Archive for December, 2016

Mound City asks county to incorporate city into county fire protection

By Jackie Taylor
Linn County News – November 30, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

Following an injury to Mound City Fire Chief Matt Cochran earlier in the year and the inability of Mound City to recruit enough firefighters, Mayor Mat Casner asked the County Commissioners if they would be willing to incorporate Mound City into Linn County Rural Fire coverage.

Casner said they’d been working on trying to recruit firefighters for a while. But with Cochran’s injury, things slowed down and Casner said the city learned that their fire rating will increase from 6 to 10, essentially doubling homeowner insurance rates and increasing commercial coverage by unknown amounts.

“If it is an agreeable course of action, the council would like to pursue it,” said Casner of the city’s formal request to incorporate Mound City into county fire coverage.

County Commissioner Vicki Leonard asked who would own the fire equipment Mound City currently owns and Commissioner Rick James asked for what the council was hoping.

Casner said, “We can’t offer a lot in terms of equipment.”

He explained that their fire truck is an open top unit that is being discontinued by fire services. In addition, it needs a lot of repair. He said they did have hoses and other miscellaneous equipment they could offer.

Casner said, “I contacted dispatch and we were called out 14 times in 2015; half were for lift assists.”

County Counselor Gary Thompson said, “There will need to be a formal agreement between the city and the county. The agreement could say the city drops their mill levy to support the Rural Fire Department.”

With that the commissioners learned that Mound City does not have a line item for the fire department; expenses that equal approximately $3,000 come from the general budget.

Casner said they have a building that houses the fire truck, but he wasn’t clear if the fire truck would become the county’s to surplus or stay with the city.

James said, “I don’t want the rest of the county to suffer.”

He continued that he did not want the entire county ISO rating, at 5, that dictates insurance rates to increase by adding Mound City, which was now at a 10.

Thompson explained that county taxpayers would pick up the increase in budget of approximately 3 mills in 2018 as 2017 was already set. Mound City already has $3,300 in their budget to support the fire department in 2017.

It was estimated that Mound City taxpayers would increase their property taxes by $23 for a $100,000 home when the county picked up fire coverage.

Commissioner Mike Page said, “It’s all about helping you, but we need to make sure it doesn’t create a negative impact. It’s similar to what Parker and Blue Mound had to do.”

Casner said, “It’s already perceived that Mound City is Station 910.”

“You’re not in any jeopardy,” said James. “The phone rings and the county will go.”

Casner said, “We’ve leaned on the county a lot in the last year.”

James again stated concern over what the incorporation would do to the county’s ISO rating.

County Fire Chief Doug Barlet told the commissioners that he’d get hold of “Mr. Conrad,” who handles ISO ratings, who indicated he’d rush it through.

With that Barlet said it’d still take a minimum of four months to get the ISO rating.

Thompson said, “Assuming you won’t get hurt on the ISO rating, I can sketch out an agreement that includes equipment, a year of no funding, and other details.”

Casner said he’d talk to the City Council next Monday night about the agreement, and Thompson continued that there would have to be steps taken for Mound City to be included in the county mill levy.

With that, the commissioners discussed that there is an inter-local agreement already in place and fire coverage would continue.

Barlet said, “It will take six months to get the rate back down to 5 or, at worst, 6. There is a 75-day advertising requirement to publish so insurance companies know.”

County Clerk David Lamb said, “Insurance doubling will cost a lot more than the mill levy increase. Anyone that gets evaluated in the window from now to when it gets rerated, their insurance will double.”


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Michael R. Schechter


Former Stevens County Emergency Manager and Coordinator Michael R. Schechter passed away Saturday, November 26, 2016 in Wichita at the age of 69.

Mike was born to Loren and Wilma ‘Billie’ Schechter July 29, 1947. He graduated from Hugoton High School in 1966 and joined the United States Army, serving in South Korea until 1968.

November 29, 1969, Mike married Jill Powell. They made their home in Hugoton until 2012.

Mike worked for Mobil Oil for 22 years and owned his own well service business for eight years. In 2001, Mike became the Emergency Manager for Stevens County Fire and EMS until he retired in 2011.

For 42 years Mike served on the Hugoton Volunteer Fire Department and as an EMT for 37 years.

Mike proudly served as the Fire Chief for 30 years. As a part of his Emergency Management duties, Mike was a Unit Officer for the Southwest Incident Management Team, and he was the Operation Manager for the IMT during the Greensburg Tornado disaster.

Mike was very involved in the Hugoton community. He served on the USD 210 School Board from 1995 to 1999, and he was honored as Citizen of the Year in 2010.

Mike is survived by his wife Jill of Wichita; their daughter Latisha Godfrey and husband Jaymes of Wichita; his beloved dogs, Lilly, Ginger, and Winston; his siblings, Tom Schechter and wife Karen, Rex Schechter and wife Renee, Rita Schechter Wray, Hal Schechter and wife “Aunt” Brenda, and Jack Schechter; his 16 nieces and nephews; and numerous great-nieces and nephews.

Those preceding Mike in death are his infant son Nicholas and his mother and father.

Mike wished to be cremated and a graveside service will take place at a later date.


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Official attributes fire in detached garage to youths playing with lighter w/video

Topeka Capital Journal & WIBW – December 30, 2016


A fire in a detached garage Friday afternoon started when juveniles were playing with a lighter, a fire official said.

Firefighters were called about 2:20 p.m. to the fire behind a house in the 200 block of S.W. MacVicar.

Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin said crews immediately attacked the blaze, which had engulfed the garage by the time they arrived. It was quickly extinguished, he said.

Three adults and two children were occupying the house, which wasn’t damaged, Martin said. No injuries were reported.

Martin said the fire would be classified as accidental, attributed to youths connected with the house playing with the lighter.

For more than an hour, law enforcement blocked through traffic from the north and south along about three blocks of S.W. MacVicar as emergency vehicles blocked much of the street near the house.


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City looks into options for firefighters’ insurance

By Jared Janzen
Harvey County Independent – November 17, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

Bentley – City Council continued discussion of options for insuring police officers and volunteer firefighters during its meeting November 10, but no binding action was taken.

The council was presented with three insurance plans from Provident, an insurance agency that covers volunteer firefighting departments. Additional options for accidental death and dismemberment were also presented.

Provident representative Karen Allen was available via telephone to answer questions from the Council, Interim Fire Chief Moe Lallement and Police Chief Kevin Dorritie.

The policy would cover responses within the city and township but will also provide coverage in other townships if a written mutual aid agreement exists, Allen said.

Lallement asked if this agreement could be done verbally between chiefs instead of in writing since this is more often the case, to which Allen said she thought it wouldn’t be an issue.

The policy presented covers a total of 14 members between the fire and police departments. Allen said that an increase of one or two members on this plan would not be a significant increase. She said that Provident looks at more factors than just the number of people covered when determining prices–factors like frequency and severity of calls.

The council decided to go with the option with the highest coverage plan of the three basic options but turned down an additional policy for 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment, which would include both on- and off-duty coverage.

The annual premium for the option the council chose is $4,083. Of this, $231 would come from the police budget, which has money available for this purpose. Since the rest of this expense wasn’t budgeted for 2017, the council decided to prepay it from the 2016 budget. The council decided to wait till their December meeting to finalize the insurance decision so that they could ensure that the quoted price is accurate.

The city council examined recent improvements to the fire department’s brush truck. These include a new bar light on top of the truck and some mechanical wiring.

The city council also tabled until the December meeting a government service agreement concerning fire code inspections by Sedgwick County Fire District No. 1.


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Harper County Landfill Office Building Destroyed by Fire

Anthony Republican – November 23, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

The Harper County Landfill building, located six miles north and one half mile east of Anthony, was listed as a total loss in a fire last Thursday evening. As of press time the cause has not been revealed, as authorities are waiting on professional input. The visual cost of damage from the fire has been listed at $40,000 for the building, $42,000 for the bobcat skid steer trac loader and $4,000 for the scale ticket printer and scale indicator.


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Humboldt receives grant

By Joshua Vail
Chanute Tribune – December 6, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

The Humboldt Fire Department was among the first recipients of a new grant program from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Humboldt was one of 19 fire departments that received grants for safety equipment. The department received $10,998.

