Archive for July, 2017

State audit will compare Kansas wildfire response with other states

By Jonathan Shorman
Wichita Eagle – July 31, 2017

State auditors will investigate how Kansas’s wildfire suppression system compares to others following massive fires this spring that caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Kansas has among the smallest wildfire suppression budgets in the country – about $300,000 – and state fire officials have said coordination of firefighting resources has been lacking.

Lawmakers on Monday approved an examination of the state’s wildfire fighting system. Auditors will begin their investigation in January.

“The bottom line is the last two years we’ve lost in excess of $100 million in property in Kansas and we’re spending maybe $300,000 on state money to try to prevent these losses and it’s not making it better,” said Rep. John Carmichael, D- Wichita.

Read more here:


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Officials investigate cause of house fire in Wilson

Hays Post – July 31, 2017

Fire officials are investigating the cause of a Monday morning fire at a house in Wilson.

Just after 8a.m. the Wilson Fire Department was paged to the fire at 717 28th Street, according to a media release from Fire Chief Larry Langerman.

There were no injuries reported.

The Wilson Fire Department returned to the station at approximately 11:00 am. An estimate on amount of damage was not available .


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Volunteers serve vital role in Johnson County Fire Department

By Jim Cunningham
KMBZ – July 31, 2017

Some see it as a way to give back. For many, it’s the first step toward a career. They are volunteer firefighters.

Cory Neal and Mike Shaw serve their community in Johnson County’s Fire District #1.

Neal is a sheriff’s deputy. Shaw manages the parts division at McCarthy Chevrolet. At 50 and 60-years-old respectively, neither man is looking to begin a career. Fire District #1 has more than 15 volunteers.

“There are times you want to step up and you gotta remember, I’m firefighting today,” said Neal, who enjoys wearing two badges.

Shaw became a volunteer seven years ago. He says helping people is gratifying and exciting.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an adrenaline rush to run into a burning building,” Shaw said. “It seems crazy but it’s a fun thing to do.”

District #1 has four stations that combine to protect more than 100 square miles of Johnson County.

“I think Johnson County District 1 has some of the best in the business,” Shaw said. “It takes both volunteers and full-time to be successful.”


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Rock fire requires more visits

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – July 31, 2017

Photos by Donita Clausen

Firefighters from Udall and the surrounding area fought fires at two houses Wednesday and early Thursday in Rock.

Area firefighters were called out twice to the site of a fire that leveled a vacant house at 131 Williams St. Another fire early Thursday morning also damaged a neighboring home at 141 Williams St.

The initial fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. at 131 Williams St., Udall Fire Chief Randy Hoffman said. Firefighters were there until 7 p.m. Units from Udall, Atlanta and Winfield were on scene. Occupants of a neighboring house at 141 Williams St. were evacuated, although their house did not catch fire at that time.

When firefighters arrived, the vacant house was fully engulfed in flames, Hoffman said. They mainly worked on keeping the flames away from the neighboring home.

There were no injuries directly related to the first fire, although a child at 141 Williams St., was taken to William Newton Hospital via ambulance after stepping on an object in the yard and sustaining a foot wound, said Hoffman.

The second call came about 8:40 p.m., when a concerned citizen called and asked firefighters to check on the site. Udall firefighters went by and sprayed more water on the ruins.

The third call came around 2 a.m. Thursday. A Cowley County sheriff’s deputy patrolling the area saw flames coming from the side of the house at 141 Williams St. Firefighters from Udall, Atlanta, Winfield and Douglass responded and extinguished the fire.

The occupants evacuated, but were able to return after the fire was out, Hoffman said. The cause of this fire is also under investigation.


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Paul Eugene Becker

Paul Eugene Becker was born on June 26,1931 in Logan, Kansas and passed away on July 23, 2017 at the Phillips County Hospital in Phillipsburg, Kansas at the age of 86.

Paul was born and raised on a farm north of Logan to Rhodney and Lucille (Jaenicke) Becker. Except for his two years in the Army, Paul lived his whole life in Logan, raising his family on the farm 6 miles north of town. In 1983 Paul and Loretta built their house in town, where they both enjoyed their retirement years.

Paul was united in marriage to Loretta Ann Jandera on June 11, 1951 at the Catholic Church in Logan, officiated by Monsignor Koegan. They were blessed to adopt three children into their lives and fill their home with joy.

Paul worked for Rural Telephone upon his exit from the Army. He then began to haul bulk gasoline for Standard Oil Co as well as propane for Westhusing’s, eventually owning and operating his own fuel service until his retirement in 1996.

Besides spending time with his family, Paul’s greatest joys came from his horses. He passed this love for riding and working cattle as well as hunting along to his children. Paul was a fourth degree Knight with the Logan Knights of Columbus; he also served as a volunteer fireman with the Logan Fire Department for 25+ years. Paul also served on the Logan School board and volunteered his time and skills with community projects.

Paul is survived by his daughters: Susan (Mike) Elliott and Shirley (Darrell) Colby both of Phillipsburg, Kansas. He also leaves 4 grandchildren: Wayne (Valorie) Grammon of Hays, KS; Amy (Chris) Rundell of Sheridan, WY; Jessie (Rodger) Keehn of Beatrice, NE and Kayla (Jeff) Zerr of Heartwell, NE; as well as 12 great-grandkids. He is also survived by three brothers: Robert (Mary) Becker, Ronald Becker and Cliff (Darlene) Becker all of Logan; sister in-law, Betty Jane Bittel and brother in-law, Jerrold (Wanda) Jandera, all of Logan; along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Paul was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta and son, William (Bill) Becker; parents, Rhodney and Lucille Becker; In – Laws, Joe and Anna Jandera; brother and sister in –law, Jerome and Ruth (Lynch) Becker of Beaver City, Nebraska; as well as sister in-law, Kay (Frans) Becker of Logan and brother in-law, Alvin Bittel.

A Rosary will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Logan Funeral Home, Logan.

A Mass Of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. in the St. John’s Catholic Church, Logan, with Father Daryl Olmstead officiating. Burial will follow in the Pleasant View Cemetery, Logan.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Logan Fire Dept. or the Logan American Legion.


