Archive for September, 2016

Fire Chief Tom Jones


Fire Chief Tom Jones peacefully passed away September 28, 2016 at his home in Caney, KS where he was surrounded by his family and friends. Tom was born on October 13, 1952 in Caney, KS to Willis and Loretta (Longpine) Jones. Tom was the third of six children. He grew up in Wayside, KS and graduated from Caney Valley High School in 1971. He married the love of his life Brenda Artherton on August 5, 1972 and they made their home in Caney, KS. Tom and Brenda have two sons Robert and Mike and two grandchildren Braiden and Alivia. Tom not only loved his wife but his sons and grandchildren deeply.

Tom worked for Messner Farms, Layton Oil Company, and for the last 23 years he worked for Consolidated Oil Well Services. He joined the Caney Volunteer Fire Department in August of 1986. In his 30 years of service, Tom served as a Lieutenant for 2 years, a Captain for 12 years, Assistant Chief for 10 years and Chief for 2 years. He left this world proudly serving as FD 1. He shared his love for the fire service with not only his sons but also with his grandchildren. The Caney Volunteer Fire Department was not just a hobby for Tom but a true passion.

Tom is survived by his wife Brenda Jones of the home, two sons Robert and his wife Stephanie of Caney, KS and Mike Jones of Caney, KS, two grandchildren Braiden and Alivia, three sisters Linda Hamilton and husband Rich of Wichita, KS, Mary Sturm of Ochelata, OK, and Margaret (Maggie) Morrison of Vinita, OK, two brothers Lloyd Jones and wife Donna of Tyro, KS and Fred Jones and wife Teresa of Sedan, KS, two sisters by marriage Teresa and her husband Bernard (Bunny) Mantooth of Dewey, OK and Sherry Wealthall of Lawrence, KS, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Services will be held 10:00 a.m. on Monday October 3, 2016 at the Cornerstone Church in Caney, KS with burial following at Sunny Side Cemetery in Caney, KS.

Visitation will be held at Potts Chapel in Caney, KS on Sunday October 2, 2016 from 1-8 with family receiving visitors from 6-8.

Memorial contributions can be made to Caney Volunteer Fire Department 211 S. East Street Caney, KS 67333.


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Training Opportunity – Machinery Entrapments

Click above to view full-size.

Click above to view full-size.


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Struts improve safety in vehicle responses

By Josh Arnett
McPherson Sentinel – September 30, 2016

Moundridge firefighters have a new set of equipment that can improve safety for residents and emergency responders alike.

The fire department obtained a set of struts in mid-August that can be used to stabilize vehicles when responding to rollover accidents, or other situations in which a vehicle may be unsteady. The braces consist of a metal footing that attaches to the cylindrical strut, which come in 2-foot and 4-foot lengths that can support up to 15.4 tons each.

The strut lengths can also be adjusted as needed. Moundridge Fire is the only department in McPherson County with this equipment.

“We’ll use them mainly for vehicle extractions and trench rescues. It’s a pretty handy tool,” said Moundridge Fire Lt. Rhett Neufeld.

The struts can’t be used to lift heavy objects, but can support heavy objects to keep them stable while emergency personnel work.

“We can use this on anything from a small family vehicle to a loaded semi,” Neufeld said.

As part of the purchase, Moundridge firefighters received training on how to use the struts in an emergency situation. Once deployed, the struts will allow emergency responders to focus efforts on helping people in need, instead of providing stabilization by hand.

“It takes two people to set up. It’s very quick and easy,” Neufeld said. “When they’re up, they lock, so you don’t need people constantly watching and shoring them up. Once set up, they do all the work.”

Neufeld said the department hasn’t had to use the struts yet, but when the need arises, they will be available.

“It’s better equipment, and it’s more efficient,” Neufeld said. “They’re going to improve safety for the people we help, and for the firefighters too.”


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Blaze destroys house in west central Topeka neighborhood

By Steve Fry
Topeka Capital Journal – September 30, 2016

Photo by Steve Fry

Photo by Steve Fry

Firefighters manning eight apparatuses including a ladder truck battled a fire that destroyed a two-story frame house in the 1100 block of S.W. Woodward on early Friday.

The fire was “intentionally set,” a Topeka Fire Department statement issued about 7:30 a.m. Friday said.

No one was injured by the fire at 1112 S.W. Woodward, Battalion Chief Mark Brannock said at the fire scene.

As late as 8 a.m. Friday, smoke continued to rise from the house, which is approximately 15 feet from houses to the north and south of it.

Brannock said it was the third fire at that location since the first fire in the middle of the summer. A second fire was reported there about two weeks ago.


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Chester “Chet” W. Russell, Sr.


Chester “Chet” W. Russell, Sr., 92, of McPherson and formerly of Galva, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 23, 2016, at McPherson Hospital. He was retired from CertainTeed where he worked in the maintenance department. He was also a farmer and former Assistant Fire Chief for the Galva Fire Department.

He served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, serving in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

Chet was born on November 10, 1923, in McPherson, KS, the son of Benjamin Harrison and Emma Lillian (Beyer) Russell. He graduated from Galva High School in 1942. On July 14, 1946, Chet was united in marriage to Doris J. Koehn at the Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Galva, KS.

Chet was a member of Galva United Methodist Church.

Survivors include: loving wife of 70 years, Doris of the home; three children, JR (Deb Koehn) Russell of Galva, KS, Ted (Ruth) Russell of Wichita, KS, and Emma Perera of Galva, KS; daughter-in-law, Beth Robinson of McPherson, KS; 14 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, David Russell; brother, Clarence H. Russell; sisters, Arlene Russell and Edna Mae Peterson; grandchildren, J.W. Russell and Mandy Wenger; daughter-in-law, Vickie Russell; and son-in-law, Dennis Perera.

The funeral service will be at 2:00 PM, Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at Galva United Methodist Church with Rev. Sharlan Graber officiating. Burial with Military Honors will follow at Empire Cemetery, Galva. Visitation will be held from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Monday, September 26, at Stockham Family Funeral Home with the family receiving friends from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Memorial donations may be given to Galva United Methodist Church or Galva Fire Department in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.


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Hoisington to consider replacing pumper

By Veronica Coons
Great Bend Tribune – September 28, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 30, 2016


Hoisington City Council members heard a presentation by Chief Jerry Stricker Monday night, concerning equipment needs of the Hoisington Volunteer Fire Department. But first, he informed the council that all run reports had been filed with the state and were now up to date. During the council’s budgeting process in July, it was learned the reports had not been properly filed with the state due to confusion following a staff transition in the department.

He also provided details about the upcoming Fire Department Open House, an annual event when the public is invited to visit with firefighters, tour the department and view the equipment. This year, the department will offer fire readiness simulations using the safety trailer, which is equipped with a heated door, simulated smoke, and a phone that can call 911, among several other features.

“Our little kids have been learning a lot about fire prevention through simulations like these,” Stricker said. “Adults are getting an enormous amount of education in this also.”

The open house is scheduled for Sunday, October 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the fire department. The Barton County Health Department will also be present, providing flu shots to all who need one.

Stricker then reported on equipment needs. He focused primarily on three trucks of varying condition.

“Our main concern at this time is finding a replacement for our pumper that died a few months ago,” he said.

The truck, built 31 years ago in 1985, failed when its motor died while fighting a fire near Boyd in July. The age of the unit has made locating parts for repairs difficult, Stricker reported to the council at an August meeting. It was also noted that the aging tank is filled with sediment and rust. Sandblasting at this point would breach the tank, so it will need to be replaced.

In August, Stricker looked into acquiring a replacement truck from the Forestry Service, but the unit available was determined to be unsuitable for the department’s needs. It would be too large for the existing space available, and the tank it’s equipped with would be too small to be of use.

Council member Travis Sinn asked if Stricker would replace the pumper with a new or a used unit. Stricker stated a new unit would likely be the best bet for the department, and estimated that the cost could be between $300,000 and $350,000. When asked how he proposed the city pay for it, he suggested a lease-purchase option could be arranged, noting that the first payment would not be required for at least a year after contract signing. He also estimated it could be a year-and-a-half before the new unit would be ready to use.

The new truck would fit at the east building, he added. If any other new vehicles are added in the future, at that time the department will need a new building as late model trucks are being built larger, and would not fit width-wise.

