Archive for October, 2016

Man dies in motorcycle crash near Kellogg and Rock Rd.

KWCH – October 31, 2016

A 31-year-old man was killed Saturday in a motorcycle wreck in the 3000 block of S. Rock Road, near Kellogg and Rock.

Wichita police say the motorcyclist was heading north on Rock Road when a driver traveling west on Peachtree Lane turned in front of him. They say the man was transported to the hospital where he died.

Police say it appears the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet. His name has not been released.

The crash is Wichita’s eighth fatal motorcycle crash of they year, police say.


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Face to Face: Tim Smith

Tonganoxie Mirror – October 26, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2016


Name: Tim Smith

Born: Hiawatha in 1960.

Family: Wife of 33 years, Kathleen; five daughters, Brandi Gettys, San Diego, Emily Devor, Riverside, Calif., Victoria Snyder, Tonganoxie, Elizabeth Moseley, Valley Center, and Rachel Heichel, Kansas City, Mo.; and 11 grandchildren.

Occupation: Volunteer Fire Chief with Tonganoxie Township Fire Department and District 4 representative for the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs. He’s also been a mechanic with Associated Wholesale Grocers for 29 years in Kansas City, Kansas.

Interesting fact: His father, Larry Smith, was Tonganoxie police chief for 17 years.

Digging deeper: Smith has called Tonganoxie home for much of his life. His father originally was from Tonganoxie. Smith only lived in Hiawatha the couple months after he was born before moving to Tonganoxie. A 1978 Tonganoxie High School graduate, Smith actually enrolled in the delayed entry program in December of 1977 and left for boot camp just after July 4, 1978. He served eight years in the Navy, serving in both San Diego and Long Beach, Calif. While there, he met his wife and got married. After serving in the Navy, they made Tonganoxie their home. Smith went into mechanical work for a company before starting at Wholesale Grocers nearly 30 years ago.

Smith spent some time in high school from 1976-78 working for the Tonganoxie City Fire Department. He started in the spring of 1988 with the Tonganoxie Township Fire Department.

The chief position, as all roles in the township department, are volunteer. Smith said there are 10 volunteers on the roster at the main station on Kansas Highway 16 between Tonganoxie and McLouth and another smaller station near Jarbalo where five firefighters are on the roster. Of course, Smith said the department always could utilize more volunteers. The station near Jarbalo on Dempsey Road was built in 2012, while the main station was built in 2015, replacing a facility built in the 1980s.

In his spare time, Smith likes to bow hunt for deer. He even makes trips to western Kansas to hunt. And though he makes an annual trip to California to see family, he’s happy he made the move back home.

“My wife grew up out there,” he said. “She doesn’t miss it at all.”


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Father and stepson killed in farming accident

By Tori Mason
WIBW – October 31, 2016

A father and his stepson were killed Friday evening after their truck overturned near Waterville, Kansas.

42-year-old Bill Schotte and his 11-year-old stepson, Kayne Stoute, were driving westbound in the 3000 block of KS-9 when their 1999 International truck left the roadway.

The vehicle continued down an embankment before overturning and coming to a rest on its top.

Schotte and Stoute, both of Odell, Nebraska, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The father and stepson will be laid to rest at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bremen Wednesday morning.

Family will receive friends Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. at Kinsley’s Mortuary in Marysville.


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Afternoon blaze

Pittsburg Morning Sun – October 26, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2016

Photo by Chance Hoener. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Chance Hoener. Click on photo to view full-size.

Crawford County Fire District No. 4 and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department responded to a structure fire at 330 S. 170th Street on Tuesday. The fire engulfed a barn at the property, but there were no apparent injuries.


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Combine starts stubble fire

By David Tan
Colby Free Press – October 27, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

A faulty gearbox from a corn head dropped hot gears that caused a fire in a corn stubble field Wednesday north of the Colby Community College agriculture center.

Colby Fire Department received the call around 1:15 p.m., fire service officer Scott Hilbrink said, and arrived on scene about 10 minutes later. Wind caused some problems threatening to spread the fire. The fire was officially contained around 3:13 p.m. Most of the time was spent putting out embers.

“The fire likes to creep under the corn husks,” Hilbrink said. “The wind didn’t make it easy for us. It kept blowing and trying to start it back up and spread it.”

Farmers played a big role in helping putting out the fire, Hilbrink said. Farmers in the area used tractors and discs to drop dirt on the fire to cover the embers under the debris in the field and prevent them from spreading.

The Colby Fire Department wants to thank the farmers that assisted them, Hilbrink said. We appreciate the help and it made putting the fire out easier.


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Great Bend fire chief honored

Great Bend Tribune – October 31, 2016


Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano received the Fire Chief Of The Year Award Saturday from the Kansas Fire Chiefs Association. It was the 100th Anniversary of the association which held its annual convention this past weekend in Lawrence.


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Motorcyclist dies after crash Sunday afternoon in Overland Park

FOX 4 News – October 31, 2016

A motorcycle driver in Overland Park has died as a result of a crash Sunday.

Around 1:35 p.m. Overland Park officers responded to W. 119th Street and Lowell Avenue on a report of a motorcycle collision. Upon arrival, first responders found the driver of the motorcycle unresponsive.

The victim was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. The motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the accident.

The motorcycle driver later died as a result of injuries.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending notification of family members.


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Fire department responds to smoke call

Herington Times – October 27, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2016

A malfunctioning heating system filled a Herington residence with smoke and prompted a response from the local fire department.

The call to 505 North Eighth St. was received shortly at 2 p.m. last Friday, according to Herington Fire Chief Ken Staatz. Nine firefighters responded with three pumper trucks.

Staatz said a thermal imaging camera was used to determine the source of the smoke was the heating system in the house.

He added that the gas valve and electronic controls on the unit sustained fire or heat damage.

Firefighters disconnected gas and electrical service to the residence, Staatz said.

Windows were opened in the house as a source of ventilation to clear the smoke, he said.

No water was used by firefighters at the scene.

Staatz was unable to provide ownership information since the property was recently sold.


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Rural fire consumes bales, grassland and trees

Hays Post – October 31, 2016

Rural fire crews responded to a fire at 1011 Yocemento Avenue on Friday afternoon.

The blaze consumed 25 or more bales and approximately 3 acres of grass and trees, according to Ellis County Rural Fire Chief Darin Myers.

Volunteers with the Ellis County Rehab Trailer assisted firefighters on a warm Friday afternoon with temperatures in the low 90s.

Embers that escaped an uncovered barrel during an unreported controlled burn started the fire, according to Myers.

Fire crews were on the scene until 10 p.m. and again on Saturday morning checking for hot spots.

There were no injuries.


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GBCF awards Olmitz Fire Department grant

Great Bend Tribune – October 31, 2016


Golden Belt Community Foundation recently awarded the Olmitz Volunteer Fire Department a grant of $2,800 to purchase equipment for their newest fire truck. The grant was made possible and funded with a donation from Western Cooperative Electric Association, Inc. and a matching donation from CoBank. The department recently acquired the truck and this grant allows the Olmitz Volunteer Fire Department to outfit and equip the truck with necessary equipment to effectively combat fires.


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Overnight fire in shopping plaza confined to restaurant

Hays Post – October 31, 2016

At eight minutes after midnight on Saturday, October 29, city of Hays emergency dispatchers were alerted to an automatic fire alarm at the Centennial Plaza shopping center, 2550 Vine Street. This building is the home of fifteen businesses in our community. The city of Hays Fire Department, assisted by the city of Hays Police Department, was immediately dispatched.

