Archive for November, 2016

Job Opening – DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY SERVICES – Clearwater

The City of Clearwater is accepting applications for the recently created position of Director of Emergency Services.

The Director of Emergency Services performs administrative and field duties for the EMS and Fire divisions of the Emergency Services Department. Supervising the management of the department, budget administration, and resolving personnel issues and citizen concerns are the primary responsibilities of this position. This position is responsible for the operation of all ambulances, fire response units, medical and fire equipment, and other apparatus for the protection of life, property and civil defense. The employee in this position performs emergency life-saving services and fire scene management in the performance of their duties. This employee should be in excellent physical condition and have the ability to remain poised under extremely difficult and hazardous circumstances. This employee should possess a strong organizational and management aptitude, with excellent communication and public relation skills.

The desired candidate is required to be a state board certified Paramedic/Firefighter (Instructor/Trainer preferred) with a minimum of five years’ experience, (three of which are supervisory in nature) with a minimum education requirement of an Associate’s Degree in Health or Fire Science or a related field.

The selected applicant must be able to pass background check, drug screen and physical. Residency required within five (5) minutes of the city limits of the City of Clearwater. The position provides for excellent benefits and comparable salary. A full position description can be found at the city’s website www.clearwaterks.org

Qualified applicants are encouraged to send a resume or application to:
Justin Givens
City Administrator,
City of Clearwater
PO Box 453,
Clearwater, KS., 67026,

Emails in pdf or word format may be sent to jgivens@clearwaterks.org. Position open until filled. EOE

 

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89-year-old Kansas woman dies after Cadillac hits pole

Hays Post – November 30, 2016

A Kansas woman injured in an accident just before 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday has died.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1992 Cadillac DeVille driven by Joan M. Otts, 89, Alma, was southbound Kansas 99 two miles north of Alma.

The Cadillac left the roadway, entered the east ditch and struck a pole.

EMS transported Otts to Stormont Vail in Topeka where she died early Wednesday.

She was properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.

 

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Fire extinguished behind Salina business causes minor damage

Salina Journal – November 30, 2016

The cause of a fire early Wednesday that caused minor damage to the back wall of a Salina business and an exterior light is under investigation, a police department spokesman said.

Salina firefighters extinguished the blaze reported by passers-by at 2:27 a.m. that had engulfed a four-foot stack of pallets behind Rent-A-Center, 1415 W. Crawford, said Sgt. James Feldman.

The flames caused damage to paint on the rear wall of the building and to an exterior light, Feldman said. He said damage caused by the suspicious fire was estimated at about $500.

 

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Saving lives: Kansas State University helps provide trucks, equipment for rural fire departments

By Tiffany Roney
K-State News – November 30, 2016

Eric Ward, excess property manager and fire planning specialist with the Kansas Forest Service, stands in front of the rows of military vehicles that his department turns into fire trucks for rural fire departments.

Eric Ward, excess property manager and fire planning specialist with the Kansas Forest Service, stands in front of the rows of military vehicles that his department turns into fire trucks for rural fire departments.

Terry Fleming, equipment mechanic with the Kansas Forest Service, repairs an engine on a used military vehicle that will become a fire truck for a rural fire department.

Terry Fleming, equipment mechanic with the Kansas Forest Service, repairs an engine on a used military vehicle that will become a fire truck for a rural fire department.

Small Kansas communities are benefiting from a fire truck and equipment program offered through the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University.

The Kansas Forest Service, which is one of five state forestry agencies in the nation housed at a land-grant university, issues trucks and equipment through the Federal Excess Personal Property program and the FireFighter Property Program.

“These programs are a very good example of how K-State serves and engages with the citizens of Kansas,” said Eric Ward, excess property manager and fire planning specialist with the Kansas Forest Service. “Along with free trucks, we provide screening, training and administrative oversight, so these programs embody Kansas State University’s land-grand mission of providing direct service to Kansas citizens.”

The forestry service receives used trucks and equipment from Fort Riley and other military sites, completes any necessary repairs, and issues them to departments in need of resources. It has provided fire trucks, rescue tools, protective clothing and medical equipment to communities across Kansas. Some of the communities receiving resources this year include Ashland, Beloit, Bennington, Conway Springs, Council Grove, Effingham, Fredonia, Gem, Girard, Horton, Marquette, Savonburg, Towanda, Wakefield, Waterville and many more.

About 50 trucks are issued by the Kansas Forest Service each year. Each truck would cost about $500,000-$600,000 if purchased new from a manufacturer. Ward said many small fire departments have annual budgets of $2,000-$3,000.

“Our programs give communities fire protection they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Ward said. “Larger towns have enough taxes to fund their equipment, but for a rural community with a limited tax base, these programs are often the difference between having a fire department or not.”

The equipment is also potentially lifesaving for those who respond to emergency calls. The programs supply protective clothing and defibrillators, which are critical because heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death for firefighters.

“The cheapest defibrillators are about $1,500,” Ward said. “We offer them for free because having one can make a life-or-death difference.”

Fire departments qualify for the programs by submitting reports to the Office of the State Fire Marshal; completing a memorandum of agreement with the agency; and agreeing to paint the truck a non-military color and add a tank and pump within six months.

Ward said most fire departments are so grateful to receive any trucks or equipment that they fulfill those requirements immediately.

“The fire chiefs are very appreciative of the program,” Ward said. “Some are repeat customers who come back to us over and over. Without this provision, they wouldn’t be able to continue protecting their communities. Thanks to these programs, they can keep serving and protecting Kansas citizens for years to come.”

The Kansas Forest Service is part of the horticulture and natural resources department in Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture.

 

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Agreement with State Fire Marshal

Derby Informer – November 30, 2016

The council authorized the city manager to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Office of the State Fire Marshal to join a search and rescue network.

In the past, Derby Fire and Rescue Department has responded to other jurisdictions to assist with not only fighting fires, but also this past year with wildland fires in Barber County and recently to flooding in Sedgwick and Sumner counties.

Catastrophic events such as flooding, search and rescue, and entrapment can quickly overwhelm local first responders, said Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith in a report to the council.

Search and rescue responses include a wide area of emergency response needs, he said.

The State Fire Marshal has been designated as the administrative agency for oversight of a Kansas Search and Rescue Response System and Derby Fire and Rescue has been asked to become a member of it.

“By becoming a member, we will be provided training and certain necessary personal protective equipment,” Smith said.

 

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Teen dies after being ejected in Reno County single-vehicle rollover

By Ashley Booker
Hutchinson News – November 30, 2016

A 19-year-old passed away Tuesday in a Wichita hospital after sustaining injuries in a single-vehicle rollover crash in the 14700 block of East Maple Grove Road, east of Worthington Road, in the southeast corner of Reno County.

First responders found an early 2000s model Ford F250, which had rolled several times and came to a rest in a yard on the north side of the road. The driver, Braden J. Gates of rural Mount Hope, was ejected and was found a considerable distance from the pickup, according to a RNSO release.

Dispatch traffic indicated he was unconscious but breathing around 4:30 p.m.

A medical helicopter transported him to Wesley Medical Center with critical injuries. He passed away at the hospital that evening.

He was the only person in the pickup.

The driver was not wearing a seat belt.

Personnel with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Haven EMS, Reno County Fire District No. 9, Cheney Fire & Rescue and LifeTeam responded to the crash, which is still under investigation.

 

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Reno County EMS making strides under new chief, with more positive changes in view

By John Green
Hutchinson News – November 30, 2016

Photo by Sandra J. Milburn

Photo by Sandra J. Milburn

For the first time in some 18 months, Reno County’s ambulance service is fully staffed, formal protocols are now drafted that will allow rural fire services to once again make emergency medical calls, and local paramedics and EMTs are in new uniforms.

That’s after just five months on the job for Terry David, Reno County’s new director of Emergency Medical Services.

Moreover, David, 63, promised that more changes are on the horizon.

With a 30-year career in EMS, including 21 years as Rice County’s EMS director, David changed his title from director to EMS chief and named interim director David Trotter as deputy chief of EMS operations.

“Reno County was the largest service in the state without an operations manager,” said David, who also retitled daily “team leaders” as “division chiefs.”

With the hiring of eight new paramedics, the ambulance staff is to a full complement of 32 paramedics and seven EMTs, including on-call staff, covering three 24-hour shift rotations.

The employees are in a uniform of a white button shirt and black pants, now provided by the hospital and which David feels looks more professional. The shirts include a patch featuring a new logo, with the medical “Star of Life” in the center of the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center symbol. After 10 p.m., personnel on duty can switch to department-designed T-shirts.

High demand

“We’re busy,” David advised the Reno County Commission during a recent commission meeting. “We have a lot of calls that require transfer of people to Wichita and at times we didn’t have the staff to do it.”

“When I left 25 years ago,” said the chief who originally started with EMS at Hutchinson Hospital in 1986 but left to be an administrator, “we ran 2,500 calls a year. We are on target to hit 6,000 this year. The population hasn’t grown, but the population is getting older.”

The previous staff shortage, David said, resulted in 2,055 hours not fully covered between June and September and, consequentially, lots of overtime.

The 10 people on each shift include a street supervisor, two staff each at Arlington and at the downtown Hutchinson ambulance station, and the rest at the hospital.

Each shift works 24 hours on and then 48 off, with shifts starting at 7 a.m. daily.

“We have so many long-tenured that we have a lot of accumulated sick leave and paid time off and vacation,” David said. “We’ve got somebody off almost every day.”

He has changed the agency’s time-off policy, requiring advanced approval for time off over a certain level, David said.

He is also working to add part-time paramedics to fill in, though employees are still guaranteed more than 800 hours of overtime a year based on the work schedule.

They have contemplated going to 12-hour shifts, which Sedgwick County has implemented, David said, but “kids coming out of any paramedic program don’t want to work for less money because they’re working less hours. They want the same at year’s end.”