City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reminded Stricker and the council that city ordinances required the city to have funds available to cover a lease-purchase prior to a contract being signed, regardless of when payments would start. He stated that if the council chose to go this route, he would need to begin laying the groundwork to acquire that funding, likely from local banks.

Stricker also added two other trucks, a 2.5 ton brush truck and a GMC tanker, would face needed repairs soon. He asked the council to consider allowing the department to rebuild the tank and add a recirculating pump on the brush truck as a winter project, with the potential for grass fires very low during those months. He said the department could use the pumper as a stationary tank if needed. The GMC is functional at this time, but may require more than routine maintenance within the next few years, he added.

Mitchell noted that volunteers work for $9 per call for each ‘wet run’, regardless of how long or under what conditions a fire call my last.

“These guys deserve some good quality equipment to keep them safe,” Stricker said.

Mayor Clayton Williamson instructed Stricker to gather estimates to present at the October 24 city council meeting. No instruction was provided concerning the requested rebuilding of the brush truck.


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Gary Lee Anthony


Gary Lee Anthony was born April 23, 1940, at home on the family farm the youngest son of George Edgar and Ruth Louise (Brunk) Anthony. He passed away September 19, 2016, at the Wheatland Nursing Center in Russell, Kansas, at the age of 76.

Gary and his three brothers were reared on the family farm near Lyle, Kansas, in Decatur County. His family were members of the Lyle Methodist Church. Gary attended Spring Branch country school through the 8th grade, Decatur Community High School his freshman year, and graduated from Norcatur High School in 1959. From 1960-1962, Gary served in the U. S. Army. He spent a good part of his time in Germany, after basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, and earned a Good Conduct medal.

After returning home, Gary worked construction for Dick Lake for several years before taking over the family farm operation because of his father’s health. He later worked for the Kansas Department of Transportation from 1985 until retiring in 2002.

Gary was a charter member of the Lebanon Lions Club. He also belonged to the American Legion Post #313 in Lebanon, Nebraska, for over 40 years and served as Post Commander in 1980-81. Gary had been a volunteer for the Norcatur Fire Department and served on the Norcatur City Council. One of his favorite activities was being able to play Santa Claus during the holidays. He appeared at the Norcatur Christmas Drawing for many years and later for the City of Oberlin. The Cedar Living residents and staff always enjoyed their Christmas party when Santa Claus arrived. Gary also enjoyed visiting with family and friends and was someone who never knew a stranger.

On September 23, 2000, Gary married Cathy (Bass) Lang in Norcatur, where they made their home. Neither Gary nor Cathy were blessed with biological children, but they brought into the marriage the “steps” that they loved: Fredrick Farr (Shelli), Minnie Dawn Purdy (Jim), and Windy Kuhlman, children of Gary’s former wife, Janet (Farr) Wade; and Kim, Diana, Christopher, Lisa and Lori and their families. Other survivors include a brother, Keith Anthony of Atwood; four step grandchildren, Jack, Tony, Dillon and Daxton ; other family members and many friends.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents; stepson-in-law, Chris Kuhlman; and two brothers and their wives, Gerald and Jan Anthony and Dale and Faye Anthony.

Funeral Service: Thursday, September 22nd at 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home in Oberlin with Mr. Dwayne Jackson officiating

Burial: Norcatur Cemetery

Memorial Funds: Norcatur Cemetery Fund and Norcatur Citizens Alliance


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Four displaced after cooking fire damages residence at S.W. 13th and Tyler

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – September 30, 2016

Photo by Katie Moore

Photo by Katie Moore

Three adults and one child are getting assistance from the American Red Cross after a fire believed to have started in the kitchen of their apartment made the residence uninhabitable.

The Topeka Fire Department responded to the blaze just before 9 p.m. Thursday at S.W. 13th and Tyler.

Topeka fire battalion chief Eric Bauer said it appeared a cooking fire broke out in the kitchen. The residents left after cooking fried chicken and when they came back, there were flames in the kitchen, Bauer said. The fire’s cause indicates it was an accident.

The house was divided into two units. Residents in the second unit made it out of the house before the arrival of fire crews. Their unit sustained smoke damage and was ventilated, Bauer said.

No one was injured. The estimated dollar loss totaled $28,500.

Neighbors reported hearing sirens and seeing a lot of smoke, but not any flames.

S.W. 13th between Tyler and Polk was blocked during the incident.


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Elks honor emergency, police and fire crews for their service

By Charity Keitel
Miami County Republic – September 29, 2016

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Mersman (left) and firemen Donnie Blackman (center) and Mitch Talley were among several fire department, police department and emergency personnel at Thursday’s after-hours event in Osawatomie. Photos by Charity Keitel. Click each photo to view full-size.

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Mersman (left) and firemen Donnie Blackman (center) and Mitch Talley were among several fire department, police department and emergency personnel at Thursday’s after-hours event in Osawatomie. Photos by Charity Keitel. Click each photo to view full-size.

Elks Exalted Ruler Chuck Ulanski (left) presents Osawatomie Fire Chief Brian Love with a certificate Thursday recognizing him for his years of dedicated service to the community. Similar certificates were awarded to other members of the fire department, police department and county EMS.

Elks Exalted Ruler Chuck Ulanski (left) presents Osawatomie Fire Chief Brian Love with a certificate Thursday recognizing him for his years of dedicated service to the community. Similar certificates were awarded to other members of the fire department, police department and county EMS.

Everyone was quick to enjoy light refreshments at the snack bar during Thursday’s after-hours event in Osawatomie. The Chamber Fall After Hours event was hosted by the Elks Lodge and took place in honor of police department, fire department and emergency personnel.

Everyone was quick to enjoy light refreshments at the snack bar during Thursday’s after-hours event in Osawatomie. The Chamber Fall After Hours event was hosted by the Elks Lodge and took place in honor of police department, fire department and emergency personnel.

Members of the community gathered Thursday evening at the Elks Lodge in Osawatomie to honor the city’s law enforcement and fire department as well as members of Miami County Emergency Medical Services for their continued dedication and service.

Police department, fire department and EMS personnel were awarded certificates by the Elks in a brief presentation, which followed a rush to the snack bar for refreshments.

Mayor Mark Govea, who is a member of the Elks, was there to take pictures on behalf of the Lodge; while Tom Troutman and Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce Director Diana Neal led the proceedings.

Those who wanted to speak were given the opportunity, and police officer Suzie Tousey was among several who offered their thanks for the evening of fellowship and recognition.

She said the evening was a nice getaway for the police department and others because it gave them an opportunity to interact with community members as community members and not just as policemen or firemen or emergency personnel.

“On behalf of the Osawatomie Police Department, we would like to thank you (the community and Elks) for the invitation,” she said. “It is nice to get out and see people – and so you can see us out and about in the community, and not sticking our heads in the window and writing you a nice little coupon. Thank you for everything.”

The evening at the Lodge was a Chamber Fall After Hours event hosted by the Elks.


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New Winfield fire marshal an ‘old hand’

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – September 29, 2016


Vince Warren has been the new Winfield fire marshal since Monday.

Warren, who has worked for the Winfield Fire/EMS Department since 2002, took the job at just the right time, with fire-prevention activities scheduled for the month of October.

He replaces former fire marshal Dennis Darby, who left the department in early August.

Warren was born and raised in Winfield. He has a degree in general studies from Cowley College and has taken firefighting courses from Hutchinson Community College and the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute at the University of Kansas.

His first firefighting job was in Fort Scott, where he worked for four years before being hired by the Winfield Fire Department.

He started out as a firefighter before being promoted to engineer (the person who drives the fire engine).

Warren was then a lieutenant for six years before being hired as fire marshal.

Fire marshal duties include performing building inspections and fire investigations in the Winfield fire district.

The fire marshal can also be asked to help with fire investigations for neighboring departments.

The inspection side involves working closely with city building official Rod Haney and community-development director Patrick Steward to make sure fire and safety codes are being followed, said Warren.

Places of inspection include businesses, educational facilities and home day-care centers.

Another role of the fire marshal is promoting fire prevention by educating the public.

Duties include making safety presentations at private and public schools.

Groups of younger children get a visit from Fire Pup, while older children get a more in-depth presentation including use of the Hazard House to teach them about fire dangers.

On Oct. 11, Winfield Fire/EMS and Winfield Public Schools fifth-graders will participate in Fire Prevention Day at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita.

