Archive for August, 2017

Structure fire reported

By Zach Hacker
Emporia Gazette – August 31, 2017

Photos by Zach Hacker

There were no injuries but a home was damaged extensively Thursday morning when a structure fire broke out south of Emporia.

Emporia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Howe said the initial call came in to the station at 6:26 a.m. reporting a structure fire at 1032 Road 140 — about a mile and a half south of Emporia.

“When I arrived there was smoke coming out around the eaves around the second floor,” Howe said. “When the engine got here and some of our guys got inside the home, they found fire on the first floor and in the basement.”

The lone occupant of the home was able to escape without injury when he kicked out a window air conditioning unit and climbed out.

Firefighters from Emporia, Olpe, Americus and Hartford battled the blaze for about an hour before Howe said the fire was believed to be out. Ladders were used to access the second floor and attic of the two-story farmhouse. At around 7:30 a.m., however, there were still emergency units doing a sweep of the home to look for any hot spots. Howe said once the house was deemed clear, the house would be allowed to air out for a while before the official investigation into the cause got underway.

“In these old, old farmhouses, there are a lot of places for the fire to kind of hide out,” Howe said.


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Wamego gets better fire rating

By Mark Portell, MAP News Service
Wamego Times – August 24, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 31, 2017

Wamego’s ISO rating will be lowered from 4 to 3, effective November 1, Fire Chief Phil Stultz told Wamego City of Commissioners last Tuesday.

The lower rating is the result of the most recent evaluation by the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) and is likely to result in lower fire insurance premiums, especially for commercial and industrial businesses in the community, according to Stultz.

“That’s the top 11 percent in the nation,” Stultz said of the new rating. “That’s very good for Wamego, Kansas.”

Of the 46,000 communities and fire districts nationwide rated by the organization, only 4,974 (11 percent) have a rating of 3 or lower, Stultz said. Only six percent of the communities in Kansas have earned a rating of 3 or less. The best rating offered by the ISO is 1.

The Insurance Service Organization bases the quality of a community’s fire protection on three categories: water availability, the local fire department, and communications.

The new aerial ladder truck purchased recently by the city was the primary driver of Wamego’s lower ISO rating, according to Stultz. With a boom reach of more than 100 feet, the fire department now has the capability to reach the top of any structure in town.

“The amount of money that will be saved on insurance premiums will pay for that truck,” Stultz said. Lower premiums could also be an attraction to new business, he added.

Stultz said he didn’t agree with everything in the ISO evaluation, but said there were steps the city could take to lower the rating even further.

“I think we can get a 2,” Stultz said. “We’ll have to work at it a little bit, but I think we can get a 2.”

Commissioners thanked Stultz and the Wamego Fire Department for their community service.

“This is volunteerism at its best in Wamego, Kansas and it is appreciated,” said Mayor Bill Ditto.


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New radio system goes live

By Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Globe – August 31, 2017

A much needed upgrade was done to the radio system for Ford County that covers Dodge City police, fire, public works and Ford County sheriff, fire and road and bridge.

The upgrade pushes the current radio system to 800 megahertz that makes radio communication clearer, increasing the coverage capacity.

“We have threes sites that we put in place with a partnership to the state’s system that is run by Kansas Department of Transportation,” Ford County Communications director Elliot Linke said. “That are located in Bucklin, Spearville and south Dodge City as part of a partnership with KDOT.

“They had the best system in place and we were able to add onto it.”

The project was $3.6 million but because it became a partnership with the state, the county was able to save $8 million.

One of the key reasons for the upgrade was safety for the community.

For example, when an officer had to enter Walmart and was in the back of the store, that officer would not be able to communicate on their handheld radio.

This upgrade fixes that.

Not only does it fix in town communication but also makes it to where communication can be done throughout the state.

“We had a jailer that was transporting an inmate and was able to reach us from 90 miles away,” Linke said. “It is that good.”

The upgrade also puts the county in the driver seat when looking towards the future.

Currently the new radios come fire resistant as well as with a club for fire units.

Within 2 years, Linke said, fire units will be equipped with Blue Tooth radios put into the face pieces for fire fighters.

“That way they can talk to each other more clearly.”

The system will also become equipped with GPS for law enforcement vehicles and handhelds.

“Map units using the radios will assist us in assigning calls to the closest officer,” Linke said. “If a call comes in near Bucklin, we will be able to see which officer is closest to dispatch them.

“And if they get out of the car on say a foot chase, we will be able to track them through their handheld.

“The best part is that it will be all on one system.

“It became how could we do more with less. We didn’t want to create bloat and wanted to be able to optimize the existing staff to simplify tasks.

“We will be creating a data sharing and transferring program through our CAD that will cut down on manually required transmission of data.

“It is forward thinking and puts us ahead of where technology is heading.”

Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr added, “I firmly believe this new communications system will make Ford County a safer community for both citizens and all first responders. Thank you to everyone involved in bringing this project from concept to reality.

“The new 800 MHz system has been designed with the capacity to meet the diverse needs of the users with one compatible radio network. It will also provide sufficient capacity to meet the growth needs of Ford County; it will provide the coverage capabilities essential to public safety/services; it has a high likelihood of surviving a natural disaster for the delivery of reliable service and it will provide direct communications between multiple jurisdictions to better meet mutual response needs during single incidents or during a disaster.”

Regarding the radios, Dodge City Police Deputy Chief Jerad Goertzen said, “This new system is more reliable. We have the ability to transmit more consistently and accurately.

“There were many safety concerns with the old system with not being able to transmit.

“The new system and radios have many features that make the officers and public safer.”


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Fire chiefs want county reserves for radios

By Jason Tidd
Marion County Record – August 31, 2017

Now that word is out of a possible $16 million cash in county coffers, the first group asking for a piece of the pie — county fire districts — popped up at Monday’s commission meeting.

Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser joined two other chiefs to ask for a portion of the reserves to pay for new 800 MHz radios.

“We’re having to scrimp and scrape to do the radios,” Kaiser said.

“When the people see the unencumbered funds in the paper,” he continued, “the comments about it just being south of $16 million, there’s a lot of questions that come to me, like ‘Why isn’t the county helping out?’”

Kaiser said the countywide project has a $600,000 price tag over a two-year lease-purchase program with the first payment due in September 2018.

“That would be $300,000 a year, which is, compared to what is supposedly there, not very much,” Kaiser said. “This is a project that is needed.”

Kaiser appealed to commission chairman Randy Dallke, reminding him of his volunteer firefighting based out of Peabody.

“You know what the radio situation is like in the county,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of dead zones. The 800 MHz radio will make a difference. We’ve tested them, we’ve played with them. It is definitely a necessity.”

Kaiser said firefighters may not receive a Department of Agriculture grant that was hoped for.

He called the amount needed for the radio project a “drop in the bucket” compared to the reported amount of cash reserves.

“With the money that’s there, why do we have to do this?” Kaiser asked commissioners. “We’re forcing the people to come up with the dollars to keep the people in the county safe, to be able to respond to emergencies, to keep the responders safe.”

Dallke and county clerk Tina Spencer suggested the reported amount of cash reserves may not be accurate.

Last week, Randy Collett, Marion economic development director, and Anthony Roy, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corporation, questioned raising taxes while holding large cash balances.

They said the county has just shy of $16 million in unencumbered cash reserves, two to four times what would be a typical amount.

At the time, no commissioners or county officials challenged their statistics.