It would also require double the staff to have day and night shifts, and filling current positions was difficult enough, he said.

Countywide response

The lack of a medical director and uniform countywide response protocols has been preventing rural fire services and volunteer EMTs from running on medical calls. That was one of the drivers behind residents and business owners in the Pleasantview area seeking new fire-district boundaries last summer.

Working with the emergency room at the hospital, they have drafted the new protocols, though are not yet distributing them pending printing of some 65 copies by the Reno County Emergency Management office.

“We have over 200 EMTs or paramedics in the county,” David said. “I was given a printout of everyone who is certified and living in Reno County, and found half our staff lives someplace else, Wichita or Derby. If there is an EMT, they can only respond if they have the medical direction and protocols to operate under. They wanted a duty to act, but there was not a firm set of guidelines,” David explained.

The protocols are basically an algorithm that is based on who responds.

“If it is a certified paramedic, an EMT or a first responder, the algorithm tells each of them what they can do,” David said. “For example, if they go for chest pains, they start at the top of the algorithm. They can do certain things like apply oxygen. As they get to the different skill levels, it flows into what each level can do for that particular patient.”

They are exploring how to develop the protocols into a computer or phone app.

“We’ve been meeting with the folks at Nickerson, Haven, Pretty Prairie and Trail West,” discussing training, the protocols and other needs, David said. “We plan to do that three times a year. Haven and Pretty Prairie have their own separate ambulance licenses, but they face the same problems as across the county of maintaining volunteer staff.”

Equipment changes

The service is implementing a new patient reporting system because its current system, supplied by the state under an annual contract, “is going away Dec. 31,” David said. The new system, which “went live over the last 30 days,” allows crews using iPads to enter information during a call, such as an EKG readout, and transfer it directly to the hospital.

“As with any new software, we’ve got some bugs to work out,” he said.

He is also looking at acquiring a different type of ambulance for the service that is smaller than what they currently use and costs half as much to purchase. It operates inside a van with an elevated top.

“We do a lot of transfers to Wichita for more advanced care, and we’re looking at buying a sprinter, a smaller ambulance on a Mercedes frame,” David said.

A number of other smaller area services use them, since they cost much less than a typical ambulance. The smaller interior means less room for equipment, but they are already carrying much less equipment than in the past, and most transfers are stabilized patients not requiring everything carried in a typical ambulance.

“One of the things Butler County told me is once the employees start working out of them, they get used to it and like the way it’s set up,” David said. “It’s easier to run an emergency call out of them, too, but there is a learning curve, a change in thought process.”

Response changes

Another area he is examining for change is how the service respond to calls.

“We don’t need a $200,000 ambulance and $400,000 fire truck responding for someone who’s been sick for five days,” David said. “Our greatest liability is wrecking trucks, not patient care.”

“We’re looking very carefully at how long it takes to run with red lights and siren versus not running with red lights,” he said.

For example, he timed a couple of runs from Hutchinson hospital to Wesley Medical Center and found using lights and sirens cut the drive by just eight minutes. In town, he made a non-emergency run from Second and Adams to an incident on East Fourth Avenue and, even stopping for traffic lights, arrived before the ambulance and fire truck were on the scene, he said.

“We haven’t (changed policies) yet, but along with the fire department we’re having real discussions,” he said. “We’re waiting to gather more data.”

Reno County Commission Chairman Dan Deming praised David for examining the issue.

“That’s a huge step in the right direction,” Deming said. “I’ve been trying to get it done for 25 years.”

David also plans a longer-term study on call volumes to adjust where ambulances respond from for certain parts of the city or county.

“The response areas have been the same for 35 years, but the population has shifted, the call volume has shifted,” David said. “The station behind the courthouse, for example, responds all the way north to Wesley Towers retirement center. With having more personnel at the hospital, it might make sense to have a crew from the hospital go to that part of the community, rather than from downtown.”

“Honestly, though, we’re so busy anymore it’s pretty much who we’ve got available that responds,” he said. “We need to do this in concert with the entire county, to look at where the runs are and if the stations are in the best places.”

Meanwhile, David is planning minor upgrades at the existing ambulance stations at 209 W. Second Ave. and Arlington.

“They have been neglected,” he said. “It’s not anybody’s fault. The Arlington station is a rough place to live. They’re interested in doing some improvements out there with their fire facility.”

One other longer-term study David would like to have done is similar to one recently completed in Harvey County, that drilled down into 911 call addresses, and discovered a large percentage of that agency’s calls were from just a few addresses.

Many of those users did not need emergency medical attention, but relied on 911 to respond to other needs.

“It’s called integrated community para-medicine,” David said. “A lot of smart people around the country have been successful in doing it, but we’d have to design a system that makes sense for our community.”

“A number of stakeholders and players would have to be engaged to have those conversations,” he said. “When I took the job it was one of my goals, but with a three- or four-year implementation period on it.”

 

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Fire extinguished along I-70

By Harold Campbell
Salina Journal – November 29, 2016

A grass fire on I-70 about two miles west of Salina Tuesday morning was extinguished by Rural Fire Department 3, Saline County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Smith said.

Smith said the sheriff’s office received a call shortly before 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, but the fire was almost put out before deputies arrived.

The fire measured about 20 feet by 10 feet and was along the north side of the westbound lane. No cause was determined.

Traffic moved normally while the fire was being put out, Smith said.

 

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Two injured in unrelated wrecks

Pittsburg Morning Sun – November 29, 2016

Area law enforcement was kept busy Monday with pair of unrelated wrecks which injured two.

The first occurred just before 3 p.m. when Ernest Robert Thompson, 62, of Parsons, was traveling east on Kansas Highway 47 on his 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle.

According to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Thompson swerved to miss a coyote which crossed the road from the south ditch.

Thompson lost control and was thrown from the motorcycle.

He was not wearing a helmet and was taken to Girard Medical Center by ambulance with unspecified injuries.

The second wreck occurred at about 4:20 p.m. on North Broadway in Pittsburg.

According to a report from the Pittsburg Police Department, Delmar George, 74, of Pittsburg, was turning left onto North Broadway from 25th Street in his Ford Grenada and failed to yield to a 1998 Chevrolet Sonoma pickup driven by James Treadway, 56, of Pittsburg.

George’s vehicle hit Treadway’s pickup and flipped it onto it’s top, according to the release. Treadway was extricated from the vehicle by the Pittsburg Fire Department and taken to Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg with minor injuries. George was not injured.

 

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Topeka firefighters union donation to help fund quilts for youths in foster care

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – November 29, 2016

Photo by Phil Anderson

Photo by Phil Anderson

A $2,000 check presented Tuesday morning to a local quilter’s group by the union representing Topeka firefighters will make things a little warmer for some of the approximate 800 children who are removed from their Kansas homes each year by the state and placed in foster care.

The check presentation was made during a brief ceremony at Topeka Fire Department station No. 3, 318 S.E. Jefferson.

Around a dozen firefighters and a half-dozen members of the Country Quilters group were on hand for the check presentation, which was held inside the firehouse, with a shiny, red fire engine serving as the backdrop.

Dorothy Stevenson, past-president of the Country Quilters, said the $2,000 would help defray some of the costs associated with making the quilts.

Group members supply their own materials for the quilts and do most of the stitching on them, but many pay to have someone else complete the quilting process, which can run around $200 per quilt.

Members of the quilting group made 64 quilts this past year and, through the Department for Children and Families, presented them in October to children who live at the Villages, a Topeka-based organization that offers family-style group homes to children ages 6 and older.

Stevenson said the Country Quilters are planning to make at least 64 quilts and possibly more in the coming year.

After making the quilts, Country Quilters will donate them to Project Warm Embrace, a program of the Kansas Department for Children and Families that provides quilts, afghans and blankets to youths in foster care shortly after they are removed from their homes.

KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services coordinate donations from quilt and blanket makers so that each child receives one of the items when they enter foster care.

Stevenson said hand-made quilts offer comfort to those who receive them.

“A quilt means warmth and love,” Stevenson said. “They’re made with love and they do keep you warm when you wrap up in them.”

Stevenson noted that handmade quilts differ from those that are purchased.

“You can’t go out and buy quilts like we make,” she said. “Can’t do it.”

The Country Quilters group has about 100 members and meets once a month at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Topeka. Many quilters, like Stevenson, quilt virtually every day.

In remarks during the check-presentation ceremony, Topeka Fire Department apparatus 0perator Aaron Freeman, who serves as president of Local 83, said the union voted to help fund the quilt project, viewing it as a “great opportunity to support the kids that are taken from their homes.”

Following the ceremony, Jared Wilson, apparatus operator for the Topeka Fire Department, thanked Carrie Bowser, another member of the Country Quilters, for the group’s work in donating its time and efforts on behalf of children entering foster care.

“Hopefully, this will be a continual effort,” Wilson said. “It’s great to know we are going to be helping kids in need. We’re helping out where we can.”

 

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This drug reverses overdoses, but Kansas has limited access to it

By Gabriella Dunn
Tribune News Service – November 29, 2016

Kansas is one of three states that limits the availability of a life-saving drug that reverses opioid overdoses.

Right now, only certain health care professionals have the drug in Kansas.

But those who have the overdose-reversing drug often aren’t the first to arrive after someone calls 911 to report an overdose.

The drug is called naloxone, or Narcan by its brand name. Naloxone works as an antidote to opioids – including heroin and prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin, hydrocodone, codeine and fentanyl.

Researchers and medical professionals have widely recognized naloxone as a key way to slow the growth of overdose deaths, which have ballooned in recent years. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kansas might soon join the vast majority of the country in expanding access to naloxone. Some medical-related professionals hope to see a naloxone bill introduced in the upcoming legislative session, and the board that oversees emergency services in Kansas might widen the number of people who have the drug.

