Archive for May, 2017

Kansas man dies after thrown from motorcycle

Hays Post – May 22, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 6p.m. on Sunday in Pottawatomie County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Smith, Justin A. Smith, 42, Centralia, was northbound on Carnahan Road one mile south of Greene Road south of Olsburg.

The driver failed to negotiate a curve. The motorcycle crossed the center line, went left off the roadway, struck a ditch, went airborne and the driver was ejected.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a helmet, according to the KHP.


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Anthony man fatally electrocuted in farm accident

Hutchinson News – May 22, 2017

A farmer from Anthony died when he was electrocuted in an accident Saturday evening in Harper County, the Kansas Highway Patrol reports.

According to a report, Robert B. Sharp, 76, of Anthony, was working with a chemical sprayer in a field near the intersection of Southwest 40th Road and Southwest 10th Avenue in Harper County and extended the boom on the sprayer when it touched an electrical line, electrocuting Sharp.

The accident occurred around 6:35 p.m.


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Baldwin City councilman and wife killed in Anderson County crash

By Elvyn Jones
Lawrence Journal World – May 22, 2017

A Baldwin City couple was killed Friday in a two-vehicle collision in Anderson County.

The accident at 2:40 p.m. on U.S. Highway 169, 1 mile north of the town of Colony claimed the life of Stephen Bauer, 75, and his wife, Alison Bauer, 57. According to a Kansas Highway Patrol online report, Stephen lost control of his southbound 2008 Lexus, crossed the centerline and struck head-on a Mack semitrailer driven by Zachariah E. Breen, 27, Wellsville.

The Bauers were pronounced dead at the scene. Breen was transported to Anderson County Hospital for treatment of injuries.

Stephen was elected to the Baldwin City Council in 2015 after serving on the Baldwin City Planning Commission. Alison served on the Baldwin City School Board in the past.

Two council members who served with Stephen said the loss would be devastating to the community.

“They were beloved and respected for their leadership, community engagement, and kindness to so many,” said Baldwin City Councilwoman Christi Darnell. “I will personally miss Alison’s laugh and exuberance for life. Steve meant a great deal to me and my family as a neighbor, mentor and friend. My thoughts and prayers are with their family.”

Councilman Tony Brown said the council and community would miss the business acumen Bauer brought to the City Council.

“He was one of the quieter members of the Council, but when he spoke you listened because of the wisdom of his words,” he said. “Alison was one of those people always in good cheer. She had such an infectious laugh. It’s a terrible loss to the community.”

The Bauers owned and operated the real estate inspection service Bauer Inspection and Consulting Services. In an April 2008 Journal-World story, Steve Bauer said he had inspected 10,000 homes during his 23-year career.


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Residency requirements

By Patrick Lowry
Hays Daily News – May 22, 2017

When public safety emergencies occur, response time is of the essence. Which is why the City of Hays long has singled out non-clerical personnel at the fire and police departments as well as other emergency-related positions by requiring them to live in the city or at least within the 3-mile planning boundary.

The ordinance makes sense.

But it also comes with a trade-off: Recruitment and retention of public safety employees is made more difficult because of the residency requirement. For that reason, city staff has proposed changing the paradigm from a distance-based requirement to a response-time model.

“We feel like if we open this up a little bit, we’ll have a larger applicant pool,” Assistant City Manager Jacob Wood said at last week’s City Commission work session.

Commissioners expressed support for considering such a change, but didn’t appear keen on relaxing residency requirements for city employees in other departments. Nor did there appear to be widespread appeal for having the city manager determine residency standards on a case-by-case basis.

We would think a reasonable compromise can be found. But we also believe the response-time model should retain a distance component: The Ellis County line. We find it a reasonable expectation that an employee of the City of Hays should at least add to the county’s tax base.

With Victoria, Ellis, Schoenchen and others so close to Hays, and with various housing developments (existing or planned), there should be enough smaller, nearby communities to choose from.

Whatever the distance determined for each hard-to-fill public safety position, it should be approved in advance by the commission. Elected officials do need to set policies for staff to implement.

Should relaxed residency requirements not allow enough tools for the fire and police departments to attract and retain full complements, commissioners then might be forced to consider revising monetary-based incentives.


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Accident near Ness City leaves Dodge City woman dead

KWCH – May 22, 2017

A Dodge City woman was killed after an accident five miles south of Ness City Saturday morning.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a truck was northbound on US 283 when it left the roadway to the west, hit a guardrail and ended up with the nose down in a ditch. 37-year-old Rosemarie Buller of Dodge City, who was a passenger in the truck, was pronounced dead on scene.

The driver of the vehicle, Cody Buller was taken to Ness County Hospital for treatment.

Both the driver and the passenger were not wearing a seat belt at the time.


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Clearwater fire chief retires after 53 years of service

By Deedee Sun
KWCH – May 22, 2017


After 53 years volunteering on the Clearwater Fire Department, Fire Chief Marvin Schauf is retiring.

Saturday the community celebrated him and honored his more than half-century of service.

For 53 years, when there’s fire in Clearwater, there’s also Fire Chief Marvin Schauf.

“He’s just been the one you can always count on. If you had a problem, if Marvin was there, you felt like you were okay,” said Donna Wise, who lives in Clearwater.

Becky Schievelbein remembers a fire from nearly 11 years ago that killed a family member.

“Marvin was there that night,” Schievelbein said. They were very, very, very considerate. It’s really comforting to know you know these people, that they care,” she said.

After more than a half-century of volunteering and caring for this community, the chief is stepping down.

“I’m 76 years old,” Schauf said. “Got to where I couldn’t put that bunker gear on, hard to get in and out of the truck. So it was time to retire,” he said. “I’ll let the young ones go and fight the fires.”

Saturday, Clearwater celebrated his retirement – though the party carried a touch of bittersweet.

“Yeah you do feel a little bit of a loss you really do” Schievelbein said.

“When you do 53 years at it, community’s really been lucky to have him,” said Roger Dawson, a former Clearwater firefighter who also volunteered for decades.

“Marvin is what Clearwater is all about. It’s small town America. Neighbors do for one another, and Marvin’s the one who’s been doing it,” Wise said.

Schauf might be retiring, but there will still be a Schauf at the Clearwater fire house. His son, Don Schauf is a Sedgwick County EMS captain and volunteers there.

“It’s just the passion of it. It’s going in and seeing someone hurt or injured and being able to put a smile on their face and make them feel better,” Don Schauf said.

And the younger Schauf says his two sons, 11 and 14, have already expressed interest in carrying on the tradition.

Schauf will be the last chief to hold that official title. Clearwater created a new paid position to fill Schauf’s role. Scott Cooper from Tennessee is now the city’s emergency services director.


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Swimming to save: Water rescue training in Butler County

By Lindi Simpson
KAKE – May 22, 2017


With warmer weather quickly approaching and some parts of Kakeland still under high water, first responders say they see an increase in the number of water rescue calls and specific training can be crucial for both the responder and that person needing help.

Fire trucks outside of El Dorado High School Saturday afternoon, but instead of responding to an emergency, these firefighters are there to learn. They are taking a three-day course challenging them with different water rescue scenarios.

Jason Benjamin has 30 years of combined military and public safety experience. He came to Kansas from Tennessee to teach this public safety water rescue class.

“I can’t stress how important it is for folks that are riding in you know Police, Fire, EMS rescue squads to have the knowledge and skill set to enter the water when someone is actively drowning,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin says the 30-hour course is not easy and it’s meant to be tough because the men and women who are first responders they are heading into the situations other people are trying to escape.

El Dorado volunteer Fire Fighter, Scott Vanpatten says in 2017 they’ve already responded to several water rescue calls and only expect that number to go up.

“Anytime you mix alcohol, boats and good weather the potential for something to happen is definitely increased the more we can train for that will be better for everybody,” Vanpatten said.

As for Benjamin he hopes the skills will be passed on to others in the line of duty because it could mean the difference between life and death.

“The person with this type of training has so much more opportunity to go home that night and see their family than that person who shows up and doesn’t really know what to do,” Benjamin said.


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By Rick Poppitz
Gardner News – May 22, 2017

Photo by Rick Poppitz

Board members of Johnson County Fire District #1 met on May 9 at the New Century station and discussed new gear for firefighters, a new tender truck and a new insurance provider.

Grants and donations = new gear
Rob Kirk, FD#1 fire chief, told the board that the CERT group had received a $1000 donation from the city of Edgerton.
He said they had a list of items they wanted to purchase.
FD#1 recently received a grant as well. With the grant funds, the district has purchased backpack style air supply gear for it’s firefighters.
“These types of things save taxpayer money,” said Kirk.
The purchase includes 56 air packs, 112 air bottles and 65 face pieces.
“They’re state of the art and they have our logos and insignias on them,” said Kirk.
Keith Johnson, fire board member, asked about the life expectancy of this type of gear. Kirk said it was ten years.
The district also plans to be replacing all their radios between now and 2020. Kirk said the total cost would be around $300,000.
The district is looking for grant money to cover or offset that cost. Kirk said they have been discussing a joint grant application with other districts.