At Monday’s meeting, Spencer said she will prepare a sheet that addresses cash reserves for the next meeting.

“Some of these things that are being presented like free money, it’s not free money that’s not already committed,” Spencer said. “I think what would be appropriate is to come up with some information for folks so you have a more true picture of what it looks like.”

Commissioners added to the cash reserve earlier in the meeting when they transferred $87,470.23 from the oil and gas depletion fund to the general fund. The resolution said commissioners desired to use the funds for tax relief.

Kaiser offered another potential funding solution for the fire radios — the jail sales tax.

The half-cent sales tax will likely pay off the jail by early next year, which Kaiser said would give time to renew the tax for the first lease-purchase payment.

“In theory, would that be possible to put it to a vote of the public and let the public make a decision?” Kaiser asked.

“That’s a possibility of doing something like that,” Dallke responded. “We’ve also got some other building plans we’re looking at.”


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Changes in fire, EMS response should improve service

By John Green
Hutchinson News – August 31, 2017

Hutchinson Fire and Reno County EMS officials have begun implementing changes on how emergency responders react to local fire and medical calls, potentially upgrading emergency medical care while lowering the risk of the response itself.

The leadership of both agencies has changed in the past year, and through regular joint meetings, officials have identified multiple areas for improvement, reported EMS Chief Terry David.

Medical response

For example, under city policy, to be a Hutchinson firefighter requires training as an emergency medical technician.

Yet, said David and Hutchinson Fire Chief Steve Beer, local firefighters have not been authorized to use basic EMT skills on emergency calls for some time.

Beer, who arrived in February from Wisconsin, was not sure why the restrictions were in place, but said for most firefighters their medical certifications have now expired.

“Most are EMTs, which is the base level for assisting first responders,” Beer said.

As the department recertifies individual firefighters, the responders will now be allowed to practice skills authorized by their license, such as administering a blood test for a diabetic or someone who is unconscious, or administering certain drugs or other treatments.

“I think our goal is by the end of this year to get people trained and get the additional skills,” Beer said. “As they train on each skill, we will implement it into the fire department.”

The practice also requires implementing treatment protocols that are uniform for all first aid providers, which a medical control officer develops and monitors.

Besides uniform treatment processes, they also need unvarying equipment, “to make sure our equipment matches (what’s used by) paramedics,” Beer said.

“The goal is to allow our firefighters to do everything the state allows under their training for an EMT, skill-wise, and to continue to work with a great Reno County EMS and their paramedics, to assist them and work together to get the best outcome we can.”

Running hot

Another policy change both departments are working to implement will allow the first unit arriving on a scene to downgrade the response of other units, depending on what is found.

“We triage quicker and downgrade quicker,” David told the Reno County Commission earlier this week. “We are doing that now and it’s working really well.”

For example, he said, if fire and ambulance are responding on a drug overdose call, if the first unit finds the patient is stable “and triage is code green,” meaning non-emergency, the responder can notify other responding units they don’t need to run with lights and siren or they may return to their station.

“We’ve sort of being doing it the last week and a half, but it goes into effect Sept. 1,” Beer said. “If fire or EMS is on the scene first, whichever unit, if it turns out to be a minor issue, we can call the ambulance and say downgrade, no emergency response is required, and vice-versa.”

The goal of the change, Beers said, is to reduce the risk of emergency response itself.

“If you look throughout the country daily, one of the most dangerous things is driving to an emergency scene,” he said. “Every day there are accidents across the country involving fire trucks or ambulances. It is a very high-risk operation.”

Fire units have been practicing the new protocol internally for a few weeks. Before even responding, fire commanders are seeking more information from dispatchers to determine if it is necessary to respond to the call as an emergency.

“If we have a burn complaint that’s in a backyard, we don’t run hot,” Beers said.

Eventually, Beers said, the goal is to have dispatchers able to triage calls to determine the level of response.

Added services

For the first time, David said, Reno County EMS will soon begin automatically sending an ambulance on all working structure fires.

The purpose is to provide medical observation and rehabilitation services for firefighters.

“The fire department does most of their own rehab,” David said. “If there are specific things, like someone’s blood pressure is at a certain level, they have to sit out, or if it reaches another level, they’re done and can’t go back in. We want to work side-by-side to keep our firefighters healthy.”

Both agencies will also be providing more staff during this year’s Kansas State Fair.

“There will be a couple of differences,” David said. “We’ll have a daily meeting with law enforcement and the Kansas Highway Patrol, to do a daily incident action plan. We’ll use FEMA forms for medical calls, and tell everyone who is working and outline duties for the day.”

“From our perspective, and the SO and KHP, we have a duty to look at what has happened elsewhere, if a ride malfunctioned or some ugly event that caused injury, and to talk about and look at whether we have an action plan on a daily basis.”

EMS officials will also meet with the Fair Board during the fair for the first time, he said.

Besides providing medical backup throughout the event, EMS will staff the first aid booth, David said.

“Last year we transported 55 people off the fairgrounds,” he said. “They can 300 to 400 people in first aid. We’ll split it up, to have paramedics as well as two roving EMTs on the fairgrounds.”

The fire department too, Beer said, will have two personnel on the grounds each day of the Fair in a utility vehicle.

“If there’s a fire situation, they’ll be first on the scene, and they can assist with medical calls or any other issues, such as lost kids,” Beer said. “With 60,000 people there on a weekend, it’s like a small city in a few blocks. It’s important that we’re prepared to handle any type situation.”

Reno County EMS is also working to re-implement a training reserve program, David advised the commission, to allow an EMT to ride as a third person with paramedics and, after passing an orientation, help the department with standby services, such as at football games.

“We currently have 208 EMTs in Reno County certified at the state level,” David said. “We’ll look at 10 or 12 initially for reserves. There will be an application process and orientation process and then we will assign them a training officer. It will be totally volunteer.”


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Kansas swift water rescue teams are headed to Texas

Hays Post – August 31, 2017

Kansas is sending swift water rescue teams/search and rescue teams to support Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey.

One Type I and three Type II swiftwater/flood rescue teams with hard-bottom, air boats, and inflatable boats with personnel will be sent from the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Derby Fire Department, Chanute Fire Department, Derby Fire Department, Hutchinson Fire Department, South Hutchinson Police Department, Manhattan Fire Department, Mission Township Fire Department, Neodesha Fire Department, Newton Fire Department/EMS, Parsons Fire Department, Pittsburg Fire Department, Salina Fire Department, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Sedgwick County Fire Department, Shawnee Fire Department, and Winfield Fire Department.

The teams will conduct search and rescue operations. Their objectives will be: To Search for and rescue individuals, provide basic life support (BLS) medical care, transport humans and animals to the nearest location for secondary air or land transport, provides shore-based and boat-based water rescue, provide animal rescues, and support helicopter and urban search and rescue in water environments.

The teams started deployment Wednesday night and some will deploy Thursday.


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Woman taken to hospital following 3-vehicle crash

By Erin Mathews
Salina Journal – August 30, 2017

Photo by Tom Dorsey

A woman was transported to Salina Regional Health Center Wednesday after her silver Jeep collided with a white Dodge pickup truck at the intersection of Crawford and Lewis streets, a police department spokesman said.

Sgt. Brent Rupert said the Jeep proceeded north across the intersection after stopping on Lewis Street and rolled onto its side after being struck by the pickup headed west on Crawford at 11:37 a.m. He said the Jeep’s driver would be cited for failure to yield.

