Archive for July, 2016

Press Release for Captain Mike Schultz – Funeral – LODD

July 29, 2016



Press Release Information.

Funeral for Captain Michael L. Schultz

Chapel Oaks Funeral Home
100 Apache Dr.
Hoyt, KS 66440
Date: July 31, 2016 – Sunday
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Northland Christian Church
3102 NW Topeka Blvd
Topeka, KS 66617
Date: August 1, 2016 – Monday
Time: 10:30am
Procession immediately following to Mayetta Cemetery at 142nd and Q rd

Departments wanting to send Honor Guards should contact Ritchie Ramos at 785-845-0055. Departments wishing to send apparatus should contact Ron Ewing at 620-366-5399.


Michael L. “Mike” Schultz 47, passed away Wednesday, July 27, 2016 from injuries he received while in the line of duty with Hoyt Rural Fire District No. 3.

He was born November 21, 1968 at Rockford, IL., the son of Robert L. and Mary Campbell Schultz. Mike grew up in Winnebago, IL., and graduated from Winnebago High School in 1987. He attended Rock Valley Community College.

Mike lived in the Hoyt community many years. He was a milk truck driver for
S&K Inc. Hoyt. He had worked for Waste Management for the past 23 years. Mike was a Captain with Hoyt Rural Fire District No. 3 and had nearly 25 years of service with the department. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He always supported his children in all of their adventures. He was an avid football fan and enjoyed counting down the days before kickoff. But most of all he was passionate about being a fireman and the fire department. Mike was baptized in 1991 and was a member of the 1st Baptist Church of Hoyt.

On November 17, 1990 he was united in marriage to Mickie Roy at Rockford IL. She survives of the home.

Other survivors include his mother Mary (Martin) Musso, Rockton IL; his children Gabriel (Bailey Fund) Schultz, Hoyt, Megan (Zack Romine) Schultz, Burlingame, Garrett Schultz and Gage Schultz of the home.; his grand-daughter Adelynn; A special step-sister, Triscia Nally, Dixon, IL; two step-brothers and two step-sisters.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Roy “Buddy” and Ruth Campbell.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 A.M. Monday, August 1, 2016 at the Northland Christian Church, 3102 NW Topeka Blvd, Topeka. Interment will be in the Mayetta Cemetery. Mike will lie in state with the family receiving friends from 5:00 until 7:00 P.M. Sunday, July 31, 2016 at Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Hoyt. Memorial contributions may be made to the 1st Baptist Church of Hoyt the Hoyt Rural Fire District No. 3 or Michael Schultz Memorial Fund c/o Denison State Bank, 210 K214 Hwy, P.O. Box 283, Hoyt, Kansas 66440 or Chapel Oaks Funeral Home, Hoyt, Kansas 66440.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Apartment cleared of smoke quickly

By Jessie Wagoner
Emporia Gazette – July 29, 2016

At 10:34 a.m. Friday, Emporia Fire Department was called to 520 Oak Street, Apartment B, for a possible structure fire.

“Upon arrival (we) found the occupant outside,” EFD Batallion Chief Rich Gould said. “She stated she took the trash out and the door locked behind her, leaving her outside with food cooking on the stove in her apartment.”

Fire crews made entry and found light smoke in the apartment. No fire was reported. The food was removed and the stove turned off. Smoke was cleared from the structure and air quality readings were checked prior to allowing occupants back into the structure. No injuries were reported as a result of this incident.


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Jackson Co. Sheriff calls firefighter’s death “a tragic loss” w/video

By Carrie Larsen
WIBW – July 29, 2016

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Friends and first responders across the state are remembering a Hoyt volunteer firefighter who was killed in a wreck on Highway 75 Wednesday.

“This is something that knocks the wind out of you,” said Jackson Co. Sheriff Tim Morse.

Sheriff Morse says he responded to several calls with Michael Schultz and Randy Smith over the years and knows them well. He never thought he’d respond to a call where they were the victims.

“It’s a lot different when you’re responding to one of your own. One that you work with day in and day out,” he said.

On Wednesday, around 5:00 p.m., Schultz and Smith, two volunteer firefighters in Hoyt, were on their way to Holton for the Jackson Co. Fair Parade, when a tire blew and they lost control of the tanker truck.

“The report came out that the truck had left the highway and then rolled,” said Sheriff Morse.

Kansas Highway Patrol confirms the men weren’t wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Schultz was ejected from the vehicle.

A witness told 13 NEWS Schultz received CPR until emergency personnel arrived, but died shortly after.

Smith suffered serious injuries, but Sheriff Morse says he’s recovering.

“I went to speak with him last night. He’s severely injured, but we’re hoping for the best,” said Sheriff Morse.

On Thursday, Hoyt Fire Chief Ed Kester released a statement saying Smith is doing better and has the possibility of being released from Stormont-Vail Thursday night.

Hoyt community members say they’re praying for the best.

“It was a hard blow to the community,” said Frank Winter, a retired Mayetta firefighter.

Winter said he used worked alongside Schultz.

“We had Mike in our department for a while. He seemed to be an alright guy,” said Winter.

Sheriff Morse also said Schultz was a good person. He commended both men for their dedication to the job.

“They’ve been actively involved in firefighting for a number of years. I’ve responded to numerous incidents with them over the years. They’re fine men and they’ve given a lot to our community,” said Sheriff Morse.


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Fire damages east Wichita home

KAKE – July 29, 2016

Click on each photo to view full-size.

Click on each photo to view full-size.

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Investigators are working to determine what sparked a house fire Friday morning in east Wichita.

Crews were called around 7:30 a.m. to the report of a fire in the 200 block of South Oliver, near Douglas. Battalion Chief Andy Cole said they arrived to find smoke pouring from the attic area.

Firefighters cut a hole in the roof to get to the fire and get it extinguished. Cole said the attic was a total loss, and crews were working to salvage the main floor and its contents.

Everyone made it out of the home safely.


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Battalion chief: Lightning believed to be cause of SW Wichita motel fire

KWCH – July 29, 2016

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The fire to a southwest Wichita motel is out with no injuries reported. Wichita Battalion Chief Sid Newby says lightning is believed to have caused the blaze reported a little after 9 p.m. Thursday at the Western Holiday motel at West Kellogg and Tyler, although a cause has not been confirmed.

Newby says the fire was contained to two rooms of the motel. He says the motel was occupied, but the rooms affected were not. The motel fire was just one scene of a busy night for fire crews.

“We had three separate house fires that came in during the same time period, so we have a modified response during the storm, where we don’t send as many units,” Newby says. “We had the first unit here come from downtown, so we were spread really thin. (The first crews) did an excellent job, went in and held it in check until they got help.”

The fire displaced three occupants of the motel.


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Kayakers find body in Arkansas River w/video

By Angela McLaurin
KWCH – July 29, 2016

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Wichita police say kayakers in the Arkansas River found a body around 2:15 p.m. Fire crews working to get to a sandbar to retrieve it.

Crews don’t have an age or gender on the body, and they don’t know how long it’s been in the river.

Police say the river is calm and safe right now so fire crews shouldn’t have a problem getting to the body.

Police say once the body is recovered, it will be taken to the Sedgwick County coroner’s office where identity and cause of death will be determined.
Wichita fire crews have found a body in the Arkansas River, near Pawnee & Broadway.

Our news partners at KFDI are reporting that traffic through Herman Hill Park is blocked.

The location is about five miles south of where Seminarian Brian Bergkamp went missing following a kayaking accident on July 9.

Emergency crews are in the very preliminary stages of their recovery efforts. No links have been made to this latest discovery and Bergkamp’s death.

Eyewitness New reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita where daily masses have been held for Bergkamp, to see if they had been notified by law enforcement about the recovery effort.

“I wanted to let you all know that from a diocesan perspective all we can do is wait and pray and trust in God’s plan,” said Amy Pavlacka, the diocesan spokesperson.


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Kansas town holds event to thank its first responders w/video

KMBC – July 29, 2016


From Dallas and Baton Rouge to Kansas City, Kansas, tragedies have struck the nation’s law enforcement community in recent weeks.

The people of Wellsville, Kansas, took time out Thursday to thank the first responders who serve their small community.

“In the community of Wellsville, you guys exemplify what love is all about,” said the Rev. Scott Dickinson.

People came together in the middle of Main Street to hold hands and support the firefighters, police officers and EMS teams that hold Wellsville together.

“Just praying over them to make sure they’re safe,” said Wellsville resident Kelly Sturdevant.

“Seven years ago last week, my son was killed by a drunk driver out here on the highway,” said resident Dennis Kichler. “These guys were here for me. They were my brothers and sisters.”

With the understanding that recent tragedies touch the hearts of all who serve, people in Wellsville decided to give thanks and a hug to the first responders known in their town as family and known on a first-name basis.