“Lives will be saved,” Malachi Winters, program manager for the Wichita/Sedgwick County EMS System, said about making naloxone more available.

Other states, cities

Residents in Kansas, Montana and Wyoming have the least access to naloxone. In Kansas, it is limited to paramedics and medical professionals. Emergency technicians, police and firefighters, who are often the first to respond to an emergency call, do not carry the drug.

“There’s a huge spectrum across states,” said John Gallagher, medical director of the Wichita/Sedgwick County EMS System. “There’s by no means uniformity.”

The CDC recommends all states expand access to naloxone.

Some states allows EMTs, first responders and law enforcement to carry the drug. Other states allow residents to buy naloxone from pharmacies with a prescription.

And some cities, like Baltimore, expanded access to all residents through blanket prescriptions. Lena Wen, health commissioner of Baltimore City, issued a standing order for every resident of Baltimore to have a prescription of naloxone, prescribed by Wen.

Wen concurrently helped pass malpractice laws so physicians won’t fear prosecution for prescribing naloxone.

The goal is for every resident to carry naloxone at all times, because the city became so plagued by heroin and opioid overdoses.

The blanket prescriptions allow any resident to receive a naloxone kit and education about how to use it.

“The reason we focused on it is because it’s very tangible,” Wen said.

“Modern medicine has many treatments and very few cures.”

Some question whether expanded naloxone access encourages drug use and enables addicts. Others worry that it may discourage those who have overdosed from seeking further medical treatment. The effects of naloxone are short lived, and the drug is meant to be used in addition to calling 911, not in place of it.

The drug is generally not harmful if taken by someone who is not overdosing on opioids.

How it works

Naloxone can be administered via an autoinjector, nasal spray or through an IV in a medical setting.

Lay people often receive an autoinjector or nasal spray.

The autoinjector works similarly to an Epipen, which is used for severe allergic reactions, but has audio instructions that play when someone opens the device.

Essentially, the person takes out the device, removes a tab at the bottom, places the autoinjector to the side of the thigh and pushes down. A needle punctures the person’s clothing and skin and injects medicine into their muscle mass.

Regulation changes

The Kansas Legislative Research Department said the state does not specifically forbid doctors from prescribing naloxone to patients, but the legalities, regulations and access issues about naloxone are ambiguous.

“The idea would be at least to potentially get something into statute regarding this greater concept,” said Gallagher of the Wichita/Sedgwick County EMS System.

Gallagher and a group of other stakeholders are discussing whether and how groups should pursue a naloxone-related bill for the upcoming legislative session.

One proposal the groups are considering would potentially expand access via prescriptions to people in the general public. The Kansas Medical Society legislative committee will discuss the proposal at its committee meeting on Nov. 29.

Gallagher is also part of a medical advisory council for the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services. The council, he said, may recommend on Dec. 2 that the board allow first responders and EMTs to use naloxone.

During an overdose, time is of the essence because of how quickly someone begins to die after taking too large of a dose of heroin or opioid painkillers.

The rate at which someone dies depends on how the person took the drug and the amount they took. Asphyxia causes the user to pass out and deprives them of oxygen. In some cases, heroin users will pass out with a needle still in their arm.

Many other people overdose, and die, by taking their prescribed amount of painkillers following a surgery, or to treat pain. Because of that, medical researchers have suggested naloxone be co-prescribed with all opioid medications.

“Who are the people that interact with the patient first?” Gallagher said. “In a lot of situations, it’s not a professional rescuer – it’s a family member. That in itself makes the family member a good place to put the medication, if you identify an at-risk population.”

 

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Fire department respond to fire at Tony’s Pizza plant

By Eric Wiley
Salina Journal – November 29, 2016

Salina firefighters responded to a fire about 6:16 p.m. Monday at the Tony’s Pizza plant in the 1300 block of Scanlon Ave., said Fire Marshal Roger Williams.

Williams called the fire a “non-event” and said, “By the time we got out there and set up we were told the fire was out.”

Williams said his crew used ladders to access the roof of the building to make sure everything was fine.

The fire originated in the exhaust hood and fan of oven two in the plant.

 

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Man hospitalized for smoke inhalation after apartment catches fire in south Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – November 29, 2016

A man was taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation after his south-side apartment caught fire Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The blaze was reported at 10:57 a.m. at the Cascade Apartments complex, 3451 S.W. Burlingame Road.

Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Dan Macke said the blaze was contained to a second-floor apartment located at the west end of the multi-building complex.

Macke said a man who had been sleeping was awakened by smoke in the apartment. The man checked on a roommate, who wasn’t in the apartment, then made his way out of the building and called 911 for help.

Macke said the fire appeared to have been relegated primarily to a stuffed armchair, a mattress and a box springs set.

Fire crews doused the smoldering chair, mattress and box springs with water while the items were on the lawn in front of the building.

Firefighters also ventilated the apartment unit from smoke.

The man who was inside the apartment at the time of the fire was treated at the scene by paramedics. The man then was placed on a gurney and taken to a waiting American Medical Response ambulance.

Macke said the man’s condition wasn’t believed to be life-threatening.

A dog that had been inside the unit was taken outside safely..

A Topeka fire investigator was called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire. No immediate dollar loss estimate was available.

 

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Salute the Badge: Manhattan Firefighter brings mental health experience w/video

By Jace Mills
WIBW – November 29, 2016

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Video1100

Like most first responders, responding to the call is second nature for Manhattan Firefighter Dan Newton.

“I can’t sell anything… I’m not good at that,” said Newton with a grin.

Dan is a driver for the Manhattan Fire Department, but his service extends beyond the walls of the fire station. He also works part-time as a case manager at Pawnee Mental Health Services in Manhattan.

Newton’s experience with mental health, a field he worked in full-time before joining the fire department, has made him an asset at the fire station.

“We have family at the firehouse and family outside of the firehouse,” said Manhattan Fire Captain Micah Hydeman. “If there’s one kink in the chain then you’ve got to straighten it out, so that’s what behavioral health is about, and that’s what Dan is really good at.”

Dan is part of a task force that helps first responders cope with difficult situations that sometimes arise on the job.

“We have a team of individuals on the department that collaborates with other agencies in the area to go out… and help people talk through that stress reaction,” said Newton.

As a father of four, Newton says that he’s learned a big part of staying well is to leave the stresses of the job at work. Dan says spending time with his family, even coaching his son’s baseball team, keeps work from becoming overwhelming.

“You think you’re giving a lot of up when you become a firefighter… and you do,” said Newton. “You give up some of your hobbies up, but as long as you keep some of the important things in your life like family — and you put those things first, I think everyone adjusts to a point of normalcy to get you by and keeps you enjoying your life.”

 

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Hot coals cause grass fire

Leavenworth Times – November 29, 2016

Hot coals that were dumped into a creek embankment caused a grass fire, a Leavenworth Fire Department official said.

Hot coals that were dumped into a creek embankment caused a grass fire, a Leavenworth Fire Department official said.

The fire was reported around 8 p.m. Monday in the 300 block of North 22nd Street.

Battalion Chief Andy Brooks said firefighters used about 1,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.

 

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Ellsworth County EMT thankful to be alive

By Gary Demuth
Salina Journal – November 29, 2016

Click on each photo to view full-size. Photos by Tom Dorsey

Click on each photo to view full-size. Photos by Tom Dorsey

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When advanced emergency medical technician Jeremiah Brown climbed behind the wheel of an Ellsworth County ambulance to transport a critical patient to Salina on a cold December morning a year ago, he had no clue that he would soon need medical assistance himself.

On the morning of Dec. 1, the ambulance driven by Brown, 34, was headed to Salina Regional Health Center on Kansas Highway 140 with its lights and sirens running. In the back was paramedic Rick Soukup and patient Kathryn Whitmer, 57, of Wilson.

Just west of Brookville, the ambulance came up behind a Ford F-350 flatbed pickup truck hauling a large, round hay bale.

The eastbound truck had slowed down, but as it turned out, it was not to let the ambulance pass. Instead the truck driver, seemingly unaware that a speeding ambulance was approaching from behind, began to turn left into a field.

Brown, who had pulled into the oncoming lane to pass the truck, nearly T-boned the truck on the driver’s side. He swerved to the right to avoid hitting the truck and hit the rear of the flatbed.

When the ambulance came to a stop, the cab was full of smoke from the air bags of the wrecked ambulance. Soukup checked on his patient and called a dispatcher to request ambulances and a rescue truck from the Salina Fire Department. Then he went to the cab of the ambulance to check on Brown.

Brown’s left leg was pinned under crumpled metal of the crushed front of the ambulance. He had to wait for what seemed like hours for the rescue crew to arrive and free him.

“I was trapped in the vehicle and couldn’t move,” Brown said.
Far worse

After being freed, Brown was taken by ambulance to Salina Regional along with Soukup and Whitmer. The driver of the flatbed truck, Brookville resident Donald Goddard, 52, was uninjured.

Soukup had nontraumatic injuries from the crash, but Whitmer died the next day. It was determined that Whitmer, who was on a gurney attached to the ambulance and held in place by at least three seat belts, received no direct trauma from the crash.

As for Brown, what at first appeared to be a broken leg turned out to be far worse.

“I shattered my left hip bone in five places,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

After being evaluated in Salina, Brown was sent to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in Wichita, where he underwent a seven-hour surgery to set the shattered hip bone socket and pelvis on the left side of his body.

“They put a lot of pins and screws in my hip,” he said.

After the surgery, Brown and his wife, Jessica, were told by the surgeon that Brown could place no weight on his left leg for three to six months and would be out of work for at least a year.
Devastating news

It was devastating news for the Browns, as Jeremiah had been the sole income producer for the family. Brown, who lived in Great Bend, had worked for Ellsworth County EMS since 2011 and also worked for Lifetouch Ambulance Service in Salina and for the Larned EMS. He and Jessica also had three children from previous marriages.