The five on-duty firefighters staffing two fire trucks initially responded to investigate the automatic fire alarm. On arrival firefighters found smoke in the building and, using breathing apparatus, advanced one hose line to search for the fire. All available off-duty firefighters and Ellis County EMS were called to assist.

Firefighters quickly located a fire in the kitchen of Jalisco Mexican Restaurant. The fire had been controlled by the kitchen automatic fire extinguishing system. Firefighters searched for hidden fire spread and confirmed the fire to be out. Firefighters then worked to remove smoke from the building.

The most probable cause of the fire was food left cooking after the business closed for the night. The activation of the automatic fire extinguishing system transmitted the automatic fire alarm. As designed, the kitchen automatic fire extinguishing system prevented the fire from becoming large enough to activate fire sprinklers in the kitchen. There was some damage to kitchen equipment and some smoke damage in the building in the area of the restaurant.

During this fire emergency, firefighters also responded to two other emergency calls for service. A total of thirteen firefighters staffing four fire trucks were at work for this fire. The last fire crews left the scene at 2:19 AM.


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Candle Left Burning Blamed for $75K Damage to Dickinson Co. Home

Salina Post – October 31, 2016

Fire crews responded to a residential fire six miles west of Junction City just after 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Rural fire crews from Geary and Dickinson County were called to fight the fire.

When fire crews arrived, they found a back bedroom fully involved in fire, according to Paul Froelich, Dickinson County Fire District One Chief.

“The fire had also breached the roof at that time,” he said.

Officials believe a candle in the back bedroom caused the fire.

The preliminary damage estimate has been placed at approximately $75,000.

There were no injuries. The residents were not home at the time of the fire, according to Froelich.


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18-year-old man killed in Jefferson County crash

KWCH – October 31, 2016

An 18-year-old Meriden, Kansas man was killed in an early Sunday morning crash in Jefferson County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says Skylar Callahan was driving his 1995 Mazda pickup south on Detlor Road northeast of Topeka at about 1 a.m. Sunday when the truck left the road, struck three wooden fence posts and overturned twice, coming to a rest on its wheels.

The KHP says Callahan was ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to a Topeka hospital where he died. He was not wearing a seatbelt, the KHP says.


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Kansas man dies in tractor accident

Salina Post – October 28, 2016

A Kansas man was killed in a farming accident on Thursday.

Just before 10 p.m., first responders were dispatched to a tractor rollover near the area of Monument Road and 130th Road seven miles south of Wathena, according to Deputy Raymond Hall with the Doniphan County Sheriff’s Department.

Morris Miller, 80, left home at 3 p.m. to go mow a pasture.

Just after 9:30 p.m., family members found Miller pinned underneath the tractor.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.


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Healing the heroes: First responders raise awareness of PTSD w/video

By Melissa Brunner
WIBW – October 28, 2016



Scott Price never thought he’d trade in his big red truck for a set of yellow wheels.

But, after nearly 24 years in the fire service, he finds himself hanging up the helmet and, instead, buckling up behind the wheel of a school bus.

“You do have those moments where you’ve delivered a baby or you’ve saved somebody’s private property or belongings,” Price said of his love for working as a firefighter.

But it was those other moments – he pinpoints a rash of calls in 2012 that involved fatal accidents and drownings – that shifted his life into reverse.

“For any firefighter, children are difficult,” he said. “It’s just, for me, it was happening over and over again. A lot of calls that I would like to forget that I’m just never going to forget.”

Price was developing post-traumatic stress disorder. As many as 37 percent of firefighters and paramedics have PTSD to some extent — and in a 2015 survey of firefighters by Florida State University, nearly half admitted thinking about suicide.

Price can pinpoint the call that was his tipping point. He responded to the 2012 death of Savannah Edwards, who was mauled by a dog. He would not share details of his experience, but know, in the months and years that followed, he was changing.

“You’re not the person that you used to be,” he said. “I was a little more fatigued, a little more temperamental; nightmares so bad I wouldn’t even want to go to sleep. For a while, I thought it was something that we all dealt with.”

To make matter worse, Price was a battalion chief – and he knew he was not focused and picking up on the details he needed to be to keep his crews safe on their calls.

Finally, this spring, Shawnee Heights Fire Chief Tom Garcia pulled Price aside.

“It was affecting his family life. It was affecting his work performance here,” Garcia said.

Together, they got Price into treatment where he was diagnosed with PTSD. Garcia says it’s not surprising since firefighters today do more than put out flames. They’re also the first responders for anything from wrecks and assaults, to medical calls and suicides.

“It’s the day in, day out, we can’t get away from it because the next day, we come to work, we don’t know what we’re going to be faced with, so we get up in the morning, we try to prepare ourselves for the worst,” Garcia said.

Mental health counselors say PTSD is very real.

“Trauma rewires the brain,” explains Jill Reese, a clinical therapist at Stormont-Vail Behavioral Health in Topeka.

Reese says it’s like the brain become stuck in flight-or-fight mode.

“They continue to live with intrusive memories, distressing memories, flashbacks, dissociations, maybe they start avoiding things,” she said.

The good news is it can be treated, but, says fellow Stormont-Vail therapist Mary Evans, it takes an individualized plan of therapy, sometimes with medications.

“Their mind, their body’s been hijacked by the trauma,” Evans said. “We teach people skills, such as relaxation training, mindfulness skills, so they can kind of develop a sense of mastery over some of these symptoms.”

But the first step is trusting there’s help, which is where the 10-33 Foundation comes in.

Named for the common signal code of officer in distress – and the verse in Luke where you’ll find the biblical story of the good Samaritan – 10-33 foundation trains first responders to encourage peers to reach out and take the first step.

Soldier Township Fire Chief Karl McNorton helped launch the program in Northeast Kansas in March, when he saw how handling several tragedies involving young people in recent years was affecting his crews.

“It’s really critical to us, and to me personally, that we do what we can to help each other and help prevent this – because I’m an old firefighter and I want to make sure a young firefighter gets to be an old firefighter,” McNorton said.

The 10-33 Foundation is already active in counties from Jackson to Coffey. They’re equipped to handle post-incident debriefing and preventative training, as well as classes for families and spouses.

Because they know what’s at stake.

On October 15th, Indian River Co., Florida Battalion Chief David Dangerfield posted on Facebook, in part, “PTSD for firefighters is real. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid of. My love to my crews. Be safe, take care.”

Less than three hours later, Dangerfield drove to the woods, called 911, and took his own life.

“We’re working in an industry where being macho is what we should be. We’re gonna run into a burning building. We can save everything. That’s not reality,” Garcia said. “We can’t save everything. We need to be macho enough to say, ‘I’m a big enough man to step and say there’s something wrong.'”

Which is why Price is speaking out.

“I know there’s more people out there. I’ve seen the look,” he said.

He ultimately decided to take early retirement from the fire force and steer in a new direction as a school bus driver. But he wants his friends to know they don’t need to travel as far down the dark road as he did.

“Just listen to the guys and just say, ‘Look, you might be in trouble – or I’m in trouble and I need help and I need you to listen to me.'”

The 10-33 Foundation encourages any first responders experiencing a traumatic or critical event to contact their 24-hour partner hotline, 1-800-525-5683.

To contact the 10-33 Foundation in Kansas, email


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Mission 6th grader’s account of a day with first responders

By Jay Senter
Shawnee Mission Post – October 28, 2016

Reader Sherry Sullivan let us know about an event she and fellow residents of the Apollo Gardens townhouse complex in Mission had put on for local law enforcement and fire agencies over the weekend.