At this event, participating fire departments bring their fire safety-education tools, and students participate in talks and demonstrations related to fire safety. More than 2,500 students from area schools will participate.

“It’s a full-day event, and the kids get a lot out of it,” Warren said.

Warren said he was interested in the fire marshal position because he enjoyed the classes he took on fire investigations.

He also likes helping educate people on fire prevention.

“It’s a calling, and something I felt it was time for,” Warren said.

He most looks forward to interacting with the public and getting to know the community in his new job.

Training requirements for fire marshals include passing a certification exam. Warren is also a member of the Kansas Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.

Warren said his background helps with his new job because when called out to an incident, firefighters often find out what people could have done to help prevent the fire.

“Now, I can take my knowledge and make sure mistakes are not made and help prevent losses,” Warren said.

Another thing he likes about being on the administrative side of firefighting is getting to spend more time with family and going home at the same time every night, although after 18 years of shift work, it “feels weird” to be driving home at 5 p.m.

Warren said his wife, Crystal, likes having him at home every night.

The Warrens live in Winfield and have three children.

Winfield Fire/EMS Chief Alan Stoll said Warren helped perform fire marshal duties while the position was open and has developed very good fire-investigation skills over the years.

“I think he’ll do a great job for the city and for our department,” Stoll said.


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BuCART host Technical Rope Rescue Class

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – September 29, 2016

Members of the Butler County Animal Response Team took part in a three-day technical rope rescue class last weekend in El Dorado.

Eight BuCART members were joined by K-9 search and rescue teams, animal control officers, and animal disaster responders from Kansas and Missouri, along with fire/rescue responders from Butler County and students from Butler Community College Fire Science Division for the training, which was put on by Eric Thompson, director of Disaster Response for Code 3 Associates, a national animal disaster response organization. The young girl from Douglass, Sutton O’Crowley, who is BuCART’s youngest member, also was there for part of the training.

“It’s an honor for our team to receive training from an instructor of Eric’s caliber. He is a nationally recognized expert in animal disaster response and always willing to teach our team of volunteers how to help our county’s animals, and their owners, in a disaster,” said Janell Jessup, BuCART team coordinator.

The first day they spent learning how to tie knots and set up relays and riggings.

“We had two teams who pulled a pickup truck,” Jessup said. “They were teaching us how to move high loads.”

Then Saturday they learned more about tying knots and repelled off of the training tower at El Dorado Fire Station No. 2.

That afternoon they worked on animal harnessing and people harnessing. The training concluded with more rigging, knots and harnessing on Sunday in the fire bays because of the rain, as well as learning how to make an emergency harness and muzzle out of a rope.

“This one was the most challenging for us,” Jessup said of this training. “It’s kind of scary taking that first step off the fire tower, but it just deepened out skills if we need to go over a cliff to rescue an animal or go down in a ravine.

“It’s just another skill set that Jim Schmidt (Emergency Management director) wanted his team to have. It allows us to work along first responders if they request our assistance.”

She said this lets other first responders and animal control officers know what the team can do.

“It will help us if we have to pull a horse or a large animal out of ditch,” Jessup said.

Jessup said this training allows them to help in an emergency situation and not be a hinderance.

This training qualified the participants to be a technician for animal search and rescue in rope rescues.

“We have a whole new skill set now among our team,” Jessup said.

This goes also with previous trainings on water rescue and high angle rescues.

The class was made possible by a grant from Butler County Emergency Management. Butler Community College donated the use of a classroom and the new fire training tower.

BuCART was formed in 2012 by citizen volunteers to help the animals of Butler County in any disaster, natural or man-made, and operates under the supervision of Butler County Emergency Management. The team is also part of the South-Central Regional Animal Response Team and Kansas State Animal Response Team. Training is an important aspect for these team members since disaster situations pose a multitude of hazards for humans, their pets and those who may respond to rescue both.

In addition, training alongside local responders and animal control officials offers disaster volunteers the opportunity to share skills and knowledge so they are better prepared to assist those in need when the time comes.


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Adult and 2 children escape house fire Thursday morning in Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 29, 2016

Photo by Phil Anderson. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Phil Anderson. Click on photo to view full-size.

An adult and two children were able to escape their burning home late Thursday morning in the city’s midtown area.

Firefighters responded around 11 a.m. to a report of a house fire at 1038 S.W. Boswell.

First-arriving crews found a small fire in a bedroom of the residence and were able to extinguish it quickly.

Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Kelly Adams said the blaze appeared to have started in the area of a mattress.

Firefighters made a “good stop” on the blaze and were able to keep it to the room where it started.

Firefighters ventilated the one-story, brown home of smoke after the fire was out.

No injuries were reported.

An estimated dollar loss wasn’t immediately available.

According to the Shawnee County Appraiser’s website, the home’s 2016 value was $46,450. The property is owned by Cornerstone of Topeka.


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Car crashes into Casey’s

By Brian Sanders
Holton Recorder – September 29, 2016

Photo by Belinda Burnett-Cashman

Photo by Belinda Burnett-Cashman

A Tuesday evening incident that saw a passenger car drive through the front of the new Casey’s General Store in Holton was “purely accidental,” according to Holton Police Chief Gale Gakle.

No one inside the convenience store was injured in the accident, which occurred at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the store, which is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 (Arizona Avenue) and Kansas Highway 16 (Fourth Street), Gakle said.

The accident involved a 2007 Chrysler 300 that was driven by Nancy Mahan, 69, of Topeka.

“She and a passenger had pulled in off of U.S. 75 to get some drinks and use the restroom,” Gakle said. “Her foot slipped off the brake and hit the gas, and the car ran into the front of the building… The car basically went three-fourths of the way into the building.”

Both Mahan and her passenger, Charles Johnson, 61, also of Topeka, were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident and were not injured, Gakle said. The vehicle was towed from the scene.

The amount of damage sustained by Mahan’s car, as well as damage to the front of the convenience store and contents inside the building, was not available at press time.

The store is one of two Casey’s General Store locations currently operating in Holton. The new store was opened in February of 2015, it was reported.


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Smoke but no flames at Flying J

Emporia Gazette – September 29, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

A possible structure fire at Flying J was reported at approximately 8:40 a.m. on Thursday. Scanner traffic indicated that there was smoke in the building but no visible flames.

Jack Taylor, fire chief says that there is no active fire.

“Smoke was coming from an air handling unit which was either an air conditioning or heating unit on the roof, but it was not on fire,” Taylor said. “We have isolated it and are taking care of it.”


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Two-vehicle crash involving a semi on Highway 75 in Jackson County

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 29, 2016

Photos by Tim Morse

Photos by Tim Morse


One person was transported to a Topeka hospital with disabling injuries after a two-vehicle crash involving a semi-trailer shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday on US-75 highway north of Topeka, Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse said.

The crash was reported around 6:55 a.m. on northbound US-75 highway and 190th Road, south of Holton in Jackson County.

Morse said a red passenger vehicle was westbound crossing US-75 at 190th when it was struck by a southbound semi. Both vehicles left the highway.

The semi landed on its side about 150 yards from the crash at the bottom of a ravine on the west side of the highway, Morse said.

The driver of the passenger vehicle was transported to a hospital, while the truck driver refused treatment.

Morse said the Kansas Highway Patrol will be investigating the crash.

The Potawatomi Tribal Police also assisted with the incident. Jackson County EMS and Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Fire and EMS, and Hoyt and Mayetta Fire Departments responded to the scene.

Authorities said the semi was hauling groceries.

The right-hand lane was blocked for a time. Northbound traffic on US-75 was able to move past the crash in the left lane.


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Lloyd Oscar Johnson


Lloyd Oscar Johnson, age 79 of Riley, passed away Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at his residence.

He was born on December 21, 1936 in Junction City Municipal Hospital, the son of Oscar and Martha (Strauss) Johnson. He was baptized in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Clarks Creek on January 17, 1937 and joined that church on April 2, 1950. He later joined the Riley United Methodist Church.

He attended rural schools in Geary County and graduated 8th grade in 1950. He then attended Junction City High School. He worked for Alexander and Son Motors in Junction City, before joining the U.S. Navy in September 1956. He served four years as an Engineman Second Class. When discharged, he returned to Riley, where he worked as a mechanic for Medlin Chevrolet, Inc. for 18 years. In early 1979, he formed his own company, PJ’s Service. He sold the business and retired in 2004. He was always willing to help anyone that needed help with their vehicles, no matter the time of day.