On Dec. 9, Brown was transferred to the Lady of the Lords rehabilitation facility in Wichita to begin his long road to recovery. At the time, Brown said, the seriousness of his injury and long journey of rehabilitation didn’t cause him too much alarm.

“At the time, I didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “I was laid up in the hospital and drugged up most of the time.”

Brown said he was able to return to his Great Bend home two days before Christmas. What helped him get through the holidays and beyond was the support of his wife, children, friends, relatives, co-workers and members of his church.

“They all helped me a lot when I got home,” he said. “I had a good support group. If I needed something, they were there. I obviously wanted to be able to get back to work. My co-workers kept in contact with me, I had a lot of phone calls and text messages of support.”
Walking again

It wasn’t until early March that Brown was able to step on his injured leg for the first time. During the next several months, he basically had to learn to walk again without putting pressure on his injured hip.

“At first, there was a lot of pain,” he said. “I went through a lot of physical and occupational therapy in Wichita. Just to be able to stand and wash a dish or carry a cup was an effort.”

After months of rehabilitation, Brown was able to return to Ellsworth County EMS on Oct. 28. Although he only worked half a day, Brown, now 35, said it felt good to be back.

“The first two weeks, I worked just every other day to get re-acclimated,” he said. “My body was telling me that I hadn’t worked in a year. But I was glad to be back. I wanted to get back. I had been sitting at home for a year doing nothing and surviving on workman’s comp.”

Brown said that once he had two or three emergency calls under his belt, “I knew things were going to be all right.”

“Things fell into place pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s getting to where things are back to normal now.”

The crushed ambulance that Brown had been driving that December day had been towed back to the Ellsworth County EMS building, but Brown said it was too emotionally traumatic for him to look at it again, “remembering how close I’d come.”
Saved by bumper

Brown credited a heavy steel bumper on the front of the ambulance for saving his life. The customized bumpers were designed for law enforcement and emergency vehicles by Thunderstruck Bumpers of Abilene. Brown said they were added to Ellsworth County EMT ambulances about two years ago.

“This bumper took the brunt force of the impact — if it hadn’t been there, I would have been crushed,” Brown said.

Brown said he is working Thanksgiving Day and plans to celebrate the holiday with his family Friday. He said he’s just glad to be back at work at all and most importantly, have no physical restrictions when it comes to performing his duties.

“I’m thankful to be here, alive and able to come back and do my job,” he said. “I’m thankful for my family and the blessings I have. I don’t take anything for granted now.”

 

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KSFFA Regional Fire School – Kinsley

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Kinsley Fire Department

February 4-5, 2017
Kinsley High School Round House Gym – W. 8th Street

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Saturday Morning – Feb. 4th – 8:00 a.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication – 12 hours – Bunker gear required – EMS Continuing Hrs.
  2. KSFFA Skills Trailer – 8 hours – SCBA and PPE required
  3. Rural Water Supply – 8 hours
  4. NFIRS Reporting – 4 hours
  5. FRA Class – 4 hours

Saturday Afternoon – Feb. 4th – 1:00 p.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication, cont.
  2. KSFFA Skills Trailer, cont.
  3. Rural Water, cont.
  4. Reading Smoke – 4 hours

Sunday Morning – Feb. 5th – 8:00 a.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication, cont.
  2. Propane Safety – 4 hours
  3. Grain Elevator Fires – 4 hours

Sunday Afternoon – Feb. 5th – Noon

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer – Full PPE/SCBA required

Motel Info: Do Drop Inn (620) 233-6056 or Two Elk Lodge (620) 659-2334

For more info call Troy Wolf, KSFFA Southwest Trustee (620) 492-1861

  • These courses are offered at no charge.
  • These schools are open to all firefighters/EMS
  • The KSFFA furnishes medical insurance for all participants.
  • The KSFFA is not responsible for lost or damaged clothing or equipment.
  • If you desire to have Firefighter One or Two testing, this must be pre-registered through Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute.
  • The KSFFA offers fit testing with its porta-count machine at all regional fire school.

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Man killed in Sunday crash SW of Wichita

KWCH – November 29, 2016

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office identifies a man killed in a late-Sunday-morning crash southwest of Wichita.

The sheriff’s office says Hoyt Sunderland, 78, of Wichita, was killed in the crash reported a little after 11 a.m. Sunday at 135th Street West and MacArthur.

The sheriff’s office says Sunderland was traveling in his 1987 Ford pickup south on 135th West when he failed to stop at a stop sign at MacArthur Road.

The sheriff’s office says the pickup collided with a 2006 Mazda Tribute, driven by a 16-year-old girl from Wichita. The pickup rolled once and Sunderland was ejected, the sheriff’s office says. He died at the scene.

Neither the driver of the Mazda nor her 15-year-old passenger were injured in the crash, the sheriff’s office says.

 

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Car Versus Semi Crash Injures Two

By David Elliott
KRSL – November 28, 2016

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A car versus semi truck crash Monday morning on Interstate 70 injured two people.

The crash happened at about 9 AM Monday just west of the Balta exit on eastbound I-70 in Russell County about four miles west of Russell.

It appeared on scene that a passenger car rear ended a semi near the exit ramp.

One patient was taken to Russell Regional Hospital by Russell County EMS ambulance. Another patient was flown from the scene by EagleMed helicopter.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Officers responded, along with rescue units from the Russell City Fire Department.

 

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Crash in Johnson County kills Alma man, 21

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – November 28, 2016

An Alma man died Sunday afternoon when the vehicle he was driving rolled after leaving K-10 highway in Johnson County, authorities said.

Nicholas Herren, 21, died after a crash that occurred about 4:05 p.m. about a half-mile west of K-10’s Cedar Creek Parkway exit to Olathe, according to a report on the highway patrol’s crash log website.

Herren’s one passenger — Ryan Patrick McMahon, 22, of Redondo Beach, Calif. — suffered possible injuries, the report said. It indicated Herren and McMahon were taken to an Overland Park hospital.

Herren had been driving a 2004 Toyota Tacoma eastbound on K-10 when he lost control and went sideways into the median, where the vehicle rolled before landing on its wheels in the north ditch of the westbound lanes, the report said.

It indicated Herren and McMahon both wore seat belts.

 

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Ulysses man killed in crash

Garden City Telegram – November 27, 2016

A Ulysses man was killed and another hurt in a Wednesday night crash on U.S. Highway 83 at Plymell.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kyle Pelton, 24, of Ulysses was westbound on Plymell road in a 2008 Hyundai Tiburon when he failed to stop at a stop sign at U.S. Highway 83 and was struck on the passenger side by a southbound tractor-trailer driven by Matthew L. Cook, 46, of Mulvane at about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday night.

Pelton was transported to St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City but died of his injuries. Cook also was taken to the hospital with injuries.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts according to the KHP crash log.

 

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On duty, answering the call

By Mike Kessinger
Hays Daily News – November 28, 2016

Photos by Jolie Green

Photos by Jolie Green

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At any time, the call might come and the members of the Hays Fire Department ‘A’ shift will be off and out of the firehouse for whatever is needed of them.

It’s around noon on Thanksgiving, though, and for the moment, the six members of the unit in the house are taking it easy for the time being. They have all done their equipment check and inspection around the fire engines.

It’s rare the group would have the chance to all sit around the table in the kitchen area, watching the football game.

It’s also a time for them to have a potluck of various Thanksgiving food lined up in the kitchen and just relax.

But today, the shift team has that opportunity until called into action. The group arrived at 7 a.m. and was at the house until 7 this morning.

“Hopefully, we won’t have a lot going on,” Lt. Tyler Brungardt said. “We checked our equipment this morning, and we clean the place up a little, and we’ll just be taking calls all day. Holidays are usually a little slower for us. We just kind of slow down and take some time to relax, have some time together.”

Down Main Street four blocks from the firehouse, Hays Police Sgt. Mitch Berens sits in an office working on some papers. It’s more quiet around the building on this day, but it’s a necessity that Berens and a smaller staff are there.

“I am extremely grateful for these officers,” Police Chief Don Scheibler said of the staff working the holiday. “They sacrifice their time away from their families on these days, and I really appreciate all of their families for allowing them to do that. I’m grateful they’re willing to give their time to work on these days.”

Unlike the fire department being able to spend more individual time around each other on the holiday, those working in the police department are scattered throughout the building, then the officers also will do their usual patrol in the city limits. It was a much more calm day than most by early afternoon. Berens and his staff patrol the area watching the streets, many of which are deserted more often than another day.

“Today has been fairly quiet so far,” Berens said.

In the large exercise room next to the kitchen in the upstairs of the firehouse, there is space for a table and plenty of seating. Firefighter Keith Mermis, who has been in the department for 16 years, sits at the table for a Thanksgiving lunch with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children, Tanner, 20, Conner, 17, twins Nick and Haley, 11, and Preston, 9. It’s an opportunity the department allots to the members to have time with their families for such a moment. Other firefighters’ family will stop by at some point.

“He’s definitely missed at home on days like this,” Jennifer Mermis said of Keith. “So it’s nice we can come and just spend time here with him. This is just part of the business.”

During a moment they can step away from work, the staff at the police station will take time to partake in the potluck in their breakroom across the hall from the dispatcher’s office, where communications department members Brian Meis and Rachel Kraus are working this Thanksgiving — with a number of computer monitors sitting in front of them. Around the table in the breakroom, Berens sits with officers Colin Roe and Wade Park. It is a rare moment they are all given to be able to be sitting in there at the same time, enjoying lunch together.

“I won’t say I’ve gotten used to it, but I’ve learned to adjust to it,” Meis said of working the holiday. “My family is good about scheduling around it. I really like this job, so it’s just something I’ve learned to schedule around.”

