Archive for October, 2017

City of Hays Firefighter Great Escape Challenge Dinner

Press Release: City of Hays Firefighter Great Escape Challenge Dinner

On Saturday October 28th, the 3rd grade winners of the City of Hays Fire Department Great Escape Poster Challenge came to the fire station for dinner. The Great Escape poster contest challenges students to draw a floor plan of their home showcasing their home fire escape plan. Winners were selected by firefighters from each 3rd grade class at the school based on the following criteria: ability to follow instructions, neatness, content, color and creativity.

There were 13 winners this 2017 school year from five schools. The winners are as follows:

Roosevelt Elementary School

Tyson Younger
Dakota Maier
Logan Leiker

Holy Family School

Raegan Allen
Charlie Meitner

Lincoln Elementary School

Yoselin Tinoco-Hernandez
Ana Oliveros

Wilson Elementary School

Blake Larson
Spencer Munsch
Nicholas Blair

O’Loughlin Elementary School

Brody Burns
Caleb LaFond
Lucas Dreher

Winners came to the fire station at 1507 Main Street for a chicken dinner with local firefighters. Winners were also presented with a one of a kind t-shirt, detailed tour of the fire station and given a ride in the brand new Ladder 1 fire truck. By participating, students become more aware of fire and how to be fire safe, not only in their schools but in their homes as well. Thank you to all students who participated in this year’s Great Escape Challenge! We look forward to judging next year’s posters.


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United Prairie Ag donates Grain Rescue Equipment to fire department

Haskell County Monitor Chief – October 18, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2017

Thursday morning Jeremy Salem and Johnny Kolacek (representing United Prairie Ag in Satanta) presented the Satanta and Dudley Township Fire Department with a Coffer Dam and Rescue Auger for use in grain rescues. Jared Sunderland, Fire Chief, and Randy Hargett, Assistant Fire Chief was on hand to receive the donated equipment.

Jeremy Salem, Branch Manager at United Prairie Ag, saw a need for the Coffer Dam and started the process to get the fire department this vital equipment. Even though all four gentlemen agreed that they are hoping it never has to be used in a grain accident, this equipment is there in case it is needed to help save lives.

Grain Accident training is important in this area of the country. Grain is everywhere, Coop’s, farms, and feedlots are just some of the examples of where grain storage and usage happens and it only takes a split second for an accident to happen. Satanta and Dudley Township Fire Department has taken training on grain accident rescues not only recently but will also in December be participating in a training with KU in Ulysses for more. With this training they are hoping to get more of the community involved and be prepared.

A Coffer Dam is a series of 6 metal panels that measure 16″ x 60″ and weigh 25 lbs. each. Once slid together, it encircles someone that is trapped in grain and needing to be rescued. It helps keep grain from piling up more around the victim and creates a barrier. Then an auger is inserted into the area created in the Coffer Dam, enabling grain to be removed from around the victim to help with freeing them. A cordless drill is attached to the auger to power it. Once the auger is started, it is able to remove two bushels of grain per minute. This is a vast improvement compared to trying to remove the grain by hand. With this equipment, precious time in rescuing grain accident victims is great ly improved.

Saving lives and keeping our volunteer firemen safer with training and equipment is what makes donations such as the one from United Prairie Ag so important to our communities, cause in the end, it is trying to get everyone home safe that counts.


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J D Houseman

J D Houseman, age 82, died October 21, 2017 at his residence in Liberal, KS. He was born November 3, 1934 in Dombey, OK, the son of Thomas James and Pansy (Schuchman) Houseman.

He graduated from Adams High School, Adams, OK, in 1953. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1957.

On December 20, 1953 he married Sharon R. Hampsten at Clayton, NM. She survives.

He worked for Liberal Gas Company for 40 years, retiring as Construction Superintendent.

He was a member of the Grant Street Church of Christ, he was a Liberal Fire Department Volunteer for 20 years, coached Kids Inc. for 10 years, played softball for the City Softball League until age 55, and he then umpired for the City Softball League for 15 years. He delivered and picked up cars for Stu Emmert’s Automotive Center for 15 years. He spent the winters in South Texas. He enjoyed spending time at the family cabin in Cuchara, CO and having morning coffee with his friends at McDonalds.