The Jeep also struck a blue Dodge Durango that was waiting to turn at the intersection as it rolled, Rupert said.

The driver of the Jeep had to be extricated from the vehicle and was being transported to the hospital by private vehicle, Rupert said. He said the other two drivers involved were not injured.

Rupert did not immediately have information about the identities of those in the wreck.


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2017 Health Care Heroes: Darrel Kohls, City of Wichita Fire Department

By Josh Heck
Wichita Business Journal – August 4, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 30, 2017

Darrel Kohls plays an important role in ensuring the work of the Wichita Fire Department is carried forward.

Two years ago, Kohls became the department’s training chief and is now responsible for coordinating its continuing education program. That includes the certification of more than 400 emergency medical technicians and paramedics as part of required medical training. Kohls also is involved with quality control, which involves a wide variety of department projects.

“Darrel has distinguished himself as an invaluable asset to the Wichita Fire Department,” says Ron Blackwell, Wichita’s former fire chief who recently retired.

Kohls delivers continuing education courses on various pre-hospital care topics such as airway management, obstetrics, burn care and infectious disease.

He helped develop an online database to provide up-to-date continuing education information for all Wichita Fire Department personnel. Kohls provides quality assurance through review and developing corrective measures and training programs, Blackwell says.

This role with the fire department is the latest in a long line of training roles with various organizations, such as the U.S. Navy, Butler County EMS and the Wichita-Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services System.

Kohls says he didn’t seek training roles early on and often fell into them by chance. But he discovered quickly teaching was a strength of his, something that comes naturally.

“It has been something I’ve always been comfortable doing and enjoy doing,” Kohls says. “It’s really rewarding.”

He says teaching is rewarding because he has a hand in ensuring first responders are continually improving. It’s also a chance to reconnect with others he taught earlier in their careers.

Kohls’ main focus is continuing education, but he also taught emergency medical technician courses at Butler Community College for a time. In many cases, he says, some of those EMT students are taking his continuing education classes later in their careers.

Kohls has some say in developing protocols, but his courses tend to focus on implementing those protocols.

He says seeing outcomes improve is a by-product of his teaching.

Kohls has a business degree from Friends University and is a member of the National Association of EMS Educators and the Association of Talent Development.


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AFD will host first fire school in 20 years

Atchinson Globe – August 30, 2017

The Atchison Fire Department has been selected to host a 2018 regional Kansas State Firefighter’s Association fire school on Aug. 4-5, 2018, the city of Atchison announced in a press release Tuesday.

The KSFFA fire school is a two-day course that is comprised of both classroom and hands-on activities designed to meet or exceed portions of the National Fire Protection Association Standards for the fire service. The AFD will offer fire, rescue and EMS classes, as well as a class related to critical incident stress or post-traumatic stress in order to promote the importance of keeping all emergency crews mentally healthy.

It has been over 20 years since the last fire school was hosted in Atchison. The AFD is thrilled to be able to host the fire school in 2018, according to the release, and plans to send out more information to local emergency services at a later date.

The department was notified of the selection earlier this month.


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AFD trains on new safety equipment

By Zach McNulty
Atchison Globe – August 5, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 30, 2017

The Atchison Fire Department spent Wednesday evening in a dead-end block of Chestnut Street where two cars were overturned, but for the purpose of training with a new piece of equipment.

It’s called the Res-Q-Jack, and it stabilizes overturned vehicles to make extractions safer for both first responders and patients. It also better unifies the AFD and Atchison County EMS and Rescue, which has its own set of Res-Q-Jacks, allowing the agencies to provide the same service in emergency situations.

The training on Wednesday was led by Josh Rogers, a firefighter in Salina and representative for Res-Q-Jack. The overturned cars, donated to the fire department by R&S Automotive, rested close by as Rogers explained to AFD fire fighters how the system stabilizes overturned or sideways cars by widening their “footprint.”

AFD Fire Chief Ted Graf said the Res-Q-Jack makes those types of rescues and extractions safer for responders and patients. Prior to this equipment, the department “really had no other options,” Graf said, except for air bags, which do the job of lifting a car but without the impressive stability of the Res-Q-Jack.

The system works like this: Responders take a strut, which has a foot at the bottom and a claw at the top, to each side of a vehicle. They find a stable place to connect the strut to the vehicle, at an angle to the ground, then attach one end of the strap to the vehicle and the other to the lower part of the strut.

The result is a wide triangular formation that widens the vehicle’s footprint, holding it in place.

With the struts and straps in place, Rogers encouraged fire fighters on Wednesday to push over a Chrysler 300 that had been set up on its side for the exercise. Some of the men obliged but had no luck in moving the once-wobbly sedan.

Next, a jack was added to each of the struts, and with a few synchronized turns of a handle, the vehicle raised up, allowing fire fighters to free the trapped arm of a person involved, hypothetically, in a crash. The Res-Q-Jack system could raise a vehicle as far as eight feet off the ground, if needed.

AFD Fire Captain Patrick Weishaar said the system is a “quantum leap for safety reasons.”

He said he remembers, in the past, using a simple block of wood to stabilize a car, which he said is less safe, and using air bags, too, which he said were time-consuming and unstable to use. He also saw uses for the Res-Q-Jack in a structure fire, where it could be used to stabilize a wall that’s near collapse.

While the system was intimidating at first, he said the training improved his confidence.

The addition of a Res-Q-Jack at the Atchison Fire Department brings the total in the county up to four, according to Graf. Atchison County EMS and Rescue has used the system for about two years.

The addition is further an example of how the city’s fire department and county’s ambulance service are cooperating to improve emergency services for citizens countywide. As the county recently made the transition away from its contract with TECHS, Inc., the entities have collaborated on training, equipment and protocols.

“Our respective services share a common goal, to provide quality service to those who depend on us in their time of need,” Graf said. “The best way to achieve this is to share resources and work together as a team for the best outcome possible.”


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Fire District No. 6 receives donation

Rush County News – August 23, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 30, 2017

Photo by Linda Kenyon

A Second Chance thrift shop in La Crosse donates $1,000 to Fire District No. 6 at Liebenthal, based on its sales during the week of the Rush County Fair. Sales for the week totaled $600 and the thrift shop’s board matches sales made at the thrift shop during Rush County Fair week up to a maximum of $1,000. A Second Chance president Suzanne Randa (left) and vice president Genita Hughes (right) present a check to Liebenthal Fire Chief Darold Randa recently.


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Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department gets a new truck

By Nick Reynolds
Humboldt Union – August 24, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 30, 2017

In 1991, the Humboldt Fire Department, alongside the Logan Township and Fire District #4, made purchase of a fire truck to add to their roster of equipment. That was 26 years ago, and the average life for a fire truck is only about 15 years.

So it was long overdue to have a replacement for the rural fire districts. Over the last 26 years, the districts have been collecting and saving tax dollars in preparation for the inevitable replacement.

And so Wednesday, August 16, the volunteer fire department welcomed in the newest addition to its family of trucks. Costing over $300,000, it is a much more advanced piece of equipment than previous trucks, featuring enough flood lights to light up an entire city block, 1,200 gallons of water capacity, the capability of delivering 1,250 gallons per minute, internal ladder storage to free up space along the side of the truck, more storage for equipment, and numerous safety features.

“We’ll be ready for about anything that’s thrown at us,” says Chief Sean McReynolds.

The truck is stored within the Humboldt fire barn, as part of a long-held agreement between the City of Humboldt, and the rural townships that make up the greater fire district. The equipment is stored under the city’s roof, and responds to city fires, as well as fires in the rural, outlying areas.