It’s a life the fire and police departments have been accustomed to living in Hays while working holidays. But for many of them, they wouldn’t have it any other way. For both units, they are happy it’s about serving the public, and in a way, becoming a family within the unit.

“It all depends on the rotation of who is working,” Berens said. “It’s however it falls.”

 

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Eldon A. Mulroy

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Eldon A. Mulroy, 85, formerly of Goff, died Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at Vintage Park Assisted Living in Holton.

He was born Nov. 4, 1931, at Olpe, the son of Jerome and Geraldine Driscoll Mulroy. He graduated from Goff High School in 1949. He was a U.S. Air Force Veteran, having served as a staff sergeant in Okinawa during the Korean War.

Eldon had farmed and raised cattle with his father and then owned and operated E&L Service and Grocery in Goff. He operated the service station starting in 1962, and in 1984 started selling groceries as well.

He was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Wetmore, and a charter member of Wetmore Knights of Columbus Council No. 10301. He was also a member of Ponce DeLeon 4th Degree Assembly No. 283 in Seneca and Goff American Legion Post No. 316. He served on the Nemaha County Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 at Goff for more than 40 years, and had been the Fire Chief for more than 25 years. He served on the Sabetha USD No. 441 school board for 12 years and had been active in 4-H as a youth.

Eldon married Carol Bergman in 1958. They were divorced. He married Doris Guilbault on Feb. 2, 1985, in Topeka. She died Dec. 5, 2014.

He was also proceeded in death by his parents and two brothers, Robert Mulroy and Eugene Mulroy.

Survivors include his children, Shelle (Randy) Arnold of Topeka, Dennis J. Mulroy of Soldier, Judy Mulroy of Aurora, Colo., and Angie (Steve) Basile of Kearney, Mo.; three stepsons, Dennis K. (Teresa) Guilbault of Topeka, Patrick “Brian” (Donna) Guilbault of Marietta, Ga., and Mason (Denise) Guilbault of Buffalo, N.D.; two brothers, Richard (Lynne) Mulroy of Holton and Patrick (Carol) Mulroy of Mayetta; one sister, Alice (Don) Macke of Seneca; 11 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at St. James Catholic Church. Burial with military honors will follow in the Wetmore Cemetery. Eldon will lie in state Friday, Nov. 25, at the Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Holton, where a Parish Rosary will be at 7 p.m. with visitation from 6 to 8 p.m.

Memorials are suggested to Jackson County Friends of Hospice or St. James Catholic Church, and may be sent in care of the funeral home, P.O. Box 1034, 66436. Online condolences may be sent to chapeloaksfuneralhom.com.

 

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Santa Claus rescued from rooftop w/video

By Alexis Aarons
Lawrence 6 News – November 28, 2016

Photo by Nick Krug

Photo by Nick Krug

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In Lawrence’s annual holiday tradition, Santa Claus came to town and landed on Weaver’s rooftop. The Fire Department arrived swiftly to rescue Santa and Christmas for everyone. Their fire truck came down Massachusetts Street and pulled right up to Weaver’s. They sent the ladder to the roof, Mr. Claus hopped on and fire fighters brought him to safety.

Children and families filled the streets around the corner of 9th and Massachusetts Street to catch a glimpse of the action. While waiting anxiously for the jolly old man, kids joined Mayor Mike Amyx counting down to illuminate the downtown area. Three, two, one…and more than 60,000 LED lights helped light the way for Santa. Master of Ceremonies, Hank Booth continuously provided updates on Santa’s arrival from the stage.

“Downtown Lawrence is known for a lot of great events,” said Joe Flannery, the President of Weaver’s. “This is probably one of the very best events we have here. The city, police, fire and so many other local business work together for weeks to make it come together.”

While it isn’t entirely clear exactly what year the tradition began, Downtown Lawrence, Inc. and Weaver’s agree it’s been the event that marks the beginning of the holiday season for more than 25 years. Many people wonder how it started and why. Sally Zogry, the Executive Director of Downtown Lawrence, Inc. explains.

“There are many beliefs about how or why Santa Claus gets stuck on the rooftop of Weaver’s department store here in Lawrence. Some people think he gets lost and lands here every year, “Zogry shared. “I hear it from an expert that he’s practicing landing on the small roofs because he’s got a lot of work to do on December 25th.”

Residents agree the tradition gets everyone excited for the holidays regardless of age or religious belief. Children in attendance were given the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap after he was rescued. He asked each of them what they wanted for Christmas while parents took photos.

 

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Fairmount becomes full-time fire department

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – November 28, 2016

Photo by John Richmeier. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by John Richmeier. Click on photo to view full-size.

Several years ago, the Fairmount Township Fire Department hired part-time employees to supplement the work of volunteer firefighters. However, the part-time employees were only on duty eight or 12 hours a day.

But in September, the department added full-time firefighters to its roster. This has made it possible for the department to always have firefighters on duty at its Basehor station.

“There’s always two people here around the clock,” said Mike Lingenfelser, the department’s fire administrator.

Lingenfelser was hired last year as a full-time employee.

The three additional full-time firefighters who were hired earlier this year work 24-hour shifts at the Basehor station.

“We hit the ground running Sept. 1,” said Waylon Haling, one of the full-time firefighters.

Fire Chief Chuck Magaha said 11 part-time employees are used to achieve the goal of a full-time fire department.

“We’re no different than a professional fire department,” Magaha said. “We are a professional department in my eyes.”

Magaha said having a full-time department was one of his goals when he became chief a couple of years ago.

The call load of the Fairmount Township Fire Department has increased in recent years.

In 2011, the department had 575 calls. This year, the department is on pace to have more than 800 calls.

Haling said having people working at the station helps to cut down the department’s response times.

He said the on-duty firefighters can be out of the station within 1.5 minutes of receiving a call.

Magaha said it takes him at least four or five minutes to leave his home after being notified of a call.

Even with full-time and part-time firefighters, the department still utilizes volunteers.

“Volunteers still play a huge role,” Magaha said.

The paid firefighters can provide the initial quick response, but more firefighters may be needed on a call.

More information about the Fairmount Township Fire Department can be found at www.fairmountfd.org .

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Missing woman found dead in partially submerged SUV

Associated Press – November 28, 2016

A missing southern Kansas woman has been found dead in a partially submerged sport utility vehicle.

The Wichita Eagle reports that a bicyclist was heading to a store to buy turkey for a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday when he discovered the submerged vehicle. The cyclist called police, leading authorities to the body of 28-year-old Diana Guevara, of Haysville.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Middleton said her SUV apparently landed in a canal in north Wichita after taking an off ramp, leaving the road and driving through fencing that surrounds the water.

She was last seen late Wednesday and had been reported missing after failing to arrive home from work. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused her to crash.

 

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Fire damages Salina home, occupant escapes safely

By Tim Horan
Salina Journal – November 28, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Gerry Peterson was reading the Salina Journal on Friday morning when a friend came to her door shortly before 10 a.m. to tell her that her house at 1615 Rush was on fire.

Larry Ray said he was “Black Friday shopping” with his granddaughter, Kelsey. They were at Kraft Manor when she spotted smoke about a half-mile away.

They went to investigate. The house was that of his close friends, Gerry and Roger Peterson.

“We’re not real family, but we’re family,” Ray said of the Petersons.

Peterson said she had spent Thanksgiving Day and Thursday night at Salina Regional Health Center, where her husband, Roger, was a patient.

She said she got home about 9 a.m. Friday and was reading the newspaper. The fire was reported just before 10 a.m.

“It was nice and quiet. There was no smoke in the house,” she said. “He (Ray) ran in and told me, ‘Gerry, your house is on fire.’ He said get out.”

Ray assisted Peterson in escaping the fire. She attempted to call 911, but the fire had disabled her phone service.

A second alarm was issued to fight the blaze at about 10:15 a.m. and a third alarm was issued for off-duty firefighters minutes later.

The house is between Cloud Street and Claflin Avenue, about a block east of Broadway Boulevard.

The fire has been classified as “electrical in nature,” Salina Fire Department Capt. John Goodson said Friday afternoon.

The house suffered extensive smoke, fire and water damage, but no one was injured in the blaze.

Goodson estimated the damage at $50,000 and said the fire appears to have started in the basement.

 

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Trailer fire caused while cooking Thanksgiving dinner w/video

By Natalie Dattilio
WIBW – November 27, 2016

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A trailer caught on fire Thursday afternoon after some Thanksgiving cooking went wrong.

The man inside the trailer said a grease fire started the blaze. The man said he thought he had the fire under control by putting it out with water. He left the area to check on his dogs and cat and when he came back, the kitchen was fully engulfed in flames.

A neighbor said he was outside working on his truck when he saw smoke coming out of the trailer. The neighbor called 911 and was able to get the person side outside, along with dogs and a cat.

The neighbor said the man was taken to the hospital with burns on his hands and shoulders.

The Shawnee Heights Fire Chief told 13 News the last thing you want to do during a grease fire is try to put it out with water.

 

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Fatal Topeka house fire at 218 SW Tyler St.

By Gretchen Koenen
KSNT – November 28, 2016

Earlier this morning (November 26), the Topeka Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire.

Crews arrived just after 2:05 in the morning. When they arrived, visible smoke and flames were coming from both the first and second floors.

Crews forced entry into the residence and put out the fire.

They found one male died in the fire. The name of the fire victim is being withheld pending identification from the Coroner.

The Topeka Fire Department Investigator along with an Investigator from the State Fire Marshal Office conducted an investigation revealing the fire started in the front living room.

This fire is being listed as undetermined, pending further investigation.

According to the Topeka Fire Department, the estimated dollar loss is $15,000.00 in structural loss, as well as $1,000.00 in contents.