“We do care,” Sturdevant said. “We’re there for them. We have their backs.”


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Crews contain house fire in N. Wichita

KWCH – July 28, 2016

Click on each photo to view full-size.

Click on each photo to view full-size.

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Wichita fire officials say crews responded to a report of a house fire with a person trapped a little before 4 p.m. Thursday in the 2400 block of N. Hood, northwest of 21st and Arkansas.

When crews arrived, officials say the back of the house was fully engulfed in flames. An occupant was already out of the home when crews arrived, but the person was transported to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Investigators haven’t determined how the fire started, but officials say there is extensive damage.


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11-year-old Kansas boy dies in ATV accident

Hays Post – July 28, 2016

A Kansas boy died in an accident just after 11 a.m. on Thursday in Greenwood County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a Polaris ATV driven by Blake D. Stapleford, 11, Fall River, was southbound in the field on the west side of Road GG six miles south of U.S. 54.

The driver turned hard to the right. The ATV went up on two wheels, rolled over and landed on top of the driver.

Stapleford was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Koup Funeral Home.


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Kansas man dies in motorcycle accident

Hays Post – July 28, 2016

A Kansas man died in an accident just after 9a.m. on Thursday in Cloud County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle driven by Timothy Paul Jarrard, 49, Miltonvale, was southbound on 260th Road at Bell just southeast of Miltonvale.

The driver lost control of the motorcycle. It overturned and slid through intersection.

Jarrard was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Chaput Funeral Home.


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Michael Lee Schultz


volunteer firefighter

Name: Michael Lee Schultz
Rank: Captain

Age: 47

Gender: Male

Status: Volunteer

Years of Service: 27

Date of Incident: 07/27/2016

Time of Incident: 1700hrs

Date of Death: 07/27/2016

Fire Department: Hoyt Rural Fire District #3

Address: 202 E 4th St, Hoyt, KS 66440
Fire Department Chief: Ed Kester

Incident Description: Captain Schultz was killed when the tanker he was operating lost a front tire and crashed off of the roadway, rolling over several times. A second firefighter was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The pair of firefighters were on their way to a county fair parade when the fatal crash occurred.

Incident Location: US 75 and 166th Rd, Mayetta, KS 66509

Tribute is being paid to Captain Michael Lee Schultz at

More information will be posted as it becomes available.


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Hays Fire Department responds to fire at Pasta Jay’s

By James Bell
Hays Post – July 28, 2016

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Around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Hays Fire Department responded to a fire inside the east wall at the construction site of Pasta Jay’s in the 4300 block of Vine.

According to scanner traffic, embers from welding on the outside of the building caught fire inside the exterior wall.

Construction workers used a hose to get water inside the wall and no flames or smoke was visible as fire fighters arrived.

After arriving, members of the HFD ran a water line and checked outside and inside the wall for fire and continued spraying water into an opening on the exterior wall.

By around 6:30 p.m., no remaining signs of a fire were detected either inside or outside of the building.

HFD was already on the scene of a structure fire at 1605 E. 27th which was called in about 5:53 p.m. No flames or smoke were seen upon the crew’s arrival. Early reports indicate there was a fire in a bathroom and all occupants were out of the building. The last fire crew left the scene at 7:04 p.m.


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EMS woes dominate budget discussion

By Phyllis Zorn
Hillsboro Star Journal – July 28, 2016

Marion County is far from alone in searching for better ways to provide emergency medical services to county residents

“Rural health care is at a true crossroads,” Newton fire chief Mark Willis said in an email. “Not just EMS but rural hospitals and health care access in general are facing an unprecedented crisis.”

In Newton, EMS is a branch of the fire department. All personnel are trained both as firefighters and EMTs or paramedics.

“Of our allocated 50 full-time positions, currently we have 26 paramedics, three advanced EMTs, and the remainder of our personnel are basic EMTs,” Willis said. “The ambulance dispatched on every EMS call has a minimum of one paramedic and one EMT.”

Marion County relies heavily on volunteers paid $2 per hour to be on call and a higher pay for ambulance runs, but the formula for payment on a run is complex.

Since January, the Marion ambulance crew has lost three members and replaced one, leaving five to cover the city. One who left for retirement was Gene Winkler, who put in 500 to 600 hours monthly and last year was paid $13,069.50. Of the other two who resigned, Brandy McCarty was paid $8,795.65 last year and Shannon James was paid $14,018.52 last year.

County commissioners are contemplating hiring six full-time and two part-time EMS crew members in 2017. Debesis said they would be assigned to Marion but that will require housing arrangements so they can stay overnight while on duty.

Hillsboro has 11 EMTs, paramedics, and first responders. Still, even there, the bulk of the work is done by a few.

Terry David, whom commissioners hired as a consultant in November, told commissioners in January that the county’s system of using paid volunteers in five stations is not sustainable.

“The number of volunteers that are on the roster versus the number who actually cover call is quite different, and given the new educational requirements of EMS personnel, there will be continued struggles to find and keep qualified people,” David wrote to commissioners.

Transfers to out-of-town hospitals take a lot of time for EMS and are technically not required, since federal law puts the responsibility for transfers on hospitals. Terry said if EMS discontinued handling transfers, the decision would have “significant financial impact to the business of EMS, as transfers can be a major portion of revenue for an EMS budget.”

Debesis agreed the service would lose a lot of money if it made the hospitals find their own transport services.

Hospitals in Hillsboro and Marion were supportive of using off-duty nurses to assist with transfers.

Another issue in providing EMS in rural counties is the cost of training, he said.

“What is being encountered there is happening all over rural Kansas,” Willis said. “Initial certification and ongoing re-certification processes are expensive and time-consuming; the demands on the EMS providers are greater than ever.

“Volunteerism in general is on the decline, not just in emergency services. The mandate of governing bodies to ‘do more with less’ is difficult to accomplish as our population gets older and demands for service are ever-increasing.”

Marion County recently agreed to help with training costs for two employees and looks to develop a standard policy on helping with training.


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Fire consumes $90,000 of alfalfa

By Oliver Good
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – July 28, 2016

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A rural hayshed erupted in flames, destroying 700 alfalfa bales, a tractor, and the structure itself at 5:15 a.m. Thursday near Durham.

When Warren Unruh, owner of the shed, learned of the fire, he sent his 21-year-old son, Nathan, to see whether there was any chance to save anything.

“I rushed over,” Warren Unruh said. “I thought maybe we could get a few bails out, but there was no way.”

Warren Unruh is a Roxbury firefighter. Tampa and Durham firefighters also responded.

“We didn’t put a gallon of water on it,” he said. “It was too far gone. We just kind of sat there and watched. After a while, the other departments left.”

Left with two 1,000-gallon trucks, Unruh and family monitored the fire. It burned all day Thursday, most of Friday, and continued to smolder until Monday.

“Luckily the building held together and the roof stayed on, which was fortunate because it helped keep the embers from spreading,” he said. “There was a wheat stubble field nearby.”

Unruh estimated the loss at up to $182,000, including $80,000 to $100,000 of alfalfa, $10,000 to $12,000 for a 1970’s model John Deere tractor with a front loader, and about $70,000 for the charred shed they built 1½ years ago.

“You think about dollar loss, but you also think about all the time in the field, all the late hours and nights worked,” Unruh said. “My brother, Mark, and I are in a partnership. We lost a whole summer’s worth of work. It’s hard to imagine how many hours we put in.”

Unruh said a state fire marshal told him the fire could have been caused by arson, a short in the tractor, or a wet spot in alfalfa that started to smolder.

“We always try to do the right thing and test the bails for problems,” Unruh said.

“It’s just a big headache to get it all cleaned up, and you don’t know what to do, rebuild it or leave it be.”


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Battalion Chief Gartner retires after 26 years

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – July 28, 2016

Parsons Battalion Chief Rob Gartner worked his last shift at the Parsons Fire Department Wednesday after 26 years of total service.

Gartner began duties in October 1981 and worked for nine years before exploring other career paths. He returned to the fire department on April 4, 2000, a couple of weeks before the tornado in Parsons. He has served as a firefighter, driver, relief officer, captain and has been a battalion chief since 2011.

Gartner is a graduate of Labette County High School, received an associate’s degree from Labette Community College in fire science and earned a certificate in electrical technology in 1997 from Pittsburg State University. He has worked as an electrician and now works part-time for the Labette County Appraiser’s Office as a field data collector. Firefighters work a 24-hour shift and then have two days off because the department has three shifts of firefighters. Some firefighters choose to hold part-time jobs on the days off.

Gartner said in retirement he will continue to work. He and his wife, Jenny, will have three kids in college, as Erica begins college classes next month at Bemidji, Minnesota.