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Job Opening – Firefighter I – Garden City Fire Department

Firefighter I – Garden City Fire Department

Purpose: The City of Garden City is accepting applications for the position of full-time Firefighter I. This position is non-exempt shift work and is subject to drug and alcohol testing.

Qualifications: Required qualifications include: 18 years of age or older, a high school diploma or GED, a valid Class B Driver’s License or ability to obtain on within one (1) year of employment, with a good driving history, and Firefighter I certification.

Salary Range: $11.18 – $16.77 per hour DOQ plus an excellent benefits package. Applications will be accepted until position has been filled. EOE

Please send resume, cover letter and application to City of Garden City, Human Resources Dept.: online; by email:; or by mail: PO Box 998, Garden City, KS 67846


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Manhattan Fire Department holds training for all types of situations

By Natalie Dattilio
WIBW – July 31, 2017


The Manhattan Fire Department is training to make sure they can handle all situations that arise.

The Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team held rope rescue training Friday morning. They had to respond to a fake rescue call, where a man had fallen thirty or forty feet down a cliff and suffered a few fractures.

The Battalion Chief of Training says even though they haven’t had a call like this in real life, it’s better to be prepared.

“We always got to continue to refresh,” Mark Whitehair said. “We can always continue to learn, anytime we stop learning then we stop progressing. We always get new equipment, so we got to keep the cycle going, keep fresh with it. We got new guys on the department, its good for them to see so if we do get one of these situations. They kind of know how it will go and what equipment we’ll need to have a successful outcome.”

The department says the Technical Rescue Team is fully prepared for rescues at structural collapses, confined spaces and trenches, plus more.


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Neighbor saves young boy from west Wichita apartment fire

KAKE – July 31, 2017

An official with the Wichita Fire Department says if a boy’s neighbor wouldn’t have risked his life to save the child from an apartment fire, the child would have died.

The fire was reported Friday afternoon at Silver Springs Apartments on Ridge Road near Central. Battalion Chief Lane Pearman tells KAKE News that the man heard a girl screaming for help. The girl told him her brother was still inside the apartment.

The neighbor kept his cool and asked the girl where her brother was.

The fire was small, confined to the couch, Pearman said. But by the time the neighbor found the boy, the fire had grown, blocking their escape.

The man held the boy tight and jumped through the fire and closed the door behind him.

The boy and his sister were not hurt. Their hero, however, suffered burns to his leg. He was in critical condition when EMS took him to a local hospital, but he has since been treated and released.

The fire caused $60,000 in damage. The cause is under investigation.


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Vehicle fire Saturday morning caused by starter malfunction

By Lily Abromeit
Topeka Capital Journal – July 31, 2017

A vehicle fire Saturday morning was ruled as accidental, and officials say the probable cause was a malfunction with the starter.

Donnie Dunbar, a Topeka resident, was driving an old van Friday night when it ran out of gas. Dunbar parked the car outside his friend’s house on SE Echo Ridge Circle, where he left it overnight. In the morning, he put gas in the car and tried to start it. It sounded fine, he said, so he ran something back to the house before leaving. Dunbar said he was gone less than 30 seconds from the van when he smelled something funny. When he turned around, the van was engulfed in flames.

The Topeka Fire Department was investigating the fire Saturday morning and Battalion Chief Mark Brannock said they received a call reporting it at 7:40 a.m. Dunbar said he thought it took about 12 minutes for emergency vehicles to arrive on scene.

Dunbar said he works on cars often and this was one he was trying to fix up. Brannock said there were no injuries to people, but that Dunbar’s dog was in the van when the flames started and died in the fire.


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No injuries after morning blaze

By Stephanie Potter
Pittsburg Morning Sun – July 31, 2017

Two young children and their baby sitter escaped a fire on Friday morning.

The Pittsburg Fire Department was advised of a fire around 10:30 a.m. at an apartment on 812 Ford Street, Apartment B.

They responded with three units and nine firefighters, the fire chief and the state fire marshal were all on scene.
According to Pittsburg Fire Chief Mike Simons, two young children and their baby sitter escaped the fire without any injuries.

Simons said the fire is considered an accidental fire, which started in one of the bedrooms in the resident’s apartment.

The other apartment — apartment A — was not occupied at the time.

Simons said the smoke detectors were a part of the safe evacuation of the occupants.

“Without that [smoke detectors], who knows what the outcome would have been,” he said. “It is a national statistic that working smoke detectors increase the chance of survival.”

Simons said there is significant damage to one room and smoke damage throughout the apartment. He said it would need a lot of repairs before it will be habitable again.

The blaze did not cause any damage to the other apartment.

The American Red Cross was called to assist the family in their time of need.


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Fire engulfs Kansas City, Kan., house

By Robert A. Cronkleton
Kansas City Star – July 31, 2017

A fire engulfed a Kansas City, Kan., house Sunday morning that reportedly had a large amount of ammunition inside the garage, according to a fire official.

The fire was reported shortly before 7 a.m. in the 3200 block of North 46th Street. Arriving firefighters reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the house, Kansas City, Kan., Fire Chief John Paul Jones said on Twitter.

About 7:20 a.m., the incident commander reported that firefighters were attacking the fire from the outside after the roof to the garage and part of the living area collapsed, according to radio traffic.

Firefighters extinguished the fire about 7:45 a.m., Jones said on Twitter. There were no initial reports of injuries.


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Crash on Kellogg kills 1, injures 4

KAKE – July 31, 2017

One person was killed and four others injured Sunday night when a vehicle rolled over on Kellogg, east of downtown Wichita.

The crash occurred in the westbound lanes at Washington around 11:00 p.m. Initial reports from dispatchers indicated it was in the eastbound lanes.

Firefighters said the vehicle rolled over, and people were trapped inside. Westbound Kellogg was reduced to one lane of traffic because of the crash, with traffic being diverted onto Interstate 135.


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One dead in Wichita motorcycle crash

By Greg Miller
KAKE – July 31, 2017

A 20-year-old man is dead after police say he crashed his motorcycle into a car in West Wichita on Friday night.

First responders arrived to the scene near 2nd and West St. at approximately 8:15 p.m. Once there, they pronounced the motorcycle driver dead.