 

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Overland Park firefighters rescue woman and dog w/video

By Molly Balkenbrush
FOX 4 News – November 28, 2016

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Overland Park fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused an apartment complex to go up in flames Saturday.

It happened near 83rd and Wedd. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

FOX 4’s Molly Balkenbush was outside the complex where she spoke to people to a woman who was rescued from a balcony by firefighters.

That women was trapped on the second floor balcony with her dog.

She said she heard someone banging on her door frantically and she was scared it was an intruder so she locked herself in the back bedroom

It turns out it was her neighbor trying to warn her of the fire.

She was able to get out of that back bedroom and make it to her balcony where firefighters were able to use a ladder to rescue her and her dog.

Fire crews said four units in this building have smoke or fire damage and at least two can’t be occupied right now.

FOX 4 spoke to that neighbor who frantically knocked on doors trying to tell people to clear out of the building.

She said she called 911 and was able to make it out safely with her dogs.

“I came back in and then I started to get scared because the smoke was getting so bad and it was hard to catch my dogs, which I know you aren’t supposed to do that, and I got their leashes on them and got them out, but I wasn’t going to leave them,” she said.

Firefighters said the fire started in a bottom unit but they are still trying to determine what caused it.

They said the building had working smoke detectors.

The Red Cross will assist the displaced tenants.

 

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Child killed in McPherson County farming accident w/video

By Deedee Sun
KWCH – November 28, 2016

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The McPherson County Sheriff’s Office says an 8-year-old boy was killed in a farming accident Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. Dean Scott says the boy was riding in a tractor with his grandpa, when a piece of equipment broke off and flew into the cab of the tractor, hitting the boy.

A friend of the family who also farms says the John Deer tractor was older piece of equipment, but he’s never heard of anything like this happening.

Family members say eight-year-old Rylan Decker and his grandfather were out farming Saturday, on Dakota Road south of Galva.

“They were working field, and the little boy was having the delight of his life. Just riding with grandpa, and was thoroughly enjoying the farm work,” said Roger Unruh, a family friend and pastor at Lone Tree Mennonite church.

Pastor Unruh says the tractor went over a terrace – uneven ground that helps prevent erosion – and that’s when the accident happened.

“It is a tremendous tragedy. A very freak accident. I’ve never heard of it happening before,” he said.

He says a spring on the crust buster disk came loose and an adjusting handle flew into the cab.

“Suddenly there was this terrible loud crash,” Unruh said. “It shot forward like a projectile coming through the back windshield, hitting the little boy and then also coming out the front of the windshield,” he said.

Unruh says knowing that Rylan didn’t suffer, brings the family peace.

“Immediately the little boy he slumped forward,” Unruh said. “He made no whimper no cry, just instantly gone.”

Unruh says Rylan, his two younger brothers, and his parents were all here from Louisiana, visiting grandparents for Thanksgiving.

“The granddaddy, his first response when he met his daughter was, ‘It should’ve been me.’ But his daughter said, ‘No Daddy, it wasn’t to be you. It was rather to be my son.’ She was just telling her dad that mom needs you here,” Unruh said.

He says the family is leaning on their faith, and each other, to get through this time.

“There was really no way to prevent it. There was nothing that could’ve been done to avoid it. It just looked like it was planned for the little boy to be taken to his reward, to heaven,” Unruh said.

Rylan’s father tells Eyewitness News he was a very curious and happy little boy, someone who knew no strangers. He says their family is grieving but has made peace with what happened.

The funeral service will be in Lousiana, where the family lives.

 

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More fires raise suspicion

By Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Globe – November 28, 2016

Photo by Ed O'Neal.

Photo by Ed O’Neal.

In a press release from Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr, members of the Ford County Fire Department, Dodge City Police Department and Ford County Sheriff’s Office are investigating several grass fires that occurred on Wednesday.

The fires took place near 111 Road and Garnett Road in Ford County at around 2:45 p.m. and are suspicious as to how they were caused.

In Dodge City recently, there were fires of a suspicious nature that were located between Avenue C to Avenue G from Vine Street to Hickory street and occurred between the hours of 3:40 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The total suspicious fires that have taken place in the last week and a half comes to more than 14.

 

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Commissioners talk new radio system

By Phyllis Zorn
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – November 23, 2016

A new emergency radio system will go into effect piece by piece throughout the county, giving city police departments and fire departments time to figure out how to buy required 800 MHz radios.

Sheriff Rob Craft said he needs to get dispatch capable for the system commissioners voted to approve a few months ago. When the new system goes live, the existing system will need to be kept operable until other emergency departments get their radios replaced, Craft said.

“There’s going to be a drop-dead date on these somewhere,” commissioner Dan Holub said.

Craft and commissioners discussed the possibility of a loan program to help other departments with the purchase, but didn’t create any plans for a loan program.

In August, Peabody police chief Bruce Burke said each radio costs between $2,500 and $3,000.

Marion city administrator Roger Holter said Marion officials calculate it will cost $122,000 to equip police and fire departments with 800 MHz radios.

The new 800 MHz radios require a different repeater to be installed. A repeater is a device that receives a radio signal and forwards it.

Replacement of a metal span bridge over the Cottonwood River on Alfalfa Rd. a half-mile south of US-50 will begin by April, after the county submits its share of money for its replacement to Kansas Department of Transportation.

After that, KDOT will award a contract to a Newton bridge company. Bridges, Inc. bid $878,530 for the job. Federal and state grants will defray most of the cost, leaving the county to pay $194,000.

 

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Wednesday grease fire at El Tapatio quickly contained

By Alix Kunkle
Junction City Daily Union – November 3, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 23, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

A properly-working sprinkler system and attentive employees were key in controlling a small grease fire at El Tapatio Restaurant Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were called to the restaurant shortly after 9 a.m. for reports of a possible structure fire at the restaurant, located at 322 W. Sixth St. According to Battalion Chief Bill Kausler, firefighters found what appeared to be a small grease fire behind the fryer.

There was no damage to the structure itself, as the fire was contained to an area by the fryer–roughly $2,500.

He said the sprinkler system in the building was working properly, and between that and the dry-chem extinguishers used by occupants on-scene, they helped to minimize the effects of the blaze.

“It was pretty minor, considering what it could have been,” Kausler said.

A sign on the entrance of the restaurant indicated it would be closed until further notice.

 

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Thomas Edwin Hart

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Thomas Edwin Hart, 103, passed away October 19, 2016 at Westy Community Care Home in Westmoreland, KS. Westmoreland had been his home for 96 years.

Born March 14, 1913, in Washington D.C., Tom was the second of six children born to Harry L. Hart Sr. and Bernice Heath Hart. While all new parents believe their children to be brilliant and talented, Bernice and Harry could never have imagined the 103 incredibly full years their son Tommie would live.

In 1920, when Tom was 7, the Hart family left Washington D.C. and moved home to Westmoreland. There, Tom and his siblings made a playground of Mt. Ephraim, Rock Creek, and the surrounding area. As a boy, Tom worked as a delivery boy for the Saturday Evening Post. Later, hearing the drug store was looking for a soda jerk, he worked up his courage, walked into the store, and said to the owner, “I hear you’re looking for employment.” In spite of his nervous goof, Tom got the job. These experiences were the beginning of his strong work ethic.

Tom attended Westmoreland Rural High School graduating as Valedictorian of the class of 1931. In addition to his academic achievements he was active in sports, playing basketball and running track. Between his junior and senior years, Tom worked on a road surveying crew. He credited this as being the experience that helped him most with success in his later career.

Following high school, Tom attended Baker University where he again excelled in academics, sports (lettering in track), and social life. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity where he made lifelong friendships. With these friends, who became known as “The Big 6”, a scholarship was created to be awarded annually to a worthy fraternity member. He graduated in 1937 and was a devoted alumnus, attending annual reunions for the next 77 years.

Tom married the love of his life, Doris DeVolld, on August 20, 1939 in Baldwin City, KS. The pair created a loving home for themselves and three children. The little house they built on the hill was a happy place for their extended family, friends, children, children’s friends, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, neighborhood children… It was home for Tom and Doris until they moved to Westy Community Assisted Living in 2011. Words cannot do justice to their relationship as it was one to which most of us aspire. They loved each other until death did them part – and probably beyond.

After college, Tom returned to Westmoreland where he worked in his father’s business, the Pottawatomie County Abstract Company. Upon Mr. Hart Sr.’s retirement, Tom became the owner-manager of the business until his own retirement in 1982. He was a member of the Kansas Land Title Association (KLTA) and American Land Title Association (ALTA). He held the offices of secretary, vice president, and president in KLTA and was Title Person of the Year in 1981. He also served on the Abstractors Board of Examiners. Tom appeared in the American Land Title Association’s promotional movie, “The Land We Love” as an example of a small-town abstractor.

Even though his career was in land title, Tom was a teacher at Westmoreland Rural High School from 1944-1946 during WWII when teachers were in short supply. He once said that he eventually taught every course except Home Ec. He also coached the track team at that time.

It could be said that family was one of the most important aspects of Tom’s life. Many things could make him smile, but nothing more so than when he was with his family. He and Doris enjoyed the opportunity and ability to travel the country, be it for work or play, with family, with friends, or both. Tom was happy and comfortable in a station wagon, a pop-up camper, or a luxury hotel. He always put on a suit and tie for air travel.

Tom was a natural athlete, and sports definitely made him smile. He participated in many athletic activities from childhood to old age. Baseball, basketball, track, coaching a girl’s softball team, golf, refereeing, water-skiing, and even leading an old-folks’ exercise class kept him in tip-top shape so that he could continue to climb a ladder to paint his house and play catch with his great-grandchildren. He water-skied into his 80s and played golf until he was 96. It is said that, even at 103 and wheelchair-bound, he continued to show up for exercise class at the Care Home. There wasn’t much that kept Tom Hart down.