“We wanted our police and fire departments to know how much we appreciate the work they do for us in the city,” Sullivan wrote. “Our complex has a wide variety of age of people and the senior needs come in many ways, from replacing batteries in smoke alarms to assistance in falls or in the tragic case of the medical assistance on occasion. We hosted a picnic and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for them and their families.”

At the event, Apollo resident Charlee Shrader, a sixth grader at Rushton Elementary, volunteered to interview some of the attendees to find out more about their jobs. She wrote up an article about the people she met. We thought it was pretty cool.

Here’s Charlee Shrader’s account of spending the afternoon with her neighbors and the first responders:

On Saturday October 22th 2016 Apollo Garden had a first responder’s picnic for the police officers and the firefighters that serve Mission. It was a wonderful event that had so much joy. I myself was having a wonderful time talking with the people that serve Mission. Brian and Sherry Sullivan were the two that grilled the hamburgers and hotdogs for this event and let me tell you the food was amazing!!! I also had a talk with some of the officers and firefighters that came to the event; I asked them a few questions about their work and their position.

One of the police officers Dan Madden was one of the friendliest of them all. I had to ask him some questions. Dan is a Captain of the crew and he also goes and investigates some of the crime scenes. He has been in his position for 17 years and loves every bit of it. One of the questions I asked all of the men and women I interviewed was ‘What is the best part about being a police/firefighter?’ Well I got a clear answer from Dan that’s for sure. He told me the best part was helping keep the people and the community safe. He loves seeing the happy people every day when he drives by every corner.
One of the firefighters named Angus Duff told me that he is one of the drivers for the fire station. He has been a driver for 12 years. Angus also has worked there for 20 years. He also told me that the best part about being a fireman is helping the people from tragic accidents. He wants to see them up and healthy.

Now, I have known this man for a while now. He is now the head of the police department, Ben Hadley is our one and only chief of police! Ben has worked in his current position for 2 ½ years and loves it. He enjoys seeing all his men and women every day and night, he enjoys helping the great people in Mission. One of the best things he likes in his position is seeing new people every day and meeting new people every day.

Now this woman has been in her position for 16 years now and loves every bit of it! Her name is Tomina Meyers, and she is a Mission firefighter. Tomina is the nicest women I have ever met. She was so nice to me when I came up to say hello and interview her. She told me one of the best things about her job was helping people and seeing all the little girls and boys playing in the streets. And like every good firefighter she loves seeing her coworkers every day and greeting them with a warm smile.

All these people that I met yesterday have inspired me so much in so many ways to help this community and the people in it. The police and firefighters you see every day do so much for us and we all need to thank them every day. So when you see one of the many men and women that help Mission residents tell them thank you for all that they do for us each and every day if you can.


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Fire destroys building, tools, vehicles

By Tim Burr
St. Francis Herald – October 6, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Early in the afternoon on Tuesday, September 27, the St. Francis Rural Fire Department was called to the farmstead of Ron Krien, just south of St. Francis on County Road 14, to battle a building fire.

The fire, of unknown origin at this time, had begun in the corner of the Krien Steel shop building. Oil and other flammable liquids were stored in that area, and once the fire reached them, it rapidly expanded. The building, its contents, and two vehicles were a complete loss. There were no injuries reported, and the fire department was able to contain it to the building and vehicles, although it threatened other out buildings and the Krien’s home.

When the fire ignited the flammables in the shop building, it also caused a disruption in electrical service. That shut down the water well, so their ability to fight the fire was compromised, said Wade Krien.

When the fire department arrived, the building was completely engulfed. St. Francis firemen were on scene for several hours. They returned to the fire house near dark, but were called back out a little later to extinguish another hot spot.

A heavy duty, four-door pickup, which Krien Steel Buildings had used as a mobile shop for years, was a complete loss. It had been sitting slightly inside the open garage door. The heat of the fire melted the door, dropping it on the cab and hood of the pickup, igniting the vehicle.

The building was gutted, and a total loss. A small area used for an office was completely blackened from smoke. All the contents, from shop tools to inventory, were a loss.

On Wednesday, Ron and Wade were sifting through the remains, dragging out what used to be tools that they used in their steel building business.

“I know we’ll never be able to get all of it listed for the insurance. We built this building in the early 80’s, and it has been our shop since we started the business, also in the early 80’s. There was a lot of stuff in there, said Ron.

Although the business lost a lot, they do have another building, with a great deal of equipment and inventory at a location near the airport, near the County Seat greenhouse.

We’ll get back on our feet, and keep going, said Ron.


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Jones appointed interim fire chief

By Andy Taylor
Montgomery County Chronicle – September 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Robert Jones, a veteran member of the Caney Fire Department and son to Fire Chief Tom Jones, has been named interim fire chief through January 2017.

Robert Jones was recommended for the interim fire chief position in a recent meeting of fire department members. The interim chief title was approved by the city council on Monday.

Robert Jones was asked to take the interim role while his father fights a battle with cancer at home. Tom Jones has served as fire chief since January 2015 and served as assistant chief for 10 years prior to assuming the top post. He also had been a captain for 12 years and a lieutenant for two years.

The fire department members were unanimous that Tom Jones retain his fire chief title as he continues to battle cancer, said Fred Gress. Although he is limited on his capabilities as a chief, Jones is able to use a newly acquired motorized scooter to travel from his home, which is located immediately north of the Caney Fire Department headquarters, to check on the status of projects and answer radios.

Update: Chief Tom Jones lost his battle with cancer


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Arson and burglary reported at 909 E. Hill

By Kassie Sanderson
Independence Daily Reporter – October 25, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

The Independence Fire Department, EMS and the Independence Police Department responded to a structure fire Monday afternoon and after investigation, the State Fire Marshal was contacted to determine the cause.

At 12:22 p.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to 909 E. Hill Street for a report of a fire after neighbors saw smoke. On scene assisting the fire department were EMS and law enforcement.

According to Chief of Police Jerry Harrison, the investigators determined the fire “appeared suspicious.” The State Fire Marshal was reached, and after the scene was secured, it was determined to have been “intentionally set and is being investigated as an arson and burglary at this time.”

“There was no one in the home when emergency personnel arrived, and no one was reportedly injured by the fire,” said Chief Harrison.


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Grantville unit honors Kaw Township firefighters

Vindicator – October 27, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Members of the Grantville Unit of the Jefferson County Educational Extension attended the Kaw Township Fire Department meeting August 11 to present a barn quilt made by Carol Crawford, Debbie Landis, Marledeen Joy, and Suzan Early to honor past, present, and future firefighters. The barn quilt has been installed on the front of the fire station. From left are Bobbie Clough, Doug Brumbaugh, Kaw Township Fire Department, Marledeen Joy, Suzan Early, Debbie Landis, Dorothy Wade, Jeanne Gantz, and Carol Crawford.


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Elwood, Rosecrans firefighters aid in battling St. Joe blazes

By Paul Stewart
Kansas Chief – October 27, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Firefighters from Elwood and the Air National Guard at nearby Rosecrans Memorial Airport were among emergency personnel who responded to a mutual aid call late Friday night to assist–primarily with manpower–in battling blazes at several multi-story buildings in downtown St. Joseph.

The fires reportedly ignited–shortly before 10 p.m.–in one of two structures, just to the south of Home Style Furniture and Bedding, 302 South 3rd St.,–at Sylvania St. Both large structures later collapsed. However, the store did not ignite, but did sustain some smoke and heat damage, officials indicated.