Insurance policy savings
Dennis Meyer, assistant fire chief, and Mary Bush, administrative services, recently analyzed options for workers compensation and liability insurance policies.
The policy insures workers compensation as required by statute and also all of the district’s buildings, vehicles and equipment. It has been renewed the last 3 or 4 years without comparison.
This year, staff invited quotes from other insurers and after doing so, decided to make a switch.

“We saved $13,672.00 and got a lot better coverage,” Kirk said.
Bush said the previous policy had a $2 million dollar liability coverage cap, and the new policy offers $10 million.
In addition, Kirk said much of the district property was under appraised with the previous policy.
He said they’d compare rates yearly from now on.

New Tender Truck
At last month’s meeting, staff reviewed details of a lease purchase agreement for a new tender truck.
Tender trucks carry water to fire sites, most often used in rural areas where there is no nearby fire hydrant.
The district wants to replace their two 24 year old, 1600 gallon capacity tender trucks with one new model that has a 3000 gallon capacity.
The new truck is on a Kenworth chassis with a PACCAR engine.
The purchase price of the new truck is $303,328.00.
The two old trucks will have a trade in value of about $30,000.
The district will make an annual payment of $32,296.94 for ten years.
There is about a year’s wait for the truck to be customized and delivered.
With none opposed, the board approved the tender purchase.


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Manhattan home catches fire twice as flames rekindle

By Benjamin Van Maele
WIBW – May 22, 2017

An overnight fire at a Manhattan home rekindled, causing more damage Sunday morning.

Shortly after 1 a.m. this morning, the Manhattan Fire Dept. responded to a house fire at 1533 Williamsburg Dr.

Two people inside the two-story duplex were able to get out before crews arrived.

One of those occupants was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The fire rekindled around 8 a.m. while the owners were not home.

Crews tried to extinguish the fire from the interior of the home, but were unsuccessful due to the earlier fire weakening the structure.

An hour later, crews were able to contain the flames.

The fire remains under investigation.

More than $400,000 in damage was done.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced homeowners.


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Topeka Fire Department responds on Sunday morning to two fires in North Topeka

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – May 22, 2017

Two separate fires on Sunday morning in North Topeka caused an estimated $55,000 in damage.

The first fire was reported just after 6 a.m. at 1118 N.E. Quincy, the Topeka Fire Department said in a news release.

Upon arrival, fire crews found the two-story, wood-framed residence heavily involved with fire. They began an offensive attack and kept the blaze contained to the structure. Eight occupants were able to self-evacuate, TFD said.

The fire’s cause is undetermined, pending further investigation.

It caused $35,000 in structural damage and $5,000 in content loss.

The second blaze was reported just after 10 a.m. at 844 N. Kansas Avenue, in the NOTO Arts District.

Fire crews saw smoke showing from the two-story masonry building when they arrived. The blaze was located in an office space above a restaurant, TFD said.

Firefighters began an offensive attack and kept the fire contained to the structure. All of the occupants self-evacuated. However two pet exotic birds died.

The fire’s cause is undetermined, pending further investigation.

The incident caused $10,000 in structural damage and $5,000 in content loss, the department said.


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Cause of Sunday fire said to be accidental

By Mary Ann Redeker
Emporia Gazette – May 22, 2017

Photo by Mary Ann Redeker

The Emporia Fire Department was called to a house fire Sunday afternoon in central Emporia.

Captain Tony Fuller said around 4:08 p.m., fire units were dispatched to a house at 1005 Lincoln Street.

“When our units responded, they observed moderate smoke coming from the eaves of the house,” he said. “The fire was contained to the kitchen area of the home, and crews were able to get it extinguished quickly.”

Fuller said the cause of the fire was said to be accidental.

“No one was home at the time of the fire,” he said. “A pan was left on the stove when occupants of the house went to graduation.”

Jorge Prieto is the listed owner of the home and damages were estimated at $35,000.


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Albert (Bert) J. Soetaert Sr.

Albert (Bert) J. Soetaert Sr., 92, passed away Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Villa St. Francis Nursing Home. Bert was born February 9, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri to Louis and Emma Soetaert. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, children; Jim (Jan) Soetaert, Diane (Jim) Klempnauer, Mary (Bruce) Baumgartner, Bob Soetaert, daughter-in-law, Tammy Soetaert, seven grandchildren, and five great- grandchildren. Bert was preceded in death by his parents, son, Christopher Soetaert, and numerous brothers and one sister. Bert was a volunteer firefighter for the Lenexa Fire Department for twenty plus years. He was an avid car and motorcycle enthusiast, also never missed a Royals Game.

Visitation is set for 9:00 – 10:30 AM, Monday, May 1, 2017 with a 9:0 0 AM Rosary Recitation at Holy Trinity Catholic Church 13615 W. 92nd Street, Lenexa, Kansas 66215 followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 AM. Burial will take place at Johnson County Memorial Gardens.


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Hay bales burn on back of truck

By Mark Gardner
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – April 27, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – May 19, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

Monday morning for emergency responders was filled with smoldering bales of hay and high winds.

At 8:30 a.m., Ellsworth firefighters were paged to a semi-load of hay that was on fire on the frontage road in front of Ampride and El A De Aros Mexican restaurant. The bales caught fire while the truck was on Kansas Highway 156.

The truck had lost the air in its two front axle passenger tires on the trailer and was dragging the rims for a undetermined amount of time. The damage caused the hay to catch on fire. Once the driver noticed, he pulled off the highway and into Ampride, which also sells gas.

The driver had no comment when asked why he did not know he was dragging two rims and had a fire behind him on the truck.

High winds from the west added to the danger as the driver pulled less than 500 feet east of Ampride.

Deb St. Clair, manager of Ampride, said her initial reaction when she first saw the truck was nervousness at having it so close to the fuel pumps. However, she had faith in the Ellsworth Fire Department to manage the situation.

Her biggest challenge, she said, was dealing with the increase in traffic due to curious residents visiting the store to see what was going on.

Bob Kepka, Ellsworth Fire Chief, dispatched his water tankers to assist with extinguishing the flames and smoldering bales.

Across the street, KanEquip’s service manager, Heath Ehrlich, who also is a volunteer firefighter, saw the truck on fire and immediately ran to the company’s skid steer with forks and headed over to the truck. He started removing bales in hopes of saving what he could.

“It was pure adrenalin, I saw the truck and wanted to help,” Ehrlich said.

After soaking and removing all the smoldering bales for about an hour or two, firefighters had the fire under control and out. It took almost all of Monday to remove the left over debris from the frontage road before things began to look normal again.


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Fire destroys Centralia family’s home

Marysville Advocate – May 11, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – May 19, 2017

The Lynda and Bob Cross family lost their home in Centralia and their belongings to an electrical fire on the evening of May 2.

Their dog, Elly, died in the fire. The family was not home at the time of the blaze.

Centralia Fire Department responded to the fire at around 8 p.m. after a neighbor raised the alarm.

Lynda, Bob and their youngest children, Bailey and Carson, have found a temporary place to live while they find a new home.

“The community has been wonderful. Anything we have asked for has been provided,” Lynda Cross said. “We cannot thank the community enough. We had a house to live in within 12 hours after the fire.”

Lynda is the director of nursing at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca, and Bob is the Nemaha County undersheriff.

The Cross family had lived in the house for almost 16 years.


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Danny Hurley

Danny Hurley of Eureka, died on Sunday, May 14, 2017 at Greenwood County Hospital in Eureka, at the age of 45.

He was born on October 15, 1971, in Wichita, Kansas, the son of Donnie and Mary Hurley. He was raised in Climax and attended local schools, graduating from Eureka High School with the Class of 1990. He also attended Flint Hills Vo Tech for Auto Mechanics. After his schooling, he worked in oil around the Eureka area and later worked for the City of Eureka for 15 years. In 2010, he went to work for the Severy Co-Op.

In 1998, he volunteered with the Greenwood County Central Division Fire Department, serving as Chief of the Central Division since 2011. In all he volunteered for over 17 years with the county. He volunteered with the Eureka City Fire Department in 2000 and then started as an EMT in 2002. On April 25, 2009, he was united in marriage to Deborah Michelle Selfridge in Eureka, where they made their home.

He is survived by his wife, Debi Hurley of the home; five children, Clay and wife, Melissa Wade of Eureka; Scharryl Ledford of Eureka; Dusty Hurley of Eureka; Micheal Ledford of Eureka; and Rusty Hurley of Eureka; his mother, Mary Gamblain of Fort Worth, Texas; one grandson, Tanner Lyle Wade; and four siblings, Donnie Hurley of Leon; Jimmy Hurley of Blanchard, Oklahoma; Rosa Hurley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was preceded in death by his father, and two sisters, Dinah Hurley and Donna Hodgins.

Memorial services will be held at 1:00 P.M., Friday, May 19, 2017 at Koup Family Funeral Home, in Eureka with Mr. Jayme A. Koup officiating. Cremation has been effected. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Greenwood County Fire Department Central Division Scholarship Fund. Contributions may be sent in care of Koup Family Funeral Home, P.O. Box 595, Eureka, KS 67045 which is overseeing arrangements.


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McPherson Fire Department Has Been Approved For New Training Equipment

KBBE News – May 19, 2017

The McPherson Fire Department was approved for two new training props. The Inforcer and a Ventprop.

