now it is not working. Also, the value of selling the truck outright would be minimal. Another benefit would be it would just be next door and still available in the department ever needed it. The commission approved this 4-0. Commissioner Chase Locke was absent.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Latham Fire Department partnered with Masonic Lodge

Eureka Herald – March 23, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2016

Pictured from left to right are: Curtis Burdette, Don Nelson (back turned), Jarred Hebb, Jake Grow, Jess McDonald, Lance Bing, Justin Calvin. Other firemen attending were Damon Bing, Charley Wiseman and Grady Gibb. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Pictured from left to right are: Curtis Burdette, Don Nelson (back turned), Jarred Hebb, Jake Grow, Jess McDonald, Lance Bing, Justin Calvin. Other firemen attending were Damon Bing, Charley Wiseman and Grady Gibb. Click on photo to view full-size image.

The Latham Volunteer Fire Department teamed with the local Masonic Lodge #401 to help raise funds for the purchase of much needed firefighting gear and parts to build another fire truck. A pancake and sausage feed and silent auction took place February 21, resulting in a generous contribution and show of support from the small community. That same day, the local volunteers spent most of their day fighting two large grass fires in the area, most notable to attend the dinner until late in the evening covered in smoke and soot.

Tuesday evening, March 8 Masonic Lodge #401 provided a dinner for the firefighters and their families, afterward presenting the men with matched funds up to $1,000 from the Kansas Masonic Foundation and a few area ranches.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Counties joined forces to fight large grass fire

Eureka Herald – March 23, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2016

Fire departments from four different counties joined forces on Monday to fight a large grass fire near US 400 Highway.

The fire jumped the highway in multiple locations between F and H Road, resulting emergency personnel having to shut the highway down for several hours.

Crews from Greenwood (including county divisions: Piedmont, Severy, Eureka Lake, Central Division, Madison, and Lamont and the Eureka City Department) Elk, Butler and Wilson counties fought the fire that spread several miles.

While crews were working to extinguish the large grass fire, another fire was reported in Fall River.

Crews continued to extinguish the grass fires until press time.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Anderson Named Volunteer of the Year

By David Elliott
KRSL – March 30, 2016

Russell City Fire Chief and 911 Communications Advisory Board Member Shane Preston, Anderson, and Russell and Ellsworth County Emergency Manager Keith Haberer.

Russell City Fire Chief and 911 Communications Advisory Board Member Shane Preston, Anderson, and Russell and Ellsworth County Emergency Manager Keith Haberer.

Russell and Ellsworth County Emergency Management and the Russell 911 Communications Advisory Board announced David Anderson as the 2016 Emergency Worker and Volunteer of the Year at the annual National Weather Service Storm Spotter Meeting Tuesday evening in Russell.

This year, four nominations were submitted.

Anderson, a local pilot who owns Anderson Aerial Spraying, has helped for numerous years on some of the worst and hardest to reach wildland fires in Russell and Osborne Counties according to a press release about the award. He uses his own resources, hauls his own water and has to have extra and very expensive insurance to cover himself and his equipment.

Anderson was nominated by the fire chief that has the largest fire district in Russell County and that has utilized the services Anderson provides many times in the past.

A quote from the nomination letter states, “His volunteering comes at a major expense and risks for him and his planes. I for one am very appreciative of his offers and assistance.”

Anderson has flown and dropped water on grass fires for the area fire departments for many years.

More than 150 people attended Tuesday’s annual spotter meeting.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One man dead following domestic dispute, house fire in eastern Lawrence

By Richard Gwin
Lawrence Journal World – March 30, 2016

Photos by Richard Gwin

Photos by Richard Gwin

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One man is dead following a domestic dispute and early-morning house fire in eastern Lawrence, fire and police officials said Wednesday.

Lawrence police received a report of a domestic dispute involving a handgun at a house at 2632 Rawhide Lane around midnight Wednesday, Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

A woman told police that a man threatened her and several children with a handgun, McKinley said. The woman and children left the house to call police, who arrived and surrounded the house, McKinley said.

Officers did not see the man leave the house, and after minimal contact with the man, officers noticed a flickering inside the house that quickly became a full-fledged fire, McKinley said.

Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters were able to confirm that one man was dead inside the house.

The house remains unstable in the aftermath of the fire, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Eve Tolefree said. A unit was on scene to stabilize the structure so that firefighters could investigate further.

No fire department personnel were injured while fighting the fire, Tolefree said.

The block of Rawhide Lane remained blocked off with caution tape late Wednesday morning, and multiple police and fire units were still present.

Douglas County records list the owner of the property as Fernando Alvarez.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

3rd Annual Vince Garcia Golf Tournament

vince garcia golf tournament

Click on the pdf files below for information:

Third Annual Vince Garcia Golf Tournament



Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

2 controlled burns turn out of control near Canton

McPherson Sentinel – March 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 30, 2016

Canton firefighters responded to two controlled burns that got out of control Sunday afternoon.

At 4:16 p.m., a controlled burn at U.S. Highway 56 and 29th Avenue got into right-of-way and burned between one and two acres. At 4:28 p.m., a controlled burn at 24th Avenue and Pueblo Road got out of control and burned between 15 and 20 acres. There were no injuries in either case, and firefighters got the fire under control.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire captain honored with VFW gold medal

By Jennifer Bhargava
Kansas City Star – March 30, 2016

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Josh Rauh spent more than a year pouring his heart and soul into an idea he hopes he never has to use.