Gartner said the time was right for his retirement.

“I would hear the old guys say, ‘You’ll know when it’s time to be done.’ And I know.”

In the last six to nine months, he found that he wanted to be home in the evenings and on weekends. He was off work for surgery in March and enjoyed the time at home.

“It was really nice being home in the evening. It’s not that I don’t want to be here to help people, that’s not the issue. It’s just my time. It’s just time to go. It’s true. What they say is true,” Gartner said.

“It’s been a good job. I love doing it.”

He said he will take a break after his last shift. Soon he will get Erica settled at college.

“Then we’ll see what happens after that.”

His wife, Jenny, still teaches at Labette County High School.

“My wife told me the other day, ‘Now remember, I said when we got married that some day me and you are traveling,’” he said.

He said she won’t be retiring any time soon, though.

Gartner has enjoyed his work as a firefighter and has grown close to his co-workers.

“I grew up here. I started here when I was 19. We’re a family. You’re with the guys 24 hours a day. You sleep in the room with them. Yes, we’re big, tough firefighters, or we’re supposed to be, but we also look out for each other. That’s the kind of stuff that’s memorable to me.

“You’re part of something that’s really good. You take care of each other. When you go out and do a job, whether it’s a fire or a medical call, and those people are grateful that you’ve been there and helped them, there’s nothing more satisfying than that.”

He said it was an eye-opener for him to ride in the front seat of the fire truck as a battalion chief — the guy who is supposed to have the answers.

A fire earlier this year had flames shooting 40 feet in the air in the downtown area. He said his thoughts while responding and seeing the flames were “what am I going to do?”

“That’s when your training and your experience and your reliance on your guys kicks in. I got a good group of guys on my shift. I give them some instruction and say this is what we’ve got to go do and then it gets done. It’s not me that did it, it’s them that did it. Just give them a little bit of direction and let them go,” Gartner said.

An instructor many years ago offered similar advice about fire response. The instructor was a captain in Lawrence and his department was responding to a fire at a historic building on the University of Kansas campus. As he approached and saw smoke rolling from the building, he told his class that he put his head on the steering wheel of the fire truck and wondered what he was going to do. The instructor said he took 10 seconds to collect his thoughts and his training kicked in for the proper response.

“To me that was an eye-opener. You never think about that but when you’re the first guy there and you’re the guy they pin everything on, there’s lots of things to think about and there’s a lot of things to do, but you trust your guys,” Gartner said.

He said he will miss working with his shift-mates: Capt. Darren Lubbers, Tom Jackson, Alan Hucke, Daniel Russell and Devin Bohrer. Lubbers will be the new battalion chief and Ryan Schibi will move up to captain.

Gartner has learned a lot from fellow firefighters and has enjoyed his interaction with the citizens of Parsons during his tenure.

“I love going out and talking to people.”

But he won’t miss the cleaning work firefighters are expected to do in the two fire houses in Parsons.

“I just appreciate the guys I’ve worked with. They’ve all been contributors to me personally some way or the other. That’s from day one to tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.”


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Investigation continues as fire destroys hay barn

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – July 28, 2016

Photos by John Robinson/Emporia Gazette. Click on each photo to view full-size.

Photos by John Robinson/Emporia Gazette. Click on each photo to view full-size.

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Lyon County deputies are investigating after a hay barn went up in flames north of Neosho Rapids on Wednesday.

Deputy Chuck Moore says deputies and firefighters from Hartford-Neosho Rapids, Miller and Reading were toned out to 1827 Road Z, about six miles northeast of Neosho Rapids, shortly after 1 pm. The barn, owned by Jeffrey Hodges, was fully engulfed in flames when authorities arrived.

The decision was made to let the fire burn itself out. That process continued well into the night and was exacerbated when the hay rekindled after 10 pm. Fire crews were not sent out, however, because the fire is considered contained.

At this stage, it’s unclear where the fire started in the barn and why. No injuries have been reported.


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Plymell man injured in boom lift accident

Garden City Telegram – July 28, 2016

A Plymell man was injured Tuesday after he fell from the bucket of an extended boom lift that then tipped over on top of him.

According to the Finney County Sheriff’s Office, Greg Hands, 65, was using the boom lift to trim trees near his home at 2255 W. Plymell Road at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, when the boom lift became unstable, causing him to fall from the bucket to the ground and the equipment to fall on top of him and pin him to the ground.

Garden City Fire Department personnel extricated Hands from the equipment, and he was transported by Life Team helicopter to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

According to a hospital official, Hands was in stable condition in the surgical intensive care unit as of Wednesday afternoon.


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Candle believed to be the cause of Wednesday house fire

Hays Post – July 28, 2016

At 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, City of Hays emergency dispatchers received a 911 call reporting a building fire at 1605 East 27th Street. They immediately dispatched the City of Hays Fire Department, assisted by Ellis County EMS and the City of Hays Police Department.

On arrival firefighters found a small fire in the bathroom of a single family dwelling. Firefighters used a fire extinguisher to control the fire. A fire hydrant water supply was established and one fire hose was advanced as a precaution while firefighters checked for hidden fire spread in the ceiling and walls.

The most probable cause of the fire was the careless use of a candle. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage. There were no injuries.

While firefighters were operating at this alarm, a second building fire was dispatched and some fire crews were released to respond to the second fire.

Fifteen firefighters staffing four fire trucks responded. The last fire crew left the scene at 6:57 PM.


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One killed, two hurt in Sumner County crash

Wellington Daily News – July 28, 2016

Photo by Will Ravenstein

Photo by Will Ravenstein

Wellington Fire and EMS along with Sumner County Sheriffs, Winfield EMS and Oxford EMS responded to a two vehicle accident east of the US160 and Greenwich Road intersection, Wednesday afternoon.

Both vehicles sustained heavy damage. Two occupants were trapped while a third victim was able to get out of one of the vehicles.

Wellington and Oxford Fire worked together to extricate the two trapped occupants according to a press release from Wellington Fire Department.

Of the two trapped, one person died on the scene while the other and the third accident victim sustained injuries.

Both survivors were transported to Sumner Regional Medical Center, with minor and serious injuries respectively.


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Hoyt Fire Tanker truck crashes on Highway 75

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – July 27, 2016


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Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on each photo to view full-size.

Click on each photo to view full-size.

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A tanker truck from Hoyt Fire went off the road and into a ditch, just north of 166th Rd., outside of Mayetta. The highway has been reduced to a single lane in both directions.

Authorities have not confirmed the extent of injuries but initial reports had 2 people with serious injuries..

KHP and the Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office are working the scene.



Hoyt firefighters were on their way to a parade in Holton on Wednesday when an accident occurred.

Kansas Highway Patrol crash logs said 47-year-old Michael Schultz was killed around 5 p.m. Wednesday night in Jackson County after an accident on U.S. 75. 36-year-old Randy Smith was in the truck with Schultz. He was sent to the hospital.

The truck Schultz was driving blew a tire and crossed the opposite lanes of traffic, hitting an embankment and rolling over.

On Wednesday night, Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse posted on Facebook asking for prayers and stating that a “tragic accident” had occurred.


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Rob Gartner Retires

Parsons Sun – July 27, 2016

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Parsons Battalion Chief Rob Gartner retires after his shift ends Thursday morning from the Parsons Fire Department after 26 years of service. He is pictured with his son, Ryan, his wife, Jenny, and daughter, Erica, at a retirement reception at Parsons Municipal Building. The reception was to end at 4 p.m. today.


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Humboldt Fire Department receives donation, training

By Heather Bosler
Humboldt Union – July 21, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – July 27, 2016

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The Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) received training in grain engulfment and rescue from lead instructor Sean Price and Ed Morrison, of Coffeyville, Monday, July 18.

The training was provided courtesy of Beachner Grain and took place on the University of Kansas Grain Engulfment trainer truck.

HVFD volunteers and Beachner Grain facility management joined together for the three-hour class to learn about the necessary precautions in the event of a grain bin engulfment fire.

According to instructor Price, it only takes approximately two to three seconds to become entrapped in flowing grain, and another ten seconds for an adult to be totally submerged.

Attendees boarded the mobile grain engulfment simulation trailer, which was designed to simulate grain entrapment and train first responders in how to rescue victims.

This customized truck includes a grain bin, hopper, and an assortment of rescue tools and equipment designed to help rescue victims from dangerous situations.

Whether entrapment occurs from the collapse of grain walls, bridged grain or grain kernels stuck together to form a crusted ceiling, or entrapment in flowing grain, these are critical situations where time is limited, locating victims is often difficult, and rescue is treacherous.

Beachner Grain also donated cofferdams, or grain engulfment rescue tubes, to the HVFD.