Lloyd felt it was important to serve in the community. Shortly after moving to Riley, he offered his services for two terms in the Riley City Council, was a member of the Riley Volunteer Fire Department and a leader of the Explorer Scouts. He also served on the U.S.D. 378 Board of Education and was the Mayor of Riley. During his term as mayor, he was most proud of the building of the Riley Municipal Swimming Pool. Lloyd and Marilyn were honored as being Grand Marshalls of the Riley Fall Festival in 1993.

He loved the outdoors and spent a lot of time fishing and hunting. He taught Hunter’s Safety for many years and was most proud of helping the more challenged students pass the class. His sons have many great memories of hunting and fishing trips and the special Sunday night meals after a long day spent outside.

Lloyd’s greatest joy came from his family. On July 30, 1961 at the Riley United Methodist Church, he married Marilyn Walter. Together they raised two sons. The family enjoyed camping, sharing Sunday meals and stories and the annual summer vacations. They always took extra time to visit friends and family. The most special treasures in his life were his grandchildren. He spoiled and loved them in many ways, especially enjoying Swedish pancakes and popcorn.

He is survived by Marilyn, his two sons, Mark E. (Kimbra) Johnson of Juniata, Nebraska and Scott E. (Stephanie) Johnson of Manhattan; five grandchildren, Jacob D. Johnson, Jorji Jo Johnson, Madison E. Johnson, Taylor M. Johnson and Jarett M. Johnson. Lloyd also considered Keith A. Hageman as his “adopted” son along with his wife (Larissa) and their children, Kodi and Kayden of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; one brother, John E. (OK Sun) Johnson of Manhattan; one sister, Eva M. (Lynn) Zimmer of Leawood; and one sister-in-law, Kay Johnson of Brownstown, Indiana.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Robert L. Johnson, Donald D. Johnson, Raymond P. Johnson and Warren D. Johnson and two half-sisters, Alma C “Jean” (Perry) Grisham and Ingeborg O. “Gwen” (George) Goodin.

Memorial services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at the Riley United Methodist Church with Rev. Bill Eisele officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 P.M. Tuesday at the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home. Inurnment will be in the Riley Cemetery.

Memorials have been established for KSU Johnson Cancer Research Center and Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism for Outdoor Skills and Ethics Fund. Contributions may be left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home.


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Annual “Battle of the Badges” scheduled for Sunday w/video

WIBW – September 29, 2016



The 13th annual Battle of the Badges will be held Sunday, October 2nd at Yager Stadium, Washburn University.

Gates open at noon, first game is at 1:00 pm.

Admission is a free will donation, and there will be a silent auction full of great prizes.

Magnum will be there and the Hayden Dance Team and Topeka High Drumline will perform at half time.

First game will be Kansas Highway Patrol vs. Topeka Police Department and second game is the Topeka Fire Department vs. Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office. The winners of each will play for the championship.

All proceeds support Special Olympics Kansas


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Wellington Fire/EMS acquires ATV through Kansas Forestry grant

Sumner NewsCow – September 29, 2016


Wellington Fire/EMS has acquired an ATV through a grant from the Kansas Department of Forestry. Graciously, Professional Body Works in Wellington painted the ATV at no cost. The department replaced the tires and did some minor mechanical work. The ATV will be used to transport equipment at hazardous material incidents, provide quick access during community events, be used during searches for lost persons, and respond to other incidents as needed.


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Popular iron blamed for house fire w/video

By Bryan Ramsdale
KAKE – September 29, 2016



A home in Eastborough was damaged by fire in a laundry room on Monday afternoon. Fire investigators with the Wichita Fire Department found an iron to be the likely cause.

Investigators say the iron was used about an hour before the fire started, and an automatic off feature did not engage. “Generally, the devices we have now have several safeties in them. But they are designed by man; they can still fail,” said Battalion Chief Stu Bevis.

“Then [investigators] started looking at possible ignition sources…. The one thing they could not eliminate was the iron that the occupant was using, just prior to leaving the home,” Bevis added.

Bevis noted the Rowenta iron has multiple reports of malfunctions which lead to fires, as reported online on various forums.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has 46 reports of Rowenta irons malfunctioning and either sparking, catching fire or running when they are supposed to be off.

“CPSC plans to contact the Wichita Fire Marshal for more information,” a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission told KAKE News.

The manufacturer released this statement on the iron in question and the fire: “The safety of our consumers is of the utmost important to Rowenta. We take this allegation seriously and are working to ascertain a clear understanding of the incident.”

There are no recalls on Rowenta irons, although Bevis said if a recall is issued, consumers need to pay attention.

“Pay attention when you see something on the news or internet that there was a recall or caution or warning. Whether it was on a vehicle or an appliance…. you want to see, does this affect you or something that you have,” Bevis said. “This happens more often than you would think.”

Monday’s fire caused an estimated $65,000 in damage, according to firefighters. No one was injured.


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What’s big, bright, and red all over?

By Susan Marshall
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – September 29, 2016


Anyone spotting the new Ford pickup recently purchased by the Fourth Fire District in a parking lot or at the city building will have no doubt about the whereabouts of Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner.

“Yes, it definitely stands out,” Penner said. “But the service we’re in sort of requires that folks see us coming. No reason to be shy about who we are or what we are doing.”

The 2016 F150 is, well, fire engine red with an exterior light bar atop the cab and oversized yellow and white identification decals on the sides.

“Kind of hard to miss, huh?” Penner asked.

Peabody fire fighters began truck hunting several months ago after the chief’s former vehicle — an Explorer — developed serious transmission issues.

“We looked at quite a few used models, but they usually had high miles, a high price tag, and repair issues of their own,” he said. “This is a stripped-down model, no bells and whistles, but it will last us a long time. We really don’t put a lot of miles on the chief’s vehicle.

“This is definitely old school,” Penner said. “Basic vinyl upholstery, floor covering, and manual windows you have to roll up and down, that kind of thing.”

The truck does have four-wheel drive and a five-passenger super cab.

Penner was able to work through a friend to get the light bar at a good price with free installation. The truck decals were another good deal from a company that works with small emergency services departments at a reduced rate.

“It’s a good basic unit and will do the job,” he said. “We’re happy with it.”


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Nobody hurt in Hutch house fire

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – September 29, 2016

Photo by Jesse Brothers. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Jesse Brothers. Click on photo to view full-size.

Nobody was hurt and damage to the interior of the home was minimal in a house fire Wednesday night on Liberty Street in Hutchinson.

Homeowner Wayne Riggs said he was on his way home from working on his tree stands for deer hunting around 7:30 p.m. when he saw fire trucks headed that direction. He followed them, hoping the fire wasn’t at his home, but he wasn’t that lucky.

Fortunately, only the dogs were home, and they were in the back yard. Hutchinson Fire Department Battalion Chief Rex Albright said the fire was almost certainly electrical and appeared to have started on the outside of the house at 421 Liberty St., near where the house meets the garage.

The smoke mostly went into the attic, which firefighters ventilated out. Firefighters had to pull siding away from the exterior of the house to get to the fire.

While Riggs watched firefighters working, his wife, Debbie, arrived, apologizing profusely. She said she smelled something before she left earlier, but she checked appliances throughout the house.

“I went room by room,” she said.

When she couldn’t find anything wrong, she figured it was the lingering smell of burnt popcorn she had made.

Riggs said the couple would likely stay the night with his daughter, who lives nearby.


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Hays fire crews fight vehicle fire Tuesday evening

Hays Post – September 28, 2016

At 8:39 p.m. Tuesday, City of Hays emergency dispatchers were alerted to a car on fire at 1104 E. 27th. The City of Hays Fire Department, assisted by the City of Hays Police Department, was immediately dispatched.

On arrival firefighters found a fire in the engine compartment of a passenger vehicle. Firefighters used one hose stream to extinguish the fire. The most probable cause of the fire was accidental but undetermined.

Five firefighters staffing two fire trucks responded. The last fire crew left the scene at 9:24 p.m.


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Fire Prevention Week 2016 ‘Don’t Wait: Check the Date!’

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – September 28, 2016

The members of Seward County Fire Rescue are busy finalizing plans to recognize Fire Prevention Week 2016. The department will kick off the week with an open house at the Seward County Fire Station in Kismet on Sunday, October 9 from 3 pm to 5 pm. The Fire Station is located at 504 Locust Street in Kismet.