The truck was purchased by the fire board made up of nine members, three from each of the constituent townships, Logan Township, Humboldt Township, and Fire District #4.

Board members Terry Broyles, of the Humboldt Township, Maynard Cress and Chris Woods of the Logan Township, and Keith Beeman and Zach Brinkmeyer of Fire District #4 were present to receive and review the purchased truck.

“We’re proud of the fire department and we’re glad we could furnish this for them,” said Broyles.


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Rural fire crews battle flames in field of 1,400 hay bales

By Jolie Green
Hays Daily News – August 30, 2017


Rural fire crews from Russell and Ellis counties responded to a fire in a field containing approximately 1,400 hay bales Tuesday afternoon.

An unknown number in a section of the large, round bales were burning in the filed approximately 2.5 miles northwest of Gorham when Russell County crews from Gorham Rural Fire District No. 1 arrived.

Company 4 of Ellis County Rural Fire was called in to offer assistance at about 2:40 p.m., said Tom Tholen, chief of Company 4.

“We’re in a defensive mode to keep these unburnt bales from burning right now,” Tholen said about 4:30 p.m.

Crews were pulling burning bales away from the others with a tractor and skid-steer loader, breaking them up and dousing them with water.

Shifting winds billowed thick grayish smoke through the field.

“Some of these bales are going to burn for several hours yet,” Tholen said.


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Man, 66, rescued early Wednesday near Kansas River in northeast Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – August 30, 2017

A 66-year-old man who had been fishing on the Kansas River since Tuesday morning was rescued early Wednesday in northeast Topeka after suffering from dehydration and other medical issues, authorities said.

Crews from the Topeka Police Department,Topeka Fire Department and American Medical Response ambulance were called at 3:01 a.m. to the scene, just north of the 1400 block of N.E. Chester near the Riverside ATV Park in the city’s Oakland neighborhood.

Police at the scene said the man was located about 10-feet from the south edge of the Kansas River.

The man had taken a couple of bottles of water with him when he started fishing at 10 a.m. Tuesday but had become disoriented as he experienced dehydration and other medical issues.

Authorities said they believed the man’s cellphone may have “accidentally” called 911 before crews were sent to the scene early Wednesday.

The area where the man was located was near the Kansas River dike and was inaccessible to motor vehicles.

As a result, the Topeka Fire Department launched a water rescue boat from a point near the Oakland Expressway, about a mile east of where the man was located.

However, crews were able to reach the man and put him on a spine board to start carrying him to an ambulance.

Around 5:45 a.m., an AMR ambulance took a dirt road that meandered closer to the location of where the man had been found.

The man was loaded into the ambulance around 6 a.m., and police said he would be taken to a Topeka hospital for treatment.

The man’s condition wasn’t considered to be serious.


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Police, Hazmat crews involved in standoff at Olathe apartment complex

KMBC – August 30, 2017

Olathe police and fire crews were involved in a standoff with a man at an apartment complex off of Strang Line Road Tuesday.

Officers were called to The Edge at Olathe Apartment Complex around 10 a.m. Tuesday to speak with an “uncooperative individual.”Officers on the scene noted the man was agitated.

While officers were there, they discovered information that a potentially dangerous device was in the subject’s possession. Officers then called Olathe fire and HAZMAT teams to the scene.

Police said officers were forced to evacuate an entire building containing around 12 apartments inside that complex.

The Olathe School District says students at Countryside Elementary and Pioneer Trail Middle School who live in that apartment complex were held from dismissal Tuesday until a parent or guardian could pick them up.

After several hours of negotiations, Tactical Support Officers were able to take the subject into custody.

This case is currently under investigation by the Olathe Police Department.


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Family escapes duplex fire in KCK

By Stephanie Kayser
KCTV 5 – August 30, 2017


A family was forced to flee their home early Wednesday morning after it burst into flames.

The fire started about 2:30 a.m. at a duplex in the 1800 block of North 51st Terrace.

Fire officials believe the fire started in the basement on the right side of the duplex. The left side of the duplex is unoccupied.

No one was hurt by the flames, but residents will have to find another place to spend the night. The American Red Cross has been called to help the family.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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Oil rags blamed for northwest Wichita fire

KAKE – August 30, 2017

One person was hurt early Wednesday when a house caught fire in northwest Wichita.

Crews were called to North Judith Street around 12:30 a.m. Firefighters told KAKE News the trouble started when oil-soaked rags in a garage trash can burst into flames through spontaneous combustion. The fire spread through the home because a garage door was left open.

Four people inside were saved by a smoke detector, which woke everyone up. The detector was still audible hours after the fire was brought under control.

The person who was injured declined hospital treatment. But firefighters say some pets may have been lost.

Damage from the fire is estimated at $130,000, including two cars which were destroyed.


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Conrad “Connie” L. Waddle

Conrad L. “Connie” Waddle, 85, passed away Sunday, Aug. 27 at Leisure Homestead, St. John.
He was born on Jan. 27, 1932 at Macksville, the son of Joe and Mildred (Starke) Waddle.
Conrad was a 1951 graduate of Macksville High School and a resident of St. John since 1957 coming from Macksville. He worked for St. John Welding prior to opening his own welding shop, worked with the Stafford County Road Department, was a contract oil pumper, drove a school bus and after retirement worked for L J & J Automotive in the Parts Department. He was a past member of the St. John volunteer fire department, Weak-Enders motorcycle club and Stafford County Country Club, all of St. John. He served his country for four years in the Naval Reserve.
On Sept.r 14, 1952, he married Marlene Sanders at Antrim church. She survives. Other survivors include two daughters, Debby Waddle, St. John; Diane Edgett, Edmond, Kan.; daughter-in-law, Robin Waddle, Cunningham; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by both parents, a son, Jeff D. Waddle and a sister, Joan Kephart.
A funeral service is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1 at the First United Methodist Church, St. John, with Rev. Nathan Gift presiding. Burial will follow in the Fairview Park Cemetery St. John. Visitation is scheduled from 1-7 p.m. Thursday with family present from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorials may be given to the St. John Fire Department Auxiliary, Stafford County EMS or Love Gift to Family, all in care of Minnis Chapel, P.O. Box 34, St. John, KS, 67576.


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Junction City Fire Dept. joins Harvey relief effort

By Tiernan Shank
WIBW – August 30, 2017


The Junction City Fire Department is working to assist those effected by tropical storm Harvey.

“Really if you think about what we’re here for, we’re here to help each other,” Junction City Fire Chief, Terry Johnson, said.

He knows the importance of helping communities in need.

“I lived in coastal North Carolina,” said Johnson. “I’ve lived on the gulf coast I can tell you a hurricane is a very intense long process.”

That’s why his fire department is teaming up with the Salvation Army to collect money and goods for victims of flooding in Texas and Kansas.

“In the middle of the night or during the day when these flood waters come in, you don’t have time to think about grabbing a tooth brush or soap, your detergent or anything like that you just leave it all behind and when you come back it’s all ruined,” Johnson said.

They’re collecting non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and any new and unused item someone would need if their home is flooded.

“When you go to the store pick up and extra pack of toilet paper, pick up an extra pack of paper towels and extra bottle of soap,” said Johnson. “That means the world to somebody who doesn’t have it.”

The fire department will accept donations for the next two weeks at Fire Station 2. Chief Johnson hopes the donations will help put lives back together.