Investigators say the motorcycle driver was northbound on West Street. When the driver of a Dodge Charger pulled out to go south, the motorcycle driver hit the vehicle.

The Critical Accident Team arrived on the scene, but a spokesman for the Wichita Police Department said they haven’t determined whether speed was a factor. He also couldn’t confirm whether the man was wearing a helmet.

The driver of the Charger, a 65-year-old woman, was not hurt.


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Man killed in motorcycle crash

KSHB – July 31, 2017

A man was killed in a motorcycle crash on North 86th Street in Kansas City, Kansas late Friday night.

Police were called to the 200 block of North 86th Street at about 10 p.m. Friday.

Upon arrival, officers located a blue motorcycle that had collided with a tree. The initial investigation revealed that a white male was southbound on North 86th Street when he lost control and hit the tree.

The man was reportedly dead when officers arrived. The accident remains under investigation.


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John Redmond drowning victim believed to be from Emporia area

Emporia Gazette – July 31, 2017

A man the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office believed to be from the Emporia area has drowned at John Redmond Reservoir in Coffey County.

The man’s identity is being withheld pending notification of the family.

At approximately 1:21 p.m. Saturday, Coffey County dispatchers received a 911 call that an individual had gone into the water at the spillway located at the reservoir.

“At the time of the call, it was believed the person had gone underwater and had not resurfaced for around 10 minutes,” read a written statement from the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office. “After a short period of time, the body of the missing person was found below the spillway, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

Coffey County Water Rescue, along with sheriff’s office personnel, responded to the call. Other agencies assisting in the efforts included the Burlington Police Department, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Coffey County EMS and Coffey County Fire District No. 1.

Update: The Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism has released the name of the Emporia man who drowned in a Coffey Co. reservoir over the weekend.

On Saturday, Guixian Zheng was fishing with a family member at John Redmond Reservoir when the 65-year-old waded into the water at the east end of the wing wall to help pull in a large fish when he was swept under the water, KDWPT said.

The Coffey Co. Sheriff’s Office says they were called to the reservoir shortly before 2:30 p.m., about 10 minutes after he was pulled under water. Zheng’s body was recovered around 3:45 p.m. below the spillway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Zheng was not wearing a life-preserver at the time, KDWPT said.


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Man dies after SUV catches fire in crash

Hutchinson News – July 31, 2017

A man from Plains died after a crash early Sunday morning outside of Meade.

According to a Kansas Highway Patrol crash log, Alton L. Willimon, 68, of Plains was driving a sports utility vehicle westbound on U.S. 54 at a high rate of speed when the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve to the right about three-fourths of a mile east of Meade at 2:26 a.m. The vehicle crossed the center line and went into the south ditch, then crossed U.S. 160. It landed in the south ditch, then vaulted over a fence line and landed nose-first. It flipped end-over-end and rolled one time, ejecting Willimon.

The vehicle came to a stop south of U.S. 54 facing southeast, where it burned completely.

Willimon was taken first to Meade District Hospital, then flown to the burn unit at Via Christi-St. Francis in Wichita, but Kansas Highway Patrol reported he later died.


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Training Event – August 19th-20th

FD Ladder 2 5 Attack Line Flyer 17-2-2


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Joseph R. Perry

Joseph Robert Perry, 90, Minneapolis, passed away Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at the Salina Regional Health Center. Joe was born July 23, 1927 in Minneapolis to John H. and Josephine (Gollon) Perry.

Joe Bob as he was known to many was a 1945 graduate of Minneapolis High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1945-1946. Joe and Marilyn Hixson were united in marriage on June 4, 1949. Together, they raised their six children in Minneapolis. Joe and Marilyn owned and operated Perry Liquor for 38 years; closing in 1987. Joe was a familiar face at the Minneapolis Post Office for many years and he retired in 1990. He and Marilyn also worked at Shields and Wilson Family Funeral Homes for several years.

He was a faithful member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where he and Marilyn purchased the stained glass window above the organ. Joe was also a member of the Knights of Columbus; American Legion; and the Rock City Board. He was a former member of the Minneapolis Fire Department, school board, Country Club, and Junior Chamber of Commerce.

If Joe was asked what his biggest accomplishment was, he would always say it was his six children. He was very proud of them and loved them dearly.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Preston (Pete) Perry; and sister, Treva Miller.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Marilyn; sons, Michael and wife Cindy, Thomas and wife Suzanne, David and wife Danielle; daughters, JoAnn Tacha and husband Myron, Susan Nunn and husband Martin, and Patricia Boling and husband Randy; 19 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and sister, Dorothy Seitz.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, July 29 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial will be in Highland Cemetery, Minneapolis. Visitation will be from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Friday at Wilson Family Funeral Home, Minneapolis, where a rosary and prayer vigil will be at 7:00 P.M. Memorials may be made to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church or Rock City.


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House damaged in Thursday evening fire

By Zach Hacker
Emporia Gazette – July 28, 2017

Photo by Zach Hacker. Click on photo to view full-size.

The Emporia Fire Department was able to contain the damage of a house fire in central Emporia to a single room Thursday evening.

The occupants of the home — who were inside when the blaze started — were able to get out without injury.

At 6:45 p.m. Thursday, firefighters were called to a structure fire at 725 Sherman St. — directly across the street from the Mary Herbert Education Center. Emporia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Howe said when he arrived on scene, there was smoke coming from the back of the structure on the west side of the small, single-story home.

Firefighters entered the home through the front door and quickly knocked down the fire, containing it to a single bedroom. Howe said there is some damage to the interior of the home in the room where the fire started and firefighters had to knock out a couple walls.

“Everybody got out,” Howe said. “Firefighters were able to rescue a dog and a cat from the home. All of the animals are doing fine.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation and Howe said it is unlikely the home will be a total loss.

The Emporia Fire Department and Emporia Police Department responded to the scene. Firefighters from Olpe and Americus were initially called for mutual aid, but their response was canceled when the fire was quickly under control.


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Back to school with a firefighter

By Jay Senter
Shawnee Mission Post – July 27, 2017

August is an exciting time for kids as they get ready to start a new school year — but it can be a financially challenging one for their families.

The cost of new clothes and shoes as well as school supplies, lunch fees and PTA dues can add up quickly.