Humboldt Fire Chief Sean McReynolds said the funds will be combined with some money from the budget and a grant of about $2,200 from the US Department of Agriculture to purchase eight sets of structure fire gear.

“It enables us to get some of our structural firefighting gear that we would not be able to afford otherwise,” he said.

These are the heavy suits that firefighters wear when entering a burning building. The current suits are reaching the end of their service life and needed replacement, but McReynolds said that was prohibitively expensive on the fire department’s budget.

The fire department will purchase one suit for each of the eight air packs it currently has in use. The total cost is about $14,600.

“A pretty good chunk of it is being paid for through grants,” McReynolds said.

Getting enough top of the line gear to allow firefighters to do their job safely has been a goal of the fire department. Earlier this year, the department used other grants along with money from its budget to purchase Wildland firefighting gear, which is lighter protective clothing for grass fires and other outdoor situations like car wrecks, for all its firefighters.


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Sunday fire destroys home

By David Tan
Colby Free Press – December 5, 2016
Submitted by Newz Press – December 30, 2016

Photos by Evan Barnum

Photos by Evan Barnum

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

A mobile home fire Sunday at Colby Trailer Village is still under investigation.

The fire department received a call at 10:52 a.m., Colby Fire Chief Bob McLemore said. He and firefighters arrived on scene by 10:57 a.m. to Leon Zerr’s mobile home with a water truck and other special equipment because the location did not have a fire hydrant nearby.

The fire was contained around noon, McLemore said. No one was inside the trailer at the time of the fire. A truck stayed at the scene to take care of embers in case it sparked back up after the other trucks were sent back to the firehouse.

“We are still investigating the cause,” McLemore said, adding that there is no reason to consider it suspicious.

Zerr was in the process of moving into the trailer. “They (trailers) go up fast,” he said. Zerr said all his belongings were gone, but “It was just stuff. I can get more stuff.”


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20 questions with Bob Roesky, Coffeyville Fire Chief

Coffeyville Journal – December 7, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016


  1. If you could spend one day in someone else’s shoes, who would it be and why? My dad. He could fix anything.
  2. Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most, and why? Kanye West when he interrupts other people during a speech.
  3. If you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it? A jump drive with pictures and data. Newspaper.
  4. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A firefighter or an astronaut.
  5. If you had to describe yourself using only three words, what would they be? Dependable, quiet and loyal.
  6. If your life was a novel, what would the title be? What about Bob!
  7. Do you have any strange or unique phobias? Fear of falling.
  8. If you could live inside a TV show or movie, what would it be? Emergency!
  9. What brings you joy? Being with my family.
  10. Imagine money was suddenly no object. What would you buy first? House around Branson.
  11. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do with your time? Go run and plant a garden.
  12. What is the best meal that you have ever had, and where did it come from? Steak from the fire department.
  13. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself! I play the tuba.
  14. Who was your favorite teacher in elementary school? Miss McMichael.
  15. What is your favorite quote(s)? Lead by example.
  16. Who are your top three favorite music artists at the moment? Skillet, 21 Pilots and News Boys.
  17. What is something that you dream of owning? House around Branson.
  18. What is a tradition or holiday that you especially like? Christmas and the decorations.
  19. Do you have any pet peeves? Asking someone to do a task, and it not getting done.
  20. Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My dad. Worked hard and always willing to help anyone no matter what time it is.


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Cold day for a fire

Colby Free Press – December 7, 2016
Submitted by Newz Press – December 30, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Colby firefighters worked this morning to contain a fire in a shop on West Cottonwood Street owned by Betty Rundell.


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Stevens County Fire Department receives grant

By Mark Minton
Garden City Telegram – December 7, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

The Office of the State Fire Marshal announced Thursday the first recipients of a new grant program intended to bolster recruitment efforts for Kansas fire departments, with the Stevens County Fire Department receiving the most funding of any other county, adding $15,576 to its coffers.

Rodney Kelling, Stevens County Fire Chief, said his staff of 27 firefighters works on a volunteer basis. They all require bunker gear consisting of helmets, boots, coats, pants, jackets and gloves that total $1,947 per volunteer.

Though Kelling said he was unaware his department received more grant money than any other department statewide, he noted that he applied for $56,463.

Kelling said the department tries to keep an up-to-date set of gear for each firefighter; and it will keep its older equipment that is in good shape in case it is needed.

“If it’s damaged beyond use or we can’t safely use it, then they’re not allowed inside the fire area. They’ll be assigned to something else that they can do,” he said.

Kelling said the grant funds will be used to purchase bunker gear for eight firefighters, and that this is the first time in his 24 years with the fire department, including five as chief, that an opportunity like this has been made available through the state legislature.

Kelling said that any opportunity to apply for funding is welcome, especially because his department is seeing a steady decline in interest from prospective volunteers.

“It’s getting more difficult (to find volunteer firefighters),” he said. “It seems like people today don’t volunteer as much as they used to. Hectic schedules, busy lives, you know. The younger generation’s just not interested anymore, and I’m not really sure why.”

Kelling said he is grateful for the funds, and that it is important to be able to demonstrate to new volunteers that their safety is a priority.

“As long as I can show people that we’ve got good, quality gear to protect them, it helps,” he said. “I’m just grateful for what we did get, and it’s going to be put to good use.”

Kevin Doel, public information manager at the Office of the State Fire Marshal said they have been approved to reintroduce the grant program again in 2017 so fire departments that received partial or zero funding can reapply.


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Fire Station discussed by City Council

Eureka Herald – December 21, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016


After approving to pay for preliminary drawings for a Eureka fire station addition and remodel last October, Eureka City Council members had the opportunity to see the design during their meeting last Monday. Eureka City Fire Chief Doug Williams and ReEnvision architect Waylon Arndt spoke of the proposed design and answered the council’s questions. The design will be used to apply for a KanStep Grant, which requires a labor and/or materials match of 30%. Williams explained several examples of what could count towards the match: if a group of volunteers completed a portion of the labor, the amount of money saved would count; if material was donated, the value of the material would count, etc. The estimated cost of the project is expected to be between $250.00 and $275,000.

The proposed building addition is on the north side of the current station and will house the city’s new fire truck. The new structure will sit on city property, coming within several feet of the building currently to the north of the station. To meet the truck’s height requirements, the roof will slant up to the north, causing a “saw-tooth” effect, as described by councilman Richard Drake who noted a concern about leaks in the future. Arndt believed that with proper guttering, drainage should not be a problem.

A remodel of the station’s interior is also part of the project and will include a more efficient space for training purposes. The deadline to apply for the KanStep grant is in February.


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Galena Fire Department receives new life-saving equipment w/video

By Coleman Bandy
FourState News – December 30, 2016



Exactly one year ago, fire crews from across the area searched the flood waters in Southeast Kansas looking for people to rescue.

“All our surrounding departments: Galena, Baxter, Columbus. We call came together and assisted,” explained Galena Fireman Wesley Anderson.

For years, the Galena Volunteer Fire Department has used a 21-feet-long boat to navigate the flood waters.

“We actually took out our rescue boat while it was snowing with freezing temperatures to get people out of their houses. A very dangerous situation, especially with the current,” Anderson added.

Now, they have a warehouse of equipment to use, including a WaveRunner. The biggest addition: A new rescue raft.

“It will definitely help us,” said Anderson.

It can be used in conjunction with the boat–potentially saving even more lives.

“We modified our current trailer to hold both of them. Therefore, we can deploy both of them at the same time,” Anderson explained.

And if there’s not enough time or space to deploy the large boat, the raft can be a quick and easy way to patrol flood waters.

“In certain situations where we can’t launch our large boat that has to be backed in off of the trailer, two or three firemen can literally pick up the other raft, set it in the water, and go,” added Anderson.

Fletcher auto donated the raft to the Galena Fire Department to use if severe flooding occurs again. All the equipment cost several thousands of dollars, but Anderson says there’s no price on saving someone’s life.

“If a crew of two or three firemen go, we could probably get an entire family out if we needed to,” said Anderson.


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Cigarette starts fire at Larned apartment

Great Bend Tribune – December 30, 2016

Larned Fire Department extinguished a fire Wednesday at an apartment complex.
Larned Fire Chief Randy Bird said the occupant of the apartment put a lit cigarette in the trash can in the bathroom, which started the fire.
“The fire was contained to that room, but there was heavy smoke and water damage to the bathroom and to the hallway,” Bird said.
There were no reported injuries and the Great Bend Fire Department was on standby in case help was needed.