Each tube section acts as a shield so that the grain, which is pressing against the victim, can be removed. Once the grain level is reduced, the victim can be pulled out safely.


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Profiles in Red: Keith Matlock

By Steve McBride
Independence Daily Reporter – July 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – July 27, 2016


Name: Keith Matlock

Title: Firefighter/Paramedic on the first shift

Born: Lyons, Kansas

Education: Home schooled in youth; graduated from Independence Community College with EMT/EMTI certification; graduate of Hutchinson Community College with associate’s degree in fire science; Coffeyville Community College graduate with associate’s in paramedicine.

Family: Gayle, his wife, and their five children – Cole, 12, James 11, Brooklynn, 10, Oliver, 5 and Henry, 4.

Hobbies: Being outside, hunting, remodeling his house and spending time with the kids; in the spring and summer, the kids are involved in soccer.

For someone that didn’t like school, Keith Matlock has chosen a profession that keeps him constantly learning and furthering his education–and he couldn’t be happier.

He is currently working on obtaining his credentials to teach that will will take him the next two years to complete.

Matlock added that he took his education to Kansas University via online classes, as well as Butler College. When he isn’t studying and working at the department, he enjoys spending vacation with his family. They recently took a trip to the Ozark Scenic Riverway.

“The kids really enjoyed it and it was educational at the same time,” he said.

When on the clock, though, there is never anytime to be bored on his job.

“We are constantly doing something, even in our downtime. We rotate out on the ambulance. That means that on every call, we have a different medic so that it doesn’t burn us out. The same is for the fire truck runs,” he said.

Matlock described how he personally felt that the department “has done such a good job” of fire prevention that the city doesn’t have too many fires.

“That is a good thing unless your job requires you to have fires, then it’s not,” says Matlock with a laugh. He added that since he has been on the first shift for the last three years, he has only responded to five actual structure fires. “The second shift seems to get them all the time,” Matlock said.

He believes that fighting fires and handling EMS calls all seem to come in waves.

“Sometimes we are going to be busy with calls, then there are times that we only have one call between 48 hours. You learn to dread that third day, because you know that it is going to break out with a rash of calls,” he said.

His family is particularly proud of his career and continued education, especially his children.

“When I was in paramedic school, I was home for one day and gone to school for two days. I would walk into the house and the kids would be riding their ‘wiggle racers’ around the house. They would pass by long enough to say, ‘Hi Dad.’ I would tell them to give me a kiss and hug as I had to go work, or back to school, and they’d be off again,” he said, chuckling.

The kids also enjoy seeing the fire trucks and being able to come see him at the fire station.

“Kids don’t grow up in the fire station like they use to, but they do get excited when they see us pull up at the school and all the students gather around. I think that is when they like the fact that dad is a firefighters,” said Matlock.

Before he became a firefighter, he described how, when he was in high school, he had an interest in becoming a police officer.

“I remember the years of wondering and praying about where the Lord wanted me to go. It was in 2006 that I was reading a passage in the Bible, in the book of Jude, verse 23, that said, ‘snatch others from the fire and save them.’ I know that the message is about something else, but it spoke to me about the direction that I was supposed to go,” he said.

In 2007, he enrolled in school to be an EMT at ICC. In August of that year, he attempted to apply for a position at the Independence Fire Department, but was not accepted at the time.

“I moved to Hutchinson in 2008 to go to school when the Independence Fire Department called me a month later and offered me a job,” said Matlock, adding that he eventually came back to Independence to join the department.

“You always have that one call that sticks in your head. Sometimes it will be someone that comes up and thanks you for being there. Other times, it’s because of things that you have seen,” said Matlock. “There have been a few calls that I have awoken in the middle of the night because their nightmares of seeing things that unless you are in a profession like this, you will never see. There are those calls that when they are over, you look back and say I made a difference in that person’s life and there are others that you question whether you were of any help in that situation. For me, I know that this is where God has called me to be.”

He reflected on the experience of when he walks in the door of a person’s residence that is suffering from trauma of some sorts.

“To see the relief on that person’s face knowing that they are believing in you to do what needs to be done–to take care of them and all the while you are going through your own apprehension. You have to remain strong and confident in what you are doing,” said Matlock.

He has future plans of applying as a medic on the local SWAT team.

Ironically, Matlock was an outstanding newspaper carrier for the Reporter in 1997 through 2002. His photo was used on many Reporter circulation ads during that time.


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One dead in morning apartment fire w/video

KSN – July 27, 2016

Video 654

One person has died after an apartment fire in southeast Wichita.

Fire crews were initially called out to an apartment fire in the 9200 block of East Harry, near Harry and Webb, after a maintenance person first smelled smoke.

When fire crews arrived, they did not find an obvious fire, so they had to go searching through the Buttonwood Tree Apartment complex.

“They exited their rigs and started walking through the courtyards located the apartment from the ground, redirected and was able to initiate the fire attack,” said Battalion Chief Matt Bowen, Wichita Fire Department.

Investigators are still determining what caused the fire and have not yet identified the victim. The coroner is also on scene to begin the investigation into the cause of death.

Several neighbors in the area said they smelled smoke and came out to see what was going on.


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Leslie Eugene “Gene” Davis


Leslie Eugene “Gene” Davis passed away at Seiling Municipal Hospital on July 18, 2016. He was the son of William Curtis and Anna Godfrey Davis. He was born in Kansas City, KS on May 18,1935. He served in the US Army 82nd Airborne Division from 1958-1960. Gene was a volunteer fireman in Olathe, KS beginning in 1960, and he worked his way through the ranks to fire chief. He retired from the Olathe fire department in 1977. Gene then moved to Oklahoma where he worked for Phillips Petroleum as a stationary engine mechanic, and he retired from Phillips in 2000. He worked many jobs in the past several years including the The Dewey County Record and the Seiling Post Office. He enjoyed helping anyone in need.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two sons; Leslie Eugene Davis Jr. and Kenneth Eugene Davis. He is survived by his wife, Donna Misener Davis; his brother Jack Davis and wife Ruth of Gardner, KS; his daughter Darla Shane and husband John of Kirbyville, TX; stepdaughter Julie VanDeburgh and husband Craig of Medford, OK and stepson Scott Butler and wife Jayme of Arvada, CO. His grandchildren are Leslie Daniel Davis and wife Annie of League City, TX; Sheila Gordon and husband Mark of Olathe, KS; Andrew and Garrett VanDeburgh of Medford, OK and Logan Butler and Samantha Butler of Arvada, CO. Also he has one great granddaughter, Gabrielle Gordon of Olathe, KS and many nieces, nephews, other family members and loved ones.

Private family burial will take place at Brumfield Cemetery in Seiling, OK on Thursday, July 21st. Visitation for friends and family will be at Redinger Funeral Home in Seiling, OK on Thursday, July 21st, from 4-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or your favorite charity.


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Hoisington approves purchase of new ‘Jaws of Life’

By Veronica Coons
Great Bend Tribune – July 27, 2016

Hoisington City Council members approved the purchase of a new ‘jaws of life’ extraction unit by the Hoisington Fire Department at the meeting Monday. Previously, Hoisington EMS was responsible for the extraction unit, but when the new ambulance arrived, EMS Director Scott Fleming realized there would not be room for the old unit on the new vehicle.
Fleming met with Fire Chief Jerry Stricker, and the two departments began hashing out what to do. The older ambulance has an extraction unit on it, but its primary use is to conduct transports out of the area. The new ambulance will be used primarily for emergencies in the area. Hoisington Fire deploys one unit to automobile accidents in the area, so it was a natural choice to mount the extraction unit on a fire department vehicle, Stricker said. Maintenance will not be a problem, he added, as it will be added to the ongoing maintenance schedule already implemented.
But the older extraction equipment wasn’t an easy fit for the fire department either. In fact, it would not fit inside any of the trucks, so Sticker and volunteer firefighter Shane Anderek began pricing new equipment, and presented their findings and recommendation to the council Monday night.
The old equipment was purchased in the 1980s, and is still in good condition, but the newer equipment will take up about half as much space and will weigh considerably less. Mounting brackets will also likely be needed to ensure the equipment doesn’t bounce around inside the truck.
After comparing three units from three dealers who operate inside Kansas, Andereck recommended the city purchase one by Homatro. Two features stood out, he said. The cutters and spreaders have built-in LED lights that would be helpful at night in rural areas where lighting is unreliable. The Holmatro unit also has the option to use color coded hoses which include “hose inside a hose” that will make it easier for responders to keep track of what equipment to use. Also, spreaders and cutters can be used at the same time, rather than having to switch from one to the other, which could save valuable time during an extraction.
Wilborn moved to purchase the Holmatro unit from Conrad Fire, the only Kansas based company of the three, for $19,260, to come from the special equipment fund. Van Brimmer seconded and the purchase was approved.