The Inforcer is a heavy duty door simulator that allow the department to practice breaching a hot door over and over again without damaging any property. It gives the firefighters the feel of hot bending or deforming metal while forcing a heavy door. The door comes various set-ups that can simulate many kinds of door breaches.

Firefighter Forcible Entry Simulator

The INFORCER is the most realistic and versatile forcible entry simulator on the market today. Not only is the INFORCER the only door which gives your firefighters the feel of bending/deforming metal while forcing a truly tough door with a set of irons, but also provides video based training on forcible entry techniques requiring the use of a power saw to cut hinges, drop bar bolts, dead bolts and chain, all in one simulator. Other simulators utilize the defeating of wood, spring or a clamping system to get through the door using a set of irons, which don’t provide the same level of realism or difficulty.

With over 150 doors throughout the US, Canada and Japan, the INFORCER has a proven design that will enable your firefighters to gain valuable, hands-on, practical and realistic forcible entry training using both a set of irons and a power saw all from one simulator. Every wear point on the INFORCER is designed to be easily reversible to get twice the life out of each part. Plus the video based training and a PowerPoint presentation for your department to use and keep are included with each purchase. If you want a truly challenging, versatile and realistic forcible entry simulator, you have found your door.

The Inforcer has the unique ability to replicate many forcible entry techniques: Cut hockey puck locks, Outward swinging door, Inward swinging door , Drop bar bolt cutting , Hinge cutting, Baseball bat breach Inward swinging door, Dead bolt cutting Padlock cut or break, Cut links of chain,

The Ventprop is a pitched roof simulator that gives takes the danger out of training on high roofs.

Improve Performance

With our prop, your firefighters can spend more time training without the costs of additional materials. More time spent on exercises means less chance of things going wrong in the field.

Save Money

You’ll no longer need to replace full sheets of plywood or Oriented Strand Board (OSB). With the VENTPROP you can get up to 16 scenarios with one sheet of 4’x8’ material!

Reduce Waste

By using the entire sheet of roofing material, you’re reducing waste and the cost of disposal. This allows you to get the most out of every training dollar that the public trusts you with.

The department will use these props for years to come. The Ventprop cost is $3,9990.00 and The Inforcer costs $16,000.


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KSFFA Regional Fire School – Ellis County

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Ellis County Fire Department
August 4-6, 2017
Location: Hays High School, 2301 E 13th St., Hays, KS

August 4th – Friday Night – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

  1. PTSD Class

Saving Those Who Save Others

This two (2) hour presentation involves a careful examination of firefighter and EMT suicides within the fire & EMS services and consists of understanding emotional and physical stressors, as well as:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • Suicide data
  • Communication skills
  • Creating relationships with internal and external resources
  • Creating a behavioral health program

The class will be located at 1105 East 22nd St, Hays KS 67601.  It will be held in the basement training room/EOC.

Provided by National Volunteer Fire Council in conjunction with the KSFFA and Ellis County Fire Department.

August 5th – Saturday Morning – 0800

  1. RIT – 12 hrs.
  2. Rural Water Supply – 8 hrs.
  3. Safety Officer – 8 hrs.
  4. Chief Officer – 8 hrs.
  5. Vehicle Extrication – 8 hrs.
  6. Vehicle Fires

August 5th – Saturday Afternoon – 1300

  1. RIT, cont.
  2. Rural Water Supply, cont.
  3. Safety Officer, cont.
  4. Chief Officer, cont.
  5. Vehicle Extrication, cont.
  6. Firefighter Rehabilitation, 4 hrs.

August 6th – Sunday Morning – 0800

  1. RIT, cont.
  2. Wildland Firefighting, 4 hrs. – Kansas Forest Service
  3. Oil Tank Battery Fires, 4 hrs.
  4. Forcible Entry, 4 hrs.

August 6th – Sunday Afternoon – 1200

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer


For more information please contact the following:

Chief Darin Myers
Ellis County Fire Department


KSFFA NW Trustee Justin Couse

  • 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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KSFFA Regional Fire School – Marion County

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Marion County Fire Districts
September 8-10th, 2017
Location: Marion High School, 701 E. Main St, Marion, KS

September 8th – Friday Evening – 1900 hrs.

  1. Westar Energy, Demo/Safety Trailer

September 9th – Saturday Morning – 0800

  1. Farm Rescue/Vehicle Extrication – Turnout Gear Required – EMS CEU Hrs.
  2. Rapid Intervention Teams – Turnout Gear and SCBA Required
  3. Grain Elevator Fires
  4. Engine Company Operations
  5. NFIRS Reporting

September 8th – Saturday Afternoon – 1300

  1. Farm Rescue/Vehicle Extrication, cont.
  2. Rapid Intervention Teams, cont.
  3. Wildland Fires
  4. Ventilation – Turnout Gear Required
  5. Oil Tank Battery Fires

September 9th – Sunday Morning – 0800

  1. Forcible Entry – Turnout Gear Required
  2. Water Supply
  3. Vehicle Fires – Turnout Gear and SCBA Required
  4. Lessons Learned

September 9th – Sunday Afternoon – 1200

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer – Turnout Gear and SCBA Required.

For any questions contact:

Southeast Trustee – Ron Ewing

  • 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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Chapman Girl Scouts donate emergency kits to fire department

By Carol Lacer
Chapman and Enterprise News Times – May 11, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – May 18, 2017

The Girl Scouts’ motto is to “always be prepared,” and Chapman Junior Girl Scout Troop 20177 is reaching out to help others also be prepared in cases of fire emergencies.

In working for their Bronze Award, the girls collected items for fire emergency kits for the past year. Girl Scout Freya Schroeder said the group researched and learned which items people most needed when everything is lost in a house fire.

“Then we collected those things to donate to the fire department so they can give them out to people as needed,” Freya said.

With all the donations they collected, the girls filled three bags with families in mind, three bags intended for couples, two bags with needs for single males, and two bags for single females, for a total of 10 bags. Scout leader Ali Schroeder said the bags were packed with toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, shampoo, conditioner, blanket, lotion, chap stick, tissue, floss, mouthwash, hand soap/sanitizer, first aid kits, deodorant, and small stuffed animals.

The girls presented the bags to Chapman Fire Chief Ryan Hall on Tuesday, May 2. They also donated the extra supplies that didn’t fit into the 10 bags.

Chapman Fire Chief Ryan Hall said he was very excited to hear that a group of young ladies decided to reach out and help prepare people they didn’t know with supplies that would help them for a few days in the event of a fire or natural disaster.

“They put in a considerable amount of time and effort planning and researching what items would be most useful for families, couples and even single people,” Hall said. “I believe the bags they have put together will be very helpful and very generous to those that receive them.”


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County fire gets loss prevention grant

Anderson County Review – May 9, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – May 18, 2017

Anderson County was recently awarded a $2,000 loss prevention grant through KCAMP, a risk pool for public entities in Kansas, for back up camera systems to be placed on several large fire department apparatus. The purpose of this project is to reduce or eliminate backing accidents during fire apparatus movement on emergency scenes or day to day activities. These accidents can result in expensive damage to county owned property as well as private property. Many times the costs associated with these damages falls back on Anderson County as a whole.

KCAMP is a member-owned, member-funded self-insured property and liability pool. Members pay contributions (premiums) to the pool. These contributions are used to pay claims, provide risk management services and education to the members, and pay costs associated with the administration of the pool.

Anderson County is one of 86 municipalities within Kansas that belong to KCAMP.


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Ellis County fires likely caused by lightning

By Kaley Conner
Hays Daily News – May 17, 2017

The Ellis County Fire Department battled two fires Tuesday, both of which likely were caused by lightning, according to an email from Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Darin Myers.

A home was struck by lightning on Deer Trail, and the fire was reported by a neighbor, who also helped extinguish the blaze until help arrived. The fire likely caused significant electrical and roof damage.

A bale fire was reported in the area of 250th Avenue and Hopewell. Several hay bales were on fire, and crews remained on scene Wednesday morning allowing the fire to burn out.

Fire crews from Munjor, Catharine, Victoria, Hays and Ellis all responded to assist with the fires.


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Fire Chief Stoll to retire from city of Winfield

By Shane Farley
NewsCow – May 17, 2017

Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll has announced plans to retire from his position this summer.

His final day with the city of Winfield is set for June 17. Stoll was promoted to chief in 2010 and has served the department since 1990.

He began his career as a firefighter and was promoted to lieutenant in 1998, captain in 2002 and deputy chief and fire marshal in 2008. City officials wished Stoll the best in his retirement.

“Chief Stoll has been an excellent role model for his department,” Mayor Brenda Butters said. “Under his direction, the city expanded our coverage to include Emergency Medical Services. We simply could not have done that without his leadership and guidance.”

City manager Jeremy Willmoth said the city intends to solicit candidates for the position from those currently employed within the department as well as outside.

City staff is currently working on getting the recruitment process ready, and will begin accepting applications within the next few weeks. An interim chief will be appointed following Chief Stoll’s retirement to serve until the position is permanently filled.


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Latest proposed burn regulations remove upper wind restriction and 911 approval

By John Green
Hutchinson News – May 17, 2017

The Reno County Commission appears ready to adopt new regulations on open burning that put the onus on property owners to determine whether conditions are appropriate for a controlled burn.