And now, it has earned him national recognition.

The Lenexa fire captain was recently named the Veterans of Foreign Wars Firefighter Gold Medal award winner.

Rauh, who has served with the Lenexa Fire Department since 2003, was chosen for the honor because of his leadership in developing a cave rescue response plan and training program.

Since Lenexa, which has developed cave systems and underground storage facilities, didn’t have a precise cave rescue protocol, Rauh made it his mission to create one.

The possibility of a collapse happening at Meritex Lenexa Executive Park, for instance, would be devastating without a detailed plan in place, he surmised. The 3 million-square-foot subsurface business park near Interstate 435 and 95th Street bustles with thousands of employees each week.

Two years ago, Rauh traveled to Hutchinson, Kan., to observe underground mining rescue teams. He heavily incorporated confined space rescue to the plan, which also utilizes structure collapse, vehicle extraction and search rescue elements.

Last year, he educated and trained the Lenexa Fire Department on his plan. He also presented it to the Olathe and Overland Park fire departments.

“If a collapse ever does happen, it’s going to take a huge collaborative rescue effort,” Rauh said. “Basically we have to use all those different skills in the pitch black while a dust storm is happening. It has been an incredible learning experience for all of us and we’re always going to be working on this plan in an effort to make it better.”

During a Lenexa City Council meeting last month, Rauh was surprised by the announcement of his national win and presented with a plaque. He was honored, but mostly stunned.

After all, almost 20 years ago, the Montana native dreamed of being a teacher. As a student at the University of North Dakota, Rauh studied history and played football and baseball.

During summers home, he volunteered with his local fire department, helping to extinguish flames tearing up dry grass and forest.

The camaraderie between the firefighters and the active duty of helping others changed the college student’s life. During the day, he finished his history degree, but at night he worked on his fire credentials.

Recalling that the Grand Forks fire chief once said Johnson County, Kansas, had some of the finest fire departments in the country, Rauh immediately applied to the Lenexa Fire Department when a position opened up.

“I had no family from the Kansas City area, I didn’t know anybody here, but I heard Johnson County was the best and that’s where I wanted to be,” he said. “It was a shot in the dark.”

But, it was one that paid off. He easily made friends with his coworkers and fell in love with his new hometown.

In 2008, he was promoted to fire captain.

The married father of two says he feels like the luckiest man in the world. When he wakes up in the morning, he looks forward to going to work.

But because of its intensity, the job can take an emotional toll.

He’ll never forget the heart-pounding moment, more than a decade ago, when two of his firefighting coworkers bailed out of a window as flames ate up a room they were searching.

Then there was that time around six years ago a young women flipped her car off the highway, sinking into a frozen pond. She was under water for 27 minutes, but rescuers managed to revive her. The cold temperature of the water had saved her life, Rauh said.

The worst moment of all, however, was when he found himself racing to a call at his own home. His son, then 2 months old, had stopped breathing because of flu complications.

“As soon as I heard my address over the loudspeaker, I about burned the brakes getting there,” Rauh said. “I was a mess. I discovered what it was like to be in the family’s shoes.”

Fortunately, his son started breathing by the time Rauh and his crew arrived. Experiencing an emergency situation from the other side was an eye-opening experience, and not one he takes for granted.

The biggest aspect of his job, he emphasized, is being human.

“We deal with people on their worst day and there are things I wish I’d never have to see, but honestly, there has been much more good than bad in this job,” he said. “I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on a complete stranger’s life on any given day. We might only have brief interactions with people, but I take them each very seriously.”

It was this compassion and passion that made him a clear choice for the gold medal award.

“Josh’s level of commitment, professionalism and dedication to his family, crew and the citizens of Lenexa is why Josh received national recognition,” said Doug Simms, District 2 Commander of the Kansas VFW.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Heavy damage noted after fire at 929 West

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – March 30, 2016

Photos by Chuck Samples

Photos by Chuck Samples

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Fire has heavily damaged the top two floors of a central Emporia house.

The house was built in 1900. Lyon County records have the house belonging to Elizabeth Knoll. All indications are the home was empty when the fire started.

Taylor says the initial firefighting effort wasn’t at full strength because of a second fire call in the 1600 block of Center right about the same time. That call turned out to be a false alarm.

Investigators have not yet determined a cause or source point of the fire.

10:20 pm Tuesday: Blaze causes heavy damage to central Emporia house

Fire investigators have started piecing together how a blaze developed a central Emporia residence Tuesday night.

Emporia firefighters were originally called to 925 West just before 9 pm but found the fire at 929 West. Flames were coming through the roof on the south and west sides before fire crews finally got the blaze under control around 9:40 pm.

There is no word on what caused the fire. There is also no word on whether the house was occupied when the fire started.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Grass fire west of Emporia contained

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – March 30, 2016

Emporia firefighters put out a grass fire southwest of town Tuesday.

Fire crews responded to Roads 140 and C after a controlled burn went out of control shortly after 4:30 pm. Initially, the report was for approximately 40 acres involved. Firefighters discovered about 20 acres were affected.

It took firefighters about 90 minutes to get the blaze under control. No injuries were reported. The property owner’s name has not been released.

Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Commission commends fire relief efforts

By Kelly Breckunitch
Newton Kansan – March 30, 2016

In the span of a month, Harvey County has had to react to two very different, but equally serious emergencies. The work done by first responders and other emergency personnel in both instances (some providing assistance in both events) has not gone unnoticed by the county commission.