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KSFFA Regional Fire School – Leoti

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Leoti Fire Department

April 1-2, 2017
Wichita County High School – North Indian Road


Saturday – April 1 – 8 a.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication – 12 hrs. – Bunker gear required – EMS continuing hrs.
  2. Search and Rescue/PPE – 8 hrs. – SCBA and PPE required
  3. Grain Elevator Fire – 8 hrs.
  4. Fire Behavior – 4 hrs.
  5. FRA Training Class

Saturday – April 1 – 1 p.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication, cont.
  2. Search and Rescue, cont.
  3. Grain Elevator Fire, cont.
  4. Propane Safety – 4 hrs.

Sunday – April 2 – 8 a.m.

  1. Vehicle and Farm Extrication, cont.
  2. Reading Smoke – 4 hrs.
  3. Wildland Fires – 4 hrs.

Sunday – April 2 – Noon

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer – Full PPE/SCBA Required

Motel – Hi-Plains – 312 E. Broadway – (620) 375-2239

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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Job Openings – FF/Paramedic & Paramedic – Emporia Fire Department


The Emporia Fire Department has been authorized to hire 6 additional personnel increasing our shift staffing from 42 to 48. The emphasis on this hiring process is on the provision of Emergency Medical Services. We are actively seeking applications from individuals certified as Paramedic by the KBEMS. Non-firefighting positions may be available for those individuals who are interested in EMS only.
While we always prefer that employees live within Lyon County, our residency policy requires that employees live within adjacent counties with potential exceptions. Certain technical positions, such as Paramedic, have a more relaxed residency requirement and accommodation may be made for those outside adjacent counties. We work the Berkley shift schedule (24 on, 24 off, 24 on, 24 off, 24 on, 4 days off). There is no mandatory call back although a substantial amount of call back time is available.
The job postings for FF/Paramedic and Paramedic are available at Online applications are available at the end of the job descriptions. If you have any questions, please contact the City of Emporia Fire Department (620-343-4230) or the City of Emporia Human Resources (620-343-4290) for additional information.


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Coffeyville Fire Department responds to fire on Velma Drive

Independence Daily Reporter – December 21, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 29, 2016

An electrical fire was reportedly the cause to a residence on Velma Drive Wednesday afternoon.

According to officials, the fire was called in at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The Coffeyville Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 1422 Velma Drive. Upon arrival, fire personnel noticed the fire was in the attic and they quickly worked to extinguish it.

Off-duty fire personnel, as well as the South Coffeyville Fire Department were called for assistance in putting out the blaze. No injuries were reported among first responders, fire personnel, or those at the residence.

Damage to the contents within the home, owned by Joe Ray, was estimated at $1,500.


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Christmas Day tornado count climbs for Kansas

By Stan Finger
Hays Daily News – December 29, 2016

At least five tornadoes touched down across Kansas on Christmas Day, weather officials said Wednesday — and one of them moved close to Greensburg, which was heavily damaged by a massive tornado in 2007.

They’re the first tornadoes on record to form on Christmas Day in the Sunflower State and were nearly double the number of December tornadoes in Kansas. Evidence suggests a sixth tornado formed in Comanche County on Sunday, but weather officials have not yet confirmed that.

Until Sunday, eight tornadoes had formed in the last month of the year in Kansas since tornado records began in 1955, according to the National Weather Service.

December tornadoes are “extremely rare” in Kansas, said Jim Caruso, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the weather service.

All of Sunday’s tornadoes were weak EF0’s, but three of them stayed on the ground for at least a few miles.

Here are details on the five tornadoes.

• Formed 6 miles east-southeast of Ensign in Ford County at 9:44 a.m. Sunday and stayed on the ground for nearly 6 miles before lifting at 9:51 a.m. 5 miles southwest of Dodge City. It had maximum winds of 70 mph and was 40 yards wide.

• Formed just before 10:30 a.m. 6 miles east-southeast of Bucklin in Ford County. It was on the ground for more than 3 miles before lifting at 10:35 a.m. 6 miles east of Bucklin. It had maximum winds of 80 mph and was 30 yards wide.

• Formed at 10:51 a.m. 7 miles south-southwest of Greensburg in Kiowa County and was on the ground for more than 6 miles before lifting just a mile southwest of Greensburg at 10:59 a.m. That tornado was 30 yards wide and had maximum wind speeds of 75 mph.

• Touched down briefly in Rush County 6 miles southwest of Rush Center, though it was on the ground so quickly no damage survey was conducted.

• Larry Ruthi, the meteorologist-in-charge of the Dodge City weather service branch, said a tornado that formed south of Kismet in Seward County was on the ground for less than a mile but still damaged a hog barn. The tornado had maximum winds of 80 mph but was moving northeast at 60 mph.

A tornado that touched down in southwest Nebraska is now the farthest north tornado to form in the U.S. on Christmas Day, said Patrick Marsh, coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.


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Girard hires new fire chief

By Chance Hoenerchoener
Pittsburg Morning Sun – December 29, 2016

The city of Girard will welcome a new fire chief January 30.

The city selected Joseph Clow to fill the position previously held by Chase Waggoner. Clow is currently finishing out his time as fire chief of King County in southern Seattle, Washington. City Administrator Chris Weiner said Clow has been in fire service since 1980.

“He offers an extensive background and a lot of experience in fire service,” Weiner said. “He has served as chief in various other locations, and brings a very strategic thought process to the city and department.”

Clow will also serve as the emergency management director for the city, a role where strategic thinking will be useful, according to Weiner.

The city received around 30 applications for the position and interviewed the top three candidates before Clow was selected by Mayor Kurt Ziegler, who made the final appointment.

Clow served as a training officer in his previous city, a skill that the city also hopes to utilize.

“I think he’ll be able to help our staff out a lot,” Weiner said. “The council liked his demeanor and approach to things – he puts a lot of research and effort into what he needs and wants to do.”

The city also decided to table any action on ladder truck repairs until Clow starts January 30.


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First responders remember Four State flood one year later w/video

By Coleman Bandy
FourStates News – December 29, 2016


This time last year, heavy rainfall caused flooding throughout the area. Parts of McDonald County in Missouri and Cherokee County in Kansas faced some of the worst damage.

Volunteer firefighters with the Galena Fire Department worked around the clock to help flood victims in Southeast Kansas. Although Galena stayed mostly safe, flooding near Riverton displaced families and caused several thousands of dollars of damage.

Galena fireman Wesley Anderson says emergency responders throughout the area risked their lives to help those facing the flood.

“We actually took out our rescue boat while it’s snowing, with freezing temperatures to get people out of their houses. A very dangerous situation, especially with the current,” explained Wesley Anderson of the Galena Fire Department.

The Galena Fire Department worked in conjunction with several other agencies during the week of the flood. Anderson says recovery in Southeast Kansas in the year since the flood has been impressive.


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Job Opening – Firefighter I – Lenexa Fire Department


The City of Lenexa, Kansas Fire Department is currently seeking highly motivated men and women who are passionate about serving the public and delivering the highest level of professional service as a firefighter. The City of Lenexa is a progressive, dynamic, and growing community located in Johnson County, Kansas. The department is accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and has been awarded the highest public protection classification rating by the Insurance Services Office. The firefighter position is a non-standard, rotating work, shift schedule (nine 24 hour shifts in a 27 day work period), requiring weekend and holiday work.

For more information


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Fire damage to temporarily keep downtown restaurants closed

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – December 29, 2016

Photo by Thad Allton

Photo by Thad Allton

Fire damage will keep downtown Topeka’s Field of Greens garden bistro closed until next week while it remains unclear when an adjoining eatery, The Break Room, will reopen, the man who owns those businesses indicated this week on Facebook.

“But I promise you, by the grace of God, we will eventually make it back on our feet,” wrote owner Chris Schultz.

Schultz provided an update on his Facebook page about damages the businesses in the Tinkham Veale Building at 909 and 911 S. Kansas Ave. sustained Dec. 18 in an early-morning fire.