In an effort to help local families who may not be able to meet these needs, the Prairie Village Foundation is teaming up with Consolidated Fire District No. 2 this year a new program. “Back to School With a Firefighter” will provide five Prairie Village kids with a chance to go back-to-school shopping with a firefighter.

On Thursday, August 3, the kids will board a CFD2 fire truck and ride to the Target in Mission, where they’ll each have a budget of $100 to spend on school supplies and new clothes. After the shopping is done, the group will head back to the station for a dinner.

The program is similar to the Shop with a Cop event the foundation and the Prairie Village Police Department put together each Christmas season.


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I feel a hot wind

Cowley Courier Traveler – July 21, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – July 27, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

Winfield Fire Department responded to a grass fire Wednesday afternoon in the 19000 block of 71st Road. According to scanner traffic, the driver of farm equipment reported that he sparked the fire after hitting a rock. The fire crew on scene doused about an acre of freshly cut hay in a field southwest of Winfield. The fire was put out in a short time.

Ark City Fire responded to another grass fire just before noon Thursday near 1st Road and 150th Road, near Geuda Springs.


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Home destroyed

By Karen La Pierre
Hoisington Dispatch – June 30, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – July 27, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

The Hosington Fire Department, along with Hoisington Emergency Medical Services and Hoisington Police Department, Hoisington Electrical Distribution and Kansas Gas all responded to a fire last week at 11:26 a.m., June 22. The house, 513 E. 6th St., and all of the contents were a total loss with fire and smoke damage.

“When we pulled up on the scene, there was heavy smoke coming from everywhere,” said Jerry Stricker, Hoisington Fire Chief. “There was heavy fire showing, even reaching to the tree tops, extending to the detached single-car garage.”

Stricker said the fire department responded rapidly, within three minutes after the call. There were 10 firemen on the scene with three pumper trucks actively pumping.

“It shows how a fire can grow that fast,” Stricker said.

The house was occupied by adults and children. All members of the household got out immediately. One of the children saw the fire, alerted everyone to get out and called 911.

The fire department was on the scene for two hours. They used thermal imaging to monitor heat and hot embers in the walls and ceilings to check for additional danger.

“It’s nice to have a piece of equipment to check for rekindling in the walls,” Stricker said. Use of thermal imaging reduces the amount of water needed by pinpointing hot spots.

The cause of the fire is suspected to be electrical.

For the firefighters, wearing the safety equipment required was also a challenge.

“The daytime heat was quite a challenge for all of the guys,” Stricker said. “And then trying to stay hydrated and fight heat exhaustion.

“It gave them a workout too.”


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Anthony ‘Tony’ Somers

ANTHONY ‘TONY’ SOMERS, 75, passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. He was born in Minneapolis, Kansas to Donald Louis Somers and Audrey (Joseph) Somers. He was a graduate of North High School, Wichita, Kansas. He was from Wichita, Kansas, yet formerly from Valley Center and Sedgwick. Tony worked in law enforcement and city government as a former Valley Center Assistant Chief, Sheriff, Sedgwick Captain of Reserves, a Volunteer Firefighter for Cities of Valley Center and Sedgwick, Sedgwick City Superintendent, and was a heavy equipment supervisor. He wore many hats down through the years, yet his most prized were husband, dad, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, uncle and friend. He enjoyed his work, hunting, friends and family. Tony is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kay Somers; children Holly Somers and Brandon (Lynette) Somers; grandchildren Anthony (Lexi) Gilmartin, Kaitlyn (Cory) Hiebert and Christina Somers (Zach); great grandchildren Presley, Sailor, Addilyn and Victor; sister Beverly (Robert) Kirkpatrick; many other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his son Anthony Somers Jr., daughter Shelly, his parents Donald and Audrey Somers, brother Tim, nephew Josh (who passed exactly one year before him), nephew Mike and niece Stephanie. A Celebration of Life Visitation will be held 2:00 to 3:00 pm, Sunday, July 2 at Baker Funeral Home Valley Center. In lieu of flowers, you may designate in Tony’s memory to Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1500 Rosecrans Ave Ste 200, Manhattan Beach, California 90266. Condolences may be left for the family at


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Winnebago damaged by fire

Great Bend Tribune – July 27, 2017

A Great Bend man may have stayed too long trying to extinguish a fire in his motor home, but he made a safe retreat with help from the Great Bend Fire Department, Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said.
Russell Coe was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but did not have to be transported to the hospital.
The Great Bend Fire Department was dispatched to 5739 Anchor Way at 2:57 p.m. on Tuesday. When firefighters arrived they found smoke coming from an older style Winnebago.
The motor home appeared to be vacant, but as Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins approached it he heard someone from inside yelling. There was a man inside with a garden hose who was trying to extinguish the fire.
“The man was assisted out and an ambulance was requested to check him because he was coughing and appeared to be having some difficulty breathing from being exposed to the smoke in the trailer,” Napolitano said.
“The fire was extinguished and the cause of the fire is believed to be the window air conditioner unit that was in the trailer,” he added. There was extensive smoke and fire damage to the trailer.


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County unveils proposal for new radio system

By Greg Mast
Ottawa Herald – July 27, 2017

Communication is an important part of public safety.

Franklin County Commissioner Richard Oglesby, a retired Ottawa firefighter, has experience with the current county emergency radio system and knows its limitations. The Franklin County Emergency Communications System is 12 years old and has surpassed its life expectancy.

Alan Radcliffe, county emergency management director, presented to the commissioners Wednesday a $2.9 million proposal for a Motorola P-25, 800 megahertz radio system.

“It is going to be a good project for the county and subscribers,” Oglesby said after hearing the proposal. “It will provide a lot better service than we are getting right now. It brings us all in a current system. It puts everybody in a more interoperability to talk to each other. We really don’t have that capability now. It is expensive doing business sometimes. It will be good for Franklin County. It will be good for public safety.”

Oglesby remembers going on fire calls and not being able to communicate with the police department.

“This opens up a better line of communication,” he said. “We currently have people on VHF and UHF. You are on two frequency bands, so you don’t have interoperability. Sometimes that information does not get passed the way it should.”