“The Junction City community seems to always step up and help,” said Johnson. “They’re great people so we have hope that they’ll come together and we can show the people of Texas that we’ve got their back.”

Monetary donations can be made online at Salvation Army.

Junction City Fire Department will be accepting donations of New Unused Items at Fire Stations 2, 2245 Lacey DR, Junction City Kansas 66441

The following items have been requested:

Non Perishable Food (Canned Preferred)
Disposable plates, cups, forks, spoons, knives
Personal Hygiene Products Baby to Adult, Toiletries, Sanitary Napkins, razors and Shaving Crème, Ball caps, Chap Stick,
Home Cleaning Supplies,
Diapers, Infant Formula,
Blankets, Pillows,
Mops, Brooms, Buckets,
Sun Screen,
Work Gloves and Latex Gloves,
Wash Clothes and Towels,
Safety Glasses,
Pet Food, Leashes


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Specialty Kansas task force called to respond in Texas

KWCH – August 29, 2017

A specialty Kansas task force which is trained like FEMA got the call Tuesday to respond to Hurricane Harvey and help with rescue efforts, according to a Sedgwick County Fire Chief.

Sedgwick County Fire Operations Division Chief Carl Cox said the state has just received a verbal request for assistance from Texas and will send responders tonight (Tuesday).

Cox is the coordinator for Task Force 5, one of several task forces in Kansas trained and equipped to handle search and rescue in these situations. He said the team that will go down to Texas will operate in a mirror image of how FEMA operates.

Task Force 5 is made up of eight departments in south central Kansas. It’s one of seven regions in the state determined by Homeland Security. The federal government funds these search and rescue teams.

Cox said once Texas calls on Kansas for assistance, the Kansas Emergency Management Office and the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office send a couple people from each region’s task force to respond. The team becomes the Kansas USAR team.

Cox said the state was ready. He said the state has been calling responders on these task forces and making a list of who is able to respond. Cox said it would make the response quicker rather than calling people after hearing the call for help.

Cox said the group plans to leave today though he isn’t sure of what time.

We have a crew heading to the station where they will deploy. Look for live updates on Eyewitness News at 5:00 and 6:00.


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Implement shed fire is total loss

Sabetha Herald – August 29, 2017

An implement shed and its contents are considered a total loss after a fire destroyed the shed this past weekend.

The Sabetha Fire Department (SFD) received a call at 12:56 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, to the house of Andy and Sarah Renyer — located at 2381128th Road, just south of Sabetha.

When the SFD arrived, they found the Renyers’ implement shed ablaze. The SFD responded with five trucks and 16 firemen. They were on the scene until 3:48 p.m.

According to Sabetha Fire Chief Jim Johnson, the cause of the fire was accidental in nature, but the shed and its contents are considered a total loss.

Some items in the shed included a camper, Ranger ATV, forklift, tools and other miscellaneous items.

The Renyers are waiting for an insurance adjuster and insurance investigator to come assess the damage.


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Woman burned in home oxygen incident

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – August 29, 2017

A Derby woman who attempted to blow out a candle suffered severe burns when the oxygen she was using mixed with the flame.

The incident happened at about 8:45 a.m. Aug. 29 in the 600 block of North Tanglewood. Derby Fire Department’s Squad 82 responded to the initial call and she was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The woman was categorized as being in critical condition.

Fire Chief Brad Smith said the combination of fire and oxygen is highly dangerous.

“I’ve ran several of these calls over my career and people don’t realize how flammable that oxygen is,” he said.

In addition, the tubing used with the oxygen is plastic, so it burns, too.

“It’s not a good scenario,” he said.


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Wichita’s longest-serving fire chief, Larry Garcia, dies at age 81

By Beccy Tanner
Wichita Eagle – August 29, 2017

One of Wichita’s longest-serving fire chiefs has died.

Larry Garcia served as chief from 1989 to 2007 and at the time of his retirement was considered Wichita’s longest-lasting city employee having been employed by Wichita for more than half a century.

He died Tuesday morning at age 81.

Mr. Garcia was born Jan. 12, 1936, and grew up in Stafford County. He was a 1953 graduate of St. John High School.

His start at the Wichita Fire Department is the stuff legends are made of.

In 1957, he had moved to Wichita and was intent on finding a job. He was actually on his way to apply and test for a post office position when he saw smoke bellowing from a house on his way.

He stopped to help and saw an elderly woman inside a house behind a jammed screen door, according to a Wichita Eagle story in 2007.

“Garcia put his foot through that door and got the woman out,” the story read. “The fire chief at the time came over to him and asked if he wanted a shot at a firefighting job instead of the post office gig he was about to get into.”

It was a done deal. On June 1, 1957, Mr. Garcia started as a firefighter. He then became a fire alarm dispatcher, chief fire operations training officer and a special assistant to the city manager and then fire chief.

Mr. Garcia liked to tell friends he started at the bottom and worked his way up.

“What I appreciated about him was that he was a fair person,” said Troy Franklin of Franklin’s Barber and Beauty Shop, who served as a firefighter with Mr. Garcia. “He took care of his fire department.”

Mr. Garcia was considered one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in city government and his career was marked by some of the city’s worst disasters: the KC-135 tanker crash at 20th and Piatt on Jan. 16, 1965, that killed 30 people and the DeBruce Grain elevator explosion on June 8, 1998, that killed seven people.

At the time of his retirement, then-Mayor Carl Brewer called Mr. Garcia a distinguished public servant. “Chief Garcia is highly regarded within the organization and the community. He’s going to be missed.”

Mr. Garcia served as a deacon at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

At the time of his retirement in 2007, he was presented the fire chief’s helmet, an ax signed by his peers and a key to the city. The ax is usually only given to fire union members; the keys had never been given to a city employee and are typically reserved for foreign dignitaries and well-known Wichitans.

He oversaw more than 400 employees and a $34 million budget.

The city of Wichita presented him with an Excellence in Public Service Award, which recognizes the work of outstanding public servants. He was a longstanding member of the International Fire Chiefs Associations and held several positions within that organizations during his tenure.

Mr. Garcia told his department: “Don’t ever tire of doing good,” he said. “That’s what you do. That’s what you’re paid for.”


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Vehicle Fire on Sunday Keeps Firefighters Busy

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – August 29, 2017

On Sunday afternoon at 4:22 pm the Liberal Fire Department responded to a report of a car fire in the parking lot of the Calvary Mennonite Church. First arriving units at 4:27 pm found a single vehicle fully involved. The fire was declared under control at 4:31 pm and crews remained on scene checking for hot spots and ensuring the fire was completely extinguished. The car was being operated when it began smoking and the driver was able to park and get out of the car without injury. There was a report of an explosion in the car during the fire which is believed to be from a spare tire located in the back of the vehicle. The cause of the fire is undetermined, but is accidental in nature. The vehicle is a total loss.

Once it was determined the fire was completely out crews cleared the scene at 5:00. Liberal Police Department and Seward County EMS also assisted on scene. No injuries reported for this incident. The Fire Department responded with 13 personnel and 4 fire units.


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Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT or Firefighter/ Paramedic – Johnson County Fire District #2

Firefighter/EMT or Firefighter/Paramedic
Johnson County Fire District No. 2 (JCFD2) provides Fire & Rescue services to approximately 150 square miles in Johnson and Miami County, Kansas.

Purpose: JCFD2 is accepting applications for the position of full-time Firefighter/EMT or Firefighter/Paramedic. This position is non-exempt shift work and is subject to background check and drug screening.