The fire did damages estimated at $100,000 after igniting at the rear of the building that formerly housed The Merchant, 913 S. Kansas Ave., said Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin.

The latter structure — purchased in July by investor and businessman Cody Foster — had been vacant and in the initial stages of restoration, Martin said.

“The origin of the fire was in an exterior stairway and fire has been classified as undetermined, more likely than not accidental,” he wrote in an email Tuesday.

Schultz and Cole Harrington, who live in the Tinkham Veale building, were awakened by a fire alarm about 2 a.m.

Schultz wrote Monday on Facebook that fire recovery efforts were coming along well at Field of Greens, 909 S. Kansas Ave., but taking longer than expected.

“We had hoped to reopen this week, but it’s looking like we won’t be able to make it back until after the first of the year,” he wrote.

Schultz added that damage was much more extensive than was initially thought at The Break Room, 911 S. Kansas Ave., “so we still can’t even anticipate when we will be able to reopen that facility.”

Schultz added: “I still can’t thank you all enough for the love and encouragement you have been sharing with us since this whole dilemma began. Thank you so much for your kindness!”

Field of Greens has been in business since 2002 and The Break Room since 2006.

Schultz said his first thought after seeing the interior of Field of Greens after the fire was “How do we get all this soot off of everything?”

He said: “In the party business we don’t like glitter, because glitter just stays on everything. Soot is exactly like that. Everything has to be wiped down in order to get the odor out.”

Schultz said Field of Greens was being cleaned first, to be followed in order by The Break Room; the upstairs offices in the Tinkham Veale Building at 909 1/2 S. Kansas Ave.; and the downstairs apartments in that building, also at 909 1/2 S. Kansas Ave.


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Andover FD pays it forward with $1 fire truck sale w/video

By Pilar Pedraza
KWCH – December 29, 2016



For many small Kansas fire departments, making ends meet can be a struggle on limited budgets.That got worse this summer as repeated grass fires across the state caused thousands of dollars in damage to fire trucks. But one rural volunteer fire department just got a big break, thanks to a little help from some neighbors.

Folks in Andover say they know what it’s like not to have the money for the fire equipment the city needs. They got some help then and now they’re paying it forward, all the way up the turnpike to Cassoday.

“That was shocking, I guess, yes. That was really neat, yeah, that they would do that,” said Carl Grunder, a former Cassoday volunteer firefighter.

It’s the talk of the town in little Cassoday, Kansas, a big deal for the fire department at a small price.

“It was unanimously passed to sell the fire truck for $1,” said Andover City Councilman Clark Nelson, the city’s liaison to its fire department.

A pumper truck that Cassoday had saved up $4,000 to buy will now cost just $1. The truck is decades old, but better than anything Cassoday has.

“It’s going to replace our very outdated engine that we’ve been having nothing but problems with,” said Ben Griffith, the chief at Butler County Fire District #4 in Cassoday.

“It’s in great shape,”said Nelson about the pumper truck. “We’ve left a lot of equipment on there for them.”

The fire department in Andover had a little fun announcing the city council’s price change, texting the Cassoday chief the news.

It begins, “Good news and bad news.” The bad news? Someone from Cassoday will have to come in person to pay for the truck. The good news? “You’re going to need to bring a dollar with you, though. You can save the other $3,999.00.”

Griffith thought it was a joke at first. But Andover says it’s just a chance to pay it forward for a similar gift made back when that city was much smaller and didn’t have much money.

“Sedgwick County, they gave us for $1 a very large fire truck that we’ve used for 20 years,” said Nelson. “We’re lucky things are going well in Andover and I think we should share that happiness and wealth in other jurisdictions.”

Back in Cassoday, Grunder says this means a lot. “Cause we were pretty outdated on the equipment and not very much funds to buy them.”

And many just want to say thank you.

“Thank you very much. You have no idea how much this will help us and we do greatly appreciate it,” Griffith said.

He adds his volunteer department in Cassoday has the smallest budget in Butler County and, after last summer’s problems with grass fires, it was hurting for money. The $4,000 the department had set aside for the truck was most of the department’s budget for the year. Now, Griffith says, they can spend that money on other badly needed gear.


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Firefighters Respond to Minor Explosion, Fire at Gluten Plant

By David Elliott
KRSL – December 28, 2016



A minor explosion and small fire occurred early Wednesday afternoon at White Energy’s gluten plant in Russell.

Russell City Firefighters responded to the fire at about 12:45 PM Wednesday. The Russell Police Department also responded for traffic control.

According to Fire Chief Shane Preston, the blaze was mostly extinguished by the facility’s sprinkler system, but firefighters had to put out a few hot embers.

Preston said the fire started when a piece of equipment in a grain bin overheated. It caught some grain on fire, the fire mixed with grain dust and caused a flash fire, which was the explosion.

The blaze was contained to the grain bin.

The incident is still under investigation.

There were no injuries.


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Fire destroys house

Coffey County Republican – December 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

A fire destroyed a trailer house Friday, December 16, at 600 Commercial Street, Lot 5, Hartford. A neighbor discovered the fire about 11:04 p.m.

Emergency responders arriving at the scene found the trailer house was fully engulfed. Junior McGuire owned the trailer house and Christine Klepper was the tenant. She was not home at the time of the fire.

The fire was determined to be from an electrical issue. The trailer house is considered a total loss.

Lyon County deputies and firefighters from Hartford/Neosho Rapids, Olpe and Emporia-Lyon County responded to the fire. No injuries were reported.


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Montgomery County Rural Fire Department #1 news

Montgomery County Chronicle – December 1, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

Montgomery County Commissioners agreed to seek bids on the replacement of a roof at the Liberty division of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Department #1 and have a new coat of paint applied to the Dearing division of the rural fire department.

They also agreed to apply for a federal grant to assist the rural fire department in the purchase of radios. Darren Felts, rural fire coordinator, said the grant, if awarded would generate $162,830. The county’s share of the 90%-10% grant would be about $7,750, Felts said.

The grant would allow for every fire truck in the rural fire department to have a new radio plus a handheld radio for each seat in those vehicles.

The announcement of the grant recipients will be announced next spring.


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Enbridge to give $10K for radio purchase

Montgomery County Chronicle – December 1, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

A pipeline corporation has offered $10,000 to the City of Caney to meet the City’s needs for updating radio communications for the Caney Fire Department.

City administrator Fred Gress said the $10,000 contribution from Enbridge, which operates a petroleum pipeline hub facility northeast of Caney, will be used to pay for new digital radios for the fire department. The new radios are needed in a digital format to conform to changes in radio bandwidth, Gress said.

Councilors were receptive to Enbridge’s contribution and agreed to not only accept the gift but also have Mayor Chad Bradford issue a letter of thanks to Enbridge for their local support.


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Fire department names officers for 2017

Montgomery County Chronicle – December 1, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

The Caney City Council learned that the Caney Fire Department had elected a slate of officers effective January 1, 2017. Robert Jones, who had been interim fire chief, was chosen as fire chief while Jeff Culver was chosen as assistant chief. Named as captains were Nick Wood, Adam Davidson, Mark VanDyne, and Josh Sanders. Veteran firefighter Danny Johnston was named safety instructor.

Councilors gave unanimous consent to accept the fire department’s officers.


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Furnace fire destroys house on Lane St.

By Ryan D. Wilson
Clay Center Dispatch – December 2, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

A house fire at 717 Lane Street had firefighters fighting it most of the afternoon yesterday.

Firefighters received the call at 12:41 p.m. Thursday and arrived shortly after. The house belongs to Brian and Jessie Tholstrup. Clay Center City Fire, Clay Center/Hayes Rural Fire and the Clay County EMS responded to the scene. They were called back to the scene at 5:44 p.m.

The house is likely a total loss because of the damage on the inside, though most of the contents were saved, Clay Center Fire Chief Johnny Ihnen said. Ihnen also said he had concerns about the structure. According to the 2016 Clay County Appraise Guide, the property at 717 Lane St. is appraised at $22,100.

Firefighters were able to save all of the couple’s pets–four or five of them.

“They were very happy about that,” Ihnen said.

Firefighters traced the origin of the fire back to the furnace. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, it is unknown what caused a fire to start at the furnace.