The fires then reportedly raged out of control and spread northward to three other nearby buildings. It was then that the St. Joseph Fire Department officials requested assistance from area departments.

Late Saturday morning, The Kansas Chief asked Elwood Fire Chief Alvin ‘Woody’ Wood about assisting at the scene.

Wood said his department responded with eight men, staffing two brush trucks and then a pumper unit.

“We had our two (brush) trucks en route, to stand-by, when the call went out for (help) manpower. We were crossing the (Missouri) river when the first structure collapsed.

“Then Battalion Chief Russell Moore advised us that the fire had spread to the roof of the American Electric building (on 3rd Street), and then to the Hillyard Chemical warehouse.

“St. Joe (firefighters) did the American Electric building. We went to the Hillyard building (302 North 4th St.). We were able to put it (the roof fire) out, using a (hose) line from a Tele-Squirt (truck). We wet it (the roof down). Then we went inside to check the upper floor.”

Chief Wood said the roof of the nearby downtown hotel also was checked for possible hot spots due to the drifting of burning embers.

He added, “When we were released–about 2:15 a.m.–the initial fire (in the now-collapsed structure) was still burning.”

The fires, which reportedly could be seen for a great distance, also resulted in police shutting down vehicular traffic on Interstate 229 Highway in the downtown vicinity.


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Fires reported last Friday

Eureka Herald – October 26, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Two fires in Greenwood County were reported within 30 minutes of each other last Friday, October 21.

At approximately 4:45 p.m., the Greenwood County Fire Department-Madison Division responded to 1765 365th Street in rural Madison for a report of a house fire.

According to Greenwood County Fire Chief Doug Williams, crews found smoke in the house upon arrival. Crews then checked the area with a Thermal Imaging Camera. Smoke was believed to have come from the flue pipe of the wood stove.

At approximately 5:15 p.m. the Eureka Fire Department responded to the field west of Marshall Elementary on a report of a field fire. Upon arrival, fire crews found a small field fire along Mercury Lane in an oilfield. The fire was quickly extinguished and the cause was possibly from an electrical short.


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Fatal pickup crash into a tree under investigation

Hays Post – October 28, 2016

Law enforcement authorities in Smith County are investigating a fatal Thursday evening accident.

The Kansas Highway patrol reported just before 9 p.m., a pickup was westbound on 140 Road two miles north and three miles east of Smith Center.

The driver lost control of the vehicle.

It entered the south ditch and struck a tree.

The impact of the tree was at an angle that hit the front fender, pushing in the passenger side cab of the pickup.

No additional details were released.


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Vandals cause fire at Wal-Mart

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – October 26, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Bales of cardboard behind the Wal-Mart store at 2020 N. Nelson Drive were intentionally set on fire Sunday afternoon.

The Derby Fire Department responded to the 4:21 p.m. alarm and while it wasn’t a large fire, it was a troublesome one.

Because of the nature of the bales, the department had to call out a backhoe from the city’s public works department to assist firefighters to pull them out and completely extinguish the smoldering embers, said Deputy Fire Chief Bill Pater. The 15 to 20 bales, each weighing from 500 to 750 pounds, were compressed together, complicating the incident, he said.

There was damage to the walls of the storage area along with some plastic pallets, he said.

Based on video surveillance, Pater estimates that the fire started about 30 minutes before the alarm. Authorities are searching for the suspects, who were captured on video.

“We have three individuals of interest who we’re looking at right now,” he said. The Derby Police Department also is involved in the case.


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City of Hays employees recognized for years of service

By Becky Kiser
Hays Post – October 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Hays Mayor Shaun Musil declared it one of his “favorite city commission meetings every year.”

Twenty-two city of Hays employees were recognized for their service and hard work by city commissioners and City Manager Toby Dougherty at the beginning of tonight’s meeting.

Their names and job descriptions were read by Director of Finance Kim Rupp as each employee was called up to the front of the city commission chambers to shake hands with the commissioners and Dougherty and to pose for a picture with Mayor Musil.

An official group photo was also taken with friends and family in the audience getting in on the picture-taking.

Following are the city of Hays 2016 Employee Service Awards:

5‐Year Awards
Ciarra Rupp – Ciarra started with the City of Hays as a Part Time Receptionist in the City Manager’s Office in 2011.  Ciarra was promoted in 2012 to the Police Department Administrative Assistant.
Brent Barnett – Brent has been a Part Time Police Officer with the City of Hays since 2010.
Colin Roe – Colin joined the City of Hays in 2011 as a Communications Officer.  In 2013, Colin became a Police Officer for the Hays Police Department.
Brandon Woods – Brandon began with the Hays Fire Department as a Volunteer Fire Fighter in 2011 and was hired as a Career Fire Fighter that same year.
Travis Johannes – Travis joined the City as a Volunteer Fire Fighter in 2011.  One month later, he took on the role of a Career Fire Fighter.
Bronson Scott – Bronson began in 2011 as a Recycling Collector for the City and still serves in that capacity.

10‐Year Awards
David Younger – David joined the City as a Parks Maintenance worker in 2005.  He advanced to a Maintenance Worker II in 2010.  David was recently promoted in 2016 to a Parks Technician.
Kerry Tiernan ‐ Kerry began with the City of Hays as the Golf Course Foreman in 2006.  He still holds this position today.

15‐Year Awards
Chad Ruder – Chad started with the City in 2000 as a Information Systems Technician.  In 2004, he became the IT Director and continues to serve in that role.
Brandon Wright – Brandon joined the City of Hays as a Police Officer in 2001.  In 2005, he was promoted to Police Sergeant, and six years later he was promoted to Police Lieutenant.
Kirk Klein – Kirk began with the City in 2001 as a Fire Fighter.  In 2007 he became a Fire Lieutenant and was promoted once more in 2014 to a Fire Captain.
Tom Roy – Fire Fighter Tom Roy has been a Fire Fighter with the City of Hays Fire Department since 2001.
Mike Bachar – Mike started as a Parks Maintenance Worker with the City in 2001.  In 2010 he advanced to a Maintenance Worker II.  Mike was promoted this year to a Parks Technician.
Chris Rhoades – Chris joined the City in 2001 as a Parks Maintenance Worker.  In 2002, he was promoted to Parks Technician and in 2010 he was promoted to his current position, Parks Supervisor.
Mark Pfeifer – Mark started with the City in 2001 as a Water Plant Trainee.  He became a Water Plant Operator I in 2002 and was promoted in 2004 to Plant Operator II.

20‐Year Awards
Mitch Berens – Mitch became a Hays Police Officer in 1995.  In 2007 he was promoted to Police Sergeant and still holds this position today.
Tim Hickert – Tim joined the City of Hays in 1995 as a Service Mechanic for the Public Works Department.  He was promoted in 2015 to Shop Foreman.
Curtis Weber – Curtis started with the City in 1996. He has held the positions of Refuse Collector, Maintenance Worker, Equipment Operator and, his current position, Inspector during his 20 year tenure with the City.

25‐Year Awards
Mark Windholz – Mark became a Maintenance Worker I with the Service department in 1991.  In 1998 he took on the role of Service Equipment Operator and was promoted to his current position, Service Division Foreman, in 2008.
Steve Barnes – Steve joined the City as a Refuse Collector in 1991.  He then took on the role of Cemetery Caretaker in 1992 and has been serving in that position since.