After a grass fire ravaged the Sand Hills area in northwest Harvey County through the latter part of last week, credit was once again given where it was due as the county commission acknowledged all the work of various fire crews and county personnel at the start of Monday’s meeting. Because of their efforts, damage from the natural disaster was minimized and only one house was lost in a blaze that destroyed 14,000 acres of land (11,000 in Harvey County).

“This is all because of the good quality people we have in place in Harvey County,” said commissioner Randy Hague.

“I don’t know what it is, but somebody’s doing something right. That fire was hot and fast and nasty and mean,” added commissioner Ron Krehbiel. “We’re Harvey County strong, my friend.”

Harvey County Emergency Management Director Gary Denny reported to the commission on the incident and listed the details and extent of the damage to the 14,000 acres, which he noted affected a 22 square mile area.

Three buildings were lost, it was reported, along with some livestock, but Harvey County reached out and once again received aid in order to control the situation that arose on March 23. Incident management helped bring in units from as far as Saline and Dickinson counties to the north and Cowley County to the south, even with several departments across the state helping fight a larger fire a little farther southwest in Comanche and Barber counties at the same time.

Denny reported that at the peak of the incident, on the evening of the first day, 50 units were on hand to help contain the situation. That meant at least 150 people were on hand working on fire suppression and working to protect residents and homes in the area.

“This just shows the willingness of communities to come and assist,” Denny said.

“That’s the beauty of Kansas. That’s the whole of (the) community approach we speak about so often,” added special projects coordinator Dan Bronson.

Some personnel who assisted in Harvey County, it was noted, were also either coming from or heading to Barber and Comanche counties.

Authority was turned back over to Burrton at 4 p.m. on March 25, but Denny noted the county remained in a back-up capacity and helped maintain any hot spots until 7 p.m. on March 26 before the snowfall blanketed the area on Easter Sunday.

On top of the work done by the fire crews to save several structures thanks to some “fantastic defensive maneuvers,” according to Denny, he pointed out the efforts done by other personnel to help manage the situation. From Health Department Director Lynnette Redington running logistics to the Salvation Army being present to help set up shelter at Burrton High School, it was truly a county-wide effort to control the situation While not 100 percent operational yet, Denny noted the new 800 MHZ broadcast system helped in the process, too.

Commissioner Chip Westfall asked if there would be outreach to FEMA for some aid in the aftermath and Denny noted he will have a conference call with the state later this week to discuss the impact and what options are available for Harvey County.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Council approves future home for new Fire Station 81

By Jake Trease
Derby Informer – March 30, 2016

Photo by Jake Trease

Photo by Jake Trease

Fire Station 81 made its first step toward relocation last week when Derby City Council members voted to purchase a portion of the land once occupied by the Sixth Grade Center, now occupied by rubble.

The approved agreement offers $246,550 for about 3.4 acres of land. There, a new fire station could be built in the future, essentially replacing the city’s oldest station at 128 W. Market Street, which was built in 1988.

“That was for a volunteer fire department,” Derby City Manager Kathy Sexton said. “And that matters because firefighters worked a 24-hour shift. Sleeping is part of that shift when they can find the time to do that.”

In 2005, Derby went to a staff of paid firefighters, forcing changes to the station, which then had to house full-time workers. Despite the changes, the age, location and increased traffic in the area have expounded problems at the station, Sexton said.

“But also, because it’s right beside the railroad tracks, that has created what we have learned is a worse traffic problem than I realized,” she said.

Traffic not only blocks fire engines from getting out during an emergency, it also backs cars all the way to the highly trafficked K-15 Highway.

Derby Fire and Rescue Chief Brad Smith said the location next to the railroad tracks could also cause a safety issue if a derailment ever happened near the station.

“We have done some drills in the past, where we’ve actually had a train wreck there,” he said. “What could happen to the station is not good, and the equipment in the station and the personnel that’s there.”

The new location, near the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and Woodlawn Boulevard is much better, Smith said.

It allows for more full-time staff to work with actual offices. Smith said Deputy Chief Bill Pater now has to share his office with several others at Station 81. Also, the department could provide separate facilities for female workers with a new station.

“[At Station 81] we don’t have the ability to have separate quarters, or separate bathroom facilities,” Smith said. “So that’s an issue.”

Sexton said the new station wouldn’t be planned for quite some time still. First, the demolition process has to finish and the land will be platted. The final sale will happen once the Derby Board of Education approves the sale and a plat is approved by the Derby Planning Commission.

Sexton said they won’t know a lot about access or roadways until an architect is hired.

“I can’t speculate on any of that at this point,” she said. “But we would have an access point, a driveway for firetrucks, on both Madison and on Woodlawn.”

Ultimately, Smith said the new location would provide better coverage for the city. He said the new station would also be located closer to the Rock Road corridor, where the call volume is higher.

With Derby’s growth in recent years, Smith said the new location is a must.

“I think with Derby growing like it is, it becomes our responsibility to continually look and see how we best provide service to the citizens,” he said. “There’s several benefits for what that could bring to the department.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sights and sounds from Anderson Creek Wildfire

March 29, 2016

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Volunteer firefighters: dangerous, long hours worth the work

By Shardaa Gray
KSN – March 29, 2016

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Barber County volunteer firefighters continued to fight flames from the Anderson Creek fire.

It’s a dangerous job but it can also take from their other jobs.

We checked back with Ted Colburn, a volunteer firefighter for the Barber County Rural Fire Department. We wanted to see how he is volunteering job are impacting.