Survivors include:
2 Sons Tony Houseman and wife Angi Lyons, KS
Todd Houseman and wife Sandy Dodge City, KS

1 Daughter Tanya Slater and husband Larry Turpin, OK

6 Grandchildren Ty and wife Jaime Houseman and Trevin Houseman, Candice Neeley, Tonice and husband Kyle Lindberg, Tia and husband Jeremy Hogg and Jordan and wife Katie Slater. 15 Great Grandchildren Kinsley, Cooper and Sophia Houseman, Xander Houseman, Logan, Ayden and Riley Neeley, Laken, Timber and Aspen Lindberg, Jaret and Addisyn Hogg, Karsyn, Kamryn and Jett Slater.

He was preceded in death by his Parents, 1 Son Billy Joe Houseman and 2 Sisters Julia Manhart and Laura Gorden.

Cremation has taken place and there will be no viewing or visitation.

Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the Grant Street Church of Christ in Liberal, KS with Minister Dennis (Skip) Francis presiding.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the American Cancer Society in care of the Brenneman Funeral Home 1212 W. 2nd Liberal, KS 67901.


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Fire call leads to pot growing bust in Pretty Prairie

By John Green
Hutchinson News – October 31, 2017

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Pretty Prairie woman for cultivating marijuana after firefighters called to the home on Main Street discovered plants growing in the basement.

Rachelle Dietz, 41, of 221 W. Main St., initially called authorities about 6:45 p.m. Monday reporting her 2005 Ford Taurus had been stolen, said Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson.

While a deputy was in route, Dietz then called in a fire at the home.

She told authorities she suspected her boyfriend of both.

The fire was limited to items on the concrete floor of the basement and had mostly burned out by the time firefighters arrived, said Jake Grabber, assistant chief with Reno / Kingman Joint Fire Dist. 1.

The fire, which Grabber termed “suspicious in nature,” filled the house with dense smoke. He estimated damages at less than $100.

“Property wise, it was just some carpet and sheets and blankets hanging from the rafters,” Grabber said.

Also in the basement, however, was a small grow operation consisting of five suspected marijuana plants, Henderson said.

Officials did not indicate how large the plants were or their suspected value, but Dietz was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia for cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia for personal use.

When Deitz made a first appearance Tuesday morning, Magistrate Cheryl Allen agreed to lower her bond from $13,500 to $10,000.


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Young boys spill gas onto generator, causes small fire

By Corrine Dorrian
KSNT – October 31, 2017

The Topeka Fire Department was on the scene of a small fire in Topeka Monday night.

The call came in around 8:00 at NE 14th & Quincy. The fire department told KSNT News two young boys were attempting to fill a generator at their house with gasoline. Some of the gasoline then spilled onto the generator and the flames were ignited by the heat.

No injuries were reported. Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly.


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Chapman appoints interim fire chief

By Carol Lacer
Chapman and Enterprise News Times – October 26, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – October 31, 2017

Veteran firefighter Cecil Thrush, of Detroit, has been appointed interim Chapman fire chief. The appointment was announced by city administrator John Dudte at the October 11 Chapman Council meeting. Dudte said the previous chief, Ryan Hall had resigned.

Thrush is currently employed as a firefighter in Junction City. He is also serving as the fire chief for the Enterprise Fire Department and has worked in the past for the Abilene Fire Department. He has 20 years of firefighting experience.

Thrush is also an instructor with the KU fire service and with the Kansas City Firefighters Association.

He is registered as an EMT-Basic through the National Registry of EMT’s and certified by the Kansas Board of EMS as an EMT-A (advanced) as well as an EMS training officer.

Thrush also holds multiple fire service training certificates across a wide range of fire service topics, including hazardous materials, incident command, firefighting and rescue operations, according to Dudte.

Dudte told council members he also runs a pretty impressive shop in Enterprise.

In a very short time, Thrush has signed on four additional firefighters for Chapman, and all current members stayed on as well. The Chapman volunteer firefighter roster now has 12 firefighters, including one EMT-A in addition to Thrush.

Dudte said the firefighters are excited about Chief Thrush and the skills he brings to the job, including the training he has available for the firefighters.

“I’m pretty excited about him being able to give us a hand in the interim,” Dudte said.

Thrush said he was excited to come aboard, and plans to build a good fire department in Chapman.

One of his first things to do was to meet with the firefighters and find out what they wanted.

“They are the ones to protect you here, and make sure things run good,” Thrush said.