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Dean Willis Hobelmann


Dean Willis Hobelmann, son of Harold Hobelmann and Frieda (Bostelmann) Hobelmann was born June 4, 1935 south of Byron in rural Republic County, Kansas and passed away on December 23, 2016 at Deshler, Nebraska at the age of 81 years, 6 months and 9 days.
Dean was baptized on June 23, 1935 and confirmed on April 10, 1949. He attended Ash Grove rural grade school, Byron High School, Fairbury Junior College and Kansas State Teachers College at Emporia, Kansas. He was united in marriage to Deanna Hoops on May 26, 1957 and two sons, Greg and Matt completed the family.
He taught school from 1956-1960 at Norway Grade School, Norway, KS, 1961-1964 at Toledo Township High School, Saffordville, KS., 1964-1972 at Scandia High School, Scandia, KS. Dean loved being able to farm at rural Republic, KS from 1972-2016. He liked all that was involved with farming, from his youth. He especially loved wheat harvest and caring for the land the Lord created and being able to make improvements to farm land by moving dirt.
He is a member of Abiding Word Lutheran Church, Deshler, NE. Served as chairman of several organizations including Luther League of the Central District (ALC), Republic County Teachers Association, Republic County Farm Bureau, and most recently, Abiding Word Lutheran Church Council. Served for ten years on the Commission on Evangelism for the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, served on the fire department and was a storm watcher.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Frieda Hobelmann, one sister, Lois, two brothers, Delmar and Duane.
He is survived by his wife, Deanna Hobelmann of rural Republic, KS., two sons, Greg (Peggy) Hobelmann of Smith Center, KS., Matt (Lisbeth) Hobelmann of Omaha, NE., 5 grandchildren, Alex, Alyssa, Allyson, Austin, Brian, one brother, Wayne Hobelmann of Kansas City, KS, other relatives and many friends.
Funeral services will be held Ten Thirty AM, Wednesday, December 28, 2016, Abiding Word Lutheran Church, Deshler, Nebraska, conducted by, Pastor Jon M. Langness.
Interment will be in Washington Cemetery, rural Republic, Kansas.
Memorials may be given to, Abiding Word Lutheran Church, Deshler, NE,
AFLC Evangelism, Smith Center Channel 165.
Friends may call on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 from 1 PM to 8 PM at Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS., where the family will receive friends from 5 PM to 7 PM.
Online condolences and information at


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Effingham to receive new equipment

By Ryan Falk
Atchison Globe – December 3, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

The Effingham Volunteer Fire Department is set to receive several pieces of equipment this year from the Kansas Forestry Service at K-State.

According to Eric Ward, the excess property manager and fire planning specialist with the Kansas Forestry Service, the equipment is issued through the Federal Excess Personal Property Program and the Firefighter Property program.

“These program are a very good example of how K-State serves and engages with the citizens of Kansas,” Ward said in a press release. “Our programs give communities fire protection they wouldn’t have otherwise. 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.”

According to Fire Chief Kirk Kloepper, the Effingham Fire Department received a “military six-by-six truck.” Kloepper said the department plans to convert the five-ton vehicle into a grass truck with which to fight fires.

Kloepper said this was not the first time the department received equipment through the program, having been given a similar truck several years ago.

“It’s an awesome program. You can’t get equipment any cheaper,” Kloepper said. “They let you use it as long as you want to and then when you’re done with it you can just send it back in the condition you got it; it’s a win-win situation. It don’t cost us anything other than repairs so it’s a great, great program.”

The FFP program grew out of a program established in the 1960s called the Cooperative Fire Protection Program, which served to help states set up rural fire protection in unprotected areas. According to Ward, the program provides access to excess military assets, ranging from military cargo trucks that the departments then convert for firefighting use to rescue tools, protective equipment and radios. Ward added that, once a department is ready to receive a truck, mechanics under the FFP program provide “some very basic training/info on unique mechanical features, maintenance and so forth.”

To be eligible for receiving new equipment, Ward said a fire department must have a current Memorandum of Understanding on file with them. If the memorandum is not recent, or if the department is new to the system, it can be updated. Ward added that the department in question must also meet statutory requirements to report all fire runs to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

When a department comes forward with a need, Ward said he checks whether it is something on hand or something the program can get. If it is not immediately available, he places the department on a want list to be notified when it becomes available.

The equipment itself is selected via an online screening process, something done by Ward year round.

“Once I requisition something and do some brief paperwork, one of our mechanics goes out, makes sure the vehicle (if that’s what it is) is actually worth picking up, and they bring it back. Some more paperwork, some time in our shop to make sure it’s safe and roadworthy, and then I get a hold of a fire department that’s waiting for it and let them know to come get it,” Ward said.

According to Ward, the program is funded entirely by grant dollars from the US Forest Service.

“Even though we are a state agency, very little of our funding actually comes through state tax dollars, and it is mostly federal grant funding. We do not charge fire departments for the vehicles. The only cost we pass along to receiving departments is if we have to pay for parts to get it ready to go. We have an extensive inventory of parts, many obtained free but if we have to order a part that costs, that cost is passed along. Otherwise the truck, and any work we put into it, are free,” Ward said.


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William “Bill” Albert Strouse, Jr.


William “Bill” Albert Strouse, Jr., passed away Friday, December 16, 2016, at his home in Plainville, Kansas, at the age of 86. He was born on September 19, 1930, at the family home in Garber, Oklahoma, to the late William Albert Strouse, Sr. and Florence Olive (Scott) Strouse. Growing up the child of an oilfield driller, the family moved across Oklahoma and Kansas, wherever the work took them, eventually settling in Plainville, where Bill started eighth grade. He graduated from Plainville Rural High School with the Class of 1948.

Following graduation, Bill joined the United States Navy, where he went to radio school in Norfolk, Virginia, and served on the USS LST-603 until he was honorably discharged in 1950. In that same year he was united in marriage to Marcelle Crawford, on August 18th in Plainville. They were blessed with two daughters, Deborah Jane and Stacy Lynn.

Bill owned and operated Bill’s Standard Station for 8 years before establishing the S & S Tire Company, which he owned and operated for about 37 years. Always wanting to keep busy after retirement from the tire business, he worked part-time for Rooks County and later helped the Jake Keas family with farming for several years. During all of that time, he served on the Plainville Fire Department for 53 years, 37 of those as Chief.

Bill was a member of First Christian Church in Plainville and was baptized on April 25, 1965. He was a Past Master of Paradise Masonic Lodge # 290 of Plainville and received his 60-year membership pin in 2016. He was an avid reader and loved fishing and hanging out with his morning coffee buddies. He was also an enthusiastic Kansas City Royals and Chiefs fan. His most cherished time was spent with family, especially grandchildren and great-grandchildren; he always looked forward to visits from friends and the communion servers from the church.

Bill is survived by his wife Marcelle Strouse of the home in Plainville; daughters Deborah Turnbull and husband Jeffery of Plainville, and Stacy Fischer and husband Donald of Hays; brother Charles Strouse and wife Margaret of Ellsworth; sister Ann Anderson of Northglenn, CO; grandchildren Cassie Grover, Ashleigh and Ian Mabb, Samantha Cooper, and Keegan Turnbull; and great-grandchildren Joey Cooper, Presli Grover, Aiden Siebert, Crosby Mabb, and Ivan Mabb.

He was preceded in death by his parents William, Sr. and Florence Strouse, brother James Strouse, and sister Virginia Gulickson.

As a Freemason, Bill took seriously the admonishment in his own life, to walk uprightly in his several stations before God and man, squaring his actions by the square of virtue, and remembering that we are all traveling upon that level of time from whose borne no traveler returns. Although we are sad at the loss of our brother, we rejoice that he has at last become a living stone, in that spiritual house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at First Christian Church in Plainville.


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Prairie fire burns near Marquette

Marquette Tribune – November 30, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

A prairie fire that had been burning for two days in the bombing range area north of Marquette became a menace late Tuesday when the wind shifted to the north. The Marquette Fire Department was called out Tuesday night and remained at the scene of the fire for several hours as the blaze burned along a two-mile front. The firemen sought to check the spread of the fire into building areas south of the bombing range.


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Wellsville house fire kills boy

FOX 4 News & KMBC – December 28, 2016


FOX 4 – A 6-year-old child is in the hospital after a house fire in Wellsville, Kan., Tuesday night.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home around 10 p.m.