Mr. Hart was well-known and respected throughout northeast Kansas as half of the referee duo known as Hart and (Lloyd) Hope, sometimes referred to as “Hart-less and Hope-less”. For 35 years, he officiated high school basketball and football. He had some great stories of basketball games played in high school attics and football games he refereed all by himself.

Childhood piano lessons grew into another pastime that made Tom smile – music. He played both piano and trumpet. Without formal musical training beyond those piano lessons, Tom directed the choir at Westmoreland United Methodist Church for almost 50 years. He was also a charter member of the Manhattan chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and served the organization in many official positions, including as first director of the chorus. Mr. Hart was a model and inspiration to many a future musician.

Mr. Hart was community-minded and served his home community of Westmoreland faithfully. In 1938, Tom was a founding member of the Westmoreland Community Service Club, an organization that is still active today. He was a city councilman and served a term as mayor, was a member of the Volunteer Fire

Department and of the Boy Scout Committee. He was a school board member for many years and served on the Westmoreland Housing Board during the construction of the Oregon Trail Apartments. Following in the tradition of his father and grandfather, Tom was a member of the Westmoreland Masonic Lodge #257 for 70 years.

When the Corps of Engineers began to make plans to build what some referred to as “Big Dam Foolishness” – Tuttle Creek Dam – Tom was opposed. When it finally looked like efforts to block the project would fail, he decided to make the best of the situation. So, he bought a boat and a pop-up camper and began what would be a long tradition of family camping. In his lifetime he owned two different boats and taught several kids to ski, including two of his own, a son-in-law, a granddaughter and a grandson. His pop-up camper led to a pull-trailer and then a motor home that took the family to Tuttle Creek camping, Colorado and Branson family reunions, moving-home-from-Michigan trips (sister Helen), and youth choir trips across Kansas and to Branson. Thousands of marshmallows were burned, Barbershop songs sung, and stories told around the campfire on these memorable family trips.

At the age of 103, Tom Hart was predeceased by almost everyone! In addition to his parents and four of his five siblings and their spouses, Tom’s losses include his grandson Judson Beck Hart (2001), his wife Doris (2012), daughter Denise (2013), and son-in-law Bill Hanson (2013). He is survived by his youngest sister, Mary Margaret Broadfoot, his children Carol Hanson and Jim Hart, son-in-law Michael Parker (Sandy), grandchildren Lauri (Steven) Hopper and Tom Hanson, John and Dan Parker, Grace and Jillian Hart, great-grandchildren Megan (Brandan) Ediger and Ben Hopper, and many nieces and nephews.

Tom’s life will be celebrated on November 4 at Westmoreland United Methodist Church. A buffet luncheon will be served from 11:00 a.m. to noon in the Westmoreland United Methodist Church Education Building. Services will be held in the church at 1:00 p.m., with a graveside service immediately following. Upon return from the cemetery, the family will host a dessert reception in the Education Building. Please savor some sugar- particularly the chocolate kind – in memory of Tom.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Kappa Sigma Big 6 Scholarship at Baker University with checks payable to Beta Tau Educational Trust, or to Westmoreland United Methodist Church. Contributions may be mailed to Stewart Funeral Home, P.O. Box 48, Wamego, KS 66547.

 

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Overland Park Fire mannequin challenge video

By Leah Becerra
Kansas City Star – November 23, 2016

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The Overland Park Fire Department made a mannequin challenge video that pointed out how easy it is to start a fire unintentionally on Thanksgiving.

So easy, in fact, that Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires across the country, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The message to take away from the mannequin challenge video is simple: Carefully move into action when necessary and don’t leave your stove unattended, said Jason Rhodes, spokesman for the department.

The Overland Park Fire Department’s mannequin challenge video was filmed last week in one of the employee’s homes.

Rhodes said the video allows the department to get its message of safety out to the public in a way that might otherwise be ignored.

“We used a popular trend to convey our message,” said Rhodes. “It’s an entertaining way to get our message across.”

 

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Hultberg recovering from injury

By Chad Frey
Newton Kansan – November 23, 2016

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Jaycob Hultberg has a goal — one he is focused on with his entire being. Hultberg wants to overcome massive odds and work his dream job of firefighter.

“I will work towards fighting it, and winning it,” Hultberg said. “I will try my hardest to get there and work it out.”

Failure is not an option. He made that very clear when speaking with The Newton Kansan. He does, however, have a very long and difficult road to travel — one already littered with miracles.

The biggest hurdle he will have to overcome is recovering from traumatic brain injury — and the deck is not stacked in his favor. Hultberg, a former Harvey County Sheriff’s Deputy, will soon no longer be able to receive treatment as he attempts to recover. Money is running out.

His story is a tragic one. While working his job at the Harvey County Detention Center Sept. 24, Hultberg suffered an injury. He had been working at the jail for about three months before the incident occurred. No one who knows what happened in the jail that day is talking, and few know what really happened.

“The documentation that we have seen does not give any real answers,” said Jane Crawford, a member of his family and legal guardian. “… The only thing he did wrong is go to work.”

He has been hospitalized or in rehab centers ever since.

Working at the jail was a dream come true. Hultberg told The Kansan he was in kindergarten when he realized what he wanted to do with his life. A fireman visited his elementary school, and it was during that visit he began to dream of being a first responder.

After he graduated from high school, he joined a volunteer fire department in Galva.

“I saw him in his jacket and uniform crawling around on the floor,” Hultberg said. “… It was so cool. I thought, at that point, that it was my goal to be a firefighter. … I want to help people.”

He served there for about three months before getting a job at the detention center. He worked there for about three months before that fateful day when he wound up in the hospital with a brain bleed and a fractured skull.

After being gone from work for more than 30 days, his employment was terminated by the county. That led to the loss of his medical insurance. Now, according to his lawyers, his workmens compensation claim is being denied. The Kansan contacted the company in charge of his workmens compensation insurance, but there has been no response.

The county allows for up to 30 days of unpaid leave for employees prior to the employee being terminated.

Hultberg is going through brain injury rehab at Quality Living Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska. He relocated there from Madonna Rehabilitation in Lincoln about a week ago, in part because he needs less physical care.

According to his family, his treatment is about $1,000 per day. Without insurance, the bills have piled up quickly. The family has been accepting donations for his medical care through www.gofundme.com. However, those funds are nearly exhausted as well. With a stated goal of $10,000, that fund has generated just under $4,000.

“It seems impossible,” Crawford said.

The fact Hultberg can speak on the phone, or get ready for speech therapy sessions, is a miracle.

In the hours after his hospital admittance, his family was preparing for the worst. Doctors were telling the family to not expect him to ever walk or speak again. At one point the family was planning his funeral — the prognosis from doctors was just that dire.

“We didn’t think we would ever talk to him again,” Crawford said.

Yet he is in recovery, working through treatment. It is an unknown if he will ever work again — and it is unknown how much treatment he will be able to receive.

The family already has a bill for six figures to try and sort out — meaning they will be fighting insurance and workmens compensation companies to see if it can be covered. His current care is costing thousands, and the money available is running out. The family has retained legal counsel to try and deal with those issues.

Crawford said she will continue to fight as well.

“It is easy to see why people give up,” she told The Kansan. “The reason why I don’t want to, and I won’t, is he won’t. He won’t take no for an answer.”

There is a crowdfunding page for his recovery at www.gofundme.com/2rnsd48s

 

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2016 Firefighter of the Year

Derby Informer – November 2, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 23, 2016

derby-fire-11232016

Derby Firefighter II Hector Gonzalez was named the 2016 Firefighter of the Year. Gonzalez has been with the department for eight years, six as a career firefighter. Gonzalez was given the award for a number of reasons, Derby fire officials say.

They include:

  • Effectively leading his crew. He brings out the best in the people around him. Creating a positive work environment. He always has a smile on his face and has a way of making everyone around him have fun and enjoy the job.
  • Always on time.
  • Makes sure the equipment is in the best possible shape for his shift.
  • Serving effectively as acting lieutenant.
  • Approachable and willing to give advice and answer questions.

 

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Shawnee County Emergency Management looking for drone pilots

By Dave Navarro, Jr.
WIBW News Now – November 23, 2016

Radio controlled helicopters with four propellers for stable flight and a high resolution camera connected to the pilot is not just the hottest gift idea this Christmas season, they can be used to help during emergencies. And the Shawnee Country Emergency Management (SCEM) team is looking for volunteer drone pilots to help them get a “bird’s eye” view in local emergency situations.

SCEM hosted a meeting at the Topeka Library on Monday evening to pitch the idea to those in attendance.

“We are looking to get people introduced to the UAV or drone community,” said SCEM’s Logistic Section Chief, James Steele. “We are looking for drone pilots to join a newly created group to assist the SCEM at a fire, house collapsing or any situation where a camera in the air would be helpful.”

The all volunteer group is still a work in progress as SCEM needs to work out legal and insurance issues, but the goal is to help local drone enthusiasts to get the necessary training to assist in any type of emergency situation where a drone could give those on the ground a new perspective. Examples given included structure fires, collapsed buildings, flooding, and possible search and rescue after a tornado strike.

Adrian Revels, owner of Topeka Drone, has been helping the SCEM with the technical details and capabilities so they can draft rules and contingency documents. Adrian has already helped the Topeka Fire Department with aerial views of a large compost fire. Allowing the fire crew to see hot spots that were not visible from the ground.

In addition to creating a group of volunteers to help SCEM, both James and Adrian also expressed an interest in creating a general group of drone enthusiasts who may not be interested in helping in emergencies, but would be interested in sharing their knowledge and enjoyment of their hobby.

 

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Off-duty firefighters build ramp for Winfield resident

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – November 18, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 23, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size.

Some Winfield firefighters spent their off-duty time Wednesday helping a Winfield resident in need.