The proposed infrastructure cost is $1.7 million; radio equipment and accessories, $472,000, and 911 dispatch equipment, $514,000. Motorolla’s discounts of $575,000 cuts the proposal to $2.9 million.

Subscriber radio cost is nearly $1 million, which will be paid for by the subscribers. The 911 portion will be paid out of the 911 fund, which will leave roughly $1.1 million to be financed by the county.

“It is a county benefit that is benefiting others as well,” Oglesby said.

Randy Renoud, county commissioner, said this system is forward thinking.

Radcliffe said the new system hooks into the state’s system, and Franklin County can communicate with other state and county agencies.

“The proposal includes all our hardware, software and the repeaters,” he said. “We are proposing [this system] for our current needs with little bit of excess. If we need to add to it in the future, we can.”

Radcliffe said the system will cover 95 percent of the county with portable radios and give better reception inside buildings.

“We are currently running a commercial grade radio system,” he said. “There is a big difference between a commercial grade radio system and a P-25 public safety mission critical system. On this system, there is redundancy built in and users should not know if we have a problem.”

Radcliffe said the maintenance agreement for years two through 10 costs between $103,000 and $119,000, which is higher than the county is paying now.

“Our maintenance warranty is higher, but that is to provide our system to continually operate,” he said. ”[The system] should not go down. That is what the maintenance is for.”

Derek Brown, county administrator, said the maintenance package is for security and system updates and upgrades.

“Those are extremely beneficial because at the end of 10 years, we will have had a system that has been upgraded throughout that period which would save us from having to reinvent the wheel and do it all again,” Brown said. “We would have a fairly up-to-date system. The cost of upgrading in a decade would be far, far less because of this warranty.”

Radcliffe said if the county maintains this system, at the end of 10 years, we will still have a system that is operational.

“The current system, when it comes to the end of life, you replace it,” he said.

Radcliffe said emergency personnel will continue in the foreseeable future to use radios to communicate with each other.

“That is the best way for public safety to communicate with real time information,” he said. “We will be able to track those radios. With this new system, you have to register that radio on to the system. We can get reports that will help us. They will be able to tell us which towers are using the system the most.”

Brown said county personnel worked on this proposal for more than a year.

“What is in front of you is a product of a lot of negotiating and a lot of refining,” Brown, who also is the county counselor, said.

Stan Lantis, Pomona fire chief, gave a thumbs up to the system.

“We have been tap dancing on this thing for two years or longer,” he said. “My board is on board. We need to move on it. We need to get it behind us.”


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Small fire damages tractor

Salina Post – July 26, 2017

Firefighters were sent to the 3400 block of South Holmes yesterday morning for a small fire that caused about $1,000 in damage to a tractor.

Sheriff Roger Soldan said a Saline County man was working on the 1957 John Deere 2020 when a fuel leak ignited.

A sheriff’s deputy was first on the scene, using a fire extinguisher to control most of the blaze. Rural Fire District #1 arrived shortly after, putting the rest of the fire out.

The fire burnt a small amount of grass and caused about $1,000 in damage to the tractor.

There were no reported injuries.


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2017 Kansas Technical Rescue Conference

TRC 2017 Flyer_update3


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Johnson County firefighters hose down volunteers for HAZMAT training

By Kerri Stowell
FOX 4 News – July 26, 2017


If you think it’s hot outside, we’ve found an unusual way to cool off.

Johnson County Emergency workers are taking part in a special training Wednesday afternoon, and as part of the training, they’re dousing volunteers with water.

At Fire Station 72, emergency workers are completing mandatory hazmat training, specifically learning how to deal with chemical exposures.

As part of the process, they’re dousing volunteers with water. The scenario: a group of people were enjoying a picnic when a crop duster flew overhead and accidentally dropped a chemical on them.

It’s up to the emergency workers to determine what the chemical is and how to best treat the victims.

First responders say it’s critical training and they’re thrilled to have citizens as volunteers.

“We always prepare for the worst and this is it. Hopefully we never have to use something like this, but we’re ready to respond if we have to. It’s just a partnership that’s gonna take more than the Shawnee Fire Department or Johnson County Med Act, we have to work together as a team,” said Corey Sands, Fire Marshal for Shawnee Fire Department. “It’s good to get the public involved. This is their fire department and their ambulances. We want them to understand what our equipment can do and for them to have a better awareness.”

Emergency workers will train again Thursday and Friday, but said they have all the volunteers they need.

They hope to have another training involving the public in the future.


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Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT – Great Bend Fire Department

The Great Bend Fire/EMS Department is accepting applications for Firefighter/EMT. Applicants must possess a valid Kansas driver’s license and State EMT certification. This position does have residential requirements and the applicant will complete physical agility testing, drug screening and a background check. Mechanical experience is desirable. The City of Great Bend offers health and retirement benefits. Starting salary is $32K-$36K and based upon qualifications. Contact Great Bend Fire/EMS Department at 1205 Williams, Box 1168, Great Bend, KS 67530 or 620-793-4140 with any questions. Position will remain open until filled. Applications can be obtained online at under the “Jobs” link or by contacting the Great Bend Fire/EMS Department. EOE.


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Multiple departments battle grass fire in Butler County

KWCH – July 26, 2017

Six fire departments responded to a grass fire in Butler County on Tuesday.

Firefighters say a homeowner was burning trash in the in the 13000 block of SW 200th when the fire got out of control.

It took crews about two hours to get the fire under control. It burned about 15 acres in a wooded area.

No structures were threatened and no one was hurt.


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Man rescued after falling in Wichita elevator

KSN – July 26, 2017


The Wichita Fire Department was called out at approximately 10:00 a.m. Wednesday to rescue an employee who had fallen at the Purina grain elevator in north Wichita.

Rescuers had trouble retrieving the victim who had fallen approximately 15 to 20 feet in an industrial area of the facility.

Battalion Chief Brad Boyd, Wichita Fire Department, said the victim was conscious and talking to rescue workers but was unable to move himself.

Boyd said crews had to make their way through tight areas of piping and machinery to get to the victim and were unable to use their ladder truck due to the height.

The man was placed into a stretcher, known as a Stokes basket, which had to be stood upright in order to bring him down on the elevator.