The commission indicated a consensus Tuesday on the latest version of a burning resolution and will take it up next week for a vote, after extensively debating the issue over several meetings earlier this year.

The final resolution still requires that an individual call 911 in advance of a burn, but the reason for the call is to advise emergency responders of a planned control burn, rather than to get permission to burn.

The only information dispatchers – or a dispatch administrator if officials set up a separate number for prescribed burn calls, as was discussed Tuesday – will provide callers is whether a county burn ban is in effect.

The person planning the burn will have to ensure they comply with other regulations in the resolution.

The regulation prohibits burning if a burn ban is in effect, if wind speeds are less than 5 mph or more than 15 mph for non-agricultural burning, and less than 5 mph for an agricultural open burn.

The commission agreed to remove the upper limit on wind speed for agricultural burns, since state law does not set one and experts have expressed during several previous meetings that higher wind speeds are sometimes required or at least desired.

The regulations also prohibit burns if the Grassland Fire Danger Index is “very high” or “extreme;” if adequate fire response personnel are not available; and an hour before sunrise or two hours before sunset.

The plan, Commissioner Ron Hirst advised the commission – and public – is to post a link to educational information about controlled burns on the county’s website.

The page will include links to a National Weather Service tabular site, where viewers can find local forecasts of hourly wind speeds and humidity levels, and to the Grassland Fire Index.

Hirst noted different conditions are appropriate for burning at different times of the year, with higher winds and lower humidity necessary to get an adequate, safe burn during summer, when there is more green, than those levels required in spring.

“There is no one wind speed that fits all,” Hirst said. “With the knowledge available out there to present to everyone, if you’re doing due diligence and doing things correctly you won’t create a fire danger to your adjoining property.”

The proposed site will also post information about burning workshops planned in advance of the next burn season. Officials will offer the workshop in different parts of the county, “so that people can understand and become more familiar with how to burn, the conditions they can burn in and what needs to done as far as manpower and how to do this safely,” Hirst said.

For the new regulation to work, however, Hirst noted, will require prosecuting “some who do not do things properly.”

The county adopted an amended burn resolution last year, said County Counselor Joe O’Sullivan, because some residents wanted told “yes or no” on a burn.

Those regulations, however, restricted burns if winds were over 15 mph, which many, particularly prescribed burn cooperatives, felt was too restrictive, resulting in them having to conduct literally hundreds of burns over just a few weeks.

Law enforcement officials also wanted to remove the burden from 911 dispatchers, who under current rules have to provide information on wind speeds and the fire hazard index to callers.

“I’m thinking this is about the best we can do,” O’Sullivan said.

Emergency Management Director Adam Weishaar expressed concern that landowners will not check conditions, “that they won’t look at whether it’s high fire index day or may end up burning on a high wind day.”

“If you want to put it on citizens and hold them liable, if that’s what the board wants I support it,” Weishaar said. “My biggest concern is you’re going to run the volunteers ragged. I’m afraid this might open a Pandora’s Box and make them run on a lot more calls.”

E-911 Director Michelle Abbott agreed with Weishaar, but expressed appreciation dispatchers would no longer be tasked with providing all the previously required information to callers.

“No matter what we do, we’ll not make everyone happy,” Commission Chairman Dan Deming said. “Personally I think it’s a reasonable compromise. It’s a long way from where we started and I’m willing to take the recommendations.”


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Man loses control of pickup, lands in Dry Creek

By Eric Wiley
Salina Journal – May 17, 2017

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

Charles Smith, 49, of Salina, was transported to Salina Regional Health Center after losing control of his pickup truck about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday while driving west on West Cloud Street and crashing into Dry Creek, just east of Centennial Road, according to Salina Police Sgt. Brent Rupert.

Rupert said Smith lost control after suffering from a medical condition.

Capt. Paul Forrester said authorities think Smith suffered from a seizure. He said Tuesday afternoon that Smith remained at the hospital in good condition.

A hospital spokeswoman declined to give an update on Smith’s condition Tuesday afternoon.

Rupert said the truck left the road on the south side as it approached Westwood Road on West Cloud Street, went over the embankment of the drainage ditch and ended up upright on its wheels in Dry Creek, which contained 2 to 3 feet of water.

Smith was not noticeably injured, Rupert said. He was able to get out of the truck with assistance.

Aaron Farmer, of Salina, and his grandmother Marcia Anderson also were driving west on West Cloud Street and witnessed the crash.

Farmer said the truck was being driven about 30 miles an hour when it started veering left, hopped the curb between a tree and a pole and went into the drainage ditch.

Farmer said Smith was unresponsive when he checked him, and Anderson called 911.


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New home arrives for Dorrance firefighter

By Amanda Aguiler
KSN – May 17, 2017


Tuesday is a new beginning for Andy Phelps, a step forward after losing everything in the state’s largest wildfire back in March.

Phelps, with a video camera in his hand, saw his new home arrive in Dorrance — a day he’s been waiting for since March 6.

“I’ve been staying in a home in Dorrance,” he said. “It’s an older bed and breakfast.”

Now, Phelps has a home to call his own again.

The past two months haven’t been easy for the volunteer firefighter.

“It’s kind of a blur,” said Phelps. “You just take it one day at a time.”

However, things started looking up when an old classmate offered a home to him.

“Their parents had passed on and they had this home that they wanted to do something with,” said Phelps.

He looked at the home and thought it was perfect.

The house moved from Brookeville to Dorrance, and crews will work today and Wednesday to place the house on top of its foundation.

Phelps spent today looking back on the day he lost everything.

“Family, friends, community, church,” he said. “That’s what gets you through things like this.”

Phelps knows he came far to get to this momentous day.

“You got to start somewhere,” he said. “Take one step at a time and be positive, and it’s just a new beginning.”


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Topeka woman taken to hospital after hitting KDOT tractor

By Brian Dulle
KSNT – May 17, 2017

A Topeka woman was taken to the hospital after her vehicle hit a Kansas Department of Transportation tractor in Osage County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the crash happened at 8:20 Monday morning with a KDOT tractor was eastbound on U.S. 56 and was making a U-turn to westbound when it was struck by a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 driven by Megan Rieman, 47, of Topeka.

KHP said Rieman was taken to Stormont Vail with injuries. The driver of the tractor, identified as Brett Romine, 27, of Osage City was not injured.

According to KHP, both drivers were wearing seat belts.


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Mercy EMS wants to move to fire station

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – May 17, 2017

Bourbon County Commissioners on Tuesday learned of a proposal for a new home for the Mercy EMS department.

Fort Scott Deputy Fire Chief Dave Bruner and Mercy EMS Manager Danny Hall spoke to commissioners regarding a proposal to move the Mercy EMS department from the emergency room at the hospital to the Fort Scott Fire Department station one at 1604 S. National Ave.

“We wanted to bring a proposal in front of you regarding a change in where EMS is housed,” Hall said. “Instead of the hospital ER, we’d be moving to the fire station.”

Hall said the “driving force” behind the proposed change is a need to make changes that will hopefully aid in the recruitment process for new EMTs and paramedics. He said one paramedic position has been open for nearly two years and there have been “very few applicants” for the position.

“We want to do whatever we can do to increase the chance of someone applying for a position here,” Hall said.

Hall said he currently has two full-time paramedics and three full-time EMTs on staff who work varying shifts. He said there are several part-time staff members. Hall said ideally, he would like to have one additional full-time paramedic.

“We have a lot of full-time staff working lots of overtime, and some part-time filling in,” he said.

Through research conducted on similar services in surrounding areas, it was discovered that “paramedics don’t want to work in an ER. They want to be on a truck or ambulance.”

Several Fort Scott firefighters are EMT certified, which can help the Mercy EMS department, Hall said.

“And if the fire department hires reserves to be EMTs, they could be part-time for Mercy,” he said. “Hopefully, there’s give and take on both sides there.”

Bruner said the EMS department would be housed in station one, where the fire department runs the “second out” ambulance, which is the ambulance that responds if Mercy EMS is on another call or transfer.

“We would reconstruct an office and make a couple of bunk rooms,” Bruner said. The bunk rooms would be similar to what firefighters currently use.

Hall said currently, there are two sleep rooms for staff located near the hospital emergency room.

“When they’re here, those rooms are available,” he said. “Currently, the policy is that in the afternoons, and certain time periods if the ER is not busy, they can go have down time and be out of the ER. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., it’s the same thing.”

Hall said staff are on duty for 12 or 24 hours. He said he tries to run a work schedule where staff “work a 24 and off a 48 (hours).”

Commission Chairman Lynne Oharah asked about funding and a timeline for the proposal.


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Brief evacuation at Southwest Topeka YMCA

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – May 16, 2017

Photo by Phil Anderson

A southwest Topeka exercise facility was evacuated briefly Tuesday morning after smoke was found in the lobby, authorities said.

The Topeka Fire Department was sent around 6:20 a.m. to the Southwest YMCA, 3635 S.W. Chelsea Drive.

Topeka fire officials said at the scene that the smoke came from a hot belt on an air-conditioning unit.

The building was cleared of the light smoke and patrons were allowed back inside the building around 6:45 a.m.

Aside from the air-conditioning belt, no damage was reported.


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2 killed in southeast Kansas head-on crash

KSN – May 16, 2017

The Kansas Highway Patrol said two people were killed in a head-on crash Sunday. It happened on U.S. 400 around 11:30 p.m.