Those who attend the open house will have an opportunity to register for smoke, CO and combustible gas detectors that will be given away at the conclusion of the open house. There will also be opportunities for attendees to check out fire apparatus and equipment that the department owns.

Sparky the fire dog will also be in attendance and light refreshments will be served. Information will also be available for anyone who is interested in position as a Paid Call Firefighter with Seward County Fire Rescue, with open positions at Kismet Fire Station.

Members of the department will be at the Kismet Elementary School visiting with the kids about fire prevention and handing out packets of information during Fire Prevention Week. They will also visit the Kismet Senior Citizen’s Center to give a fire prevention talk. The theme this year is ‘Don’t Wait: Check the Date!’ This is a reminder to everyone to check the age of their detectors and replace them if they are ten years old. Working smoke detectors save lives when a fire breaks out since most fire deaths at home are caused by smoke inhalation.

Following Fire Prevention Week, each class at Kismet Elementary will participate in some hands on activities with members of the fire department.

Some of the fire prevention packets that the department will be handing out are from a mini-grant that was given by the Fire Education Association of KS and the KS Fire Marshal’s office. The department was one of six fire departments in Kansas that were granted the materials. Seward County Fire Rescue wishes to thank those two organizations for awarding them the mini-grant which enables the department to reach more people with their fire prevention message.


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Advance Auto Parts Distribution Center catches fire

By Eric Wiley
Salina Journal – September 28, 2016

The Saline County Sheriff’s department and Saline County Rural Fire District No. 2 responded to a fire around 3:55 p.m. Tuesday at the Advance Auto Parts Distribution Center, according to Undersheriff Roger Soldan.

The fire began in the building, at 3633 S. 9th, after a five-pound bucket of solvent that was on a pallet dropped from a forklift that was moving it.

The building’s fire suppression sprinkler system was initiated and the north side of the structure suffered fire, smoke and water damage.

The building was temporarily shut down and there is no estimate on the damage, Soldan said.


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Two vehicles in KU Med Center’s Olathe parking garage catch fire

By Stephanie Graflage
FOX 4 News – September 28, 2016

Photo by KU Med Center Police. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by KU Med Center Police. Click on photo to view full-size.

The University of Kansas Medical Center’s police say a vehicle inside the Olathe parking garage, which is on the south side of KU Medical Center, caught on fire Wednesday just after 9 a.m., and the flames quickly spread to a nearby vehicle.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames to just two vehicles and prevent any injuries from occurring.

A spokesperson for the hospital says other vehicles in the garage may have smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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LFD Chief Ebling announces retirement

Lindsborg News Record – August 18, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016

Lindsborg Public Safety Director Tim Berggren announced that Lindsborg Volunteer Fire Chief Kent Ebling has, after almost thirty years of service, decided to hang up his fire hat and retire as a volunteer firefighter. Berggren acknowledged that Ebling has served the community with dedication to the fire service beginning in 1986 and rising through the ranks to assume the duties of chief. He joins a list of Fire Chiefs that have served our Community well and left the service better than it was before.

Assistant Chief Matt Clark will assume the duties of Fire Chief. Matt is a firefighter for the City of Salina and has been a member of the Lindsborg volunteer department for ten years.

The Lindsborg Volunteer Department provides manpower for the Lindsborg Fire Department and McPherson County Rural Fire District No. 8. Aside from the city of Lindsborg the department provides coverage for an area in the north central part of McPherson County and a portion of south central Saline County. The county has mutual aid agreements with surrounding departments and in large events provides and receives added resources.

The department has a twenty-four person roster of volunteers who live and work in and around the community of Lindsborg. The volunteers are notified via a pager system and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The department trains a minimum of twice a month on fire control and suppression, vehicle extrication, hazmat events, water rescue and more.


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Appreciation plaque awarded to Brad Buel

Hill City Times – August 24, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Over thirty years of service to the Hill City Fire Department and the residents of Hill City was recognized with the awarding of an “Appreciation” plaque to Brad Buel of Hill City at the regular meeting of the Hill City Council on Monday night, August 15.

Brad is shown above in the middle with the plaque presented to him during the official meeting by Mayor Kenny Stewart, left. At the right is Hill City Fire Chief Jim “Boomer” Pommerehn.

Buel remembered that he was ‘recruited’ by then Fire Chief Ben Dreiling in September of 1984 “because I worked at the power plant and they needed someone to pull the electrical switch in case of a fire.” Brad, who served as Assistant Chief for the local fire department for twenty-five years, also saw Brad Post serving as chief during the time that he served, which ended in April of 2016.


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Hoyt, Mayetta Boy Scouts raising funds to honor Schultz

By Brian Sanders
Holton Recorder – August 24, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016


A group of Boy Scouts in the Hoyt and Mayetta area has announced a fund-raising drive to honor the Hoyt firefighter who died in a traffic accident this past July.

In memory of Captain Mike Schultz and in honor of the Hoyt and Mayetta Fire Departments, Boy Scout Troop 173 is looking to raise about $12,000 to make improvements at the baseball and softball fields at Hoyt City Park.

According to Scoutmaster Dan Barnett, the project’s goal is constructing awning covers over the bleachers at the ball fields, building a decorative rock garden with a flower bed, installing a flag pole, donating a flag and setting up a monument to honor Schultz and the two fire departments.

Barnett said in a fund-raising letter that the awning covers would be built to protect baseball and softball fans from direct sunlight, as well as protecting them “from getting hit by a foul ball.” There will also be a plaque on the awning covers to honor those who donate time and money to the project, he said.

Barnett also noted that the project is intended to honor the memory of Schultz, a member of the Hoyt Fire Department for nearly 25 years, who was killed in a fire truck accident on U.S. Highway 75 north of Mayetta on Wednesday, July 28.

Schultz and Assistant Hoyt Fire Chief Randy Smith were on their way to the Jackson County Fair parade that afternoon when their fire engine’s left front tire reportedly blew out, causing the fire engine to veer off the highway and overturn, killing Schultz and injuring Smith.


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Roesky to take command of fire department

Independence Daily Reporter – September 14, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016


Bob Roesky, a 26-year veteran of the Coffeyville Fire Department, has been appointed fire chief. Roesky began his career as a firefighter with the city in April, 1990; worked his way through the ranks and has served as captain since 2007.

City Manager Kendal Francis stated, “I am proud to promote Bob to fire chief. I have utmost confidence he will continue the level of leadership excellence and departmental professionalism we expect from the Coffeyville Fire Department.”

“I have some big shoes to fill,” said Roesky. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenges being chief presents and appreciate the support shown in my selection.”

Roesky will begin his chief duties on September 19.


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Fire starts at off-campus housing

Goodland Star News – September 20, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016

Photo by Kevin Bottrell

Photo by Kevin Bottrell

The Goodland Fire Department responded to a fire at the building on the southeast corner of Main and 17th Street on Saturday. The building was being used for off-campus housing for 10 Northwest Kansas Technical College soccer team members. No one was injured in the fire. The students had been out of the building preparing for a soccer game that afternoon. The college was coordinating efforts to help the students, who lost most of their possessions. The community stepped up by donating clothing and other items that the students needed until they were allowed back in the building to salvage what they could. The building also houses the Basement Bar and Grill and Hair by Sara. Firefighters also responded to a grass fire out in the county around the same time Saturday afternoon, shortly before another storm passed through the area.


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Colby Fire Department news

By David Tan
Colby Free Press – September 23, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 28, 2016

The Colby City Council approved selling an old fire engine to the City of Rexford for one dollar. In a previous city council meeting, McGreer said, the city approved the purchase of a new fire truck and suggested donating the old truck to a neighboring fire department. Colby Fire Chief Bob McLemore suggested donating the truck to the Rexford Fire Department.

McLemore believes the Rexford Fire Department will make good use of the old fire engine and in an emergency, they would be able to assist the Colby Fire Department.

“I have looked at other places in Thomas County that could benefit from having this fire engine,” McLemore said. “I feel that Rexford would benefit the most.”


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12-year-old driver hits, pins man with truck in Harvey County

KWCH – September 27, 2016

A 71-year-old man is in critical condition after being hit and pinned by a truck driven by a 12-year-old.

The crash happened at the Hilltop Convenience Store, 119 Main Street, in the town of Walton.