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Notice of Vacancy – Fire Prevention Inspector/Enforcement – Requisition #187288 – closes 8/16/2017

The Office of the State Fire Marshal has an opening for an Unclassified Fire Prevention Inspector/Enforcement.  This is a full-time benefit-eligible Fire Prevention Inspector position in our Topeka Office.  Residency within Topeka or the surrounding area is required.  Extensive travel, including overnight may be required of this position.

Duties will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Conducting fire and life safety inspections of facilities under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Fire Prevention Code and Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services.
  • Conducting special inspections periodically to support ongoing enforcement activities or investigate complaints.
  • Prepare reports substantiating inspection findings.
  • Assists local authorities in fire prevention matters through participate in statewide fire safety organizations and by routinely providing inspection assistance and liaison to individual local fire departments.
  • Completion of Kansas certification as a Fire Inspector 1 through NFPA and Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services within twelve months of hire date.

Duties of this position will entail climbing in and out of attics, crawling in small areas, climbing stairs, extensive walking, driving, oral and written communication, independent thinking, using a computer, etc.

Pay Rate:  $19.16 per hour.  Unclassified (At-Will), Full-time, Benefits-Eligible 


  • Two years’ experience in performing inspections.
  • College courses in fire science may be substituted for the require experience.
  • Must have a current valid driver’s license.

Preferred Skills:

  • Knowledge of the Kansas Fire Prevention Code
  • 2012 National Fire Life Safety Code
  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2012 International Fire Code.
  • Extensive field experience as well as code and mechanical aptitude background.
  • Exceptional skills in oral and written communication.
  • Strong computer skills.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:

STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form  (Skip this step if you already have an Applicant ID or Employee ID number.)
STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form and submit to the Fire Marshal.
STEP 3:  Email the additional required documents to  Include the job requisition number and your last name in the subject line.

Additional Required Documents:

  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume
  • College Transcripts, if applicable
  • Copy of all Training Certificates
  • Valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate

Failure to follow the instructions and submit all required documentation may affect your consideration for this position.

Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  All applicants, including current State employees are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Recruiter Contact Information:
Name:  Brenda L. Schuette
Phone: 785-296-0654
Fax:   785-296-8155

Veterans’ Preference Eligible (VPE):  Former military personnel or their spouse that have been verified as a “veteran”; under K.S.A. 73-201 will receive an interview if they meet the competency factors of this position, including any preferred selection criteria established in accordance with K.A.R. 1-6-3.  The veterans’ preference laws do not guarantee the veteran a job.  Positions are filled with the best qualified candidate as determined by the hiring manager.  See for additional Veterans’ Preference information.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact the agency recruiter if reasonable accommodations are needed for any part of the application or hiring process.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer


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Gas leak forces evacuation

Leavenworth Times – July 26, 2017

Two Leavenworth residences were evacuated early Tuesday morning because of a gas leak, a Fire Department official said.

Two Leavenworth residences were evacuated early Tuesday morning because of a gas leak, a Fire Department official said.

The incident was reported at 4:42 a.m. at Fourth and Kickapoo streets.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Shore said a gas line apparently was struck while a water main break was being repaired. Two residences that were in close proximity were evacuated.

Kansas Gas Service responded and addressed the gas leak without further incident, Shore said.


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Playground at South Wichita school catches fire

KWCH – July 26, 2017

The playground at James Enders Magnet in S. Wichita is a total loss after a fire early this morning.

Wichita fire crews were called to the scene in the 2900 block of S. Osage at around 5:30 a.m. They found the playground engulfed in flames.

Crews worked to put out the fire, but say the playground is destroyed.

The rubber on the playground releases toxic smoke when it’s on fire, but firefighters have gear to protect them and the area is safe now.

Firefighters at the scene tell us they aren’t sure what caused the fire.


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Lightening firefighters’ loads

Hutchinson News – July 26, 2017

The Hutchinson Fire Department is poised to outfit firefighters with lighter-weight gear for wildfires, thanks in part to a donation from Luminous Neon.

Fire Chief Steve Beer said the Hutchinson sign company made a $1,000 donation after firefighters with Engine 5 gave a safety presentation to employees Monday.

The donation will serve as part of the match for a $4,000 grant from the Kansas Forest Service. The grant requires an equal amount of matching funds from the fire department, and Beer said the remainder of the match will be covered by a donation the department received after wildfires in March.

Beer said those fires in March demonstrated the need for different gear. Turnout gear for structure fires is heavy and bulky, and it caused firefighters to overheat and dehydrate while fighting the wildfires.

The lighter wildfire turnout gear also comes with a lighter price tag than standard structure fire gear. Beer hopes the grant and donations will pay for a dozen sets of gear.


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Firefighters practice rescues on Arkansas River

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – July 26, 2017

Photo by Travis Morisse

More Pics

Fire department rescue squads arrived at the Arkansas River a year ago to find three teenagers struggling to stay afloat in raging flood waters.

This week, a group of Hutchinson firefighters went back to the river to train for the next rescue.

While they were there, Capt. Aaron Walton offered safety advice for people spending time on the river.

Walton said Monday’s training focused on rescues from swift-moving water, such as the one last summer, because that is one of the biggest dangers.

Water rescues are infrequent, and because of that Walton said they can put people on edge when they do happen. But they have been growing in frequency as more people float on the river, so the Hutchinson Fire Department has sought to increase the frequency of water-rescue training.

Walton said the goal is to train at the river once or twice per year, in addition to in-house training.


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Kansas man dies after crash with a semi

Hutch Post – July 26, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 5:30 a.m. Tuesday in Barber County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2002 Peterbilt semi driven by William L. Pelzl, 68, Medicine Lodge, was traveling northeast on Kansas 42 at First Avenue.

The semi was unable to avoid a collision with a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Allen B. Babb, 59, Hazelton, that was as traveling southwest and made a left turn toward 1st Ave North.

Babb was transported to the Kiowa Hospital where he died. Pelzl was not injured.

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


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City’s new rescue boat reports for duty

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – July 26, 2017

Capt. Matt Ludwig of the Derby Fire Department examines its new boat a few hours after it arrived and was inflated.

When the Derby Fire Department conducted rescue operations during heavy flooding last summer, it used its only vessel: an aluminum jon boat, which is made for placid ponds.