The patrol said a 1998 Honda Accord went left of center and struck a 2004 Honda CR-V.

The drivers of both vehicles were pronounced dead. They have been identified as 34-year-old Bryan M. Adkins of Dearing and 41-year-old Heather R. Wiegert of Fall River.


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Dennis Gene Teske

Dennis Gene Teske, 74, of Sabetha, died Friday, May 12, 2017 at the Sabetha Community Hospital.

He was born April 29, 1943 in Topeka , the son of Arnold and Lenora Honig Teske. He graduated from Onaga High School in 1961 and from Pittsburg State University in 1965.

Dennis worked for the Van Doren, Hazard and Stallings Architecture Firm and later for the Joe Weekly Architecture Firm, both in Topeka. In 1973 he and Joyce moved to Onaga where they farmed and raised livestock until 2000.

He was a founding member of New Hope Lutheran Church in Onaga, a member of the Farmer’s Coop Association in Manhattan, serving as president and secretary-treasurer from 1987 to 2002, a board member of the Production Credit Association, Pottawtomie County Farm Bureau, serving as president from 1975 to 1981, Rural Fire District No. 3 for seventeen years, Young Farmers at Onaga and the Onaga Jaycees .

Dennis married Joyce Jepson on May 2, 1970 in Topeka. She survives, of the home.

He was preceded in death by a son, David Gene Teske, who died January 16, 2014, and two sisters, Myra Teske and Alice Teske.

Other survivors include a son, Kirk Teske, Sabetha; two daughters, Sherri Magnett (Charles), Omaha, NE and Melody Craig (Daniel), Sabetha; a sister, Jolene Cervantes (Lorenzo), Kansas City, MO; nine grandchildren, Jamie Faris (Steve), Searria Leprich, Chase Magnett (Alex), Page Magnett, Nathaniel Teske, Kaine Teske, Kiley Teske, Malorie Lierz and Rebecca Craig, and six great-grandchildren, Aryanna and Lucas Petty, Mirabelle and Gwenevyre Faris, and Arya and Josie Leprich.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 17th at the New Hope Lutheran Church. Burial will follow in the Onaga Cemetery. Dennis will lie in state Tuesday at the Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Onaga where family and friends will meet from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Memorials are suggested to New Hope Lutheran Church or the Onaga Fire Department, and may be sent in care of Chapel Oaks Funeral Home, P.O. Box 312, Onaga, 66521.


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Neodesha Fire Department rebuilding after plant explosion

By John Asebes
KSN – May 16, 2017


They’re a tough group of fire fighters, the men and women of Neodesha.

“It kind of felt like the earthquakes we had been having in Oklahoma. That is what everybody thought it was at first.”

The group proved it on November 22nd, when a gas plant explosion shook the town.

22 fire departments helped battle the blaze.

For Landon Woodard, it was up close and personal.

“It took out a portion of the wall, the entire roof, it picked me up and threw me against the fire truck,” says Woodard.

The blast threw him face first into engine 632, and he left his mark.

Some gauges on the outside of the truck were not damaged or melted by the heat of the flames because Landon was covering them.

He literally had to pull himself off of the truck.

Woodard recovered but old 632 never really did. The fire left it with melted lights, finicky gauges and a damaged electrical system used to raise the ladder.

It was too expensive to repair even with insurance.

The city awarded the department $25,000 and by combining it with the insurance check, Chief Duane Banzet says, they were able to get a new truck.

“The city itself really saw the need for us having it after this fire,” says Banzet.

It’s the new and improved 632 and it’s an upgrade in every sense of word.

“You can do more, plus it is more stable. You can have two fireman up here (in the ladder) and actually have two working water guns at the same time,” says Woodard.

The heat and chemicals were also tough on firefighters’ gear.

Chief Banzet says his department got 11 sets of brand new bunker gear to suit up in.

The new truck and equipment signifies the department moving forward, but they’re also a stark reminder of the dangers they face every day.

“Do you still think about the incident? Yeah”, says Woodard.

He adds, “You count your blessings. The first incident I should have been dead in.”

Chief Banzet says they are also trying to get new boots and new hoses.

He says he is in the process of applying for a federal grant that he says could play an important role in funding the new equipment.


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El Dorado FD Chief to resign

Butler County Times Gazette – May 16, 2017

Fire Chief Steve Moody has announced his retirement effective June 16, 2017. Chief Moody has served as Fire Chief of the El Dorado Fire Department for 3 ½ years. During his tenure with the City of El Dorado, the Fire Department constructed a new training facility used by the El Dorado Fire Department and the Butler Community College Firefighter Program. Chief Moody also helped secure a new fire apparatus vehicle to ensure that El Dorado is prepared to respond to fires and other emergency situations.

“Chief Moody has been an incredible asset to the El Dorado Fire Department,” says City Manager David Dillner. “Although I have not had the privilege of working with Chief Moody for very long, I can tell that he always has the best interest of the El Dorado Fire Department and the community at heart. He will be greatly missed.”

Chief Moody was instrumental in continuing the partnership with Butler Community College and its Firefighter Program that prepares students to succeed in careers in the fire service. Under Chief Moody’s leadership, the City of El Dorado provided training and skills to students and even had the opportunity to hire firefighters that participated in the program.

Chief Moody has remained steadfast in his efforts to prepare the El Dorado Fire Department for emergency situations that may result in property damage or loss of life. The fire service is a dangerous occupation, and Chief Moody has fostered a commitment to safety that protects firefighters serving the community.

Chief Moody’s retirement reception will be held at City Hall on June 2 nd from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The public is welcome to stop in and wish him well.

City Manager David Dillner intends to solicit candidates for the Fire Chief position from those currently serving the El Dorado Fire Department as well as potential candidates from outside the organization.

Applications will be due to the City by 5:00 pm on June 16, 2017. The City Manager intends to appoint an interim Fire Chief from within the El Dorado Fire Department to serve after Chief Moody’s retirement until the position is filled.


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Pool Out Building

El Dorado Fire Department – May 15, 2017

More Pics

Fire crews responded to a pool out building late last evening. Fire crews made an aggressive fire attack and quickly extinguished the fire. But, not before the building was a complete loss.


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Larry Leroy Ellis

Larry Leroy Ellis, 77, passed away Sunday, May 14, 2017, at Comanche County Hospital in Coldwater, KS. Born September 21, 1939, at Ashland, KS, he was the son of Harold and Naomi (McKinney) Ellis. Larry was a lifetime resident of Coldwater, KS. He attended Pleasant Ridge Rural School, graduated from Coldwater High School in 1957, and attended Fort Hays State University. He was a member of the Coldwater United Methodist Church and Comanche Lodge #295. Larry was a member of the Comanche County Fire Department, starting in 1958, and served as Fire Chief for nearly 30 years. He was an executive board member for Kansas State Fire Chief’s Association and was named State Firefighter of the Year and State Fire Chief of the Year in 2013. On May 31, 1959, he married Eleanor Gregg at Coldwater, KS. She preceded him in death on January 15, 1991. On February 14, 1992, he married Audrey (Chenoweth) Carpenter at Coldwater, KS. She preceded him in death on April 29, 2011.

In addition to his wives, he was preceded in death by his parents, one brother: Gary Duane Ellis; one son: Scott Ellis; a daughter-in-law: Angela Mae Ellis; a granddaughter: Lona Ellis; and a great-grandson: Tegan Gregg Ellis.

Larry is survived by two sons: Alan Ellis and wife Pearl of Coldwater, KS and Greg Ellis and wife Maxine of Coldwater, KS; a step-son: Dewayne Crouse and wife Audra of Wichita, KS; one sister: Judy Kerstetter of Coldwater, KS; sixteen grandchildren; and nineteen great-grandchildren.

Calling times are from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, May 18, 2017, (Family Will Greet Friends From 5-7) at Hatfield-Prusa Funeral Home, Coldwater, KS.

Funeral service is at 9:30 a.m., Friday, May 19, 2017, at South Central High School Gymnasium in Coldwater, KS, with Pastor Juan Espinoza and Pastor Gary Merritt presiding. Burial will follow the funeral service at Crown Hill Cemetery in Coldwater, KS.

Memorials may be sent to Coldwater United Methodist Church or Comanche County Fire Department in care of Hatfield-Prusa Funeral Home, P.O. Box 417, Coldwater, KS 67029.


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Small fire put out by HFD early Monday

Hutchinson News – May 15, 2017

Photo by Hutchinson Fire Department

There were lots of sirens at about 5 a.m. Monday while likely most people Hutchinson still slept, but the reason for them turned out to be rather minor.

According to Hutchinson Fire Department Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Unruh, the “Blue Crew” – under his direction – responded to the 800 Block of North Adams for a report of a fire in a row of apartments with people still inside. Initial arriving crews reported that no fire was visible. A small fire then was found at the back of an apartment and was controlled in less than five minutes.

Unruh said there was very minimal damage to the structure and no one was injured. Damage estimates were $2,000. The cause of fire still is under investigation.

Hutchinson Fire responded with six units.


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Bid made for new fire truck

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – May 15, 2017

The Winfield Fire/EMS Department is looking to replace Engine 71.