New truck needed
The department will begin looking into buying a newer truck in the very near future, council members learned, after one of its pumpers died over the weekend. For this reason, Stricker asked that the funds for the new extraction equipment come from the special equipment fund, rather than the department’s truck replacement fund. There is already over $100,000 in the fund that has been socked away over the past few decades from contributions set aside since the 1980s by townships in the service area and matched by the City of Hoisington.
Still, the new truck will cost the city upwards of $350,000, Stricker said. That is for the vehicle only. Equipment on the expired truck, however, can be transferred to the new vehicle when it is delivered.
The department is only in the preliminary stages of gathering information and estimates on a new truck, and will present their findings at a future meeting. The fire department has a total of three pumpers, with one kept in the city at all times, and two for responding to rural fires. In the meantime, it will rely on its remaining 1996 pumper and mutual aid, Stricker said.
A new truck will need to be ordered soon, as it could take up to a year for it to be delivered. That’s a concern because it was two years ago that the department was inspected and it’s ISO rating set at five, Stricker said. He has also recently learned that the frequency of inspections is expected to increase from almost every 10 years to every five years.
Without that pumper, the rating could go up, which would mean an increase in homeowners insurance costs for area residents.


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Fire destroys home of Salina family

By Erin Mathews
Salina Journal – July 27, 2016

An early morning fire Monday extensively damaged the Salina home of a family that received a national award for adopting vulnerable youth in 2012.

Gary and Janice Meyer were asleep at home with their six children when a 19-year-old daughter noticed the blaze and awakened the family at about 2:20 a.m. Monday, Salina Fire Department investigator Troy Long said.

Everyone escaped safely, but the home at 1304 Arlington may be a total loss, Long said.

Long said the cause of the fire remains undetermined, but it began in the area of a deck outside the house and spread into the attic, kitchen and other living spaces of the home.

Long said the teen who discovered the flames reported hearing a sound “like 1,000 mice upstairs running around” and saw flames out a window when she came up from the basement to investigate. He said smoke detectors in the home also sounded.

Long said the family includes one child who is blind and one who uses a wheelchair. He said he understands that the family’s church, Calvary Apostolic Church, is renting rooms temporarily for the family to stay.


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Man rescued from submerged vehicle in Butler County

KWCH – July 26, 2016

Photo by Bob Sage. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Bob Sage. Click on photo to view full-size.

Rescue crews were able to safely get a man out of a vehicle in the Little Walnut River in Butler County Tuesday afternoon.

Dispatchers say the submersion call came in at 3:33 p.m. Tuesday. Butler County EMS, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas Fire and Rescue and the Augusta Safety Department responded to the scene.

Dispatchers say one man was inside a vehicle that had been swept into the river after he tried to drive across a low water bridge, which had water running over it. The bridge is near Southwest River Valley Road.

The man was safely pulled from the water a little before 4 p.m. Dispatchers say the man was checked out by EMS as a precaution but was not transported to the hospital.


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Woman dies in Bonner Springs house fire

KMBC – July 26, 2016

A house fire in Bonner Springs late Monday killed a mother of three, investigators said.

The fire broke out shortly before 9 p.m. While investigators said it was largely contained to the small home’s bedroom, thick black smoke filled the house as the fire spread.

“It was very, very heavy,” said neighbor Sharon Martin. “Shortly after the fire department got here, of course, they were working their hoses (and I saw) flames. I mean, the flames just really came up.”

She said friends living next door tried going in to save the woman, but heat and smoke made that impossible.

“Just heartbreaking, that’s all I can say,” Martin said. “I just wished we could have got in and got her.”

Police said they’re waiting for an autopsy to determine how the woman died, but they don’t believe her death or the fire are suspicious. They said the woman might have been sleeping or suffering from a medical condition when the fire started.

The woman’s name has not been released because officials have not contacted all her relatives.


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60 barrels of oil lost in tank fire

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – July 26, 2016

About 60 barrels of oil were lost in a tank battery fire Saturday night north of Arkansas City.

The Arkansas City fire/EMS department was called to 9118 242nd Road at 7:10 p.m., according to Fire/EMS chief Bobby Wolfe.

Three tanks were involved in the fire, two 10,000-gallon oil tanks and a smaller saltwater tank. The tanks were used to store oil brought up by an oil well.

Firefighters had to use Class B foam to help put out the fire. Wolfe said the foam helps break down petrochemicals, as water alone will not work to put out this kind of fire.

The fire was brought under control fairly quickly, but firefighters were on the scene for about three hours to monitor the scene.

For safety reasons, traffic on 242nd Road was blocked starting at 71st Road while the fire was going on, according to a Cowley County sheriff’s deputy at the scene Saturday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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EMS Supervisor Named Finalist for State Award

At the July 25 Edwardsville City Council meeting, Fire Chief Tim Whitham announced that EMS Supervisor Tony Burr is a finalist for the Kansas Emergency Medical Service Association’s (KEMSA) EMS Supervisor of the Year Award. To be considered for the Administrator of the Year the candidate must be a member in good standing with KEMSA, and receive a recommendation or nomination by a peer in the Emergency Medical Services field. The individual must have made a significant contribution to the EMS Administration on a local, state or national level.

KEMSA will announce the winner of the EMS Supervisor Award, as well as other distinctions, at its annual “Honoring Our Own” Awards Banquet in August. KEMSA honors individuals and organizations in Kansas who have made significant contributions to EMS through various means.


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Morning house fire quickly contained

By Sandra J. Milburn
Hutchinson News – July 26, 2016

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

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

hutchinson fire 7262016b

Multiple units with the Hutchinson Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 314 W.11th Ave. at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Smoke billowed out of the home as firefighters entered the structure. One person was being treated for possible smoke inhalation. The fire was contained to the basement and was reported out by 9:15 a.m.


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FEAK/FMAK Fire Prevention Week In a Box Mini-Grants


Good morning. The Fire Education Association of Kansas and the Fire Marshal’s Association of Kansas are again teaming up to offer Fire Prevention Week In A Box mini-grants (materials for 100 adults and 100 children). FEAK and FMAK will award up to five mini-grants to Kansas fire departments, agencies or organizations with a need and passion for fire prevention.

Mini-grant information:

· Fire Prevention Week in a Box contents are at Click on the “More Details” tab for a list of all materials included with the box.


· Submit application by mail, fax or email.

o Mail app to Mike Hall, 1225 S. Hamilton Circle, Olathe, Kansas 66061;

o Fax app to 913-971-7982; or,

o Email app to

· Applications must be received by August 22, 2016, at 5 p.m.

· Mini-grant awardees will be notified by August 26.

Please contact me with questions.

Take care,

Mike, President, FEAK


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One killed, one critically injured in motorcycle crash

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – July 26, 2016

One person is dead and another critically injured after a motorcycle crash in Sedgwick County.

Lieutenant Keith Allen with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, someone called 911 saying they saw a motorcycle in a ditch near 83rd street South and Hillside.

When deputies responded, they found two men who were thrown from the motorcycle.

One man was pronounced dead on scene. The other man was taken to St. Francis hospital in critical condition.

The men are both in their early thirties. Deputies say the motorcyclists may have been unfamiliar with the area. Allen says the investigation shows the driver may have struck a concrete divider and lost control.

Speed does not look like it was a factor in the crash according to Allen. Neither motorcyclists was wearing a helmet.


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Shawnee City Council approves mill levy increase w/video

By Tom Dempsey
KSHB – July 26, 2016


UPDATE: The Shawnee City Council approved an increase on the mill levy. It is expected to pay for a new fire station and firefighters to run it. The council also added money to hire another police officer, a codes enforcement officer and a street inspector.



City Council is expected to a vote Monday on a proposal to raise property taxes, which would help pay for a new fire station.

If the proposal passes, it would mark the first increase in property taxes in about 10 years.

City leaders say the raise is needed to help address long emergency response times in the northwest quadrant of the city.

According to City Councilwoman Stephanie Meyer, Shawnee emergency crews aim for a response time of around four minutes or less. However, due to the lack of a close fire station, an emergency response in northwest Shawnee could take as long as 11 minutes.

“If somebody has a medical emergency and it’s taking that long, it could literally mean life or death,” Meyer explained.

The proposal would raise city property taxes by an average of $8.60 a month.

Residents who live in northwest Shawnee, like Janis Tolly, support the proposal because of the impact on emergency response.

“Faster response time is obviously number one on our list of concerns,” explained Tolly, who moved with her family to Shawnee around six years ago.

Tolly, who has three children, said she often worries about what would happen if there was ever a house fire.

“If there was a fire, I’m not sure how quickly we would get help,” she explained. “If something did happen, what would happen to our house?”