The driver told the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office she hit the gas instead of the brakes. The impact pushed the 71-year-old employee through a plate glass window.

The employee was taken to a Wichita hospital with a possible fractured femur.

The 12-year-old driver was taken to Newton Medical Center to be checked out for any possible injury.

The sheriff’s office said a licensed 16-year-old was in the backseat of the truck and an unlicensed 17-year-old was in the front passenger seat.

The 16-year-old was cited for contributing to a child’s misconduct.

The crash is under investigation by the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office.


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Kansas man dies in crash with a semi

JC Post – September 27, 2016

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Seward County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2015 Ford Taurus driven by Michael W. Riedel, 62, Liberal, was eastbound on U.S. 54 twelve miles west of Liberal.

The Ford crossed the centerline and collided with a westbound Volvo semi.

Riedel was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Miller’s Mortuary.

The semi driver Guillermo Pimentel, 57, Conroe, TX., was also injured. The KHP did not indicate where he was treated.

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


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Mid-August house fire claims rescued woman

By Zach McNulty
Atchison Globe – August 31, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016

Rita Mosher, 79, of Atchison, was unresponsive but alive when she was pulled out of her smoke-filled home by her son and an Atchison police officer around 2 p.m. on August 18.

On Friday, August 26, she passed away at Olathe Hospice House as a result of the blaze.

Interim Fire Chief for the Atchison Fire Department Ted Graf said crews encountered thick, dense black smoke on Wednesday, August 18 at 9043 K-7 Highway, where they were dispatched on a call of smoke in the house and of a person potentially inside the residence and unaccounted for.

Mosher was being pulled from the residence by her son and an Atchison police officer upon AFD’s arrival, Graf said, but she was unresponsive and showed signs of respiratory distress. She was transported by helicopter to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

Inside her home, firefighters found and extinguished a small fire contained to a bedroom. The fire had caused no structural damage but had consumed pieces of bedroom furniture.

Earlier that day, Graf said Mosher’s son had encountered smoke in the house when he returned from work. He called 911 and located his mother in the living room, adjacent to the room that caught fire.

He helped pull her from the home, but she died on Friday from the incident.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but the origin was a bed. Graf said based on the damage, the fire may have been burning for an hour before emergency crews were alerted. He said synthetic materials in furniture or decor output many “lethal products” that can asphyxlate.


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Reno County Commission honors retiring fire chief

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – September 27, 2016

Before appointing his successor Tuesday, Reno County Commission took time to recognize the long career of service by Fire District 3 Fire Chief Kenneth Burgess.

Burgess said he has been with the fire district, which operates out of Nickerson, for 45 years, including 30 years as chief. A fight against cancer has largely sidelined Burgess from going to calls recently, but he told commissioners that his latest check-up showed no growth in the cancer.

He said the first thing he had to do after becoming fire chief was prepare the budget, and nobody who was on the department with him had ever even seen the budget. He had to pinch pennies to keep the fire district well-equipped.

“Not quite a roller coaster ride, but there’s been highs and there’s been lows,” he said of his time with the department.

He said a house fire in Nickerson that killed two people was an especially tough time.

Burgess recommended appointing Bobby White to be his successor. Burgess said he has tried to help White prepare for the job.

Before taking action on Burgess’ recommendation, though, the commission presented him with a plaque recognizing his long service. Commission Chairman Dan Deming said the number of people Burgess has helped in those 45 years is uncountable.

Commissioners accepted Burgess’ recommendation and appointed White as fire chief for Fire District 3. White said he has been part of the fire district for about 29 years.

“Kenny’s the only fire chief I’ve ever known,” he said.

White said the fire district is well-positioned with the foundation Burgess laid and a good amount of youth among the firefighters.


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Liberal Firefighters Respond To Super 8 Hotel Fire

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – September 27, 2016

At 3:44 pm Monday Liberal firefighters were called to 747 E. Pancake Blvd. for a reported fire in the laundry room of the Super 8 Motel.

First arriving units at 3:49 pm encountered heavy smoke in the hallways and began evacuating the building. Firefighters made entry and located a fire burning in the boiler room. The fire was quickly extinguished and smoldering material was removed to the outside for further extinguishment efforts. A complete search of the motel was made to ensure that no occupants remained unaccounted for and firefighters began ventilation efforts to remove the remaining smoke from the hallways and rooms of the motel. The fire was declared under control in approximately 30 minutes.

The fire was first detected by the alarm system and was confirmed by an employee as the fire department was notified. The fire itself was contained to the boiler room however smoke-filled most of the structure. Investigation determined the cause to be combustible materials placed too close to the burners of the boiler. Also responding and assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, Black Hills Energy & Southern Pioneer Electric. The Liberal Fire Department responded with a total of 14 personnel and two engines and a ladder truck. All fire units were clear of the scene at 5:29 pm.


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New truck arrives at fire station

By Jared Janzen
Harvey County Independent – September 1, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016


Two weeks ago the Halstead Fire Department obtained its brand new Squad 24 truck.

Fire Chief Jim VanSchaick said the new truck is a nice addition for the department. It is a 2015 model truck with a 2016 fire body, essentially making it a 2016 vehicle, according to VanSchaick.

The department just finished putting decals on the truck earlier this week. They have already taken it on a few EMS calls, but the truck’s true purpose is to respond to grass fires, something VanSchaick said they don’t have to worry about right now with the ground being so soggy.

This truck replaces Halstead’s squad truck that was lost during the huge wildfire along Burmac Road near Burrton in March. Insurance covered most of the cost of the replacement truck. Halstead had been borrowing a squad truck from Burrton’s Fire/EMS department to use as a temporary replacement.


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Richardson stepping down once replacement is hired

By Pilar Martin
Harvey County Independent – September 1, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016


The city’s current Emergency Services Director, Tom Richardson, has tendered an open-ended resignation letter and plans to leave his post.

According to City Administrator Jaci Reimer, Richardson will help find a replacement and stay around long enough to help a new director get started.

Richardson, a lifelong resident of Sedgwick, was hired as the interim director on October 19, 2015.

He began his firefighting career as a volunteer in Sedgwick in 1987, and was the fire chief from 1990-1992. Richardson began working with the Sedgwick County Fire Department in 1990 and retired as a lieutenant in June of 2015.

He stepped up when Sedgwick EMS Director Mark Sauerwein exited the department on October 7, leaving the Fire/EMS department without someone in charge. Richardson’s hope was to help the city through a difficult transition time, taking the reins to move the department forward.

Richardson was originally hired for a period of 90 days. In January, Richardson agreed to a part-time position as Director of Emergency Services, a position that oversees both the fire department and ambulance service. Richardson worked three days a week in the office and took emergency calls.

The city posted an advertisement starting July 21 to find a replacement for Richardson. The ad specifies the city is looking for a full-time EMS director. Reimer said they had received 12 applications, from as far away as Illinois. The field was narrowed to five candidates for the first round of interviews that are currently being conducted.

“Once we get through the initial five, we will determine if we need to expand the field or just move forward,” Reimer said. When the field of candidates is narrowed to two, the mayor will be included in the interviews.

Once a new director has been named, depending on his/her qualifications, Richardson may stay working in the fire department. “I will probably continue on with the fire side of things once a new director has been named,” Richardson said.


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IFD investigates Ashcraft Tire Co. Inc. structure fire

By Kassie Sanderson
Independence Daily Reporter – September 16, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Local fire officials responded to a downtown business fire Thursday evening on 6th Street.

The Independence Fire Department, along with law enforcement from the Independence Police Department, responded to Ashcraft Tire Co. Inc., 215 N. 6th Street, at 6:10 p.m. after a passing motorist reportedly saw smoke and called in the structure fire.

Fire crews were on scene in less than two minutes and began battling the blaze, as Independence police assisted with traffic control and securing the scene, noted IPD Chief Jerry Harrison.

The Kansas State Marshal was contacted and “emergency crews will be securing the scene overnight.”

“There have been no injuries reported and no one is believed to have been present when the fire started,” Harrison said in a press release.

IFD Chief Rusty Baker added “it is common practice and there are no red flags-it’s merely the process that they do things.”

David Cowan, public safety director, added firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.


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Fire destroys Garnett home, kills parents

By Greg Mast
Ottawa Herald – September 17, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016

Three children are left without parents after an early Tuesday morning fire in Garnett.