Winfield firefighters, led by Capt. Chad Mayberry, presented information about a new engine to the Winfield City Commission at a Thursday work session.

The current engine is 18 years old. Industry standards recommend fire engines be replaced after 15 years.

“This truck has served us well, but it’s really starting to show its age,” Mayberry said.

The current Engine 71 — a 1999 Pierce Saber model — has a 1,250 gallons per minute (GPM) pump and holds 750 gallons of water. The replacement — a Pierce PUC Dash CF — would have a 1,500 GPM pump and also holds 750 gallons of water.

Features of the new model include easier pump maintenance, pump-and-roll capability and increased storage capacity. Safety features include airbags, which the current Engine 71 does not have, and rollover protection.

The department is requesting $750,000 for the replacement in its 2018 budget, Mayberry said. In the 2017 fire/EMS budget, $100,000 is being transferred from capital outlay to the equipment reserve fund to start the purchase process.

The cost of the replacement truck is $706,000, although Mayberry said numbers have not been finalized yet.

There is also a 10-year lease-purchase option with a turn-in plan, which Mayberry said the department would like to pursue. In this option, the truck can either be turned in for a newer model after 10 years or the city can pay it off and keep it.

Under the lease-purchase, the first year’s payment would be nothing, followed by two annual payments of $50,000, then payments of around $78,000 per year until the end of the lease, for total payments of $725,544.

If the city purchases this truck, the current Engine 71 will be relocated to Strother Field, where Winfield Fire/EMS keeps some equipment on hand, said fire chief Alan Stoll. The fire engine currently at Strother Field would be removed from service.


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Man dies in motorcycle crash on Saturday

KWCH – May 15, 2017

Wichita police say a man died in a motorcycle crash on Saturday.

They say a Sedgwick County deputy tried to stop a stolen 2005 motorcycle near Lincoln and Market around 7 p.m.

The motorcycle driver refused to stop and was lost in the area Lincoln and McLean as he continued westbound.

The deputy then located the wrecked motorcycle and the driver in the 800 block of west Lincoln.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. He was identified as 27-year-old Bryce Reed.

His death marks Wichita’s 11th fatality accident of the year.


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Liberal Firefighters Battle Residential Fire

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – May 15, 2017

At 9:13 pm Saturday, Liberal firefighters were dispatched to 905 W. 2nd St. for a reported structure fire. Prior to arrival of fire units, Liberal Police officer’s on-scene reported heavy smoke from the roof of the residence. All occupants of the residence were reported to be accounted for thanks in large part to working smoke detectors in the home. Firefighters making entry encountered fire in a utility room and through the roof in the rear of the home. The fire was quickly knocked down and additional search of the residence for occupants& pets was conducted. The fire was declared under control at 9:47 pm, however firefighters spent a considerable amount of time opening void spaces to locate and extinguish hot spots in the attic area.

The fire appears to have started in the area of the water heater and rapidly extended into the attic space before venting through the roof. The home suffered extensive fire damage in the utility room and attic, as well as heavy smoke damaged to all levels. No injuries to occupants or firefighting personnel were reported. The fire department responded with a total of 16 personnel, two engines and a medical/rescue unit. Also assisting at the scene was the Liberal Police, Water & Building Departments, American Red Cross, Southern Pioneer Electric & Black Hills Energy. All units were fully returned to service at 11:49 pm.

While operating at this fire, firefighters also dealt a vehicle fire resulting from a passenger car that overheated on-scene and an injury accident at the corner of Pine St. & Western Ave.


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City talks firefighting training

By Elly Grimm
Southwest Daily Times – May 15, 2017

The Liberal city commission took care of some action items Tuesday evening, including discussion of aircraft firefighting training.

“A little history on this, we used to go to Denver, and we’d send our firefighters, typically three at a time, so the cost was not taken all at once and we didn’t have to come before you for the expenditure of those funds,” Liberal Fire Department Deputy Chief Skeety Poulton said. “But Denver has stated we can no longer go there, something about they’re not allowed to take out-of-state firefighters to attend their training anymore, so we had to seek other training.”

Poulton said several entities were contacted, including the program through the University of Kansas, who recommended the mobile aircraft firefighter training simulator.

“Other departments are doing the same thing, so I checked with the other departments, and they have limited openings, and we have a minimum of 12 firefighters who need to train with this simulator,” Poulton said. “So we checked with KU again, and they said they could bring the simulator out here, and we can have up to 25 students in the class. We’re not going to be able to fill that class, so we will be inviting other departments to send people, and we can charge them the cost for the class, which will be June 14.”

The class will be a total of eight hours, with four of those hours being in the classroom and the other four being hands-on training, according to Poulton. Ultimately, the commission unanimously approved the expenditure of funds for this FAA-required live fire training for a total of $11,000, with $5,500 of that coming from airport funds.


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Fire from playing with lighter destroys garage, vehicles

By Lindsey Bauman
Hutchinson News – May 15, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

Three children admitted to causing a fire that destroyed a four-car garage and did other damage in the 100 block of East Eighth Avenue on Friday night, according to a news release from the Hutchinson Fire Department.

No one was injured and the release did not say if the children are facing any criminal charges. Fire Chief Steve Beer was unsure of the cost of the damage.

The fire department responded to a call at 8:43 p.m. Friday and found the garage on fire. Firefighters were able to control the fire within 20 minutes, but not before the it destroyed the garage and vehicles inside and damaged three other buildings, including minor damage to the Riverside Baptist Church.

The three children from the area admitted to playing with a lighter in the garage and starting the fire, the release says.

The department responded with 11 vehicles and remained on scene for 2 1/2 hours.


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Pedestrian killed early Sunday after getting out of crashed vehicle on Kansas Turnpike

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – May 15, 2017

A 54-year-old man was killed early Sunday after she got out of a crashed vehicle on the Kansas Turnpike in southern Kansas and was struck in a second collision, authorities said.

The incident was reported at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, about three miles south of the Mulvane exit on Interstate 35 on the turnpike.

According to the Kansas Turnpike Authority’s crash log, a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck was southbound on I-35 and was attempting to make turn through the turnpike’s concrete barrier wall when it was struck by a 2004 Acura MDX sport utility vehicle.

After the Acura came to rest, a passenger got out of it. The Acura was then struck by a 2012 Ford F-150 that also was southbound on I-35.

The man who had gotten out of the SUV was then struck by the Acura after it was struck by the Ford pickup truck. He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was identified as Danny Syakhasone. The turnpike’s crash log didn’t give a city of residence for Syakhasone.

The driver of the Chevrolet Colorado, Nicholas Dean Jones, 33, of Wichita, was reported uninjured. The turnpike authority said Jones, who was alone in his vehicle, was wearing a seat belt.

The driver of the Acura, Jennifer Syakhasone, 46, of Wichita, was reported injured and was transported ot an area hospital. Her condition wasn’t available. The crash log stated she was wearing a seat belt.

The driver of the Ford pickup truck, Jerry Paul Durkee, 59, of Shawnee, Okla., was reported uninjured. The turnpike authority said he was wearing a seat belt.

A passenger in the Ford pickup truck, Jean Ann Durkee, 64, of Shawnee, Okla., was reported injured and was taken to an area hospital. The patrol said she was wearing a seat belt.

Following the collisions, the Chevrolet and Acura came to rest in the roadway blocking southbound traffic lanes. The Ford pickup truck came to rest in the southbound ditch.


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Investigators believe Topeka house fire was intentionally set

By Benjamin Van Maele
WIBW – May 15, 2017

A dog is dead after a house fire in Topeka that investigators believe was intentionally set.

The Topeka Fire Dept. responded to a structure fire just after 11:30 p.m. Saturday in the 700 block of SW Fillmore.

When crews arrived, they found smoke and flames coming from the home.

Crews were able to eventually contain the fire.

Two dogs were found inside the home. One was pronounced dead on the scene while the other is receiving care for smoke inhalation.

A preliminary investigation indicates the fire was intentionally set.

Damages are estimated at about $18,000.


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Mock accident and SAFE day held in Natoma

Salina Journal – May 15, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

In Natoma on March 17, the Natoma SAFE (Seat belts Are For Everyone) and FADD (Families Against Destructive Decisions), in conjunction with local and state agencies and businesses, hosted a “mock accident” and SAFE Day.

The scenario was a distracted driver trying to use his phone to take a video while driving. None of the occupants was wearing a seat belt, and one student was standing in the back of the pickup truck. They “hit” the electrical pole northeast of the Ag Building at the corner of Sixth and Baum streets.

The day began with a presentation by the Kansas DUI Impact Center for seventh-12th grade students. Around 9 a.m., a pre-recorded 911 call from one of the students in the accident was heard over a school speaker system, followed by the arrival of emergency vehicles with lights on and sirens blaring.

The scene’s casualties included one student deceased, one student ejected through the windshield and unresponsive, and two students with minor to severe injuries, who were conscious and talking with rescuers.

The mother of the deceased student arrived. Trooper Tod Heilman tried to console her after telling her her son had been ejected from the back of the truck and had died.

To get the other two students out, the rescue crew took the top off the pickup cab and pried the door open using the Jaws of Life.

The deceased student was loaded into a hearse and taken to the south entrance of the school building. Students walked past the open body bag as they returned to the building.