The need for a fire station in the northwest quadrant has grown in recent years because of a population boom in that part of the city.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve seen an incredible explosion in population,” Meyer said. “That part of the city is growing by leaps and bounds.”

Because of the population increase and lack of a fire station in the area, emergency crews are seeing extra challenges responding to the northwest quadrant.

“The two fire stations that we have now in the more eastern part of town are being stressed to the max,” Meyer said.

On Monday, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal, followed by a vote on the matter.

If approved, the property tax increase would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

While plans for a new fire station still need to be approved and formally planned out, Meyer said a proposed location is along 55th Street.

Aside from a new station being built, the proposal calls for 12 new firefighting positions to be filled.

The proposal would also add positions to several departments, including police, storm water, codes inspection and street maintenance.

The meeting is being held at Shawnee City Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.


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Ready to respond

By Patricia Middleton
Newton Kansan – July 26, 2016

ALICE instructor Justin Pan, left, teaches two students restraining techniques as Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, right, watches.

ALICE instructor Justin Pan, left, teaches two students restraining techniques as Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, right, watches.

On Monday and Tuesday, nearly 50 people took part in two days of training on the campus of Hesston College to become certified ALICE instructors. ALICE — which stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate — is a program that trains civilians in proactive active shooter response techniques and strategies.

Justin Pan, National Adjunct Trainer for ALICE, used case studies, videos and practical scenario training to educate participants about the best options in different active shooter situations. Pan highlighted the importance of using technology to alert as many people in the building or area as possible as to a shooter’s location and appearance. He demonstrated the necessity of quickly identifying whether it was best to barricade in place, evacuate the room, or use countermeasures other than weapons to save lives.

Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder said the class was attended by employees of most school district and all law enforcement and Fire/EMS agencies in the county, Harvey County Emergency Management, Harvey County Dispatch, Bethel College, Hesston College, Hutchinson Community College, Excel, BNSF, Wal-Mart, Health Ministries, Newton Medical Center and Prairie View.

Schroeder said the training was made possible through funding from the Hesston Community Foundation Recovery Fund.

“It’s amazing how (the active shooter drill) simulates the stress and the stressful environment,” Schroeder said. “We need to get past the old lockdown, hunker under your desk and wait.”

Participants were divided up and placed in classrooms to mimic typical school environments. In the initial scenarios, they were instructed to lock the door and shelter in place. With protective gear and

airsoft guns, a “shooter” tried to enter the classroom — and in some cases, was successful.

In successive scenarios, Pan showed how common objects such as power strips, computer cables and extension cords could be used to help barricade doors or used as countermeasures to distract someone intent on harm.

After each scenario, Pan reviewed what had happened with the group and which strategies had worked and which had not.

“I thought it was amazing; very, very eye-opening,” said Misti Uhlman, Hesston Fire Marshal/Paramedic. “Most people have never been in a situation like this. It’s one thing to sit in a class and learn about something, it’s another to put yourself in those scenarios.”

Uhlman said the training, which looked at case studies from Columbine, Sandy Hook and Aurora, would be valuable for churches, schools and hospitals.

“I was excited to have a wide variety of people there to learn to teach others…it’s gonna spread far and wide,” Uhlman said. “It was really empowering to know that you don’t have to have a gun, that if you act quick enough, you can stop something bad happening.”

Corporal Brandon Huntley of the Harvey County Sheriff’s Department said while he has been an active shooter instructor for four years, ALICE’s principles catered to schools and other entities and would help them know how to respond in an active shooter situation.

“This is good for the community,” Huntley said. “For those people here outside of law enforcement, it’s really good because they can go back to their entities and teach them different things,”

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Fire develops at 914 Market Street around 9 PM

By Kyle Smith
KVOE – July 26, 2016

Photos by Mary Ann Redeker. Click on each photo to view full-size.

Photos by Mary Ann Redeker. Click on each photo to view full-size.

emporia fire 7262016b

A minor structure fire broke out last night around 9 PM at 914 Market Street.

Faith Schreiner witnessed smoke as she was going for a run. She saw smoke from a white house adjacent to her, which included minor flames coming out of the home.

Schriener admits that she mistakenly thought the fire was just “fireworks being shot off by someone occupying the house.” Her significant other that was running alongside her, Jeremy Chase, urged her to call 911.

The Emporia Fire and Police Departments rushed to the scene. They immediately put together a ladder that went right up to the top floor.

Although it’s an older home, which makes it more susceptible to fire damage, the immediate attack crew from the Emporia Fire Department knocked down the fire very quickly to avoid any major damage to the home and nearby houses.

Like every other fire that happens in Emporia and the nearby communities, there will be an investigation to the cause of the fire. The building is currently unoccupied and has been for some time. Firefighters and police officers who arrived on the scene did not discover any people inside of the home.

Luckily for the firefighters, there were no open flames that they had to deal with, and the fire was only confined to the north side of the building. There is some interior damage to the ceiling.


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Cause of Friday night house fire under investigation

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – July 26, 2016

The Fort Scott Fire Department is still investigating a fire that broke out Friday night at a vacant house in the 400 block of South Crawford St.

Fort Scott firefighters responded about 9:30 p.m. to a report of a building fire at 416 S. Crawford St. Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said Monday the fire began in the upstairs portion of the house and “got into the attic a little.”

“It was pretty much all upstairs,” he said.

Dave Bruner, deputy fire chief and head investigator for the department, said Monday he is looking into the cause of the fire but nothing has been determined. There are a couple of fire investigators on the department staff.

“We’re waiting on contacting the owners and getting more interviews completed,” Bruner said.

Ballou said the house is unoccupied but there was one individual inside the house when firefighters arrived and that person was able to get out. He said there were no injuries in the fire.

“The house had previously had a fire,” Ballou said. “It’s under investigation. There are no utilities to that house.”

Bruner said the owner was present at the time of the fire and was “working on the house,” but no one had been living there.

The FSFD responded with eight personnel and three trucks, Ballou said.

Bruner said firefighters remained on scene for a couple of hours and had cleared the scene by midnight Saturday.

“A unit stayed overnight to get our investigators there to look at the fire,” he said.

In November 2015, the FSFD responded to a fire at the same house, and investigated the cause. At the time, Ballou said the fire primarily did damage in the upstairs portion of the two-story house. He said the fire started in the second story bedroom and caused “a lot of smoke and water damage.”

The fire was mainly contained to one room and spread into an upstairs hallway. Firefighters were able to contain that fire before it spread to the rest of the house.

Ballou said the house was occupied by residents at the time of the fire but all were able to get out and no injuries were reported.

Bruner said that fire was determined to be “incendiary” in nature, meaning it was intentionally set, and involved a juvenile. He said investigators are not looking at suspicious activity concerning the Friday fire.

“This time we’re leaning toward accidental,” he said.


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KSFFA President Article – July 2016


Good day Kansas Fire Service. Another two months has passed since my last article. Many things have happened in our world. Our brothers in blue are facing an ever challenging job as their safety is threatened ever more while performing their job. Our condolences to the KCK PD family and the family of Capt. Robert Melton. This is an all too familiar headline that we can only hope will cease being repeated. It also brings to light the issues of safety our own responder family faces.
There were documented threats on social media against Fire and EMS responders as well as the Law Enforcement community. These threats may seem distant to you, but they need to be taken seriously. Often times, it is not the large scale group that is the threat. Many times it is that lone individual who has been influenced by outside forces who will take exception with first responders and have the potential of being a threat against us. While we must be aware, we must also still serve our communities. Make sure that your departments are looking at this issue and partner with your law enforcement community to have some communications about possible threats that may arise in your areas. Always have your head on a swivel when going to scenes or working on scene. Watch each other’s backs.
On another note, we also are facing a pretty good threat from Mother Nature right now. The dog days of summer have arrived with a vengeance in many parts of the state. Hot and humid conditions are playing into our jobs daily. Make sure that we are taking the time to rehab our folks on fire scenes on these days and make sure we have adequate resources. If we know we are shorthanded, call for some assistance from neighboring jurisdictions. This time of year is extremely tough on our folks during a firefight. No property is worth losing one of our folks or incapacitating them. Take the proper precautions and use this time of year as a good reason to review your policies on rehab on the fireground, manpower on the fireground, and policies on mutual aid versus automatic aid. Also stress the importance of an annual physical to your members so issues can be identified prior to an incident on the fireground. Not to be left out, is training. Remember that all the above rules apply to the training ground. Practice like we play.
I will keep it brief but will leave you with one other note. Look in this issue for the process for how to apply for a tuition reimbursement for attending classes. This year at conference, the floor directed the executive board to develop a process by which our members can apply for a reimbursement stipend for training. You will need to pay for the costs up front, and then submit the appropriate form to our Treasurer. Once the completed form is submitted, you will receive your reimbursement. It will be up to one hundred dollars per calendar year per person. This will assist in covering costs of enrollments and or class fees for fire based education courses. If you have questions, feel free to contact one of the executive board members.
Thank you all for your hard work serving the citizens of Kansas. I look forward to seeing you all at some point in the next year at a regional fire school. The executive board will be picking locations at their August meeting, so be looking for the upcoming 2017 school schedule soon. Thanks and stay safe!!