“$15 a run. So if a run 48 hours, that’s $15,” said Colburn.

That’s how much these Barber County volunteer firefighters get paid to put their life on the line.

Their local knowledge, a key part of helping out.

“These firefighters, they come in, especially out of Barber County have no idea how the geography of the land lays. They could be rolling, driving a fire line or something or smoke and not even see a canyon,” said Barber County Rural Fire co-chief, Pat McCullough.

For firefighters like Colburn, this is his calling, to help these lands. But it makes it to work his other job, on a ranch, a few miles from the fire station.

“t’s a little bit of a strain trying to get from the farm and stop what I’m doing out there to come help fight the fire,” Colburn said.

Every day he’s been fighting the fires, he isn’t making money from other job.

“Most people that are taking off jobs, are taking money out of their pocket,” Colburn said.

But for Colburn, he said it isn’t about the money.

“I enjoy it. I’m not scared to be out there. I like helping people and saving people.”

Keep in mind, most of the extra crews from other communities have now gone home. That left the work for the local volunteer firefighters.

They fought flare ups Tuesday and will continue to monitor as long as it takes to get this fire out.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Regional emergency communication tower proving its worth

By John Green
Hutchinson News – March 29, 2016

Twice in the past month, Reno County Emergency Management has deployed a special communications tower to aid agencies responding to large emergencies in communicating with each other – at the Hesston shooting and the Anderson Creek wildfire in Barber County.

Homeland Security dollars bought the Mutual Aid Deployable Communications on Wheels (MAD COW) tower in 2010 to serve the 19-county Homeland Security Agency South Central Region, which has Reno County near its center, said Todd Strain, of the emergency management office.

The tower allows agencies with different types of signals – UHV, VHF or 800 megahertz – to be able to talk to each other. The tower, which rides on a 60-foot truck and trailer, can extend to 106 feet, Strain said. A second tower is in Marion.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to Hesston in response to the mass shooting. County staff had the tower in place and operating within an hour of getting the call, Strain said.

“It did exactly what it was supposed to do,” he said.

The second call for the tower came on March 23, when Barber County officials reported the fast-moving wildfire knocked out one of their two communication towers. While in route, said Reno County Emergency Manager Adam Weishaar, the second tower also went down “and there was no way they could communicate.”

The tower was quickly set, but then officials discovered the mutual aid channels programmed into it were not the right channels for that region, Weishaar said. Dustin Enz, a joint city/county radio technician, reprogrammed the system “on the fly” and had communications going within an hour.

Enz also reprogrammed 24 radios that Emergency Management issued to some of the responders from the dozens of agencies on the scene. More than 300 volunteers from around the state battled the fire, Weishaar said.

The state also deployed a tower, but it “popped three generators,” Weishaar said, and so had no power.

The tower remained on the scene for two days, until officials in the region were able to bring their towers back on line. The tower and radios returned to Reno County on Monday, Weishaar said.

The goal, Weishaar said, is to be able to have the tower deployed within four hours to anywhere in the state it is needed.

“State leaders were impressed with the expertise of our staff,” Weishaar said. “Without the tower there would have been no communication for two days.”

The city and county also responded to four brush units, a water tender and one command unit to the scene, though most were called back before arriving because of fire that broke out in Reno County and spread into Harvey County, Weishaar said.

The HSA South Central Region includes Barber, Barton, Butler, Cowley, Comanche, Edwards, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Kiowa, Marion, McPherson, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner counties.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

KSFFA Regional Fire School at Larned State Hospital

KSFFA Regional Fire School
hosted by Larned State Hospital
August 6-7, 2016
Location: 1301 KS Hwy 264, Activity Therapy Building, Larned, KS


ksffa skills trailer

Saturday – August 6 – 8 a.m.

  1. Basic Firefighters Skill Trailer – 8 hours – PPE/SCBA required
  2. Engine Company Operations for Small Departments – 8 hours – PPE required
  3. Detection & Suppression System – 4 hours

Saturday – August 6 – 1 p.m.

  1. Basic Firefighters Skill Trailer, cont.
  2. Engine Operations, cont.
  3. Reading Smoke – 4 hours

Sunday – August 7 – 8 a.m.

  1. Fire Behavior – 4 hours
  2. Vehicle Fires – 4 hours – Full PPE/SCBA required
  3. Lessons Learned – 4 hours

Sunday – August 7 – NOON

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer – Full PPE/SCBA required

Motels: Roadway Inn (620) 285-2300 or Townsman Inn (620) 285-3114

For more information call Troy Wolf, KSFFA SW Trustee at (620) 492-1861

For Firefighter 1 and 2 testing call Ron Ewing, SE Trustee at (620) 366-5399

Fit Testing will be offered. All classes are free.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

New firefighter comes back home to protect Colwich

By Fred Solis
Mount Hope Clarion – March 24, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 29, 2016

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As a student at Colwich Elementary School, Levi Neelly remembers Colwich Fire Chief Brad Banz presenting programs at the school.

Now, years later, Neelly works alongside Banz as Colwich’s newest firefighter.

“I was excited; not only is it what I went to school for and had the dream and passion for, but it’s where I grew up,” Neelly said of his new job. “My parents still live north of town, and friends and family are here.”

After graduating from Andale High School in 2008, Neelly went to Hutchinson Community College, where he received his fire science degree. From there, he worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for four years and in the emergency room for four years at Via-Christi St. Francis. Neelly also managed a nutrition store in Wichita.