Heilman gave a presentation on seat belts, distracted driving and the effect of poor decision-making when behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Students had a chance to ride in the Convincer, a KHP demonstration trailer. Riders are strapped into an inclined seat that rolls down at 5 mph and jolts to a stop.

Two SAFE members, Dylan Pruter and Erika George, wearing Crash Dummy costumes, “Vince” and “Larry,” provided by the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, visited Natoma elementary classrooms to encourage seat belt usage.

SAFE sponsor Jeremy Long said, “Even though everyone knew that the scene was only a mock accident, the realization of the effect an actual event like this would have on our community was really evident. Everyone knows that texting and driving is a problem. This mock, hopefully, helped students realize the real responsibility you take on when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

Natoma SAFE was started in September 2016 by the Natoma FFA to promote seatbelt use and traffic safety. FADD was started in 1988 primarily to host a safe after-prom event. It has grown to include events for all ages at the school, such as Red Ribbon Week events and a bike safety program.

Volunteers for the mock included Tyler Lund, Jennifer Lund, Austin Murphy, Grady Dickerson and Taitem Zeigler; Natoma SADD; Don Snyder, Osborne County Emergency Manager; Keith Haberer, Russell County Emergency Manager; Natoma Fire Department; Waldo Fire Department; Lucas Fire and Rescue Department; Natoma EMS; Osborne EMS; Pohlman-Varner- Peeler Mortuary; Eagle Med; Osborne County Sheriff’s Department; Russell County Sheriff’s Department; USD 399; Shop on the Corner; A & D Towing; George Fencing; and Auction One.


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Goodland man dies in Friday morning accident

Hays Post – May 12, 2017

A 73-year-old Goodland man died while attempting a U-turn at 9:55 a.m. Friday, according to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The KHP said a 2004 Chevrolet pickup driven by George O. Schmidt, 73, Goodland, was stopped southbound near the intersection of Kansas 27 and Sherman County Road 60 waiting for a vehicle to pass before making a U-turn.

After that unidentified vehicle passed, the truck attempted a U-turn in front of a 2007 Peterbilt semi driven by Steven R. Smith, 41, Goodland, the KHP said. The semi struck the pickup in the intersection and both vehicles came to rest facing southeast in the ditch.

Schmidt’s next of kin were notified by the Sherman County Sheriff’s office, the KHP said. He was taken to Bateman Funeral Home in Goodland.

Smith reportedly was not injured.


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Overland Park firefighters share magical day with kids

By Anne Marie Hunter
Kansas City Star – May 12, 2017

By Anne Marie Bush. Cameron Bean, 5, and Tristan Milne, firefighter Explorer, partner up to make sure their fire hose is spraying in the right direction.

Photo by Anne Marie Hunter. Charlie Cady, 4, and his father, Ben, talked firefighting with their favorite firefighter, Jackson McBrien.

What is scary, fun and downright out of this world, all at once?

How about your very first white-knuckled, “don’t-look-down-now” ride in a firetruck’s100-foot aerial ladder lift.

This was just one of the experiences firefighters shared with hundreds of elated children on May 6 during the Overland Park Fire Department’s Fun Day for Kids with Special Needs.

Saturday’s annual event was held at the Overland Park Fire Training Center where during the year, hundreds of trainees take on the heat to achieve firefighter certification. But, Saturday, all of the focus was on a different group of young firefighters, as the fire department welcomed their guests to the 14th annual Fun Day.

Under a perfect blue sky, the children, their parents and friends laughed and smiled from one firefighting event to the next. Many took their first ride in a fire truck. They held their breath while riding sky-high in aerial ladders, and learned the ins and outs of police cars. The afternoon’s most popular activity involved the fire hoses. Many returned often to splash on the warm day.

Twenty-eight firefighters from Overland Park and neighboring departments volunteered to make the day unforgettable.

“They love the sirens and horns honking,” said Captain Tim Byrnes. “And, I love to see them smile…”

Amy Beau who came with her son, Cameron, said it’s nice to have a place where children can simply be themselves.

“Everyone here genuinely cares. We’ve been coming for four years and look so forward to it all year,” she said. “We start talking about it in March — how we get to hang out with the firefighters.”

Beau’s son, Cameron, 5, has CDG-la, a rare congenital condition.

“Though he’s defied all the odds, he can still be socially and sensory overwhelmed. But he loves it here.”

The love goes both ways.

“You just want to be here,” says Scott Jackson, an 11-year fire department veteran. “Other stations cover our stations so we can be here. Just to see the kids’ excitement and to see their faces. It’s rewarding for us. You can’t buy smiles like that.”

Jane and David Alstatt came with their son, Peter, 6, for their first time.

“Peter has a sensory-processing disorder, and our social opportunities are narrow,” Jane Alstatt said. “We can’t go to the zoo, or a normal movie. No field trips because the kids are excited and may scream.

“For us, this event shows a respect for people who have special-needs kids. It’s also a chance for parents to get together and see other parents in similar situations, struggling to find better opportunities for our kids. These are exceptional kids, but you don’t know how they are going to react or what might trigger their worries or anxieties.”

For most of the afternoon, Peter was pretty certain a firetruck ride wasn’t in his future.

When he finally decided to take the leap, his parents said they couldn’t believe their eyes.

“We couldn’t believe he took this challenge,” his mom said. “But because it was connected to fun, he went beyond his sensory limitations and fears.

“In this setting, you know everything will be OK, and you don’t feel awkward. Here, we not only feel accepted, we feel invited. This is how love works.”

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Specialist and his team drill in fire safety facts

By Anne Kniggendorff
Kansas City Star – May 12, 2017

Photo by Anne Kniggendorff.

When Donnie Pfeiffer asks a group of students outside Green Springs Elementary in Olathe if they practice fire drills at school, the response is unanimous.

“Yes,” Krystal Hickel’s second-graders say together.

“Do you practice fire drills at home?” Pfeiffer asks.

“No!” they shout back at him as if he’s joking with them.

The public education specialist goes on to explain that every family needs an escape plan and a designated meeting place.

They’re standing next to a mobile home called E.D.I.T.H. — Exit Drills In The Home — a life-sized educational demonstration tool for kids. Within the home is a kitchen strewn with hazards like a butcher block on its side full of knives, paper towels on the stove, and prescription bottles in easy reach of children.

Firefighter Michael Berndt, one of the founders of the program, tells the class that the kitchen is a home’s most dangerous room. It’s where 38 percent of fires start.

Pfeiffer and a team of off-duty firefighters from Olathe’s fire department drilled the children on kitchen safety. Topics included not leaving flammables near the stovetop, always knowing two ways out of a room, and ensuring a home’s smoke detectors are working.

The children take turns spotting the hazards, then move into the living room,where they encounter a plastic gas can on top of a television, among other no-nos.

The Olathe fire department has given fire safety courses at Olathe schools for at least 20 years, but E.D.I.T.H. has only been around for 15.

Until three years ago, Pfeiffer was a firefighter. A 25-year veteran of the department, he decided to go into education full time because “nobody calls 911 when they’re having a good day.”

Pfeiffer and a team of firefighters have visited 36 Olathe elementary schools, including private schools, each year for 15 years. He says they’ve helped educate around 2,200 kids.

“It serves a lot of purposes,” he says. “One, it let’s them know we’re not scary people.”

He also says they tell kids to look for someone in a uniform, be it a police officer or a firefighter.

“The school district has really bought into it, which is awesome; it’s a great partnership.”

The program begins in second grade with the demo and moves to a more intensive program in third grade, which many teachers grade as part of their curriculum. The team visits the middle schools to educate older kids about cooking-specific hazards.

In the high schools they team up with the police and EMTs to discuss driving while distracted.

The most exciting — and to some children frightening — feature of E.D.I.T.H. is the escape from the smoky bedroom.

A smoke detector sounds from the rear of the trailer in the Scooby-Doo-themed bedroom. The room fills with theatrical smoke and the kids exit through a window and down a ladder, one by one.

They remark that their eyes are stinging as they hurry to the designated meeting place.

Pfeiffer’s waits for them at the bottom of the ladder, reminding them to stay calm, move slowly, and “stay down low where the good air is.”


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Kenneth R. Thomas

Kenneth R. Thomas, 79, lifetime Canton resident, died Sunday, May 7, 2017 at Pine Village, Moundridge. He was a retired line superintendent for Mac Co. Gas in Canton and was a former employee of the City of Canton. He was born May 7, 1938 in Goessel, the son of Daniel J. and Lisbeth L. (Hamm) Thomas. On August 10, 1958 he married Judith E. Heim at Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Canton, of which he was a member. Kenneth was also a longtime member of the Canton Fire Department and had previously served as fire chief for many years. Survivors include his wife, Judith; a daughter, Julie Carbonneau, Canton; two brothers, Larry (Judith “Patsy“) Thomas, Destin, Florida and Don (Karen) Thomas, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; a sister, Joan (Jay) Fortner, McPherson; four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a son, James K. Thomas on March 2, 2016 and a brother Robert Thomas. Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Canton. Interment will be in the Canton Township Cemetery. Friends may call from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 12, 2017 at Olson’s Mortuary, Canton. Memorials have been established with the church or the Canton Fire Department, in care of the mortuary.