30‐Year Awards
Don Stejskal – Don joined the City in 1986. He has been promoted several times during his 30 years serving as a Maintenance Worker, Equipment Operator, Field Foreman, Water and Sewer Supervisor, Service Supervisor, and his current position as the Service Superintendent.
Dan Roberts – Dan started as a Service Utility Worker II in 1985.  Dan has worked his way up in the City since 1985 holding positions of Refuse Packer Operator, Truck Driver for both Service and Solid Waste Divisions, Equipment Operator, Equipment Driver, and most recently, Solid Waste Foreman.


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Accidental cooking fire burns Topeka apartment

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – October 28, 2016

An accidental cooking fire did damages estimated at more than $10,000 Thursday evening at an apartment at 1301 S.W. Harrison, Apt. C33, authorities said. No one was hurt.

The apartment’s occupants weren’t home when the fire was reported about 7:50 p.m., the Topeka Fire Department said.

The blaze began in the stove at the apartment, where neighbors used fire extinguishers to try to put it out, the department said in a news release.

“The Topeka Fire Department responded and reported smoke and flames at the third-floor apartment,” the release said. “The fire crews evacuated the apartment complex, conducted a search of the apartment and quickly extinguished the fire.”

The American Red Cross provided aid to one adult occupant of the apartment and two children, the fire department said.

It indicated damages were estimated at $2,000 to the apartment’s contents and more than $8,000 to the structure.

Westar Energy, Kansas Gas Service and American Medical Response Ambulance Co. were also at the scene providing help, the fire department said.


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Job Opening – Fire Protection Specialist – 190th Air Refueling


Fire Protection Specialist
190th Air Refueling Wing, Forbes Field
Topeka, KS
The Adjutant General’s Department

Requisition #: 184813
Job Description: Fights aircraft, wheeled vehicle, structural and wild land fires; hazmat response; communications centers monitoring; inspections; facility/fire vehicle maintenance; and training. Participate in public education events.
Position Summary:
• $39,312 base salary at $14.04 per hour not including scheduled overtime
• Full time, unclassified State position
• State of Kansas Benefits
• Paid Vacation/Sick Leave
• Paid Holidays
• $1000 annual Hazmat Tech Incentive until pay cap is reached
• Kansas Police and Fire (KP&F) defined-benefit Retirement System
• No Living Restriction
• 48/96 Shift Schedule

Minimum Qualifications:
• Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)
• National Certification as a Fire Fighter I and II
• Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations
• Pass a pre-employment physical including drug screening
• Complete and/or maintain designated training and certifications
• Maintain physical requirements as a condition of continued employment
• High School Diploma or equivalent
Preferred Qualifications
• Airport Fire Fighter
• Driver/Operator ARFF
• Driver/Operator Pumper
• Driver/Operator Tender
Within 12 Months of Hire Requirement:
• Airport Fire Fighter
• Driver/Operator ARFF
• Driver/Operator Pumper
• Driver/Operator Tender
• Must have a valid driver’s license and maintain a Department of Defense Security Clearance.
• Check out our trucks at


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Job Opening – EMT or A EMT – Franklin County

Position Summary:
This position meets all the requirements set forth by the Kansas Board of EMS for the position of EMT. The EMT is expected to meet the urgent health care needs of all patients regardless of age or co-morbidity, consistent with their defined scope of practice. The EMT is a unique healthcare professional in that they provide medical care and transportation in and out-of-hospital settings with medical oversight. Therefore the EMT must be able to exercise considerable judgment, problem-solving, and decision making skills. The EMT provides out-of-hospital medical care to those with urgent needs, and is a component of the overall healthcare system. Work is performed under general supervision of the EMS Chief, Assistant Chief, and/or Battalion Chief who reviews work methods and results through reports and inspections.

Franklin County participates in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS & KP&F).

How to Apply: Complete Application on HRePartners

Base Salary: $10.82 per hour depending on qualifications

Date Opened: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Date to Close: Open Until Filled

Hours: Rotating Shifts, evenings, weekends, holidays are required. Overtime may be required.

Questions regarding this job announcement shall be directed to the Human Resources Department at 785-229-3444 or via e-mail at

Additional Information:
High School Diploma or GED required. Six to twelve months related experience or training required. Valid EMT certification issued by the Kansas Board of EMS required. Valid Driver’s license required. CPR/BLS certification required.
Provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergency patients that access the emergency medical system in a timely, professional and compassionate manner.
Conduct a timely and accurate patient assessment and implement the appropriate treatment and transport methodologies.
Employee is expected to have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to perform at an acceptable level within six months of being awarded the position.

Franklin County conducts background checks and drug screening on all potential candidates.

Anyone with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation related to a selection process is requested to contact the Human Resources Department at 785-229-3444 at least two days prior to the scheduled test or interview.

Duties listed on the job description are intended only as illustrations of the various types to work performed. Omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position. The attached job description does not constitute an employment agreement and is subject to change as the County’s needs and requirements of the job change.

The State of Kansas and Franklin County are At-Will Employment jurisdictions. The County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants and/or employees with a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act may request accommodation to perform the position’s functions. Requests should be directed to the Human Resources Director.

Franklin County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

More Info


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Derby Middle School evacuated after smell of smoke

KWCH – October 26, 2016

Derby Middle School was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after the smell of smoke in a room.

The district says a teacher came back from lunch and smelled a strange odor and went to principal’s office.

The principal, then evacuated the building as a precaution.

Firefighters came out and checked the building room-by-room. Crews looked at the HVAC, lights, wall outlets and personal appliances.

Nothing was found that may have caused the smell. It remain undetermined at this time.

The fire department will be back at out the school at 3:30 to go through the room again.


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Oil tanks, hay bales and trailer damaged in Saline Co. fires

Hays Post – October 26, 2016

Photo by Salina County Sheriff's Office. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Salina County Sheriff’s Office. Click on photo to view full-size.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of two fires in Saline County.

On Tuesday afternoon a fire damaged a trailer and consumed several bales of hay, according to Saline County Undersheriff Roger Soldan.

Just after 3 p.m., James DeBold of Tescott was hauling round bales of hay on Lockard Road, just west of Brookville Road, when his daughter, who was driving behind him, noticed
flames coming from within the bales.

DeBold pulled over, disconnected his truck from the trailer and notified Rural Fire District #3, who responded to the scene.

Damage estimates were not immediately available, according to Soldan.

A Wednesday morning fire southeast of Salina caused extensive damage to three oil tanks owned by Scott’s Well Service of Roxbury, according to Soldan.

The tanks located in the 2100 block of East Schilling Road near Johnson Sand Company caught fire just after 1 a.m.

The fire may have been sparked by lightning from an early morning thunderstorm passing through the area, according to Soldan.

Damage to the oil tanks has been estimated at $20,000.


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Three oil tanks destroyed by fire

By Erin Mathews
Salina Journal – October 26, 2016

A fire that destroyed three oil tanks southeast of Salina early Wednesday may have been ignited by lightning, but the cause remains undetermined, Undersheriff Roger Soldan said.

Soldan said a Salina police officer spotted the fire in the 2100 block of East Schilling Road at about 1:10 a.m.

Rural Fire District No. 6 responded to the blaze in the vicinity of Johnson Sand. Estimated loss of the tanks, which were owned by Scott’s Well Service, of Roxbury, and contents was $20,000, Soldan said.