“I used to see him at Via-Christi St. Francis” when going to the hospital for fire related calls, Banz said.

Whatever Neelly was doing, though, it had one thing in common.

“Every job I’ve ever had had something to do with helping people. Even as a lifeguard at the Y, I protected people there and helped people there,” Neelly said. “Whether it was EMT or the emergency room, I’ve always been involved in helping people.”

Firefighting is also a bit of a family thing for Neelly. His cousin married an Air Force firefighter, his future father-in-law retired from the Sedgwick County Fire Department, and his future brother-in-law takes photos of fires for a local TV station.

As Colwich’s new firefighter, Neelly is knocking out some of the training, like his commercial driver’s license, to go along with his hazard materials classes, hydraulics and Fire Fighting I and II credentials. Because of Colwich’s mutual-aid pacts with other communities, and to be consistent with practices across the country, Neelly is also working his way through various levels of the National Incident Management System, which helps coordinate responses from multiple agencies when they become involved in large-scale operations.

But the new job also gives him a chance to get his hands wet on some of the department’s equipment, which is an especially pleasant task.

“Firefighting is a little bit of everything,” Neelly said. “EMT is medical only. Police work car accidents. But fire (department) does medical calls, responds to car accidents and gets people out of vehicles if they’re trapped, rescues people during a tornado or if a building collapses.

“It’s nice that you don’t know what you’re going to be doing day-to-day–fires, rescue,” Neelly said. “It’s a little bit of everything.

“It’s cool to have a fire job and be able to protect your hometown,” he said.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

KSFFA President – Anderson Creek Fire



I am sitting down to write this note as a special Thank you to the Kansas Fire Service from your Executive Board. This past week has been one of the all-time tests of the make-up of our Kansas Fire Service. A fire from a neighboring state crossed the line and prompted our departments in to action. It would become the largest recorded wildfire in our states history, known as the Anderson Creek Fire. For the next six days, fire departments from all over the state answered the call for assistance. It mattered not career or volunteer, large or small, all stepped up to the plate and offered resources. Whether serving in a role in the incident command post, or walking fire line putting out hot spots, all agencies on the fire ground were for that week, just firefighters. Differences were forgotten and put aside. Collectively, the Kansas Fire Service stood up and showed the true meaning of selfless service to our communities. Not to be lost are the countless other incidents that occurred across the state this week large and small. Resources were taxed, but all incidents got handled.

As President of the Kansas State Firefighters Association, I cannot begin to express my personal admiration for those crews in the battle all week and those who came to their relief in the following days. You, ladies and gentleman, are the true heart of the Kansas Fire Service. Your communities should be proud to have you. Your selfless work saved many countless lives and properties over this past week. Even more important, you did it with no significant injuries. That is a testament to you, your training, and equipment. Faced with an overwhelming situation, you reacted in a timely fashion to bring in those additional resources to help even the fight, no matter where the jurisdiction. Your performance speaks volumes of the integrity of the Kansas Fire Service. From your entire Executive Board, JOB WELL DONE! May you all get some well-deserved rest and as always, Be Safe!

Kevin L Flory
President, Kansas State Firefighters Association


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Dickinson County Fire District 1 receives donation from TransCanada

Chapman and Enterprise News Times – March 24, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 29, 2016

Photo by Paul Froelich

Photo by Paul Froelich

Dickinson County Fire District 1 was presented with a donation of $5,000 for a grant to assist with the construction of an additional wildland fire truck for the department. The truck is a large military truck that will be turned into a wildland fire unit that will also have structure fire ability as well. TransCanada has been a good partner with the DKFD1 in the past, as they have provided two previous grants to the department. Pictured (L-R) at the presentation are Kent Mills, Assistant Fire Chief DKFD1, Cary Simpson, TransCanada, Paul Forelich, Fire Chief, and Kevin Murphy, TransCanada.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Saturday was busy day for emergency service units

Harper Advocate – March 9, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 29, 2016

A Harper grass rig is filled from a large hose to a tanker on a Kingman County road for a fire at the Vangiesons Saturday afternoon. Firemen are left to right, Zack Darnell, Seth Harding and Calvin Flores.

A Harper grass rig is filled from a large hose to a tanker on a Kingman County road for a fire at the Vangiesons Saturday afternoon. Firemen are left to right, Zack Darnell, Seth Harding and Calvin Flores.

Saturday was a super busy to Harper and Attica Fire Departments and almost overload for Harper County Emergency Medical Services.

A controlled burn about 10 a.m. on Arensdorf ground located near 150 Street and SE50 Avenue got out of control when the land owner’s tractor which was disking a fire stop broke down.

Four Harper units were dispatched and spent a short time getting the fire back under control. As many uncontrolled burns do, fire got in a thick tree row but the landowner said he would watch it until it burned out.

The fire department went back twice Sunday when winds came up and ended cutting down burning trees.

Harper fire units had just gotten back from the first Kingman County fire, got trucks cleaned up and ready for another fire when a spark from a controlled burn near the Vangieson home near SE170 Street and SE70 Avenue set a large CRP grass fire.

Both Harper and Norwich units brought that fire under control without building damage or injuries shortly before 4 p.m.

While this was going on, the Attica Fire Department had been out helping the Sharon Fire Department on a field fire on the Harper Barber County line.

They then got a call to assist Harper County EMS with a possible heart attack which was coded as life threatening.