Now it has a boat that can handle all types of conditions, from still surfaces to swift moving water.

The department has just taken delivery of a 12.5-foot Inmar brand craft. Crews quickly inflated it, installed its floor and started breaking in its Suzuki 25-horsepower outboard engine.

Smaller versions of the model are designed for recreational use, but this version is not and is intended for heavy-duty jobs. It also has a variety of working features, including a self-bailing interior.

“You can completely swamp this boat and you can’t sink it if you have this flap down,” said Capt. Matt Ludwig of the Derby Fire Department as he showed a visitor how the boat, which is six feet wide, works.

The boat takes only three pounds of air to inflate and can fit into a carrying bag, but it will stay inflated, placed on a trailer and be ready to go at all times, he said.

The crew had to modify the existing trailer to make it work, but that was one of the few adjustments required.

The old 16-foot boat, which has served its purpose, will be sold after equipment has been removed from it.

It has been put into storage until later this fall.

“That boat is kind of obsolete,” said Ludwig, who has taken advanced water rescue classes in Oklahoma and works to train others in the department.

There are larger boats available, and the county has a 16-foot version of the Inmar boat, but this is the right size for the Derby department, Ludwig said, as it can be operated by only two crew members. The boat will hold six people, so two can go on a rescue and bring back four.

The price for the boat and engine was $6,056.

Donations added up to $8,521, so the department was able to also purchase water rescue equipment that included four sets each of dry suits, personal flotation devices, boots and gloves.

When the department started to seek donations last year, the Derby Community Foundation provided a grant of $1,500. An anonymous donor provided $1,000 and the Prilliman Trust added $200, but the major contribution was from Firehouse Subs, which provided a grant of $5,821.

“We can’t thank the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation enough for the generous donation,” said Fire Chief Brad Smith.

The Firehouse Subs founders established the foundation in 2005 with a mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment, and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. More than $304,000 has been provided in Kansas and it has contributed more than $25 million to first responders in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Officials were appreciative of the fact that donors and grants came through for the purchase, which wasn’t in the city budget. Smith sees this purchase as more of a community effort as the new boat will be available for nearby cities, too, which is why he didn’t think it was fair to go back to the city and ask for tax money.


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Shawnee Fire Department set to expand with new station, 12 new firefighters

By Natasha Vyhovsky
Shawnee Mission Post – July 25, 2017

The Shawnee City Council on Monday approved the acquisition of 1.66 acres of land at 53rd Street and Woodsonia Drive for $150,000 for the purposes of building new fire station. With the approval of the land acquisition, the council also approved the hiring of 12 firefighters to help staff Fire Station No. 74.

Proposals for the new station began last July due to a comprehensive station location study done by the Fire Department, which found response times in northwest Shawnee exceeded the national standard of four minutes travel time.

The response times, which have increased by 28 percent in the last four years, are now averaging four to four and a half minutes, with the areas around the incoming station showing around eight to nine minute response times, according to Fire Chief John Mattox.

The fire department and the city evaluated several sites to pick one that would best reduce response times, a summary which was presented at a public meeting back in May. The Department will work to evaluate architectural firms in the next month, with the hope to move into the finished station by next fall.

Mattox said the new station will improve response times to about 20,000 residents, with improved response times ranging from one minute to five minutes for some.

“This will make drastic improvements out in northwestern Shawnee,” Mattox said.

The department has already hired six of the 12 firefighters to start training, with plans to hire the rest beginning next year. Five of the new-hires do not have previous experience, so once the station is running, the Department will decide which of the new and existing firefighters will move to station No. 74.

Construction and staffing for the station were included in budget plans when the mill levy rate increased 2.072 mills last year. The estimated project expenditure totals $3,625,000 across 2017 and 2018, which the city will undertake in debt until funds are available from the budget.


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One dead in “intentionally set” apartment fire

By Deangela McDougald
Junction City Post – July 25, 2017

One person has died from injuries related to a structure fire in Junction City on Monday.

The Junction City Fire Department (JCFD) and officers with the Junction City Police Department (JCPD) responded to 1431 N. Calhoun Street just before noon on Monday for a reported fire.

Upon arrival, fire crews located and suppressed a fire within a ground floor apartment.

One adult male victim was located in the apartment and removed by firefighters. The victim was transported to Geary Community Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The victim has been identified as 37-year-old Derrick Anthony Williams. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy examination.

Fire damage was limited to the apartment of origin, with smoke damage affecting surrounding apartments. The total damage is estimated at $20,000.

Fire investigators with the JCPD, assisted by the State Fire Marshal and Junction City Police Detectives conducted an investigation where the fire was determined to have been intentionally set in the kitchen of the apartment.

Law enforcement is not seeking any suspects, and no suspects are believed to be at large.


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Faulty computer blamed for residential fire

By Olivia Haselwood
Andover Leader – July 25, 2017

One Andover resident’s computer decided it was time for a vacation, voicing its displeasure by catching on fire Sunday.

The Lakeside Drive resident was able to put out the computer using a home fire extinguisher, but not before smoke filled the house. Andover Fire Department worked with the resident to help ventilate the smoke. No humans were injured in the fire.


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1 dead after crash at Santa Fe and K-7 in Olathe

By Daniel Barnett
KCTV 5 – July 25, 2017

Emergency crews say a man has died after a vehicle hit a tree early Tuesday morning.

It happened about 6:05 a.m. near Santa Fe Street and Kansas 7 Highway.

Authorities say a sport utility vehicle, driven by a 29-year-old man, was traveling west Santa Fe Street when it struck the tree. The SUV burst into flames.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

One lane of westbound Santa Fe Street is closed in the area due to the accident.

Police do not know what caused the crash. They say the man was the only person inside the vehicle.


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2017 William C. Brubaker Memorial Award

2017 WCB Memorial Award Nomination Flyer


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2 men jump out of dangling, burning semi Sunday

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – July 25, 2017

Two men were injured early Sunday after they jumped from the cab of a semi-trailer that had crashed and caught fire as it was suspended on an overpass on Interstate 70 in Wyandotte County, authorities said.