The fire claimed the lives of Erica Raddatz, 38, and her husband, Kevin Slover, 37, who died Wednesday at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, after reportedly suffering second and third degree burns on his body.

The Garnett Fire Department responded to the fire at 1:12 a.m. Tuesday at 715 E. Fourth St., where they found the house engulfed in flames, Pat Tate, Garnett Fire Chief, said.

Tate said the fire started in the carport and the cause is unknown.

“There was a lot of fire on the west side of the house,” Tate said. “Under that carport was an automobile which was fully involved in fire and it set the west side of that house on fire real quickly.”

Tate said he got to the fire quickly and the house was already too hot to enter.

“Bystanders were yelling somebody else was in the house,” Tate said. “There was no way to make entry with that much fire without a hose line. The firefighters did an excellent job making an entry in there.

“The female victim was found inside in a bedroom at least a half-hour into the fire. By that time, there was nothing anybody could do. The male victim self-evacuated himself before I arrived and they were attending to him out in the yard.”

Tate said law enforcement officers rescued a 4-year-old and a dog on the east side of the house.

“They broke out a window and they happened to look and there was a 4-year-old standing there, so they grabbed him out,” he said.

The other two children evacuated by themselves before Tate arrived.

It was not clear Friday afternoon where the children were staying.

Tate said the fire damage was so extensive that no cause could be determined after an investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Tate said the firefighters involved in fighting the fire received counseling Thursday night.

Raddatz worked at the Ottawa Walmart, 2101 S. Princeton St., as the toy department manager.


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Robert “Bob” Pierson McBride

Robert “Bob” Pierson McBride, 88, died Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, at Mennonite Friendship Communities in South Hutchinson. He was born May 27, 1928, in Hutchinson, to Robert H. and Cleo (Hanning) McBride.

Bob graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1946 and went to work as a carpenter’s apprentice. He was inducted into the United States Army in 1950 and served during the Korean War until he was honorably discharged in 1956. Bob then worked for English Construction Company, Foy Construction Company, and Doskocil’s until his retirement. He was a lifelong Boy Scout and volunteer fireman for the South Hutchinson Fire Department for 35 years, serving as Fire Chief. Bob was a member of South Hutchinson United Methodist Church.

He married Marita J. Base on Aug. 20, 1954, in Hutchinson. She survives. Other survivors include: sons, Kalvin and wife Cindy of Florissant, Colo., and Scott and wife Selah of Jemison, Ala.; daughters, Kim Lowen and husband Jim of Hutchinson, and Sandra Groves and husband Michael of Hutchinson; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by: his parents; brother, Herbert; and sister, Jane Hildebrandt.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at South Hutchinson United Methodist Church, 206 E. Ave. E, South Hutchinson, with the Reverends Claire Gadberry and Robert Conway officiating. Private family burial will take place at the Fairview Cemetery, Elmer, with military honors conducted by the Fort Riley Honor Guard. Friends may sign the memorial book from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Elliott Mortuary, Hutchinson. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the family home.

Memorials may be made to the church or Hospice of Reno County, in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501.


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Neodesha welcomes new firefighter/EMT

Neodesha Derrick – September 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016


Kelsea Brite is welcomed to her position by Fire Chief Duane Banzet after being sworn in to her position as a new member of the Nodesha Fire Department. Brite is relocating to the area from Branson, Missouri, where she served in a similar capacity.


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Local firefighters, Red Cross eager to see smoke alarms save lives

Oskaloosa Independent – September 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Well aware of the ever-present danger fire poses to both life and property, volunteer firefighters with Jefferson County Fire District 8 and the American Red Cross want to make sure houses and apartments in Oskaloosa Township are adequately equipped with working smoke alarms heading into what amounts to “fire season.”

With that in mind, Disaster Program Specialist Ariane Burson and Disaster Services volunteer Jim Smallback with the Capital Area chapter of the American Red Cross traveled from Topeka to Oskaloosa last Thursday morning to provide the township fire department with informational fliers that are to be distributed door to door beginning in early October to let area residents know that free smoke alarms made possible by a grant from the federal government are available and will be installed at no charge by firefighters.

Burson and Smallback were met by Todd Melling and his son, Colt, members of the fire department, and Melling gave the two a quick tour of the training facility located just to the west of the JCFD 8 Fire Station. There they saw what was left of a couch that was purposely set on fire five days earlier during the course of a multidistrict training exercise.

One of three fliers the Mellings and other firefighters will be handing out covers the development of a Home Fire Escape Plan. According to both Melling and Burson, should a fire break out in a house or apartments, the occupants of it may have as little as two minutes to escape.

Melling told the paper that the goal set by the fire department is to install at least 100 new smoke alarms by the end of the year. Smallback said that if a smoke alarm is five years old or older, it should be replaced.

According to Burson, nationwide, 125,000 new smoke alarms were installed last year and smoke alarms were responsible for saving a total of 26 lives. By 2020, she related, the Red Cross hopes to have reduced fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent through the installation of more smoke alarms in more dwellings where they are needed most. Statistics reveal that 60 percent of fire-related deaths in homes occur in homes that lack a working smoke alarm.

The ARC now recommends that a smoke alarm be installed in every bedroom within a house or apartment.


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New fire chief in charge of Ozawkie department

By Clarke Davis
Vindicator – September 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016


James Snyder, 50, has been appointed the new fire chief at Ozawkie by the township board.

He replaces Scott Gibson, who was named the interim chief a year ago in September. At that time the department was defined as “troubled,” having gone through a period of discontent accompanied by some resignations.

Snyder hopes those troubles are behind the department as he begins his tenure. He has a roster with 15 volunteers, and three new applications have come in the past week. Five of the members are cadets, minors who can train and help out, but are restricted from fighting a fire.

Snyder and his wife, Sheila, who is also a firefighter and department member, live at Lake Shore Estates. They have been Jefferson County residents since 1989 having first lived in Sarcoxie Township and then moved to Ozawkie Township in 2009.

Both James and Sheila are emergency medical technicians and Danny Ruff is the third one on the department. Jason Klenklen is the assistant fire chief.

The fire department currently holds meetings two times a month on the first and third Tuesdays, but that might change. The Snyders are active in a number of civic and community groups and they might change the meeting dates after consulting with members.

Both James and Sheila re involved in local American Legion posts and on the district level. He is the vice commander for District 1 that includes 52 posts and Sheila is vice president of the district auxiliary that has 43 chapters. He manned a booth for the Legion at the State Fair September 13.

The fire chief works for a cubical office furniture company, mainly in the north Kansas City warehouse. But he often travels to transport and install the furniture.

Snyder willingly took the fire chief’s position, something he said he has been training for quite some time. He regularly attends classes throughout the state sponsored by the State Capitol Area Fire Fighters Association to gain higher certification. The last one he attended dealt with command of major instances.

The couple has two children, Crystal, who lives in Leavenworth, and Jesse, a McLouth resident. Crystal has a son and a daughter on the way.


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Lawrence woman killed in wreck southwest of Tonganoxie

By Shawn Linenberger
Lawrence Journal World – September 27, 2016

A head-on fatality accident Monday night claimed the life of a Lawrence woman.

The accident occurred about 5:20 p.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 24-40 about 0.2 miles south of 243rd Street and 5 miles south of Tonganoxie.

According to Kansas Highway Patrol reports, Austin Michael Rose, 32, Eudora, was driving a 2002 GMC Sierra 2500 truck north on U.S. 24-40 when his vehicle crossed the double line and struck a 2009 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Kelly Fowler, 51, Lawrence, head on. Both vehicles came to rest on the right side of the road, according to KHP.

Fowler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Passengers included Regan Fowler, 16, and Ariyah Salleck, 1, both of Lawrence. KHP reports did not show them being taken to area hospitals, and details were not available.

Rose was injured in the accident and taken to University of Kansas Hospital.

Everyone involved in the accident was wearing safety restraints.


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Kenneth E. “Million Mile Man” Shove


Kenneth E. Shove, 87, St. Marys, passed away Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the St. Marys Manor.

He was born July 6, 1929 at Havensville, the son of Kenneth James and Muriel Joy Lederer Shove. Mr. Shove graduated from Havensville High School in 1948. He served in the United States Navy from 1950 until 1954 during the Korean War, aboard the Destroyer U.S.S. Harry E. Hubard DD748.