Qualifications: Required qualifications include: Must be at least 18 years of age, a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, Firefighter I, and Kansas Certified Emergency Medical Technician (or equivalence), CPAT, and FSEE.

Preferred Qualifications: Kansas Certified Paramedic (or equivalence), Firefighter II, KS Class B driver’s license

Entry Level Salary: FF/EMT – $36,361 (w/no previous full-time experience)

Entry Level Salary: FF/Paramedic – $39,997 (w/no previous full-time experience)

Applications will be accepted until 5pm on September 29, 2017.

Please submit a letter of interest, resume, an employee application, and provide copies of required certifications to the Fire District’s Administrative Assistant at or send by mail to: Johnson County Fire District No. 2, 19120 Metcalf Ave, Stilwell, KS 66085

Johnson County Fire District No. 2 is an equal opportunity employer.


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1 dead, 1 injured after vehicle hits tree near Gardner, KS

By Daniel Barnett
KCTV 5 – August 29, 2017

Video & Update

Authorities in Gardner, KS are investigating the cause of an accident after a person was killed and another hurt when a vehicle hit a tree Tuesday morning.

The crash happened about 7:40 a.m. near 207th Street near Cedar Niles and Moonlight Road.

When officers arrived they found one person dead and another suffering from minor injuries. That person was taken to an area hospital.

Authorities say only one vehicle was involved in the crash.

Emergency crews have closed 207th Street near Cedar Niles and Moonlight Road while they work to clear the accident.


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Odor of gas causes Arby’s evacuation

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – August 29, 2017

Photo by Gale Rose

The odor of gas at Arby’s caused employees to feel sick. The building was evacuated, the fire department was called to investigate, Kansas Gas Service worked on the gas meter to solve the problem.

A gas leak Monday interrupted customer service at Arby’s when employees began feeling sick to their stomachs and were getting dizzy. The building was evacuated and the Pratt Fire Department was summoned to check out the problem, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.

A check of the building revealed no immediate source and Kansas Gas Service was called to investigate. After inspecting the building with gas detection equipment, Kansas Gas Service employees worked on the gas meter to fix the problem in the building.


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RV catches fire at Raceway Park

By Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Globe – August 29, 2017

Photo by Vincent Marshall

Fire units responded to a structure fire around 12:30 p.m. on Monday at the Raceway Park in Dodge City. It was reportedly an RV that was located just behind the grandstands that caught fire.


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Controlled burns preserve Kansas prairie, reduce fire hazards

By Season Osterfeld, 1st Inf. Div. Post
August 29, 2017

Capt. Glen Whitaker of the Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services monitors a portion of an annual prescribed burn conducted at Fort Riley training Area 39 March 10, 2016. (Photo by Andy Massanet, FORT RILEY PUBLIC AFFAIRS)

The season for controlled burns began Aug. 11 at Fort Riley. From August 2017 to May 2018 about 35,000 acres of land will be burned by the Directorate of Public Works – Environmental Division and Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services staff as part of conser­vation, noxious weed and fire hazard control programs.

“The goals of prescribed burning on Fort Riley includes maintenance of open space for military training, reduction of wildfire potential, reduction and suppression of woody plant encroachment onto the prairie, maintenance of wildlife resting and breeding cover and sericea lespedeza control,” said Shawn Stratton, supervisory biologist, DPW – Environmental Divi­sion, citing information from the Integrated Natural Re­source Management Plan.

Burns focus on noxious weed control, woody vegeta­tion encroachment and grass­land clearing to replicate burns that would occur in prairie lands naturally, said Mark Neely, wildland fire manager, DPW-Environmental embed­ded in FRFES. In the coming weeks and months, the burns will shift to fire hazard reduc­tion and training area clearing.

“Later on into the year, we start moving into the hazard fuel reduction, which is just re­moving a bunch of the grasses out there that could pose a fire hazard out in the winter,” he said.

The controlled burns will occur across the installation, Neely said, however, the Fort Riley should see little impact from them. Only one road clo­sure may occur when a burn north of Irwin Army Com­munity Hospital occurs and it will affect either Caisson Hill Road or Williston Point Road. To reduce inconveniences this may cause, DPW and FRFES staff are looking to conduct the burn during a time when fewer people are on the installation, such as on a resiliency day off.

“We don’t usually have road closures,” he said. “There’s a couple that may affect either Williston Point Road or Caisson (Hill) Road … Most of our fires either occur north of Vinton School Road … and then there’s another large majority, but most of that is east of Caisson.”

When conducting controlled burns, FRFES and DPW examine the directions smoke may travel to mitigate and reduce the impact on people in the area, Neely said.

“We do our best with smoke management,” he said. “We look where our plumes would go. We look at ventilation rate, which is how good of dispersal we get for the smoke. We look at downwind receptors to make sure it’s not going to hit nursing homes, schools or hospitals, anything like that or airports. We try to do our best on minimizing smoke impact, but it is out there.”

He added Fort Riley is not the only community to conduct controlled burns during the August to May window.

“We’re not the only ones in Kansas, so many times when they see smoke, they think Fort Riley, but no, it’s other towns and communities too,” Neely said.

Fort Riley has been conducting controlled burns since the 1980s; however, in the last decade, DPW and FRFRES have doubled down to increase the program and their personnel training and qualifications, he said.

“We’ve really increased our qualifications, our abilities,” Neely said. “Because of the program’s success, others come to us … we’re a very successful program because we do burn a lot.”

Those involved in the controlled burns receive certifications through the National Wildlife Coordinating Group. Their certifications take years to complete and require both classroom and hands on experience, he said.

“You just can’t take a class, you’ve got to do certain tasks signed off by the right individuals and then go before a committee,” Neely said.

Each year, FRFES and DPW improve their strategies and programs for habitat conservation, training area safety and fire hazard reductions, Stratton said.

“Fort Riley’s goal is to integrate prescribed burning, hayfield cutting, mechanical control, herbicide application and land rehabilitation actions to sustain the training mission, enhance Soldier safety, maintain, enhance or reclaim native prairie, reverse or control undesirable invasive plants and provide suitable habitat for the potential natural fauna typically associated with tallgrass prairie,” he said.


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2 Kansas women die in head-on semi crash

Hays Post – August 29, 2017

Two Kansas women died in an accident just after 2:30p.m. Monday in Kiowa County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2015 GMC Terrain driven by Mary C. Garrison, 56, McPherson, was eastbound on U.S. 54.

The vehicle crossed left of center and struck a semi head-on on the far north shoulder.

Garrison and a passenger Patsy J. Lamber, 75, McPherson, were transported to the hospital in Dodge City where they died.

The semi driver Anthony M. Rigdon, 35, Skiatook, OK., was not injured. Rigdon was properly restrained at the time of the accident.

The KHP reported they did not know if the occupants of the GMC were wearing seat belts.


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KEMSA Award Press Release

August 28, 2017

Award winner stands with KEMSA President Brandon Beck. Photo taken by Jon Friesen.

John Cota, training officer with Kansas City Kansas Fire Department (KCKFD) and instructor coordinator for Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC), was the recipient of the 2017 Donald E. White Educator of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA). The “Honoring Our Own” awards banquet took place on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Kansas Star Event Center in Mulvane, Kan. during the annual KEMSA Conference & Expo.