Responding firefighters were alerted that a young child was trapped inside the home.

Two sheriff’s deputies sustained minor injuries while trying to rescue the child.

Investigators are trying to find out what caused the fire.

Wellsville is about 45 minutes southwest of the metro.

KMBC – The Kansas fire marshal is investigating a house fire in Wellsville, Kansas, that claimed the life of a boy.

Firefighters were called to the 200 block of Walnut Street late Tuesday night.

Authorities said the boy was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later.

No other injuries were reported.


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Need for more fire stations discussed

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – November 30, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 28, 2016

The need for new fire stations and equipment highlighted a discussion last week between Miami County commissioners and members of the board of directors for Miami County Rural Fire District No. 1.

Board member Dennis Cranor made a presentation explaining the need for new stations to be built in the northeast and southeast portions of the county. He mentioned a couple of proposed sites, one along 223rd Street west of Nall Road north of Louisburg and another along 359th Street west of U.S. Highway 69 near New Lancaster.

The board members agreed that, although both are necessary, they believe the station in the northeast portion of the county should be the top priority because of the area’s growing population and high valuation of homes.

Miami County Administrator Shane Krull pointed out, though, that the north region is currently covered via an agreement with Johnson County Fire District No. 2, so perhaps the emphasis should be on the southeastern region, where aid must come from Louisburg Fire Chief Paul Richards from the north or the Drexel, Mo., fire department from the east.

Cranor said plans for the new stations are in the very early stages, but he suggested that leasing property likely would be more financially feasible than purchasing a 20-acre tract of land as currently required by county regulations.

An offer was made on 20 acres of land near New Lancaster in April, and the process for a conditional-use permit was initiated, but the contract on the land ran out before the permit was obtained, and the land was sold to someone else, according to a memorandum the board members provided for the commissioners.

Although exact cost estimates were not provided, the memorandum states that it is clear that costs to build, maintain and equip a station will be substantial. It also states that stations eventually will also be needed west of Paola and south of Osawatomie.

Having adequate funds in reserve would lessen the need for a mill levy increase, but the fire board members did propose combining the Miami County Fire District No. 1 mill levy with the mill levy for Miami County Emergency Medical Services, which currently is part of the county’s general fund.

The Miami County Fire District No. 1 mill levy would jump from 2.871 to almost eight mills at 7.996 under the proposed merger with EMS, and it would allow for future increases if needed.

Money will be needed not just for stations but also for equipment. The fire board’s memorandum states that the average cost to replace a fire engine or tanker is $230,000 to $500,000, and industry opinions for replacement range from 10 to 20 years.

Miami County Fire District No. 1 currently owns and maintains a fleet of 30 firefighting apparatuses, and 11 of those vehicles are 16 years old or older, according to the memorandum.

The memorandum states that the plan is to maintain adequate balances in the special equipment fund and begin discussing an apparatus replacement program. Two engines in particular that are 19 years old or older will need to be replaced within the next five years at a cost ranging between $400,000 and $500,000.

Additional recent requests include Paola asking to replace air packs/tanks at a cost of about $100,000; Paola asking to replace a 1999 brush truck; Osawatomie asking to update their tanker; Osawatomie asking to replace a 1997 brush truck; Fontana asking to update a 1997 fire engine; and Louisburg asking to replace a 1999 brush truck.

“Obviously, all these trucks will not be able to be replaced in the next year, but hopefully in the next five years,” the memorandum states.

Miami County Fire District No. 1 contracts with, and provides equipment to the Fontana, Louisburg, Osawatomie and Paola Fire Departments. It also contracts with the Wellsville Fire Department and Drexel Fire Department for coverage, along with having mutual aid agreements with fire agencies surrounding Miami County.

No official decisions were made during the November 23 study session.


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Police, fire, public works join to repair house

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – December 28, 2016

Photo by Julie Clements

Photo by Julie Clements

One El Dorado man is having a brighter Christmas this year due to the efforts of the El Dorado Police and Fire departments and Public Works employees.

The group gathered early Friday morning to clean and repair Gary’s house, but plans started a week before.

Officer Paul Sanders with the El Dorado Police Department started the project after he received a call to the house last Friday night.

He said the call was confusing because someone was saying they had a water leak in the kitchen and was afraid it would start a fire. Dispatch sent the police department and that was when Sanders met Gary.

“I helped get the water turned off and I helped him out at least for the evening,” Sanders said. “I saw he was living in less than the best conditions.”

He said the house was in bad shape and infested with bugs.

Sanders said he talked with his colleagues and they talked to their lieutenant about doing something for Gary and his dog right before Christmas.

“Our lieutenant thought it was a great idea,” Sanders said. “The entire city has pulled together.”

The city donated used furniture, that was nicer than what Gary had, as well as such things as plates, cups, cutlery, dog food and treats and more. They also had a bed donated, because Gary did not have one and was just sleeping in his recliner.

“It’s just the amazing spirit of the city and a good cause,” Sanders said. “It’s the Christmas spirit. There is no reason anyone should have to live through the holiday season in the condition he was.”

Sanders said the police are on the front line so they see situations like this.

In addition, Brad Meyer, public works director, headed up the work and animal control took the dog to a kennel while they worked.

Friday morning the crew was removing his old furniture, washing all of his laundry, cleaning and fixing up the house and moving in the new items, which they picked up from all over the county. They also worked to caulk windows and insulate pipes, among other fix-ups.

One final piece that was donated was a small Christmas tree. While Gary has the outside of his house decorated for Christmas, Sanders said he did not have anything on the inside.

“We just want to give Gary a Christmas he can look back on and be proud of,” Sanders said. “We found a problem and everyone came together. The response is overwhelming.”


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Fatal crash on Christmas

Pittsburg Morning Sun – December 28, 2016

A young Pittsburg man was killed late on Christmas during a car wreck, according to the Pittsburg Police Department.

Brandon Smith, 22, was driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant west on 14th street when he went off the road, hit a driveway culvert, rolling the car. Police said he was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene around 11:16 p.m.

Smith was a 2012 Pittsburg High School graduate and president of his class. He was studying construction management at Pittsburg State University.

No determination of the wreck has been made, pending the outcome of an autopsy.


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Ford County Fire Department sees busiest year on record w/video

By Brenda Carrasco
KWCH – December 28, 2016


Between fighting grass fires and providing medical services, Ford County Fire Department Chief Rob Boy said they had their busiest year on record.

“We’re seeing an awful lot of 911 calls for the size of the county we have, we’re way over on numbers,” Boyd says.

In the last 10 years, the amount of calls received by the Ford County Fire Department has increased by nearly 41 percent, an increase Chief Boyd attributes to high EMS calls.

“When you get two or three ambulances out at one time and a fire call comes in it always has a staffing issue but we’ve able to cover everything as they come in with relying on our volunteers and our reserves,” he says.

Chief Boyd said the uptick in calls could bring changes to the department.

“If we keep seeing an increase like we’re seeing this year we’re going to have to look at adding more personnel,” he says.

Boyd also asks people to do their part in being cautious to help prevent accidents.


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House on Barbee Street damaged by Tuesday morning fire

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – December 28, 2016

Photo by Tammy Helm

Photo by Tammy Helm

Fort Scott Fire Department officials are looking into the cause of a house fire Tuesday morning on North Barbee Street.

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said firefighters responded about 8 a.m. to a report of a structure fire at a residence at 101 N. Barbee St. He said the fire was “mostly smoke” and the one-and-a-half-story house was “pretty heavily damaged.”

Firefighters were still on scene about 11 a.m. checking the house for hot spots.

Ballou said fire personnel were still investigating the cause of the fire and its place of origin. He said Deputy Fire Chief Dave Bruner was preparing to investigate and complete a damage assessment. Ballou said investigators were not looking at suspicious activity related to the fire.

“We don’t know where it started,” Ballou said. “It probably started downstairs but we’re not sure.”

Nobody was home at the time of the fire and no reported injuries, Ballou said.

Ballou also said fire personnel were working with the resident to secure temporary housing as the house is not livable and the occupant “pretty much lost everything.

The Fort Scott Fire Department had nine personnel and three trucks at. Scott Township Fire Department sent a couple of pumper trucks and “six or seven” personnel following a request for mutual aid, Ballou said.