He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 41 years. Kenny lived in Silver Lake for 31 years where he served on the City Council and the Fire Department and served as Chief. He was a Boy Scout Leader and was a Trustee for the Silver Lake Township. Mr. Shove was a member of the St. Marys United Methodist Church.

Kenny was an avid motorcyclist, riding a favorite, Harley Davidson Motorcycle since 1956, retiring his leathers in 2011. He earned the nickname “Million Mile Man” riding just about every day at least 100 miles. He traveled across the United States many times, attending numerous rallies and H.D. functions. He and his friend Norbert Brady, were instrumental in starting the New Year’s Day H.D. Ride in Topeka, a family activity faithfully attended by friends and families of Topeka Harley Davidson, regardless of the weather. Kenny’s son, daughter and son-in-law, Hal, carry on the family Harley tradition. Kenny said they started the ride because “they were bored”.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, Galen Lyle Shove in 1977.

Survivors include his son, Raymond James Shove, Carbondale; his daughter, Vicky Sue (Hal “Big Guy”) Jones, Lake Wabaunsee; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, September 17, 2016 at Piper Funeral Home in St. Marys. Mr. Shove will lie in state and the family will receive friends from 1:00 until service time on Saturday. Interment will be in the Valley View Cemetery, St. Marys.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the St. Marys United Methodist Church or Grace Hospice and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple St., St. Marys, Kansas 66536.


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Fire damages home in Eastborough

KFDI – September 26, 2016


Firefighters are on the scene of a house fire in Eastborough.

It began shortly after 11 a.m. at 4 Highland Road, west of the intersection of Douglas and Woodlawn. No one was hurt, and the fire was under control within half an hour.

Wichita fire battalion chief Sid Newby said crews saw smoke and flames coming from the front of the home when they arrived. The fire was discovered in the south portion of the house.

Damage was estimated at $65,000 to the house and its contents. The cause is still under investigation.


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Job Opening – Firefighter – Overland Park Fire Department


The City of Overland Park Fire Department is accepting applications for the position of Firefighter.

Responsibilities: This is a highly skilled fire fighting, emergency medical services and fire prevention position. Extinguishes and prevents fires to protect life and property; maintains fire station equipment, apparatus, quarters, and operating equipment; provides public education; and prevention duties. Work is performed in accordance with general supervision and written procedures, under the command of a superior officer. Work is reviewed in progress and upon completion.

Requirements: High school diploma or GED. Must possess a valid driver’s license and maintain an insurable driving record. Associates Degree in Fire Science and/or Emergency Medicine is preferred. Emergency Medical Technician Certification in the State of KS or National Registry. Prior to applying must have current CPAT certification, and have taken the Fire Service Entrance Exam (FSEE) and achieved a score of 70% or better. Must have a current EMT and AED certification by the Kansas Board of EMS or National Registry. If National Registry certified, employee must obtain Kansas Board of EMS certification within first year of employment. Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011 must be Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 qualified and have satisfactory progress with the ongoing competencies and requirements of the equivalent of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Professional Firefighter Qualifications, NFPA 472 Hazardous Materials Competencies for the First Responder at the Operational Level, and NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications and Certifications. Employees hired after July 1, 2011 must have Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 Certification in the State of Kansas or equivalent International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or Pro Board Certification. No City residency requirement.

Attaching a resume does not complete the application. You must fully complete the application to be considered for employment. All fields including the required licenses and certificates must be completed or you will be automatically disqualified. An email address is necessary to apply online and receive an electronic confirmation that you successfully submitted the application.

Must successfully pass a background check, drug screen, physical, and psychological evaluation.

Qualified applicants will be scheduled for a FireTeam Video Test the week of 10/10/16. Learn more at Copies of all required certifications will be collected at this time and are mandatory before allowing entrance into the exam. A photo ID will be required before allowing entrance into the exam.

Normal Work Hours: 24-hour shift; schedule to be determined by supervisor

Salary: $3,259/mo.

Application Deadline: 09/30/2016

Benefits: Full-time


More Information


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Changes coming in how WFD responds to medical calls

By Ashley Arnold
KSN – September 26, 2016

The Wichita Fire Department says it needs to do something different in the way it responds to medical calls because the current system is putting a strain on already tight resources.

They did a study and found out that in 2014, 80 percent of the calls that were sent to the fire department were medical and about 38 percent of their total calls were non-emergency.

They aren’t alone. Across the country, over the past decade, many departments have seen a large rise in how many medical calls they’ve received while numbers for fires and other emergencies generally stayed flat.

In response to those statistics, the Wichita Fire Department decided to see what other departments across the country are doing.

Earlier this year, they decided to move forward with a pilot program after two years of research with Wichita State’s Public Policy and Management Center.

The move would send small SUVs, not fire trucks, to some medical calls.

“They’re not going to respond to the house fires, they’re not going to respond to the car wrecks. They will be EMTs who are in some sort of SUV that can respond to the low acuity calls only,” said Fire Marshal Brad Crisp.

Low acuity calls are medical calls that aren’t necessarily emergencies—they don’t require immediate medical attention and could probably be resolved with a trip to a primary care physician.

The first station to roll out this change will be Fire Station One, in downtown Wichita. As these graphics show, the station receives the most medical calls of any Wichita fire station and over the past decade the calls have increased drastically. The darker red indicates more than 1,000 calls a year in a square mile.

As the need for fire trucks to respond grows, it leads to fewer trucks being available to respond to true emergencies, ultimately bouncing the call over to another station that would be farther away.

“It’s gonna be a delayed response,” said Capt. Joshua Pavelski with Station One. “It’s not gonna be what they’re used to if they’ve called before because the other stations are going to be a little bit further away.”

Crisp says they’re planning to get public input in the coming weeks, holding meetings in October with district advisory boards and neighborhood associations to explain what’s going on, why it’s happening, and get any suggestion.

The official rollout at Fire Station One will begin after the new year and be in place for at least a year before any permanent changes are put in place across the city.


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Rapid response, teamwork keeps GE fire contained

By Judith Zaccaria
Cowley County Courier Traveler – September 26, 2016

Photos by Thomas Carver. Click each photo to view full-size.

Photos by Thomas Carver. Click each photo to view full-size.



An equipment fire Thursday afternoon in General Electric’s Building 5 at Strother Field could have been much worse, but quick work by the Winfield and Arkansas City fire departments and GE personnel kept things from becoming disastrous.

A fire in a downdraft machine was reaching into the ceiling area when firefighters from both departments answered the call about 12:45 p.m., according to Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll.

“As far as GE was concerned, they did a great job of evacuation (of their employees) and accountability,” Stoll said.

One employee was checked by the emergency medical service for smoke inhalation and released at the scene, he said.

Fire personnel advanced two water lines into the building, Stoll said. “(Fire) personnel were able to keep the fire confined to the machine — the big, high-dollar machine.”

In fact, while visiting with this reporter, Stoll received information from GE saying that the damage to the machine was minimal and will not affect operations of the facility where they do assembly and repairs on aircraft and engines.

Stoll had high praise for the company.

“The emergency plans went very, very well,” he said.

“We had good communication. We worked together and got the (GE) staff in the building as soon as we deemed the environment safe. We paired with the maintenance department to analyze the machine and to make sure everything was clear internally with the machine.”

Stoll said GE — and other industries — have safety plans that “make our jobs easier.” With the plan, people are appointed to make sure everyone is out of the building and safe, and firefighters can be verbally guided to the affected site. “It gets us to that area quickly,” he said.

He also said the safety plan includes shutting down the gas and electricity systems and clearing the smoke with the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) to get the carbon monoxide levels down so firefighters can work safely.

“Having the expertise and plan in place to meet (the crisis) is very effective and saves time. In fact, the fire personnel cleared the area at 3:25 p.m.,” Stoll said.

With a company the size of GE — 750 employees — checking the roster and knowing where everyone is every day is “a big deal,” Stoll said.

He said the Winfield and Ark City fire departments work very effectively together and that makes everyone safer.

Altogether, the companies had six vehicles on scene: two command vehicles, a ladder truck, an aerial platform, an engine and an EMS ambulance.

Fourteen firefighters, eight from Winfield and six from Ark City, answered the call.

Stoll said most industries have safety officers and safety plans in place.

“They are key to successful incidents,” he said.

He also said General Electric is “very, very proactive in safety for the community and its employees. That is beneficial for all of us.”


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