John is an EMT and has earned a Master’s degree from K-State in Adult Continuing Education. Now, he is in paramedic school. John stays active in EMS in the state by attending several EMS conferences and attends the majority of Kansas Board of EMS meetings. During the past two years, John volunteered for the daunting task of providing continuing education to the members of Kansas City Kansas Fire Department. John also serves in many areas within the community teaching hands only CPR classes to various organizations within the community such as Catholic Charities and many others.

John’s nomination said “John’s state of the art approach to educating the future of professional technicians includes running various scenarios, trying new and different software programs to enhance the learning process, and helping to establish marketing for both the paramedic and EMT programs within the community. He has also mentored newer instructors and helped to establish and create innovative ways to address educating future technicians. John has shown extraordinary dedication to EMS education.”

This award is offered to recognize any Kansas Instructor Coordinator or Training Officer who is recognized by the Kansas Board of EMS to conduct initial courses of instruction or continuing education instruction and is given to an outstanding instructor of initial or continuing EMS education.

KEMSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of EMS in Kansas. KEMSA has members throughout Kansas and in surrounding states at every level of EMS. KEMSA was formed in 1996 after members from several EMS factions decided to unite to have a single voice for EMS in Kansas. Learn more at


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Fire/EMS deputy chief enters Executive Fire Officer Program

Newton Kansan – August 29, 2017

Newton Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Steve Roberson has been accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

The Executive Fire Officer Program is the premiere executive leadership development program in the American fire service, consisting of four graduate and upper-division-baccalaureate level courses. The acceptance rate for the four-year program is about 64 percent.

Chief Scott Metzler said Roberson’s acceptance into the program confirms his place in the very top tier of the fire service.

“I’m extremely proud of Chief Roberson’s continued pursuit of excellence,” Metzler said, “and I’m excited for the development opportunities this represents for him and for our department.”

Roberson has a bachelor’s degree from Friends University and is a paramedic/Registered Nurse. He has been with the Newton department since 1995.


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Fire Department receives water rescue calls

Wyandotte Daily News – August 28, 2017

The Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department received multiple rescue calls for vehicles in high water during a storm earlier today (Sunday), according to a social media message from the fire chief.

Fire Chief John Paul Jones listed locations that experienced high water about 11 a.m. as Mill and Central, 47th and Ottawa, and 13th and Washington.

High water was surrounding a church at the 700 block of South Mill Street, the chief reported.


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Free Smoke Detectors in Baxter Springs

By Austin Hyslip
FourStates News – August 28, 2017

Buying and installing a fire alarm can be difficult for some and the fire department in Baxter Springs is making sure that’s not the case for their residents.

It’s called “Get Alarmed Kansas” an initiative started by the fire marshal’s office.

The program will provide free smoke detectors to home owners who don’t have working detectors already.

Children and residents over the age of 65 are the target of the program.

The Baxter Springs Fire Department is taking this program on because it’s important for residents to be notified in the event of a fire.

“It’s really important to make sure that we have home owners have a warning system in the event of a fire, in the U.S. Alone there’s over 2 thousand fire deaths and over two thirds of those don’t have fire detectors in the home.” said Karsten Creech Baxter Springs firefighter. Video


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New effort to keep firefighters safe comes at a high price

KAKE – August 28, 2017

A federal study has revealed firefighters are at a higher risk for cancer. Gone are the days where a dirty fire suit is worn as a badge of honor or a sign of the work a firefighter put in. Now, it’s a sign of carcinogens blanketing the firefighter, putting them at a higher risk for cancer. Video


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If You Helped with the Wilson Lake Wildfire, Wilson FD Wants to Know

By David Elliott
KRSL – August 28, 2017

The Wilson Fire Department is requesting help with information for the Wilson Lake wildfire on March 6, 2017 and the days following.

If you or know of someone who volunteered to help with the fire, they are needing your information.

The help could have been donating food or water, helping serve the food and water, bringing in supplies to fight the fire, such as water for firefighting, farmers with tractors and equipment working up ground for fire breaks, or any kind of support that helped with fighting the fire.

Phone or text information to 785-658-5472, email or leave a message on the Wilson Fire Department Facebook page.

(Information courtesy Wilson Fire Chief Larry Langerman. Photo courtesy Virgil Lawson.)


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Dennis “Denny” Darrell Graves, Sr.

Dennis “Denny” Darrell Graves, Sr., 62, died at his St. John home Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Born on Aug. 30, 1954, in Manhattan, he was the son of William Walton and Marie Tharsilla (Pauly) Graves. He worked for the Kansas Department of Transportation as an equipment operator for 18 years and was a St. John police officer and volunteer firefighter for 19 years.
He married Barbara A. Roehl on May 9, 1981, in Dighton, Ks. His memberships include First Southern Baptist Church of Dighton, St. John Fire Department as a Lieutenant-Engineer, Stafford County Fire Department, Kansas State Firefighters Association, Kansas State Sheriffs Association, Kansas State Chiefs of Police, Kansas State Fair Ambassador, and was a past member of Stafford County EMS.
Survivors include his wife, of the home; and sons Darrell Graves, Jr., Newton, and Davin Graves, St. John. He was preceded in death by both parents and two sisters, Nancy Lou Graves and Denise Darlene Graves. Funeral Services will be held on Monday, Aug. 28, at 10:30 am, at Minnis Chapel, St. John. Burial will follow at Fairview Park Cemetery, St. John. Visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 27, from 1-7 p.m., with family present from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be given to the St. John Fire Department Auxiliary in care of Minnis Chapel, PO Box 34, St. John, Ks 67576.


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Kansas man dies after hit by a semi

Hays Post – August 28, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 2.a.m. Friday in Grant County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2016 Peterbilt semi driven by Michael D. Barnes, 25, Garden City, was northbound on Kansas 25 north of Ulysses.

Joseph A. Humphreys, 67, Garden City, was laying in the east ditch of the highway, according to the KHP.

When the truck approached, Humphreys jumped from a prone position and was struck on the right side.

The truck came to rest in the northbound driving lane.

Humphreys was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Garnand Funeral Home, according to the KHP.

Barnes was not injured. The accident remains under investigation.


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1 dead after NW Kansas crash with a semi

Great Bend Post – August 28, 2017

One person died in an accident just before 5a.m. Saturday in Decatur County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2014 Honda Accord driven by Christian T. Johnson 54, Boelus, NE., was traveling northeast on Kansas 383 one mile west of Dresden.

The Honda crossed left of center and collided with a 2006 Freightliner semi driven by Jesus Noe Rubio, 43, Garden City.

Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Mickey-Leopld Funeral Home in Hoxie.

Rubio was not injured. Both drivers were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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One killed, one injured in rollover crash

By Corrine Dorrian
KSNT – August 28, 2017

One person was killed and another injured in a crash Saturday morning, just a few miles outside of Brown County.

It happened around 12:00 a.m. along Ash Point Road, a few feet away from 170th Road in Doniphan County. Kansas Highway Patrol said a car rolled onto its right side, ejecting both passengers.

The driver of that car, 50-year-old Steven Sims of Trenton, Missouri, was killed. The passenger, 25-year-old Cody Brown of Trenton, Missouri, was sent to Hiawatha Hospital with injuries.

Neither of the men were wearing seat-belts.


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One killed, three hurt in Butler County wreck

KWCH – August 28, 2017

One person died late Thursday in a wreck south of El Dorado.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said early Friday four young adults were driving along Hopkins Switch Road near SW 50th Street when they hit a utility pole.

One person was critically hurt ,while two others suffered serious injuries.