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Two fires over holiday weekend

Great Bend Tribune – December 27, 2016

The Great Bend Fire Department responded to two fires on Saturday in Barton County.

The first fire was reported at 4:21 p.m. When firefighters arrived at 42 NW 80 avenue for a structure fire, they found a small outbuilding heavily engulfed in flames. The shed was located behind the residence in the backyard and the fire was quickly knocked down.

According to GBFD reports, the owner said he was in the house watching TV when a friend saw the smoke and stopped and told him his shed was on fire.

The fire was caused by ashes from a fireplace that had been dumped next to the shed. The out building and its contents were a total loss and the owner said he had about $2,500 in contents in the building and he had no insurance on it.

The second blaze was reported at 8:58 p.m. When fire crews arrived on scene in the 100 block of NW 80 avenue for a vehicle fire, they found a pickup totally involved.

The fire had consumed the cab and engine compartment, but it was quickly extinguished.

The owner said he was driving south down the road and his engine was missing out and he tried to accelerate. He then saw a glow, stopped and found fire coming from under his vehicle.


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Firefighters suffer injuries

Leavenworth Times – December 20, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 27, 2016


A house is engulfed in flames Sunday morning in the area of 235th Street and Springdale Road. The fire occurred in Alexandria Township and multiple fire department from Leavenworth and Jefferson counties responded. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, according to Rick Huhn, Chief of Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1.


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New JCFD chief discusses department goals

By Michael J. Sellman
Junction City Daily Union – December 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 27, 2016


After a month as Junction City’s Fire Chief, Terry Johnson recognizes the prospects and potential within the fire department.

“The trick is going to be trying to figure out how we pull that (potential) out and use it,” he says.

It’s a matter of continuing to put the right people in the right places, and learning how much more the department can accomplish.

Though his career as a firefighter spans 22 years, beginning in Wilson, N.C. in 1999–he also was Fire Chief for Charlton County, Ga.–his goal right now is to learn the department, the Kansas system, and Junction City’s system.

“This will take several months,” Johnson said.

Getting to know the department well, and the community, is key.

He’ll look to setting goals after the first of the year.

“Then we’ll have a better understanding of what we need to do and what we would like to do,” Johnson says.

His first impression of the JCFD is that it’s a very good department, very professional and organized.

Johnson came to Junction City as he was at a point in his career where change was happening in his life.

“For the past five to ten years, I’ve been trying to get out to the Midwest,” he says. “This area of Kansas is a great place with good people.”

Back in the early nineties, he came through Kansas as the military was changing over communications, serving as a radio communications technician.

“I was part of a team that helped with those changes,” he says.

Now, coming aboard the JCFD as chief is an opportunity to come into a department which he recognizes as being “well established,” with a “very great foundation,” and be able to help it move to the next level is what he was looking for.

He was ready to manage a department and not have to go through processes of getting things reestablished.

“My last two jobs were ‘we need you to rebuild’, ‘we need you to bring this together,'” he says.

When it comes to managing, making the department ever more efficient is a priority–exceeding the communities expectations of the department, and how the JCFD can continue serving them better and better over time.

“The fire department has a lot to do with different aspects of the community,” he says.

As talk of economic development is common in Junction City, Johnson says the department plays an important role.

Home owners insurance are the direct result of the fire protection rating that the fire department gives.

As many homeowners are aware, insurance companies want to know what the likelihood of not having a disaster, such as a fire, is.

“Well, our job is to do everything we can to prevent that,” Johnson says. “And that’s just one of the hundreds of things that go into that. And we’re a part of it.”

He believes understanding the department’s role in economic development will allow the JCFD to develop and meet current and future needs of the community while maintaining balance.

If a company or corporation comes into town, fire protection is among the top quality of life aspects they look for in a community. “The better our rating, the lower the insurance they pay,” he says. “That could be the deciding factor between whether they go to a larger community or they come here.”

Even if one or two businesses decided to come to Junction City over the next 100 years because of low insurance rates resulting from great fire protection, Johnson says the department is doing its job.

“The other part is keeping what we have safe–education the public, getting involved with the public and getting our message out about staying safe,” he says. “The more we can do that, the better the community is.”

Fire departments have always been the core of communities, a Johnson says. It’s were community members went when they needed help.

The department under Johnson will work in making the community safe and comfortable.

And he hopes in the future, other communities will look to the Junction City Fire Department, wondering how they do it. That would be the best compliment.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Wathena rescue truck upgrade

By Paul Stewart
Kansas Chief – December 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 27, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Did you ever give any thought to what happens to the donations given to Doniphan County Fire District No. 1 – Wathena?

Recently these funds helped the volunteer department purchase a new box for its rescue truck.

Although, at first glance, you may not have noticed anything different in the emergency response vehicle, significant changes were able to be made.

The new box mounted on the bed of a Ford Chassis, is enlarged. It has more height, and is longer, allowing for bigger compartments to hold emergency medical service and fire department-related equipment.

Fire Chief Tony Libel says, “Basically, we just ran out of room with the other one.”

Firefighter/EMT Bob Ryser said, “This was a project that we started talking about before last summer. We knew it needed to be replaced.” So, Ryser, Randall Butts and Brandon Libel–all EMTs–formed a committee to help decide what the department needed.

“We took road trips in order to get ideas. We looked at rescue trucks from other departments–St. Joseph, Cameron, Gower, Agency and Chillicothe (in Missouri),” he said.

“Then, we took recommendations, sat down and began to design our own,” he continued. The group took their ideas to Summit Truck Bodies on Vernon Road and told them what they wanted.

The local company, through the assistance of Chris Walter (a former firefighter and go-to guy) blended the ideas with their computerized 3-D design equipment, which allowed some things to be moved around within the box, for better use of space.

“The individual compartments were built for what we wanted,” Chief Libel commented. He also said of Summit, “It is a great company for this community. We knew the finished product would be good.”

The chief continued, “One of the major issues we were experiencing was dust-proofing. Dust, on occasion, was seeping in the old box. This new box is pressurized.”

The new box has outside-access compartments, two on each side, to hold extra air bottles.

One of the most visible additions with the new box involves outside lighting. Libel and Ryser advised the box is equipped with LED lights, on all four corners, an on the back. And, these are adjustable.

The truck which also has a thermal imaging camera, includes oxygen and AED equipment used with medical calls.

It also is equipped with a back-up camera. To this, Ryser stated, “It’s an important safety issue. When we are at a scene, we cannot become part of the problem.”

Among the equipment accessible from the rear of the bed are: a regular backboard, a new Stokes basket, and a scoop stretcher. These pieces of equipment can be used to immobilize a person who may have a spinal injury and has to be lifted. The scoop stretcher, they explained, comes in two pieces. It allows the equipment halves to be placed on each side of a patient, then connected, in order to make sure that the patient is not unnecessarily moved.

After displaying these items, Brandon Libel commented, “And, we hope we never have to use them.”

For the winter months, the firefighters noted that the rescue truck also holds chimney sticks and basing soda, to help combat flue fires

Explaining the importance of having an expanded rescue truck, the fire chief stated, “This is a piece of our equipment that goes on every call we make: in town or rural, medical or fire.”

Returning to the much-appreciated monetary contributions from the public, “We have been very fortunate. We receive donations and memorials.” To this, Chief Libel added, “We received a $2,500 donation from Monsanto, thanks to the effort by Joy Kiehnhoff. She and husband John, submitted an entry into a competition which involved every county in the state of Kansas, and they named our fire and EMS departments as the benefactor.”

Chief Libel also praised the efforts of the Methodist Women’s group who provide anny donations through a 5k run-walk.

Kay Engemann told The Kansas Chief, “Our group has been doing this, annually, for six years now. Totally, we have been able to donate approximately $12,500.

“We started this as part of a mission project. It’s held on the second Saturday in June. It’s been successful.”