The crash occurred at 1:05 a.m. Sunday at the interchange of Interstate 70 and Interstate 635 in Kansas City, Kan.

According to the Kansas Turnpike Authority, a 2016 Freightliner semi-trailer was westbound on I-70 when for an unknown reason it hit a guardrail then slammed into a bridge pillar.

The cab of the semi was dangling on an overpass and caught fire, the turnpike authority said. Both occupants in the cab jumped out of the cab and landed on I-635 below.

The injured individuals were identified as Keith Barnett, 53, of Columbia, S.C., who was driving the semi, and a passenger, Patrick Stokes, 50, of Loveland, Colo. The turnpike’s crash log didn’t indicate whether either was wearing a seat belt.

Both Barnett and Stokes were taken to an area hospital. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.


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Fire crews fight large debris fire in west Wichita

KWCH – July 25, 2017


A large debris fire near K-96 and west street had Wichita fire crews working overnight.

Chief Bryan Ellis says, “About 1 o’clock, we received a report of a trash fire out here at the trash facility. We had crews from Sedgwick county fire and Wichita fire respond out.”

Crews initially had a hard time determining access points as they arrived to the two trash facilities.

Fire crews used deck guns to keep the fire knocked down so the embers didn’t flare up and catch the grass on fire.

No injuries were reported.


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Authorities suspect arson in weekend fires

Salina Post – July 24, 2017

Salina Police say they have a person of interest in an arson investigation.

Sometime after 2:30 a.m. on July 22, a fire was started in the backyard of a residence in the 800 block of Sheridan. Salina Police Capt. Paul Forrester said that an accelerant was used to create a 35-foot-long fire path to the back door of the rental property.

Authorities say a neighbor called in the fire. The property was unoccupied at the time and there were no reported injuries.

The fire did cause about $5,000 in damage.

At around 4:30 a.m. the next morning, another fire was started on a neighboring street.

First responders were called to a residence on the 800 block of Sherman after a passerby noticed that the front door was on fire. Capt. Forrester said the man was driving to work when he spotted the blaze. He quickly went to a nearby house, asking them to notify authorities as he battled the fire with a garden hose.

The residence was also empty and there were no reported injuries. Authorities said they found an accelerant at the second residence.

The damage to the second property is expected to exceed $5,000.

Capt. Forrester said they believe the fires are connected and they have a person of interest in the case.


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Workers evacuated after building fire in Maize

KAKE – July 24, 2017

Employees at a business in Maize were evacuated after a fire at the building Monday morning.

Crews were called shortly after 11 a.m. to a fire at Reiloy Westland Corp. at 119th and 53rd Streets. Workers were removed from the building.

Capt. Kevin Nelson with the Sedgwick County Fire Department said a dust collector outside the building caught fire and smoke vented into the building. No one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The company manufactures components for plastic processing equipment.


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Downed power lines ignite parked tractor-trailer cabs in KCK

By Tony Rizzo
Kansas City Star – July 24, 2017

Photo by Rich Sugg. Click on photo to view full-size.

Downed power lines reportedly caught two parked tractor-trailer cabs on fire Monday morning in Kansas City, Kan.

Firefighters were called about 9:45 a.m. Monday to the 1000 block of Sunshine Road.

Responding firefighters reported seeing heavy black smoke from several blocks away.

The two trucks were both burning when firefighters arrived.


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‘Battle’ trophy returns to fire department

By Gail Parsons
Abilene Reflector Chronicle – July 24, 2017

After a one-year break, the Battle of Badges blood drive trophy was returned to the Abilene Fire Department, where it had been since 2002. The Abilene Police Department had won last year’s Battle of the Badges. While the victory may have been sweet, the fire department only won the trophy back by three votes. “It’s always good to have the trophy back, but the main goal is to save lives — fire, police, EMS — it’s all a team effort,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ron Rein. “But, it’s always good to win.” Returning the trophy to the fire station on Friday was blood drive organizer Audrey Sheets. Sheets said votes were cast by blood donors who gave blood during the July 17 Red Cross Blood Drive.


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Crews battle fire Monday morning at Fairlawn Green apartment complex

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – July 24, 2017

Photo by Phil Anderson

An early-morning fire on Monday forced the evacuation of a building at a west Topeka apartment complex, with no serious injuries reported.

The blaze was reported at 3:44 a.m. in a building at the northwest corner of the Fairlawn Green Apartments complex, 5230 S.W. 20th Terrace. The building was just south of Topeka West High School.

Multiple fire companies responded to the two-alarm blaze, which officials said started on in a third-floor unit of the building.

Three people — two adults and a small child — were inside the unit at the time of the fire: Monique Quarles, Ausha Scott and Avionna Scotot-Quarles, 2.

Quarles said the blaze started after she found a bug in the bedroom of the unit and tried to kill it by burning it with a small flip-style lighter.

Quarles said sparks shot out of the lighter and got onto the mattress, which then caught fire.

After attempting to put out the mattress fire, and with smoke building inside their unit, Quarles and the others got out of their unit, pounding on doors to alert other apartment residents of the fire and telling them to get out of the building.

Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Herrera said first-arriving fire crews found smoke and flames coming from the unit. Upon their arrival, crews sprayed water into the unit from outside to help knock down the smoke and flames and reduce the heat inside the unit before firefighters made their way inside to attack the blaze.

Herrera said the fire was contained to the apartment unit where it originated, though some damage was reported to have extended into the attic area.

Herrera said one person from the apartment complex was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation. That person’s injuries weren’t believed to be serious.

Later, around 6 a.m., a firefighter was transported to a local hospital by American Medical Response ambulance after experiencing heat-related distress. Herrera said the firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation and that his condition wasn’t considered life-threatening.

Several cats were rescued from the smoke-filled building, with oxygen administered to a couple of the pets.

Firefighters had two ladders extended to reach the third-floor apartment where the fire began.

As crews were on the scene, a number of apartment residents gathered along the west fence line after they had been displaced from their units.

The apartment dwellers then gathered in the apartment manager’s office around 5:30 a.m.

The same apartment complex was the scene of another large fire in the early-morning hours of July 18, 2016 — also on a Monday.

A Topeka fire investigator was called to the scene to determine the official cause of the blaze. There were no immediate damage estimates.


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