Undersheriff Tony Wilhite said deputies are still looking into what caused the wreck. Wilhite did not know whether anyone was wearing a seat belt.


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One man dies in car accident near Wichita

KWCH – August 28, 2017

A Sedgwick county man is dead after rolling his car Saturday evening. It happened near 21st and North 143rd St. East northeast of Wichita.

Parts of 143rd street are closed as crews clean up. Westar Energy trucks are on scene repairing poles that were damaged in the accident.

According to Captain Mark Pierce with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department, the man was driving a sports car on 143rd street when he lost control of the vehicle, rolling multiple times and striking a guide wire on a powerline. Speeding might have caused the accident.


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Three adults escape Saturday afternoon duplex fire

By Mike Frizzell
Shawnee Dispatch – August 28, 2017

Photo by Mile Frizzell

Firefighters from Shawnee and Overland Park made quick work of a duplex fire in the 6000 block of Richards Drive East on Saturday afternoon.

Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands says the call was received about 4:25 p.m.

“Fire crews arrived on scene and found a working kitchen fire that had extended into the attic and adjacent tenant space,” Sands said. “Three adults were able to escape with no injuries.”

Investigators determined careless cooking was to blame for sparking the fire.

Damage is estimated at approximately $150,000.


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Lightning sparks western Shawnee house fire

By Mike Frizzell
Shawnee Dispatch – August 28, 2017

Photo by Mike Frizzell

Fire investigators say a lightning strike caused a Sunday morning house fire near 64th Street and Warwick Street.

Firefighters from Shawnee and Lenexa were called to the nearly 3,200 square foot home just before 7:40 a.m., after smoke alarms alerted residents.

Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands says the resident reported they believed the home had been struck by lightning. Sands says the lightning strike energized the corrugated stainless steel gas line inside the home.

“This caused the cast gas line to arc off of a nail and caused the fire,” Sands said.

Damage is estimated at $80,000.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Body of lost girl found in lake

KAKE – August 28, 2017


The Wichita Fire Department says the body of a lost juvenile has been found in northwest Wichita.

The 11-year-old’s body was recovered from a lake near 29th Street and North Ridge Rd.

Wichita firefighters say the child was attending a large party where swimming was involved.

“It’s my understanding that parents came to pick up one of the juveniles, cause it was a relatively large crowd, and that’s when it was noticed that one of the juveniles was missing,” said Wichita Interim Fire Chief Tammy Snow.

Firefighters and Wichita Police searched the area for about two hours. The child’s body was recovered in about 10 feet of water.

Police say they are investigating the incident as an accidental drowning.

Shelby Cramb was a sixth-grader at Maize Middle School.


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Firefighters clean up tree limbs for Andover widow

KAKE – August 24, 2017

Andover firefighters worked with local volunteers to clean up fallen tree limbs for a widow.

Andover Fire-Rescue said in a Facebook post that on Wednesday evening, the B-shift firefighters learned of a widow who was unable to clean up the limbs in her yard.

They joined with Hands2Serve volunteers and had the limbs cleaned up and the wood stacked within a few minutes, the post said.


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FD#1 receives grant

Gardner News – August 24, 2017

Pictured are Johnson County Fire District #1 Fire Chief Rob Kirk and Assistant Chief Dennis Meyers.

Johnson County Fire District #1 is the recipient of a 2017 Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation grant for $10,340.00.
Since 2005, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has donated more than $28 million and fulfilled more than 2,953 grants. These grants have helped purchase lifesaving equipment and resources for first-responders.
As the southwest area of Johnson County continues to grow, a majority of the area remains rural. With this grant, the department was able purchase a Kawasaki Mule Pro FX Utility Vehicle (UTV).
Emergency responders will now have better access to wildland areas that in the past were more difficult to traverse with traditional fire apparatus. This includes faster response to patients that may be out in pasture or deep timber, in addition to wildland fires. This UTV was also purchased in preparation for the new 2,000-acre Big Bull Creek Park being built in Edgerton off Sunflower road.


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Rural fire department to receive new pagers

Montgomery County Chronicle – July 27, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – August 24, 2017

Montgomery County Rural Fire District #1 will receive 28 new pager devices, thanks to a state grant that the fire district learned it had received recently.

The fire district applied for a Kansas State Forestry Grant, which provides grants to fire services on a 50-50 basis (50 percent paid through the grant; 50 percent paid through the local fire district).

Darrin Felts, fire district coordinator, said the grant was valued at $9,660. The fire district will make the purchase of the new pagers; the grant proceeds will be used to reimburse the fire district for 50 percent of the purchase.


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New app allows the public to follow, assist emergency services

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News – August 24, 2017

A new phone app allows the general public the feel the pulse of the City unlike ever before.

The free PulsePoint app was officially introduced to the general public by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) on Wednesday, August 23, but it received an early shout-out on August 21 from Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department Chief Paul Berardi.

“Now responding to 11th and Spruce on high water,” Berardi tweeted as torrential downpour caused chaos throughout the city. “So you want to keep track of all @KCMOFireDept responses? Download @pulsepoint app.”

Indeed, at the time of Berardi’s tweet the PulsePoint app was already hard at work, relaying a perpetually updating timeline of KCFD’s emergency responses throughout the metropolitan area. In additional to the scroll of emergency service responses, the app also features an interactive map that shows pins of all the responses throughout the city.

The mobile app was initially designed by a firefighter in California as a way to connect individuals with hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to those in a nearby public place suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. Once users with CPR training sign up for the app, they’ll receive an automatic alert at the same time first responders are dispatched to the scene of the emergency.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, affecting more than 350,000 people each year,” said Chief John Paul Jones of the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department. “This cutting-edge technology can save lives by alerting people who can start CPR before an ambulance arrives. With sudden cardiac arrest, seconds count.”

According to the press release issued by MARC, the technology was brought to three Kansas City area agencies (KCFD; Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department; and the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center) thanks in part to the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs’ Council and Mid-America Regional Council Emergency Rescue (MARCER) committee.

Between the three agencies, more than 1.3 million people – including those from Raytown, Grandview, Claycomo and Wyandotte County – now have access to private citizens with CPR training through the PulsePoint app.

“This is the largest regional effort to simultaneously implement PulsePoint in the nation,” said Richard Carrizzo, president of Heart of America Fire Chiefs, and the Fire Chief for the Southern Platte Fire Protection District.

According to the American Heart Association, instantaneous hands-only CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival after cardiac arrest, though the organization estimates that only 46% of sufferers received CPR from a bystander in 2016.

“When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, each minute without CPR reduces the chance of survival by 7-10 percent, so early bystander CPR and rapid defibrillation from an AED can be crucial,” said Berardi. “I encourage every resident who has CPR training to download the app and support our region’s first responders in saving lives.”

Eric Winebrenner, the Public Safety Communications Director at MARC, said that the strong relationship between agencies throughout the region has helped make Kansas City’s rollout of PulsePoint especially successful.

“With MARC’s help, the region does a great job of communicating with each other,” Winebrenner said. “What I’m told is that this doesn’t happen a lot in other communities.”

As evidenced by the Berardi’s tweet during Monday’s rainstorm, some of the ancillary benefits of the PulsePoint mobile app are already paying dividends.

“It’s transparency – there aren’t a lot of secrets,” Winebrenner said. “You can see exactly what they’re doing. They’re busy – there’s the proof.”

PulsePoint is available through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and is currently active in more than 2,500 cities throughout the nation. For more information, visit or


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