Engemann added, “We appreciate the support from the community. And, in reality, our donation (to the fire/EMT unit) not only helps provide a much-needed benefit to this community but also to the entire county.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Quinter Fire Department report

Gove County Advocate – December 7, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 27, 2016

Fire department report to the Quinter City Council:

Jeremy Blackwill was driving the Rescue Truck home from Baton Rouge LA and the truck broke down in Dallas on the way back. It’s being worked on at a Ford dealership in Dallas–all repairs and added travel expenses will be reimbursed by either Ford or Brindlec Mountain. Jeremy noticed during loading on the tow truck that the truck was not 4WD (it was advertised 4WD). The truck was worked on and is done–but the Gove County Commissioners and the Assistant Chief do not want this rescue truck since it’s not 4WD. Gove County will be reimbursed for all expenses for this rescue unit.

The Fire Department has some new firemen on board–the Fireman’s Relief Association allows for 13 volunteers. Currently there are 16–so the request is that the additional premium for the 3 extra guys is paid out of fire budget. Council approved for the fire department to add 3 more firemen and pay the premium for those 3 separately.


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Home demolished by fire

By Rosalie Ross
Rawlins County Square Deal – December 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 27, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Brian Benjamin woke in the night December 12 to find his Atwood home filled with smoke. He ran outside barefoot and clad only in his jeans.

He ran to neighboring homes, but was unable to waken anyone. Finally, he found help by running to the emergency room at Rawlins County Hospital.

The Atwood Fire Department arrived at the 7th and Plumb scene at approximately 12:50 a.m. to find the structures engulfed in flames. The rural fire department also responded.

“The blaze was extensive,” Fire Chief Terry Britt said. “I’d say the house, garage and contents were a total loss. The fire appeared to have been electrical in origin.”

Benjamin has lived in Atwood for several years with his cat, Chloe, who died in the fire. He works for WLW Farms north of Levant.

Britt reminded people to take special precautions during winter.

“It is dangerous to leave heaters unattended and overloaded circuits can cause serious problems that get out of hand in a hurry,” Britt said.


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Fatal accident reported near 63rd and Parallel

Wyandotte Daily News – December 27, 2016

A fatal accident was reported around 6:20 p.m. Dec. 26 near 63rd and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kan., according to police.

A small vehicle overturned on the median of the roadway, a police spokesman said.

An initial investigation by police found that a Honda traveling eastbound on Parallel Parkway clipped a Buick in the intersection that was traveling northbound on North 63rd Street.

The 29-year-old woman driving the Honda was taken to a hospital where she died from her injuries, police said.

The driver of the Buick was not injured.

Police are withholding the identity of the victim until there is positive identification and family notification, police said.

The crash is under investigation by the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department’s Traffic Support Unit-Critical Collision Response Team.


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Kan. teen dies, 2 hospitalized after vehicle hits dead deer, rolls

Hays Post – December 27, 2016

A Kansas teen died in an accident just before 8:30 p.m. on Monday in Stafford County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1999 Saturn 2-door passenger vehicle driven by Alexandra M. Wheeler, 18, Haysville, was eastbound on NE 140th Street 12 miles north of St. John.

The vehicle struck a dead deer in the roadway.
The driver lost control of the vehicle. It entered the ditch and rolled several times.

Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Minnis Chapel.

Passenger in the Saturn Riley, Allure N. Riley, 17, Larned and Christopher D, Reed, 30, Wichita, were transported to the Great Bend Regional Medical Center.

Riley was not wearing a seat belt, according to the KHP.


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Fire extinguished at Mid America Feeders

Great Bend Tribune
December 26, 2016

Great Bend Fire Department units responded to Mid America Feeders, 251 NW 10 Ave., at 3:52 p.m. Thursday.
Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the grain-delivery leg of a grain elevator.
The fire started as contractors were cutting on top of the leg to dismantle it. Embers fell into the leg, catching the plastic buckets and rubber belt on fire.
With the assistance of the contractors a hole was cut through the metal to gain access to the burning belt. Units were on scene for 1.5 hours extinguishing the fire.


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No one injured in house fire caused by electrical malfunction in northeast Topeka

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – December 26, 2016

A house fire in northeast Topeka was accidental, Topeka fire officials said Saturday evening.

The blaze was reported just before 2 p.m. Saturday at 1034 N.E. Madison.

Upon arrival, Topeka Fire Department crews found heavy smoke and fire coming from the back porch of the one-story house.

The occupants were located outside of the structure and said everyone was out of the house. Firefighters conducted a primary search and confirmed no one else was inside.

An offensive attack brought the fire under control and contained to the structure.

The Red Cross was contacted to assist the six adults who were displaced.

A preliminary investigation indicates the blaze was associated with an electrical malfunction.

It caused $5,000 in structural loss and $500 in damage to contents, according to TFD.


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Joseph W. “Joey” Olson


Joseph W. “Joey” Olson, 32, of Hartford, died December 15, 2016 in Coffey County, Kansas.

Joseph Warren Olson was born December 12, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Warren Lee Olson and Karen Diane Steen. He graduated from Emporia High School in 2003 and got a associates degree in automotive technology from Flint Hills Tech College.

Joey married Jessica Lynn Hess on January 12, 2009 in Emporia.

He was working at APAC in Hartford. He was a Volunteer firefighter District #5, Hartford/Neosho Rapids. He loved to hunt.

He is survived by his wife, Jessica of the home; a daughter, Kayleigh Olson; three sons, Dakota, Colby and Ty Olson; his father, Warren (Beth) Olson of Hamilton, Kansas; his mother, Karen (Paul) Stephen of Loomis, California; a sister, Patricia Stephen of Loomis; two step brothers, Micheal (Braille) Turner of Wichita and Timothy (Alycia) Turner of Emporia and his paternal grandmother, Sondra Baughter of Garnett, Kansas.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Joseph and Diane Steen; paternal grandfather, Herbie Olson and a brother, Eric Olson.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at the Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home in Lebo. Family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home in Lebo. Memorial contributions may be made to Joseph Olson Children’s Educational Fund at the Hartford State Band or Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home and sent in care of Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home, P.O. Box 43, Lebo, Kansas 66856. Condolences may be expressed at

The Patriot Guard Riders and all other Riders have been invited to stand for the memorial service to celebrate the life of firefighter Joseph Olsen.

The Family of Volunteer Firefighter Joseph Olsen has requested our presence to Honor their loved one.

He was a Volunteer Firefighter for rural District #5 Hartford/Neosho Rapids KS. He was an avid outdoors man and loved to hunt. He was given his first motorcycle at the age of 7 by his father that still rides. He loved to tinker on all types of vehicles, He worked in the oil field industry. He leaves behind a wife and 4 children ranging in ages from 4-10. He was a loved son, husband, and father, he will be missed by all that knew him.

Staging Info:
Wednesday 12 noon, Stage at:
Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home
107 West 6th
Lebo, KS 66856

Flag Line to be set-up at funeral home, flags will be provided

This is a flag line only mission due to the distance to the cemetery and road conditions.

Thank you for your service Firefighter Joseph Olsen. You bravely stood for us to ensure that we were safe and secure; now we humbly stand for you.

Stand down Firefighter Olsen, we have the watch now and you have been reassigned. Heaven needed a hero.

Steve Sergeant

Debi “fuquari” Fuller


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Missing six-year-old Kansas boy found safe on Christmas Eve

Hays Post – December 26, 2016

A missing child with down syndrome was found safe Christmas Eve by officers with the Reno County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement.

Just after 5 p.m. Saturday, deputies were dispatched to 2218 Ranger Road, Southwest of Yoder after report of a missing child, according to a media release.

Just after 4 p.m., Joshua Bontrager, 6, had walked away from a family members residence during a Christmas celebration.

Searchers worked from around 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the foggy fields and county roads before boy was found.

He had walked about two miles but missed the turn onto Greenfield Road which would have taken him home.

He walked right into a house at 12711 S Sand Creek, surprising the resident.

The resident, Terry Hephner put Bontrager in his truck and started driving the area. He ran into a neighbor, Nelson Schrag, who was aiding in the search.

The child was checked out by Haven EMS and was released to his parents.

Approximately 10 officers from Reno Co were aided by Haven Police, So Hutchinson Police, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Hutchinson Correctional Facility with their Dogs, Haven EMS, Fire Dist Two, Newton police, Hutchinson Police, and the Harvey County Sheriffs Office who used a drone to aid in the search along with approximately 50 neighbors from the area.

Sheriff Randy Henderson noted they were very fortunate that the weather wasn’t as cold as Saturday December 17 or the outcome could have been a lot different.


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