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Open House Fun

Gardner News – May 12, 2017

Photos by Rick Poppitz

There was an open house on May 6 at Fire District #1’s New Century station, hosted by Mike Brown, District 6 County Commissioner. Med-Act, the sheriff’s department, K-State and Johnson County Parks and Recreation also participated in the event. The open house was a hit with the kids, who got to meet firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers, including Calvin Hayden, sheriff, and Rob Kirk, FD1 fire chief. FD1 also had an area set up for the kids to get hands on experience with a fire hose, and they all got an up close look at the fire trucks and emergency vehicles.


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New Mobile Command truck to serve South Central Kansas

By Scott Evans
KWCH – May 12, 2017

Collins employees pose for picture in front of the Mobile Command truck they built.


The city of South Hutchinson just got a new piece of equipment that will help not just them during emergencies, but 19 counties in South Central Kansas.

Since 1995, South Hutchinson has used a 1986 Chevy for their Mobile Incident Command. Police Chief Scott Jones says they nicknamed it MIC (pronounced Mick). They got it from McConnell Air Force Base for free.

In 2009 Collins Bus renovated MIC to make it easier to use. For the past 21 years South Hutch Police and Fire have used MIC during major events.

“The old truck is 30 years old, so the engine’s tired, the transmission is tired,” said Jones.

Thursday, they got an upgrade.

“I was very impressed with the truck, once I saw it for the first time. I couldn’t believe it,” said Jones.

Custom built by Collins Bus, the new Mobile Command truck has just about everything emergency officials need, including the ability to watch live TV and space to coordinate their response. It even can become a mobile 911 dispatch center.

“This is something that I think not a lot of counties, not a lot of cities have access to, so it will be very very useful for having that here,” said Chris Hiebert, Director of Operations for Collins Bus.

“Believe it or not,” said Jones. “The other thing I’m excited about, you’re going to laugh, all of these white walls, that’s all dry erase board and they’re magnetic.”

And when you’re trying to coordinate a lot of people, writing space can be a premium.

Paid for with an $80,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, 19 counties will have access to this truck

“Having something mobile and ready to go, and you don’t have to hook it up and for events it’s very very important to help either with wild fires or stretch or collapses or SWAT team deployments or anything of that nature,” said Greg Klien the Chair for the South Central KS Homeland Security Council.

Since South Hutchinson applied for the DHS grant, they’ll maintain and house the truck when it’s not in use. South Hutchinson’s police chief says the truck will be used at least five to six times a year.


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Four decades as a firefighter

By Joey May
Hiawatha World – May 12, 2017

Photo by Roni Tietjens. The Robinson Fire Department presented Chief Dennis Tietjens with a 40-year service plaque. Front (l-r): Liz Jeschke, Laura Hooper, Jeremy Dolisi, Dennis Tietjens, Nicole Dolisi and Sean Sample; back, Jason Hooper, Craig Jeschke, Gordon Hooper, Matt Tietjens, Josh Long and Todd Massey.

A Robinson man just celebrated 40 years with the Robinson Fire Department.

April marked four decades of service for Chief Dennis Tietjens, who said he has many stories to share and many memories made during his tenure. The Robinson Fire Department recently presented him a plaque to commemorate Tietjen’s years of service.

He also said he has no plans to throw in the towel after crossing this milestone.

“You have to want to do this and I still want to do this,” Tietjens said.

Serving as a volunteer firefighter puts a person in a some serious — and dangerous situations — along with some that can be downright funny, he said.

“But you always have respect for people,” he said. “You go to people’s houses at their worst day and you need to respect that.”

After high school, Tietjens said he wanted to do something for his country. He still wanted to farm if he could, so he joined the National Guard in Sabetha. After six years in the communications of the unit from 1970-76, he was thinking of serving longer, but his father came down with cancer and Tietjens lost him in the spring of 1976. His mother had passed away when Tietjens was only 5 years old, so he was suddenly without both of his parents. At that time, he decided not to resign with the National Guard.

A year later he and his wife, Wanda, were married and he was still farming with his brother, Stanley, and still had the urge to do something for his community.

“After all, I still clearly remember what our president John Kennedy said when I was in school ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,’” he said. “I still remember that day very clearly.”

Having lived in the Robinson community most of his life, one day the chief Dean Erdley came and asked him if he would join the department. Tietjens agreed to come by the next meeting, where Erdley said “let’s go for a drive.”

“We got in one of the fire trucks and he drove out to the Upper Wolf Church south of Robinson,” Tietjens continued. “He parked the truck, got out and said ‘OK Dennis, you drive back to town. Well, as the saying goes, the rest is history, it is now 40 years later.”

Tietjens said he has been fire chief about half of the years he has been a member. He served as chief in the 1980s and again in the 1990s and was appointed again at the retirement of Harlan Kneisel a few years back.

Looking back over four decades brings a flurry of memories, but he said some calls stand out more than others. One of his first calls was a real learning experience, he said. Tietjens responded to a trailer house fire on the south end of town. When he arrived, the first fire truck was just pulling up and Loren Davenport, mayor at the time and a member of the RFD, was out back putting out a small fire. As Tietjens was donning his gear, the homeowner came up and asked if he could get his suitcase, just inside the side door. He had just returned from vacation.

“Somewhere, my train of thought went out the window,” Tietjens said. “I walked up to the trailer house and opened the door. If I had remembered any training, I wouldn’t have opened that door. I didn’t feel the door to see if it was hot, I didn’t do a 360 to walk around the house to read what the house was telling me. If I had, I would have felt that the door was hot, the windows were stained black, which means the air temperature inside was 900 to 1,100 degrees. If I would have looked around the windows or bottoms of the doors I would have seen a little puff of smoke then a draft back; the house was breathing and was starving for oxygen.”

When Tietjens opened that door, he said he gave the house what it was wanting — oxygen!!

“It had heat and fuel and now oxygen,” he said. “Fire shot out of that door like a freight training coming out of a tunnel at high speed. It had reached flash over point of around 1,300 degrees and everything ignited in the home at once,” he said. “I dropped to the ground, thank goodness I had all my gear on and a charged line in my hand. We were able to save things he had in closets and drawers and his refrigerator where he kept his money. And yes, I did hand him his suitcase intact.”

Tietjens remembered that was a close call and he uses it now for a training aid.

Another memory brought back a little humor. Tietjens said they were called to a house on fire. When they arrived, the lady homeowner was running out, telling them her kitchen was on fire.

“We went in and found her oven was boiling black smoke,” he said. “She had forgotten she was baking a cake, now it was really done for her. She was quite embarrassed.”

In another instance, a close call could have been quite bad, but it wasn’t. A lady had put a curling iron in the top drawer of a desk and left it on next to a can of hair spray.

“Well the heat from the curling iron blew the can of hair spray, resulting in a fire in the desk,” he said. “It burnt a 4-inch hole or so in the middle of the desk. What saved the day was there was a 60 gallon fish aquarium sitting on the desk and as the fire got hotter it cracked the glass on the aquarium, letting water flow from the tank — putting out the fire. The smoke was dense enough at one point that it left a smoke layer on the walls about four feet down. When we went in, all we found were fish flopping all over the floor.”

Tietjens said not all calls brought back memories he could chuckle about — their department has had it’s share of tragedy too over the years.

“One evening, we had a report of a doublewide trailer on fire,” he said. “The dispatcher was on the phone with him (the owner) when she paged us out. I could hear him say ‘I have pets in my house and I’m going back in to get them.’ I remember hearing the dispatcher tell him ‘Do not go back into the house!’”

Tietjens said the homeowner went back in to rescue his pets. When firefighters arrived very dense smoke was boiling from the home. The windows were stained black, so it was 900-plus degrees in the home.

“The dense black smoke indicates that there is a lot of unburnt fuel and is waiting for the temperature to reach around 1,300 degrees and it will all ignite at once,” he said.

Unfortunately, Tietjens said they knew the homeowner was already gone, because a person can only breathe up to 150 degrees — anything over that and the lungs will vaporize.

“So, the hard decision I made was not to try to get him — a decision I did not take lightly,” Tietjens said. “I knew at any moment that smoke was going to ignite and in a few minutes it did. It all but blew that house apart, the walls and roof moved. That would have been about the time our teams would have been in the home and we would have most likely lost them too.”

Tietjens said that one of the speeches all new members get is “Our goal as firefighters is to save lives and preserve property, but the most important goal is that you come home after the call.”

Tietjens said he continues to serve with the fire department for many reasons.

“To take part in the community and to be part of the community,” he said. “I tell myself I want to do this, much like anything else, if you want to do it, you will make and find the time to do it.”

“I can say I’m not looking forward to the next call, but I do look to it as a challenge. I’ve had some very rewarding moments,” he said.

One time, at a local store, he saw someone walking swiftly toward him. Tietjens turned to face him and he saw the man had his hand outstretched to shake his hand. He said, with tears in his eyes “Thank you and your department for saving my father’s life.”

Tietjens said that has to be one of the more memorable moments of his career, and the man’s father was one of only two people out of the many Tietjens had performed CPR on that was saved.

“We are here for our community, on call 24-7 and we volunteer our time to calls at no cost to the taxpayer,” he said. “And yes, if you are wondering we have even rescued a cat from a tree. I’m very proud to be one of the members.”


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