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Michael L. Burkhart


Michael L. Burkhart, Funeral Director, 67, died Friday, October 21, 2016 at his home in Dodge City. He was born December 30, 1948 at St. Anthony Hospital, Dodge City, Kansas, the son of Victor J. and Agnes P. Schlereth Burkhart

He attended Pleasant View one-room School for 2 years in Hodgeman County, Kansas. He graduated from Sacred Heart, Dodge City Junior High, Dodge City Senior High, and Dodge City Community College in Dodge City. He attended St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City. He graduated from Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mortuary Science. He earned a degree and numerous certifications in Fire Science.

He was a Kansas licensed funeral director, licensed embalmer, and crematory operator. He was a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of Oklahoma. He was an entrepreneur, being past owner of the Lora-Locke Hotel, Dodge Theatre, Plaza Professional Center, Speakeasy Club, Plaza Professional Credit Bureau, and Burr Parking Garage. Through the past 45 years he owned funeral homes in Dodge City, Cimarron, Jetmore, and Sublette. He was a Reserve Squad Firefighter and EMT for Ford County Fire & EMS. He served as chairman of the Kansas Health Care Coalition Steering Committee. He was an Extra-Class Ham Radio Operator. He was owner and operator of Burkhart Engineering. He was very active on the National NHRA racing circuit. He enjoyed driving his antique cars and riding his Indian motorcycle. He was a life-long Dodge City area historian. Both sides of his family homesteaded in Hodgeman County in the 1880’s, coming from Germany, via Russia.

He was a member of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Knights of Columbus Council #2955, Dodge City Lion’s Club, National Funeral Director’s Association, held various offices in the Kansas Funeral Director’s Association, National Packard Automobile Club, Mid-America Packards, Rocky Mountain Packards, Professional Car Society, Antique Automobile Club, Pierce-Arrow Society, Society for the Preservation of Antique Fire Apparatus. He was a former president and 35 year member of Dodge City Rotary Club, Paul Harris Fellow, Centurion Club, and former President of Coronado Car Club. He was a member of the National Hot Rod Association. He drag-raced on the national circuit for several years. He was a member of Southwest Kansas Emergency Response Team, Southwest Kansas Emergency Response Team, and Southwest Kansas Emergency Communications Team.

On August 14, 1987 he married Mindy Ziegler. She survives. Other survivors include a daughter, Michelle Burkhart, San Diego, California, son, Michael, II and wife Tara, Dodge City, step-son, Zachary McElgunn and wife Argelia, Dodge City, brother, Darrell and wife, Beverly, Dodge City, and one step-grandson, Cayden McElgunn. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Larry in 2016.

Vigil Service followed by Knights of Columbus rosary will be at 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016 both at Ziegler Funeral Chapel, Dodge City. Funeral Mass will be 10:00 am Wednesday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dodge City, with Fr. Wesley Schawe presiding. Entombment will follow at Greencrest Mausoleum of Peace, Dodge City. Visitation will be Tuesday from noon to 7:00 pm at Ziegler Funeral Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Ford County Fire & EMS Education Fund in care of Ziegler Funeral Chapel, 1901 N. 14th Ave., Dodge City, Kansas 67801.


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Bock retires as city fire truck driver

Columbus News Report – October 21, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 26, 2016

There are many things Rod Bock will miss about his job as fire truck driver but going to structure fires and wrecks will not be among them.

Bock will be retiring at 8 a.m. this morning (Friday) after just over 19 years as a Columbus City fire truck driver.

“I will miss working more than two days a week and getting paid while I sleep,” joked Bock as he talked about his years on the fire department.

He works two 24-hour shifts each week, sometimes he may get to sleep and other times, such as during grass fire season he may work straight through his shift.

He said he would miss some of the amusing calls he has been dispatched to during his time as a fire truck driver.

“I thought it was interesting that during a heavy rain I was called out to a grass fire,” laughed Bock. “I was dispatched to get a dog down off a roof and then there was the call to get a bird down out of a tree.”

“I will miss Christmas time delivering the packages to the youngsters on the fire truck and the late night dinners with the overnight police officers, usually hot dogs or crawfish,” said Bock. “I miss the folks working in the city office in the day time.”

Believe it or not he will also miss being a tornado spotter.

“I remember when Jason Daniels and I were spotting and saw the tornado that went down Lostine and Clem roads,” we were only about a tenth of a mile from it and that was an exciting time.”

Rod and his wife Sheila have recently adopted five of their grandchildren, and they will be leaving Sunday for a new home in Ormond Beach, Florida.

“We vacationed down there and with the kids it will be a great place for us to live,” continued Rod. “It’s going to be difficult to go to a job five days a week instead of two and I probably won’t get paid to sleep.”

“I told the kids it will be a lot nicer in Florida but there likely won’t be any sledding,” he said. “We will be living about two miles from the ocean. My personal goal is to catch a shark.

Bock says he considers himself pretty lucky that he has never had to fight a fire with a fatality that he knew the person. Nor has he ever had to work a wreck or fire with a child fatality.

“I just don’t know if I could handle any of those things,” said Bock.

Moving here in 1981 from Independence, Missouri he worked at Medicallodge for 19 years in addition to his 19 years as a firefighter working some of the time at both places.

“I kind of enjoy fighting grass fires, with no one injured or any property lost, it is kind of fun,” he said.

Rod has handled a lot of hose and pumped a lot of water during his time with the Columbus City Fire Department and says he has worked with some great people.


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Fires are increased threat

By Vincent Marshall
St. John News – October 26, 2016

The lack of precipitation recently has caused several fires throughout Ford County.

Within the last week, four fires sent Ford County Fire personnel out into the field, two of which were major grass fires.

“They were control burns that got out of hand,” Ford County Fire Chief Robert Boyd said. “We weren’t in the red flag alert fire warning but that didn’t mean the conditions weren’t favorable for fires either.

“I’d say we are still in an extreme fire danger.”

According to Kelly Sugden, a meteorologist with the Nation Weather Service in Dodge City, the last red flag fire warning was on Oct. 17 when Dodge City saw a record-breaking 101 degree temperature.

“We issue a red flag warning when the humidity is at or around 15 percent humidity with wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour,” Sugden said. “Any combination of those two we will issue the warning and as of right now it is looking bleak in terms of getting any precipitation in the near future.

“Areas near the Oklahoma border looks to have temperatures in the upper 80s with the humidity near 20 to 25 percent so right now we are in a limited fire weather risk.”

According to Boyd, there are state statutes in place for a control burn to be accepted.

“The statutes state that yard waste and crop land are the only things allowed for an open burn,” he said. “No furniture or wooden logs are allowed.”

To set up a control burn, the following are required:

“People would need to call into station one,” Boyd said. “From there we will take down who is doing the burning, what they are burning, their phone number and the location of the control burn.

“If the wind speed is more than 15 miles per hour during the duration of the burn we strongly recommend not allowing the burn.

“We understand with crop land it is needed to allow for the new crops but we will be highly against it.”


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Working group formed to address string of connected arsons in central Topeka

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – October 26, 2016

Topeka has recorded 57 intentionally set fires this year, far surpassing the national average of 36 for cities of its size.

Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin said many of the arsons have occurred in the area of the 1100 blocks of S.W. Plass and S.W. MacVicar.

“I think it’s obvious that there’s a problem in that geographic location,” he said.

A working group was formed a couple of months ago to address the problem, Martin said. The Office of the State Fire Marshal, Topeka police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the Topeka Fire Department’s investigation.

Investigators are searching for patterns inside and beyond that geographic area, Martin said. Though the incidents appear to be connected, Martin said that doesn’t necessarily indicate a serial arsonist.