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Firefighters brave heat to tame hay shed fire

By Heather Stewart
Sabetha Herald – July 25, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size.

It was a hot day on Thursday, July 21, with the noon temperature sitting at 92 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat index topping 104 degrees. At 12:08 p.m., it was about to get even hotter when the Nemaha County Sheriff’s office received a call that there was a hay shed fire located north of 320th Street and east of Highway 75.

Morrill Fire Chief Charlie Gruber said that spontaneous combustion is the suspected cause of the fire that destroyed approximately 1,900 ton of alfalfa hay –some which was organic – one John Deere telehandler and the entire building belonging to Jim Kesler.

According to Gruber, the Sabetha Fire Department (SFD) was the first to arrive on the scene, and the Morrill Fire Department (MFD) was close behind.

“The call went in to Nemaha County and SFD showed up first. We were right be behind them,” he said. “We also received assistance from Bern and Fairview. We had approximately 40 to 50 firefighters from the area assist.”

Gruber said that a couple of firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion and were taken to the Sabetha Community Hospital by ambulance. Those firefighters were released and actually came back out to the fire.

Gruber said MFD left later that night, once the fire was under control.

“We left probably around 10 p.m., and it was still burning,” he said. “It is probably going to burn for two weeks, but everything was green around, so it won’t spread. All of the water in Sabetha Lake couldn’t have put it out.”

As of Monday, July 25, the fire was still burning.

Gruber said the Fire Marshal was not requested at the scene.


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Meet County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley

By Robert Pierce
Southwest Daily Times – July 25, 2016

seward co fire 7252016

Following the retirement of Mike Rice, Andrew Barkley was hired as the new fire chief for Seward County in early 2015.

Barkley talked about how the county compares to other areas he has worked, some tips to help prevent fires amidst the heat of summer and what it takes to be a firefighter.

Q: You have worked with fire departments in California. What kind of cooperation did you see between city and county entities? How does it compare to Liberal and Seward County?

A: City and county fire departments always overlap services, due to locations in which they protect and station locations.

From my experience and what I see here, it is very similar. Fire departments are families, and yes we have some rivalries. That’s just in our nature.

However, the one thing unique to our area is the shared facility on 15th Street. At this location, we house both city fire and county fire. It really limits space for both agencies, and the public does not understand the difference between the two agencies.

Q: Most of your department is based on volunteers. How would bringing in paid personnel help with efficiency, particularly in Kismet?

A: County fire currently has 14 volunteer paid call firefighters operating out of Liberal station, four volunteer paid call firefighters operating out of Kismet station and one resident paid call firefighter operating out of our Cimarron grain station.

We have asked for two frontline firefighter positions during the daytime hours. This is because our volunteer paid call firefighters have jobs and because of those jobs, work hours and locations in which they work fluctuate.

They may be available to respond to a call, and they may be 30 minutes away from a fire station as well. Bringing paid personnel on during daytime hours would fill that void.

That would allow a fire engine to be responding in one minute to an emergency call, instead of five or six minutes after dispatch. With two frontline positions on days where Kismet has no staffing, we could split them up and provide coverage in Kismet as well.

Q: Other than daytime efficiency on Monday through Friday, how does your night and weekend crew rate?

A: It varies. Our volunteer paid call firefighters have jobs, and they have families. When they are not working, they could be at a birthday party, a child’s event, vacation or helping a friend with a building project.

We do not run any set crews, however, nights seem to have a better turnout, and weekends, well, it just all depends on families. We have to understand that after working 40 to 60 hours a week, those with families enjoy that time with them, and it is very understandable.

Q: With the dry conditions persisting across the area, what’s some simple tips you can provide to help avoid fires?

A: We encourage residents to clear dry grasses from around their home back 100 feet. Mow down these areas to help slow fire spread, and make sure drives are accessible for larger vehicles like fire engines.

Believe it or not, we have a few spots in the county that we would like to encourage residents to trim back trees, so limbs do not block access into properties for our fire engines.

Lastly, we encourage residents to keep an eye on weather conditions, and make sure control burns follow county regulations. Take time to evaluate your property, help us, and give us a fighting chance to protect your property. Last thing that is important, can we access water on your property?

Q: How does Seward County compare to other areas in terms of fires?

A: We are about average.

Q: Grass fires and house fires are common here. What are some other common fires you see?

A: Farm equipment, fields and vehicle fires.

Q: What other types of emergencies does the fire department deal with?

A: In 2015, we responded to a 114 medical emergencies, 76 fires, 60 motor vehicle accidents and 17 public assistance calls. We also handle hazardous materials incidents and multiple types of rescue calls.

Q: Bottom line, what kind of person does it take to be a firefighter?

A: It takes a person with a lot of available time. We are regulated on training hours and training requirements. The old time days are over. It’s train, train and train again.

It’s understanding as a volunteer paid call firefighter, you are the protectors of our citizens. When they call, we must answer that call.

Finding volunteers who have the time to commit and the understanding of providing the service is getting harder and harder.

It’s a trend from east coast to west coast. Volunteer firefighters have declined by 143,600 positions across the U.S. since 1984. Research shows that employment and economy top the list for the decline, and second is the change in personal priorities.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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24-year-old killed in fatal accident north of Topeka

By Brian Dulle
KSNT – July 25, 2016

shawnee co fire 7252016

The Kansas Highway Patrol was on the scene Monday morning of a fatal accident north of Topeka.

The accident was reported just before 10:00 on U.S. Highway 75 southbound at mile marker 166, about a mile north of NW 46th Street.

KHP tells KSNT News a 2010 Dodge was traveling northbound on U.S. 75 when it left the roadway to the right. The driver over corrected and went across the southbound lanes. The vehicle then rolled several times and the driver was ejected.

The driver has been identified as 24-year-old William Jay Fisher Fondren, of Topeka. Fondren was pronounced dead on the scene. No other occupants were in the vehicle.

KHP says he was not wearing a seat belt.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Social media threat puts local police officers, firefighters on alert w/video

By Andy Alcock
KSHB – July 25, 2016


A social media threat against police and firefighters is making the rounds in the metro area.

The post calls on the Crips and Bloods gangs to shed some blood.

Word of the non-specific threat came after KCK Police Captain Dave Melton’s murder Tuesday and at a time when fatal shootings of police officers are a national concern.

On Thursday, both the KCMO and KCK Fire Departments received notice of this threat along with other area fire departments in the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council. That organization’s headquarters are in Olathe.

The threat reads in part, “As you fight, remember that the fireman and the police are on the same side. Don’t be fooled!”

“We are calling on the gangs across the nation! Attack everything in blue except the mailman, unless he is carrying more than mail!”

“It’s time for the Crips and Blood to shed some blood.”

“I hate to see the firefighters get caught up in that. They can’t defend themselves as well as police officers can,” said former FBI agent Michael Tabman.

The St. Louis Fusion Center: Terrorism Early Warning group sent out the social media post to alert first responders.

According to a statement from the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council, the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Interagency Analysis Center forwarded the threat advisory.

The terrorism early warning groups are public-private partnerships.

The statement from the Metro Fire Chiefs goes on to say the non-specific threat has been forwarded “through official channels to local agencies as an advisory to our personnel to exercise vigilance and caution.”

Tabman notes firefighters in general are typically popular with society. He says they usually don’t generate the same hostility as police.

This threat advisory comes not only after the death of Melton but also the deaths of KCMO firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh in October after a building collapse. Investigators say the cause of that fatal fire is arson.

Tabman is hoping the social media threat won’t catch on, but he says it must be taken seriously.

“What scares me is that it’s not going to take a lot now for that one little spark to light a fire,” Tabman said.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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NEJC Chamber Spotlight: Consolidated Fire District No. 2

Shawnee Mission Post – July 25, 2016

Click on each photo to view full-size.

Click on each photo to view full-size.

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Consolidated Fire District No.2 (CFD2) serves the cities of Fairway, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood and Westwood Hills in northeast Johnson County, Kan. With the rapid growth and constant change being a major theme in the area, CFD2 works closely with city administrations, businesses, homeowners, and their other emergency response partners to make sure they provide the highest quality emergency services to the area.