That patient was picked up with EMS and Attica fire personnel taking the ambulance from Attica to Harper Hospital shortly before 4 p.m.

One Harper grass rig had returned to Harper and another was about a mile out of town when shortly after 4 p.m. the ambulance bringing the patient from Attica witnessed a motorcycle hit a car at the three mile intersection which caused the only other staffed EMS unit (from Anthony) and the Harper Rescue unit to be called to the injury accident.

Two Harper units just in from the field fire responded with another set of equipment to the wreck.

While the first ambulance from Attica was just arriving at the Harper Hospital and EMS and fire department EMT’s were loading the motorcycle victim, another emergency call was made for a heart attack victim in Attica.

Attica responded one fire department unit and the Harper Rescue truck with EMT’s went to Attica.

The EMS ambulance dropped off the first patient and headed back to Attica where CPR was started and maintained by the fire/EMS crew all the way back to the Harper Hospital.

Life Team helicopter had been called and was at the Harper Hospital helipad with that cycle driver loaded directly onto the helicopter with potential life-threatening injuries.

While returning from Attica, the Harper Rescue Pumper was just two miles from Crystal Springs when there was a call out of the Attica Fire Department to a grass fire in Crystal Springs. The Harper truck worked on the fire at the Larry Miller residence until an Attica truck arrived.

The first heart patient from Attica was then transported to a Wichita hospital by Harper County EMS.

All of the services including law enforcement put a load on the 911 system which they handled very well.

Sunday afternoon, a person traveling 160 highway a couple miles east of Danville noticed a wisp of smoke from a manure/hay pile and called 911. Harper trucks rolled to that fire and put it out with a couple gallons of water although it had been burning for some time as winds were gusting to 25 mile per hour.

After midnight early Monday morning, fire, EMS and law officers responded to an injury accident about two miles north of Harper on K-14 where a car rolled after attempting to miss a deer in the roadway.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Harold Lee “Chuck” Kralik

Harold Lee “Chuck” Kralik, 78, died March 16, 2016 in Ellsworth. He was born Aug. 20, 1937 in Palacky Township, the son of Winslow and Emma (Galliart) Kralik. He worked in construction for Peter Kewitt Construction, Kohl’s Construction and also as a truck driver for Homolka Grain and Supply. He served his country in the US Marine Corp from 1955-1958. He was a member of American Legion Post #174 a retired member and past chief of the Ellsworth Volunteer Fire Dept. Harold was baptized and confirmed in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, North Ellsworth, on May 20, 1973. On Feb 27, 1960, he married Jessie Peterman. She survives along with their daughters; Sue (Richard) Arensman of Ellsworth and Sherry (Ron) Helus of Wamego and son, Chuck (Sarah) Kralik of Joplin, Mo., six grandchildren Derek (Shelly Vopat) and Kyle (Ashley Bettenbrock) Arensman, Ryan and Ashlyn Helus, Sophie and Aidan Kralik; step-great grandson, Bradley Vopat; his brother Marland of Ellsworth and sister, Delores Ploutz of Garden Grove, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers; Melvin and Raymond.

Visitation will be Sunday, 1-8 p.m. at Parsons Funeral Home with the family receiving friends from 6-8 p.m. His funeral will be 10:00 a.m., Monday, March 21, 2016 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Burial will follow in the Ellsworth Cemetery with military honors by American Legion Post 174. Memorials may be given to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ellsworth Volunteer Fire Dept., or the donor’s choice in c/o Parsons Funeral Home, PO Box 45, Ellsworth, KS. Condolences may be left at


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Local officials give perspective on massive Barber County fire

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – March 29, 2016

KWCH Photo

KWCH Photo

Two local officials have had a unique look at one of the biggest grass fires in American history.

Emporia Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Beck and Lyon County Emergency Management Coordinator Jarrod Fell spent time last week as part of a statewide incident management team, helping to coordinate the response to the massive grass fire that developed in far northern Oklahoma and worked north into Barber County. The blaze charred over 600 square miles of property before snowfall helped to slow it down Sunday. Beck tells KVOE News the terrain in Barber County was not a help to firefighters.

Fell, meanwhile, says this is a situation that could happen anywhere. To a degree, it has happened here, although to a lesser extent: a fast-moving fire just about two years ago to the day started near Roads 200 and Y, racing east to Melvern Lake, burning some 5,000 acres and prompting responses from 10 area fire departments as well as firefighters from as far away as Geary, Riley and Pottawatomie counties.

Both Fell and Beck say local partnerships are solid, and those partnerships are also in place at the state and federal levels in case of a large-scale disaster. Even with the damage last week, Beck says the firefighting effort renewed his faith in fire service because of the partnerships in place and because area residents were more than willing to help in any way they could.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Burlington fire under investigation

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – March 29, 2016

Investigators with the Burlington Fire Department and Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office are trying to figure out how a garage serving in part as living space caught fire early Sunday.

The Burlington Fire Department says the fire developed in the 400 block of South Third shortly after 6 am, causing heavy internal damage to the garage — including a 10-foot-by-25-foot space used as an apartment.

The property is rented by Jesse Tilton of Burlington. No injuries were reported. Both the cause and origination point are currently undetermined.

Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Volunteer firefighters returning home from Barber Co.

KAKE – March 29, 2016

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One of the sure signs the wildfires along the Oklahoma/Kansas border are finally subsiding — volunteer firefighters are being sent home after a job well done.