Topeka police issued a Code Red alert to residents in the area earlier this month, asking people to be on their guard against fires. They also have used targeted enforcements and patrols. Martin said a lot of energy has gone into resolving the problem.

In a typical year, Martin said, Topeka records about 38 to 45 arson fires a year. That number spiked in 2006, when the fire department recorded 60.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase,” Martin said of this year’s numbers.

While the national clearance rate for arsons is 15 to 20 percent, Topeka’s rate sits at about 40 percent so far this year.

Martin said there are many reasons someone may start a fire, ranging from thrill-seeking to revenge. No one has been injured in the recent arson fires, though they have caused thousands of dollars in damage to dumpsters, garages and houses.

Residents, especially those in central Topeka, are advised to keep their homes and garages locked.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity, such as people going in and out of vacant structures, are asked to call police or call Crime Stoppers.


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KSU, fire officials investigate after campus chemical spill

Hays Post – October 26, 2016


Authorities at Kansas State University and fire officials are investigating the cause of a chemical spill on campus.

Just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Manhattan Fire Department responded to report of a chemical spill at the Biosecurity Research Institute, housed in Pat Roberts Hall on the Manhattan campus, according to a media release.

The spill was determined to be contained in the room where it occurred.

Kansas State University staff continued clean up and no injuries were reported.

This facility provides K-State scientists and their collaborators with a safe and secure location to study high-consequence pathogens affecting plants, animals, and food products, according to the University web site.


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No injuries in blaze

Pittsburg Morning Sun – October 14, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 25, 2016


The Frontenac Fire Department said a house fire Thursday at 606 Mount Carmel was accidentally caused by the home’s caretaker.

The home was a total loss, according to Capt. Jimmy Long.

Long said the caretaker was treated and released at the scene by Crawford County Emergency Medical Services. The caretaker called 911 after accidentally starting the fire around noon.

Long didn’t know if the home was insured, but said it was a vacant rental property.

Firefighters were on scene for several hours.


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Buhler students plan mock accident to promote safe driving

By Shaelee Mendenhall
Hutchinson News – October 25, 2016

Photo by Travis Morisse. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Travis Morisse. Click on photo to view full-size.

Two students at Buhler High School, Hannah Hornbeck and Brandon Herrman, planned a mock accident Friday morning to promote safe driving decisions. They did this as a part of their STAR event, National Programs in Action (FACTS) for FCCLA. The students chose to participate in this event on their own accord and planned and executed the simulation by contacting local fire, police, EMT’s, etc. They wanted to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and hope to prevent students from harm in the future.


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Atchison chemical emergency quickly overwhelmed resources

KMBZ – October 25, 2016


The first firefighters to respond to the toxic cloud incident that injured at least 125 people Friday in Atchison were in a crew of only five.

Atchison is a town of about 11,000 residents and it has a small fire department, said interim Fire Chief Ted Graf.

The town has one fire station that is usually staffed with six firefighters.

When the call came in that there had been a chemical spill at MGP Ingredients and evacuations would be necessary, it was all hands on deck, Graf said.

“We also rely on our communication center, our local county EMS, our rescue as well, sheriff’s office,” Graf said. “Our local volunteer departments came in and helped us a great deal.”

The Atchison Fire Department preplans for hazardous material incidents at businesses like MGP, but the rapid chemical reaction and toxic plume created a situation that quickly occupied all of their resources.

Complicating matters Friday was the fact that first responders were also sent to a serious car accident.

Two victims of the toxic chemical incident were still in the hospital as of Monday.


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Fire Department victors in “Battle of the Badges” chili cook off

Derby Informer – October 19, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 25, 2016


Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith, left, receives a trophy from Mayor Randy White for his department’s recent victory in the “Battle of the Badges” chili cook off competition against the police department. The award was presented at the October 11 City County meeting.


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Jeffrey T. Frederick

Jeffrey T. Frederick, age 53, went to be with his father and older brother to that big elevator in the sky on October 15, 2016.

He was born July 11 1963, at Liberal, Kansas, the son of Elvit and Mae A. (Rader) Frederick. As a young boy he attended the Plains school system, graduating from Southwestern Heights High School. He later attended the Liberal Area Vo-Tech studying welding. After his education, he began his career working for several area co-operatives, including, the Plains Equity, Ashland Co-Op, Buffalo Farmer’s Co-Op, and was currently working for the Meade Co-Op.

He was a member of the Plains Friends Church and was an active member of the Plains Fire Department. He enjoyed computers, fighting fires, and spending time with his family and friends.

He is survived by: His mother, Mae Frederick of Meade, Kansas

A sister, Wynota Beth Ferguson and husband David of Kingsport, Tennessee

A niece, Margaret Houk and husband Travis A great-niece, MaKenzie Houk

He is preceded in death by his father and a brother Charly Langford Frederick.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 21, 2016, at Fidler-Orme-Bachman Mortuary, Meade. Cremation has taken place. Inurnment will follow in the Plains Cemetery, Plains, Kansas.

The family would welcome memorials to the Plains Fire Department or the Plains Friends Church in care of the funeral home.


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Criger retires from volunteer fire department

By Heather Bosler
Humboldt Union – October 20, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 25, 2016


Mark Criger, 55, of Humboldt, retired from the Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department on his birthday. Tuesday, October 4, was Criger’s last day of service.

In accordance with city statute, firefighters must retire by their 55th birthday.

He started with the department in 2000 under then Fire Chief Kent Barfoot. At the time, his brother-in-law Chris Ellsworth was working for the fire department, and Criger was already familiar with a lot of the guys so when they asked if he was interested in joining, he said yes. Afterwards, his fellow firefighters voted him in and he’s been there for the last 16 years.

The day after his last day with the department, he was driving through town when he heard the fire whistle go off and instinctively started heading for the fire barn before realizing that he had retired.

“I’ll miss it. I’ll miss it every time that whistle goes off. On those cold winter nights I’ll get to stay in bed where it’s warm, but you’ll always kind of wonder,” he said.

His own son Reece has been with the department for a year and a half. “It’s kind of a family oriented organization,” Criger said.

Criger’s best experience while with the department has been working with the other guys in the department over the years.

“When that whistle goes off and you commit yourself to that truck and you’re on there, and it’s a rural fire with six guys, you’ve got to work together, whatever the situation is. It’s kind of a brotherhood. You depend on each other to help each other out. It’s been an experience, there’s been some good, some bad. When you deal with car accidents and house fires, you know, it’s definitely not a job for everybody. You never know what you’re going to get into until you get there. It’s been rewarding for me because it’s a public service,” he said.

“They’re a good group of people to work with. Everybody pitches in and gets the job done.”

Criger will continue to work at his full-time job at Gates Rubber in Iola. He and his wife Monica have two grown children, Reece and Carina.


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Wichita driver dies after teen runs red light, crashes

KAKE – October 25, 2016

The Kansas Highway Patrol says a 91-year-old driver has died after a teen ran a red light and crashed into his car in north Wichita.

The crash happened just after noon Monday at the intersection of 21st Street North and Arkansas. The Patrol reports an 18-year-old driver was heading eastbound on 21st, ran a red light at Arkansas and struck a southbound 2008 Ford Fusion.

The man driving the Fusion, James Dexter of Wichita, was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

The driver of the other car, Alex Davis of Arkansas City, was not hurt. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he will face charges.

Reports state both drivers were wearing seatbelts.