CFD2 answers calls that vary from freeing a child’s finger from a toy fire truck to major structure fires. Every call is different and the firefighters must be prepared for each and every call with the right equipment, and the right training. Constant training is what it takes to keep the professionals at CFD2 ready to respond to your local 911 call for emergency services. When CFD2 shows up on a call they bring a “can-do attitude to adapt and overcome.” Attitudes and actions like that come from years of service, training and trusting that your colleagues have your back.

With approximately 5,000 response calls a year, 75 percent of which are for emergency medical services, CFD2 must always be prepared even when called outside of their normal service area for assistance. Through agreements with other fire districts, they are never shorthanded, yet are always ready to put their expertise into action.

CFD2 not only covers fire and medical calls in the Northeast Johnson County area, but they are also a key part of a unique urban search and rescue team called Kansas Task Force 3. Comprised of CFD2, Shawnee, Olathe, KCK, Leawood, Leavenworth and Leavenworth County, the Kansas Task Force 3 trains together to respond to emergencies locally and state wide. This group falls under the leadership of the State Fire Marshal and also responds out of state if activated.

Each fire department in the metro area that participates in Kansas Task Force 3 has their specialty, and CFD2’s special expertise is trench rescue. CFD2, in partnership with Olathe Fire Department, are the resources for trench rescues throughout Johnson County. Together they respond to all trench rescue calls in Johnson County, as well as calls outside of the county when activated.

Past responses have included the aftermaths of hurricane Katrina, the Greensberg tornado, the Atchison grain elevator explosion, Randolph County, Mo., flooding and the Moore, Okla., Tornado. With the unpredictable nature of emergencies, CFD2 must always be prepared to respond. CFD2 keeps 30 members of its staff trained and ready to respond to regional emergencies, and further, with a fully equipped rescue truck when the Kansas Task Force 3 is activated.

CFD2 is also very active in their home community through participation in festivals, events within the eight cities they serve, Chamber of Commerce events, as well as being a good partner in the neighborhoods around the area. CFD2 prefers to promote internally through their ranks, provides career paths for members and advancement opportunities. CFD2 believes in education for all members; currently the membership of 69 includes 20 with Bachelors degrees, 17 Associates degrees, two Masters degrees and five others currently taking college courses. Those who do not hold a college degree have specialized training in a variety of areas including Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Fire Chief Tony Lopez, Deputy Chief Jeff Scott, Fire Marshal Todd Kerkhoff and to the rest of the fire, medical and administrative staff thank you for providing the highest level of emergency services to the area.

Come meet some of the CFD2 staff at an open house this Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 9 a.m. to noon at Station 23, 9011 Roe, Prairie Village. Donuts, fruit, and beverages will be served for free but any donations will go to Unleashed Pet Rescue.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Firefighters train with new equipment for elevator emergencies

By Gail Parsons
Abilene Reflector Chronicle – July 25, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

The Abilene Fire Department invited employees of local grain elevators to watch a demonstration Friday morning on how the Great Wall of Rescue can make the difference between someone losing their life in a grain bin or being rescued.

Fire Chief Bob Sims said the $3,300 piece of equipment was purchased as a joint effort between ADM, MKC, Flint Hills Grain and Bert and Wetta but will be used throughout the county as needed or even out of county.

“It is the only one in the county that we know of. I’m not sure the surrounding counties have it, either,” he said. “We will head out with it anywhere it is needed.”

With as many grain elevators as there are in the area, having this piece of equipment and being trained on it can make the difference between rescue and body retrieval, said Larry Brake, senior location manager at MKC, where the demonstration took place.

“Grain engulfment is a very real danger for those who work in agriculture,” he said.

Although they just spent good money on the rescue equipment, it is something he hopes never actually has to be used.

During the demonstration members of the fire department climbed in the back of a grain truck while a volunteer stood on the grain and quickly began to sink down as some of the grain was released.

When the volunteer patient was waist deep in grain the rescue operation commenced.

Lightweight aluminum panels were attached to one another and pressed down into the grain around the patient. Once they were all in place an auger was set up to start siphoning grain out from around him. While one person operated the auger others kept pressing the panels down until enough grain had been removed from around the patient’s body allowing him to free himself.

After watching the demonstration, Brandon Legg, superintendent of Flint Hills Grain, said he likes the idea of having the rescue equipment available.

“Rescue is better than recovery,” he said.

Abilene City Manager David Dillner also watched the demonstration and said he was impressed with the efficiency of the equipment.

“I think it is a real good tool for us to have in an agricultural community,” he said. “It gives them the opportunity to respond in a timely manner with the proper tools.”

While most people don’t spend thousands of dollars on equipment they never plan on using, this is one piece they all agreed they hope only gets taken out for training purposes.

“I hope it sits in the truck and collects a lot of dust,” Brake said.


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Russell Firefighters Respond to House Fire

By David Elliott
KRSL – July 25, 2016

russell fire 7252016

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Russell City Firefighters responded Friday evening to a house fire in the 800 block of East 3rd Street in Russell.

Firefighters were paged out at about 5:45 PM Friday.

The fire was quickly extinguished, but firefighters remained on scene well into the evening to ventilate the home and check for any hot spots. Firefighters used the department’s ladder truck to reach the home’s attic from the outside and cut ventilation holes in the north and south sides of the house.

According to Russell City Fire Chief Shane Preston, the blaze started in and was contained to the attic. Preston said it was an electrical fire.

The home suffered water and structural damage to the attic and main floor ceiling. The entire house suffered significant smoke damage. Preston estimated $30,000 to $40,000 of damage.

The residents were home at the time of the fire, but were not injured.

The Russell Police Department, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Russell County EMS and Russell County Emergency Manager Keith Haberer also responded. They each brought several water bottles for the firefighters.


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Two men killed in early morning crash

By Lily Wu
KAKE – July 25, 2016

Two men have died in an early morning crash in Sumner County, near the Sedgwick County line.

It happened on Ridge Road and 119th Street South around 3 a.m.

Sumner County Sheriff’s deputies report that the car was traveling south on Ridge Road when left veered into the east ditch, overcorrected, then went into the west ditch before coming to rest after hitting the tree.

The driver and passenger had to be extricated from the car due to damage from the crash. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene by Sedgwick County EMS.

The road was closed to traffic as authorities investigated the crash.

The names of the victims have not been released.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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All employees safe in overnight McDonald’s fire

KWCH – July 25, 2016

An overheated fryer caused a fire inside of the McDonald’s at 21st and Ridge Road overnight. According to people on the scene, the fryer’s built in extinguishing system failed after a fryer i overheated and ignited.

Everyone that was inside at the time made it out safely and fire fighters put out the fire in less than thirty minutes.

Firefighters say the location won’t be able to reopen for a while.

Investigators have not said whether a human error or a mechanical glitch caused the fire. There is no timetable on when the restaurant will be able to reopen.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Quick thinking crew makes short work of fire

KAKE – July 25, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

The quick thinking of crews busy investigating a possible car fire help make quick work of another nearby fire near downtown Wichita on Saturday.

The fire broke out at around 5:30 a.m. at a business near Douglas and Hydraulic, and about two blocks west of Hyde Park.

“Wichita Fire Department dispatched to several fires around the area,” said Batt. Chief Doug Winter. “They were actually on another fire when they recognized smoke in the area. They were able to find this, and called in a building fire response.”

A forced entry found flames visible within the building. Fire crews were able to snuff out the blaze quickly. No one was reported hurt.

“Our investigations team is looking into the multiple fires that were in the area,” Winter said.

Winter said he couldn’t speculate on a possible connection among the fires, but said it was a possibility.

Total damage to the building was yet to be determined.


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House fire sparks heavy smoke, flames in west-central Topeka

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – July 25, 2016

Photo by Tim Hrenchir. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Tim Hrenchir. Click on photo to view full-size.

Topeka firefighters arrived Saturday to find “heavy smoke and heavy flames” coming from a burning house at 2621 S.W. 7th, a Topeka Fire Department supervisor said.

An investigator was en route late Saturday afternoon to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze, said shift commander Michael Troth.

No one was hurt, he said.

The fire department was called at 4:07 p.m. to the scene, said a dispatcher for the Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center.

Topeka’s official temperature was 94 degrees and its heat index was 101 at the time, according to the National Weather Service.

Firefighters wore heavy protective suits while battling the blaze as an American Medical Response ambulance crew stood by.

The house involved is located roughly two blocks west of S.W. 7th and MacVicar Avenue. Initial indications were that it had been vacant.

Troth said the fire’s cause and point of origin remained undetermined late Saturday afternoon, and a damage estimate hadn’t yet been made.

Shawnee County appraisal records show the property has been owned since 2010 by William Thomas Owens and Paul Williams Owens, who live elsewhere.

County records list the property’s appraisal value as $53,860.


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