In Barber County Monday, the massive wildfire that has been burning for nearly a week is now more than 80-percent contained. All of the flames are now snuffed out in neighboring Comanche County.

But before volunteers, like crew-members from the Norton Rural Fire District can go home there is the matter of doing paperwork to wrap things up.

“It’s to track our hours, miles driven, how long we worked out on the fire line,” said Norton senior volunteer firefighter Flint Griffin. “This is the final paperwork we have to do before we can go home.”

Griffin and three of his crew were among the last out of county units being sent home Monday. Lighting the trail, much gratitude shown for their efforts in Barber County in its fiery time of need.

“It feels great,” Griffin said. “We’ve got it pretty much under control down here. We’re headed home.”

Barber County crews spent much of Monday patrolling burned areas looking for any potential flare-ups.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Prairie fire devastates area 100 years ago this week

Goodland Star News – March 18, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2016

In March of 1916, one of the largest fires in Sherman County history swept through rural areas all the way to Goodland.

The fire started 18 miles northwest of Goodland, and destroyed several farm houses. Winds up to 50 mph helped the fire leap roads and other obstacles despite the efforts of some 500 locals, who were out fighting the fire.

The origin of the fire remains unknown to this day. It started on a roadway near a farm in Grant Township.

The fire destroyed buildings on the Duell, Sperry and Chatfield farms and enveloped the fields of many others.

By that time, firefighters–which included nearly every man in Goodland–had started to arrive on the scene, while local farmers and ranchers also lent a hand.

The fire reached the Golden Belt Highway, which provided a natural barrier that aided firefighters. It burned right up to the west ends of 13th and 14th Streets, but did not cross the railroad.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Barber County fire crews cope with heavily damaged equipment

By Deedee Sun
KWCH – March 28, 2016

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Mutual crews from across Kansas and even other states left Medicine Lodge Monday. Now, Barber County is fighting what’s left of the wildfire on its own.

There’s still nearly 20 percent not contained, but the county is also dealing with a lot of damaged fire equipment.

“It’s real rough on equipment. This country is real rough country. A lot of cattle trails, canyons, washouts. You can’t see, you’re in the smoke, you hit them. So there’s a lot of abuse on the trucks,” said Sun City Fire Chief, Mark Long.

Fighting wildfire for days in that rough country means plugged injectors, broken rod bearings, and trucks that won’t run. Every one of the county’s nine volunteer departments have damaged equipment.

“I have no idea what this is going to cost but this is going to be expensive,” Long said.

But an even bigger problem?

“We can’t do nothing out of Sun City because we don’t have anything running right now,” Long said.

All of the town’s attack fire trucks are currently broken down.

With some of the wildfire not contained, and winds picking up again, all crews are on the look out for flare ups. Sun City got a call Monday that turned out to just be a dust cloud, but the chief had to drive to the next town and borrow a truck before he could check it out.

“It’s real frustrating when you’re getting calls and you don’t have a way to get there,” he said.

It’s not just tough on equipment. When the fire first started, Long fought the flames for about 48-hours straight.

Despite the challenges, Long – who has volunteered for more than 30 years – says he’s going to keep doing it.

” I like to help people and this is a big way to do it. Don’t want to see nobody lose their house, lose livestock. And lot of these people are my friends, so you do everything you can do,” Long said.

Barber County will continue adding up costs over the next 30 days. That total will determine if the county qualifies for certain state and federal money to help cover costs like fixing trucks.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT-B – Ottawa Fire Department

ottawa fire

Position Title: Firefighter/EMT-B
Position Type: Firefighter/EMT (Basic or Paramedic)
Position Location: Ottawa, KS
Closed date: 04/23/2016


Duties of the Firefighter/EMT include protection of life and property by combating, extinguishing, and preventing fires, as well as providing EMT care where needed. Work is performed under the direct supervision of the supervising officer, but requires thorough individual understanding of firefighting methods and EMT duties.

For more information


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Twelve homes lost to Kansas wildfires

KAKE – March 28, 2016

Credit: Deb Farris, KAKE News

Credit: Deb Farris, KAKE News

The biggest wildfire in Kansas history is largely contained, although firefighting efforts could be hindered by more gusty winds.

The Kansas Forest Service says crews will patrol areas Monday hit by the wildfire that has burned at least 620 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas since last week.

The service says the fire was 90 percent contained Sunday, and 81 percent contained in Barber County, Kansas, where most of the damage has occurred.

The Kansas Adjutant General’s office said twelve homes were destroyed by the fires–9 in Barber County, two in Reno County and one in Harvey County. It’s unknown the number of livestock lost.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

New technology trains first responders for medical emergencies

By Kara Protasio
Lawrence 6 News – March 28, 2016

Video 457

New lifelike technology allows Lawrence-Douglas County Firefighters to practice for medical emergencies.

The county helped the department buy a lifelike manikin named “Hal” trains department members on medical scenarios, all from a wireless pc. Fire officials said Hal is a positive training tool because first responders can see direct results from the treatment they give.

“We give him a scenario and based on the scenario they come in and they start talking to Hal,” said Captain Patrick Talkington. “He can respond back to you verbally. His eyes blink his pupils dilate and so those are things they can actually see first-hand and all those things they really couldn’t get with the traditional manikins that we carry.”

First responders can also use Hal to start iv’s, manage airway, monitor medication administration, listen to breath sounds and monitor EKG’s.