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Fire crews called to fryer fire at Andover Braums

KWCH – October 25, 2016

Photo by Andover Fire Department

Photo by Andover Fire Department

No one is hurt, but an early-morning fire at the Andover Braums left behind around $15,000 in damage. It happened Tuesday morning in the 400 block of S. Andover Road.

According to Fire Chief Chad Russell, a small fire broke out in a grease fryer. An employee activated the fire extinguisher system in the hood of the fryer, and the fire was out before fire crews arrived.

That fire didn’t spread to any other part of the building.

Chief Russell says the fryer will be closed, likely through the morning, but the Braums store will be open for business.


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Storm family has a long history with county firefighting

By Beau Harkness
Scott County Record – October 20, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – October 25, 2016


Being a fireman has been a life-long passion for Vernon Storm, chief of the Scott County Fire Department.

For 40 years, Storm, 72, has served as a member of the fire department in one aspect or another. His love affair with fighting fires and serving the community began with his dad.

“I’ve been around the fire department ever since I was a little kid, when they had the fire station over by where Security State Bank is. I’d go up and check fire trucks with my dad,” says Storm. “I’ve been around it my whole life, and it just kind of gets in your blood I guess.”

Storm’s father, Virgil, served as fire chief from 1952 to 1979. His brother, Virgil “Buzzy” Storm, Jr., also served on the department. Aside from the family ties to the fire department, Storm says the camaraderie has kept him going through four decades of service.

“They’re a bunch of great guys. It’s like a team,” says Storm. “They’re all volunteers and they take the time from their jobs and so forth to serve.”

Over the years, Storm and his firefighting teammates have seen some memorable fires in Scott County.

“The city fires we had, like Helmers…that stuck out…and Wendy’s. It seems like all the bad fires happen in September. And we’ve had (Lake Scott) state park fires. State park fires are a bad deal. They’re hard to fight,” Storm says.

Large grass fires, like those that happen at the state park or in fields, are instances where firemen must rely on training and instinct.

“You have a good chance of firemen getting injured. The wind changes, fires make their own wind, and it’s hard to tell exactly what’s happening, especially in the state park where there’s so many canyons and stuff where you can get cornered. It’s a real dangerous deal,” Storm says.

Storm recalls a state park fire on April 11, 1998, that destroyed cabins along the east side of K95 Highway, the worst he has ever seen in regards to grass fires.

Being a firefighter does not always involve fighting fires though. Since 1998, the Scott County Fire Department has responded to rescue situations such as automobile and farming accidents. These calls, according to Storm, hit firemen the hardest.

“At the time, you concentrate on rescue or fire sand you really don’t have time (to think about it). Sometimes after the fact, you might start reminiscing on what happened. But, one thing is (you remember) the fire department didn’t cause a wreck or cause a fire…we’re just there to rescue,” Storm says.

Many other aspects of firefighting have changed over the course of four decades, most notably the regulations that fire departments now have to abide by. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that all firemen receive proper training and certification. Additionally, equipment such as fire trucks (with a usage life of 20 years) and bunker gear (usage life of 10 years) must be kept up-to-date.

“I give credit to the county commissioners and city council for coming up with the money for whatever we need,” Storm says in reference to keeping up with regulations.

And although a new fire truck may cost anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000, the taxpayers of Scott County receive a huge tax break simply because of the nature of the volunteer fire department.

“If we had a paid team, it would be a tremendous expense. You would probably have to have a new fire station because you’d have to have living quarters,” Storm says.

The fire department has no plans to transition into a full-time firefighting operation anytime soon, thanks in no small part to generous volunteers like Storm, who wish only to serve their community in times of need.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Truck runs into Speedy Cash on E. Douglas

KWCH – October 24, 2016


Police are looking for a vehicle that drove into payday loan store in east Wichita.

Around 4:45 a.m., an employee reported an unknown large truck or vehicle ran into the side the Speedy Cash business located in the 3100 block of E. Douglas.

Lt. Nikki Woodrow, with the police department, says it appears to have been an intentional act. At this time, investigators don’t know if suspects gained entry into the building or if anything was stolen.

Woodrow said damage to building and equipment inside is extensive.

There are no witnesses or surveillance video of the crash.

No suspects have been apprehended.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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City’s ISO Rating Has Improved

October 24, 2016

In the spring of 2016, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) conducted a site visit of the City of Russell for the purpose of assigning a Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating for fire protection.

A numeric public protection classification score is given to each community following an extensive audit to include emergency communications (10 percent), water supply system (40 percent) and fire department (50 percent). This score is based on a 1-10 scale where a ‘1’ is the best fire protection possible and a ’10’ means no fire protection is available.

Since May 1, 2005, the City of Russell has enjoyed a very respectable ISO rating of 4.

The City of Russell Fire Department was upgraded this year to a Public Protection Classification of 3, putting the city in the top 10 percent of the nation in terms of fire protection systems and capabilities.

The ISO rating upgrade would not have been possible without the commitment and support of the City Council and a sustained cooperative effort by our Fire Department led by Fire Chief Shane Preston, our Public Works Department led by Rich Krause, and our 911 Communications Center led by Deanise Howard according to Russell City Manager Jon Quinday.

Each year the Russell City Fire Department responds to more than 200 emergency incidents, participates in more than 1,000 man hours of training, conducts inspection and incident preplans on more than 300 commercial buildings, and conducts 10 public education events.

Russell’s water distribution department maintains over 60 miles of water lines and 350 fire hydrants in the City, while the 911 Communication Center is operated 24-hours a day and receives more than 1,000 emergency calls per year.

A community’s public protection classification score depends on our emergency communications systems; our fire department, including equipment, staffing and training; the water supply system, including the inspection and flow testing of hydrants and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires; our community efforts to reduce the risk of fire, including fire prevention codes and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation programs.

“I am very proud of our team for their hard work and dedication. While our new classification may lead to reduced property insurance rates, it is the City’s ability to respond and potentially save lives that is of the utmost importance,” said Quinday.

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Arson suspected in 2 Topeka garage fires

By Brian Dulle
KSNT – October 24, 2016

The Topeka Fire Department are investigating following two garage fires in Topeka Monday morning.

TFD says crews responded to a garage fire at 3:44 a.m. at 1218 SW MacVicar. A resident told fire crews he woke up and noticed the electricity in his house was shut off. While inspecting the breaker panel they noticed the detached garage on fire and called 911. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire.

A short time before, the Topeka Fire Department was leaving the scene of another detached garage fire at 1534 SW Randolph.

Early investigation indicates the cause of the fire at 1218 SW MacVicar to be undetermined and that foul play is suspected. The fire at 1534 SW Randolph Ave. was intentionally set.

Both fires had $5,000 in damage.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Tanker body

The Caney Fire dept is in search of a 1200-2000 gal tanker body. At one time Kentucky Township FD had one but I’ve lost contact info for them. Could you please post this in hopes of finding another tanker body or contact info for Kentucky Township? Inquiries can text or call me @620-205-7165.


Jeff Culver
Caney, KS FD


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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KCK firefighters stop fire that started in basement of home from spreading

By Stephanie Graflage
FOX 4 News – October 24, 2016


Firefighters in Kansas City, Kan., were able to prevent a fire that started in the basement of a Kansas City, Kan., home Monday morning from spreading.

Firefighters were dispatched around 8:20 a.m., to a home near North 66th Street and Parkview Avenue.

Responding units reported seeing smoke coming from the home when they arrived on the scene. Crews were able to take control of the fire.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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