Shirley Travis and her friend Steven Martinez rent a home at 1411 E. 11th Ave. They regularly request help from the Winfield Fire/EMS Department to help get Travis’s wheelchair up and down the steps of the house so Martinez can take her places.

On Monday, the fire department was told that Travis would be making daily trips to the hospital, meaning firefighters would be called to the house twice a day all week to help, said firefighter Josh Dobbs on Wednesday.

Some of the firefighters decided they would use their time off to build a wheelchair ramp on the front of the house to make it easier for Travis and Martinez to get in and out of the house.

After receiving a donation from Home Lumber, procuring other materials and getting permission from the landlord, Dobbs, Peter Rowley, Jeff Bowker and Josh Brandt spent their off-duty time Wednesday afternoon building the ramp.

Martinez said the ramp will not only help his friend get to her appointments, but it will also make it easier for him to get Travis’ wheelchair up and down the front porch.

“I’m glad they can do this,” he said.

 

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Humboldt Fire Department news

By Scott Sarchet
Humboldt Union – November 17, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 23, 2016

humboldt-fire-11232016

Mark Criger was recognized by the Humboldt City Council Monday, November 14 for 16 years of service with the Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department.

 

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Heat lamp sparks SE Wichita house fire

KWCH – November 23, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Wichita firefighters say a heat lamp used to keep a chicken warm outside sparked an early-morning house fire.

It happened just after midnight at a home near Pawnee and Webb Road.

Fire officials tell us the heat lamp was used inside a chicken coop outside the house, but the fire spread to the home.

Two people were inside at the time. They got out of the house safely, along with their pets.

No one was hurt.

There’s no word on how much damage the fire caused.

 

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Hoisington considers creating a fire district w/video

By Amanda Aguilar
KSN – November 23, 2016

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A Central Kansas fire department is struggling with funding. The Hoisington Volunteer Fire Department serves the City of Hoisington, as well as five townships in Barton County. Just this past summer, one of the water pumpers on the department’s truck broke and they looked at replacing the truck — they realized they didn’t have the money.

The city is looking to create a fire district, which would create a more stable pool of funding by distributing the cost equally to all townships and cities in the district. This means the district would be independent of the city or county government, and it’d be funded by property taxes from those in its service area.

“We’re trying to create some stability and fairness in funding the fire department needs,” said Jonathan Mitchell, Hoisington city manager.

Currently, townships and cities each pay an amount, based on a five-year average of the population and the number of calls they responded to. That means some townships pay more than others.

Hoisington city officials said that, while this way of funding worked years ago, times have changed, and maintaining a fire department and its equipment has become more expensive.

Hoisington fire crews said they’re concerned that funding issues could turn into safety concerns.

“Your performance is going to go down, and then it’ll be harder and harder to fight fires because you’re going to have less and less equipment and less and less reliable equipment,” said Shane Andereck, a Hoisington volunteer firefighter.

The department still uses the truck on runs, but because it’s so old — what they can do with it is pretty limited. Firefighters tell KSN they’re fortunate they haven’t had to respond to a huge fire, but when that day comes — they want to know they have a reliable, up-to-date fire truck.

 

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Building fire blocks Douglas east of Meridian

KAKE – November 22, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size.

Witnesses say three children and a dog were rescued from a fire in west Wichita Tuesday afternoon. One person was being checked for injuries.

What the fire department called “a building and house fire” broke out shortly after 2:30 p.m. on West Douglas near Athenian. The fire was out about 45 minutes later.

The injured person was evaluated by first responders for possible smoke inhalation.

Deputy Chief Tammy Snow said investigators believe the fire started in a cafe and then spread along an awning onto a garage that has been converted into an apartment. The restaurant was in a four-plex of other businesses. The garage was next door.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and a damage estimate has yet to be determined.

 

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City’s new fire engine unveiled to commission

Chanute Tribune – November 16, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 22, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size.

The Chanute Fire Department’s big new rig, Engine No. 1, gets a scrubbing by Lt. Dale Lowry before going on display for city commissioners Monday evening. The truck has a 1,000-gallon tank and can pump 1,500 gallons a minute through a 1 3/4 inch line. The truck came with a full complement of attack lines for fighting fires, and 1,000 feet of supply line to connect to fire hydrants, stored onboard in a bay with hydraulic doors. It also has a full set of “jaws of life” extrication tools. The $520,000 truck cost the city only $25,000, thanks to a federal grant that covered 95 percent of the price. Fire Chief Kevin Jones said he does not have anyone tall enough to scrub the top, and the truck was designed and built to clear the station doors, right down to the driveway slope. A ladder truck also was custom-built for the station in 1993. The previous trucks were a tanker purchased in 2004 and Engine No. 2 bought in 2001. The new truck replaces one bought in 1989, which was two years old when Jones joined the Chanute department.

“It’s bittersweet for me,” he said. “I grew up in the fire service on this truck.”

Unlike on the previous Engine No. 1, firefighters cannot ride on the tailboard due to safety regulations, and the old truck had rear-facing seats that were open to the back. The new truck seats five completely enclosed in the cab.

Chanute Mayor Phil Chaney said the new truck’s fleet number was changed from No. 341 to 343, the number of firefighters killed on September 11, 2001, in the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers.

 

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Another fatality accident on U.S. 50

By Travis Morisse
Hutchinson News – November 22, 2016

Photos by Travis Morisse. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Travis Morisse. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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U.S. 50 remains open, but one lane of eastbound traffic is shut down as emergency personnel continue working a fatality accident near Stutzman’s Greenhouse.

The driver of a Buick LaSabre was killed in the two-vehicle accident at midmorning, after the car apparently pulled from Dean Road onto the highway and was struck by an eastbound pickup.

The driver of the Chevy Silverado pickup, on raised suspension, received minor injuries and was taken from the scene by private vehicle.

No other details are immediately available.

 

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Salina Fire Department retirees

Salina Journal – November 14, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 22, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size.

 

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Coffeyville news

By Steve McBride
Independence Daily Reporter – November 20, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – November 22, 2016

coffeyville-fire-11222016

Recently, the City of Coffeyville played host to a special training operation at Walter Johnson Park for the annual Regional Hazmat Response Team training.

“The company that sets up the annual training is Eclipse Hazmat Response Training out of Haysville,” said James Grimmett, Hazmat trainer and former Coffeyville Fire Department captain.

The CFD, along with the Kansas Active/National Guard, trained together to respond to any situation that would surpass the level of resources within the community in southeast Kansas.

“We would come in case an incident would exceed the resources of the Coffeyville Fire Department’s resources. For example, if it looked like something might have a terrorist element to it, potential drug labs, or even a possible bomb lab,” stated Grimmett.

When asked if there is a growing need for Hazmat services, Grimmett indicated there wasn’t so much a need, but the training applies to emergency personnel.

“No. We haven’t seen an increase for our services in this area. We do this every year to be prepared in case something should happen that only a team, with our resources, could handle,” he added.

The regional civil support (Hazmat) team, which he is a member of, has expanded its role.

“We can now be deployed, for example, to Coffeyville if a tornado should come through the community and it would exceed the resources of the local departments. A city can now request the services of Civil Support Team (CST) through the Kansas Department Emergency Management,” Grimmett stated.

He went on to explain how Coffeyville called upon the support of CST during the 2007 flood that destroyed most of the east side of town.

“We had the Active/National Guard here to secure the perimeter of the affected areas at the time of the flood. Their role has now expanded where they can also be used in time of natural disasters that would include floods, tornadoes and now earthquakes,” he said.

He added the fire departments “have done this type of work for a long time.” However, as times have changed, the regional Hazmat team has been able–due to their resources–go into a situation and resolve concerns more accurately and safely. He uses example from several years ago when a gasoline pipeline broke in Independence.

“The pipeline ran under the golf course. The potential exceeded the resources of the Independence Fire Department. The city made a call to the state, and they informed us as the regional team to address the issue by using our higher level of training and equipment to resolve the issue. We were able to allow some of the residents that had been evacuated back into their homes. Although they could smell gasoline in their homes, it was not a hazardous environment and that was determined with the use of our monitoring equipment to provide the data to allow the residents to go home and feel safe,” said Grimmett.

In this case, the regional team continues to remain throughout the time of the pipeline repair.

 

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Firefighters battle house fire north of downtown Wichita

By Ryan Newton
KSN – November 22, 2016

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Wichita firefighters battled a house fire with heavy flames just north of downtown Wichita.

It happened about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on the corner of 10th of Main.

Fire crews arrived to find the house engulfed in flames.

They immediately took a defensive stance on the fire, knocking it down in about 45 minutes.

No one was inside the home at the time of the fire. The cause is under investigation.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Chemical Plant Explodes In Neodesha, Kansas w/video

Newson6.com – November 22, 2016

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Click on photo to view full-size image.

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One person was injured in a chemical plant exploded and burned in Neodesha, Kansas Tuesday morning.

Neodesha is about 15 miles north of Independence.

The explosion and fire happened at Airosol, Inc., a chemical plant that packages aerosol, liquid and specialty chemicals for industries. There’s one report of an injury to a worker so far. That person is being transported to Wichita.

Neodesha Fire and police, the Kansas Highway Patrol, Fredonia Fire and police, Wilson County Sheriff, Wildlife & Parks and Montgomery County are all responding.

The fire department is hosing down tanks to keep them from igniting.

Areas west and north of Osage, 9th and North to Cobalt industries are being evacuated. Shelters have been established at United Methodist, First Christian and Nazarene Churches.

Neodesha USD 461 schools are closed today due to the incident.

Video from Osage SkyNews 6 HD showed fire consuming most of the building, which is located next to the railroad tracks on the west side of town.

According to the company’s web site, the company was founded in 1943 to manufacture containers of insecticide for the military during World War II.

The company employs 40 people who work in a 100,000-square-foot facility.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page