Talkington said he plans to go down to Texas for more training soon. He hopes the department can get another manikin like Hal in the future.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Job Opening – Firefighter/Paramedic – Wellington Fire Department

wellington fire

The Wellington Fire & EMS Department is accepting applications for Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must be currently certified as a Paramedic or will complete Paramedic class in 2016. Applicants must be a certified Firefighter I or the ability to obtain that certification within 12 months. Applicants must attend a functional analysis test or a current CPAT will be accepted. Interviews and functional analysis test will be scheduled shortly after the application deadline. Starting annual salary for a paramedic is $40,533 with a salary step increase after 6 months.
Wellington Fire & EMS employs 18 full time personnel, and two administrative staff. The department responds on an average to 1300 EMS calls and 1100 fire calls annually. Staff work 24 hour shifts and must reside within 15 miles of the fire station within 6 months.
The City of Wellington offers KP& F retirement, 10 paid holidays, vacation, Christmas savings plan, sick time incentive, health insurance and opportunities for overtime.
Apply and review the City of Wellington Firefighter/Paramedic position requirements, at

Application deadline is April 8, 2016 at 5:00 PM.
Contact Tim Hay at 620 326-7443 with any questions concerning this position.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Man burns mail, attracts officers’ attention

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – March 28, 2016

A homeless man who set a small stack of his mail on fire Monday morning in a downtown parking lot attracted the attention of law enforcement officers, who were keeping an eye on the individual for nearly an hour, authorities said.

Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and Topeka firefighters responded to the scene of the small fire around 10:45 a.m. Monday in the north parking lot of the former Los Paisanos bus depot at S.E. 3rd and Quincy.

Police late Monday morning said they already had spent nearly an hour trying to calm the man and offer him help, including mental health services, but the man refused.

Police said they arrived at the parking lot — located directly north across S.E. 3rd Street from the Law Enforcement Center — and were able to put out the small fire by themselves.

Officers said the man was coherent enough to start his fire in the middle of a vacant parking lot so as not to set any structures on fire.

The man walked around the parking lot and near the eastbound Interstate 70 exit ramp to S.E. Monroe as officers stood still. The man occasionally approached officers before retreating.

At one point, the man pulled off his shirt and threw it near where the stack of mail had burned and was still slightly smoldering.

No arrests or injuries had been reported as of 11:40 a.m.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Practical Ladder Work Class

Practical Ladder Work

Click on above flyer to view full-size


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire singes side of Shopko

By Ryan Carlson
Lyons News – March 4, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2016

lyons fire 3282016

Lyons Fire Department, Rice County EMS and Rice County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene of a small fire at Shopko 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

Lyons Fire Chief Brad Reid said the small fire appeared to start because of an improperly disposed cigarette. Reid said it appeared that the area was where employees would go for a smoke break. He said the cigarette caught some pallets on fire and subsequently began burning the grass. The building itself sustained little damage.

Reid said the side was only singed a bit. He said there was no damage to the inside. “We had the fire out within 20 minutes of units arriving on scene,” said Reid.

Reid said this is one of several fires started within the last six months because of an improperly disposed cigarette or other smoking device. He said properly disposing cigarettes is vitally important to keeping everyone safe. He recommended putting cigarettes in an approved container. “You should also step on it to make sure it’s out,” said Reid.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Amid dry weather, firefighters respond to several calls

Marysville Advocate – March 17, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2016

Marysville Volunteer Fire Department had a busy week of calls.

One of the busiest days was March 10 when the department was called to run traffic control at 3:25 a.m. at the scene of a semi-truck wreck at the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and 77 west of Marysville.

The truck driver, who was not injured, had crashed through the barricade on the south side of the junction, said Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Rockwell.

The accident blocked traffic until 5:49 a.m.

Later that day, at 3:43 p.m. firefighters were called to Lincoln Center for a gas leak. At 8:24 p.m. firefighters were called to control a small fire along the right of way off of U.S. 77 at 1380 11th Terrace, south of Marysville.

On Friday, firefighters were called to Landmark Implement, the John Deere dealership west of Marysville. A burn pile of wood boxes and pallets had spread to grass. The blaze, reported at 2:37 p.m., took about an hour to control.

On Saturday, the department was called at 9:45 a.m. to put out a fire on a few trees alongside U.S. 77 north of town about a half mile north of Juniper Road. The trees were ignited from a controlled burn on Friday, Rockwell said.

On Monday, firefighters were called at 2:30 p.m. to 1330 East River Road after a fire briefly flared up from a controlled burn the previous night.

Also Monday, a call came in at 3:17 p.m. about a controlled burn that went out of control on pasture at 1585 West River Road. Firefighters were at the site until 5:30 p.m. At 8 p.m. Monday, five trucks and 16 firefighters responded to another pasture fire at Quail Road and U.S. Highway 77 south of town.

When they arrived, they learned it was a controlled burn, Rockwell said.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Early morning fire destroys home

By Rose Relph
Wilson County Citizen – March 3, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 28, 2016

Photo by Rose Relph

Photo by Rose Relph

An early morning fire Monday destroyed this home at 21878 Decatur in Coyville. The occupants, Mike and Debbie McCarty and their three grandchildren, all escaped without injury, but lost all their belongings. Wilson County rural firefighters were dispatched about 3:15 a.m. Monday and found the home fully engulfed upon arrival. Two tankers and three fire trucks responded. The source of the fire is unknown. Another fire occurred on Tuesday in the same area, believed to be a spot fire from smouldering debris that was blown from the house fire.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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