He said as chief, his responsibility is to make sure everybody is safe. He said the NFPA has standards that guide his actions. If anyone is hurt, or tragically killed on a fire scene, the NFPA will come to the city to perform an inspection.

“If you’re not up to standard, it’s not anything for them to shut a department down,” Thrush said. “My goal is to make sure that never happens to the City of Chapman, and that we always run a good safe orderly crew.”

Thrush said the department held a hands-on training session at their first meeting with him as chief.

He said all the firefighters took part, and were happy to have the training.

He also enjoys interaction with youth and the public. He has made plans to visit the elementary schools this month during Fire Prevention Month, and received a warm welcome from school officials.

He said people will be seeing more activity at the fire department, with more training, and more interaction with the public and the city.

“I’m looking to make a great department,” Thrush said. He said anytime he is at the fire station, people are welcome to stop in.


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Job Opening – Firefighter – Atchison Fire Department

The City of Atchison is testing for the position of Firefighter. Requirements include, but not limited to: Must be at least 18 years of age; high school diploma or GED; possess valid driver’s license. Kansas EMT certification preferred but not necessary to apply. More information is located on the city’s web site at under Fire Dept. Recruitment. Interested individuals should apply at no later than Nov. 13, 2017. Written and physical agility testing will be held beginning at 9:00 a.m. Nov. 28, 2017 at the Atchison Event Center, 710 S. 9th Street, Atchison. Failure to appear on testing date will result in disqualification. EOE/AA


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Duane Richard Whisenhunt

Duane Richard Whisenhunt, 54 years and 7 days, went home to be with Lord on Monday October 9,

2017 from Minneola, KS. Duane fought a short, but courageous battle with cancer.

Born in Minneola, KS, he was the second of four children born to Roy Olen and Jewel June (Graves)

Whisenhunt. He attended school in Idaho, as well as Gate, Laverne, and Forgan, OK. He was employed at

Blue Sage as a heavy equipment operator.

He was a curious and energetic child. His favorite outlet to burn energy was playing basketball. It was

rumored, especially by his siblings, that he was ornery and kindhearted in his younger days-both traits

he would carry into adulthood.

Duane was, above all, a proud father and family man. It didn’t matter if they were cooking out, fishing,

sharing one of his momma’s home cooked meals, or at the races, he thoroughly cherished his time spent

surrounded by loved ones.

He was well known for his work ethic and willingness to lend a helping hand. He spent many years cross

country trucking and operating heavy machinery. Both jobs he was not only skilled at, but enjoyed. He

earned the nickname “Golden Eagle” through his years on the road. He worked alongside his father at

two separate jobs, as well.

Duane was a member of the Englewood, KS Volunteer Fire Department. He was very proud to serve

alongside his fellow firefighters. He was encouraged by the outpouring of support they showed him

throughout his battle.

Duane was a straight shooter. You could depend on him for an honest opinion, but you could expect to

get a good laugh with it. He was a man who both worked hard and played hard. He taught us not only

through his life, but also in his sickness what it means to be strong. Throughout his fight he managed to

hold on tightly to his stubbornness and sense of humor.

He was preceded in death by his son, Skyler Duane Whisenhunt, sister, Tammy Perkins, niece, Rikki

Perkins, and nephew, Cody Ratzlaff.

He is survived by his children: Tasha Whisenhunt, of Laverne, OK, Tiffany Whisenhunt, of

Peru, IL, Toby Whisenhunt, of Englewood, KS, and Tyler Whisenhunt, of Tupelo, OK. He is

also survived by his parents, Roy Olen and June Whisenhunt, of Englewood, KS, brother,

Rick Whisenhunt and wife Mauriel, of Uniontown, KS, sister, Nena Kirkhart and husband Troy, of Gate,

OK, his grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and many other family members and friends.

Memorial service was held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 15, in the Englewood Community Center, Englewood, Kansas, followed by inurnment at the Gate Cemetery, Gate, Oklahoma.

“Fireman’s Last Call” by the Englewood Fire Department and along with area fire departments.


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Ellis County finalizes communications upgrades

By Kaley Conner
Hays Daily News – October 31, 2017

Significant upgrades to Ellis County’s emergency communications equipment were completed last week, and residents now have the ability to text 911 if they are unable to make a phone call.

The texting capabilities went live Oct. 25. Making a phone call continues to be the recommended method of calling for emergency help, but texting could provide a potentially life-saving connection in certain situations, said Darin Myers, Ellis County emergency management coordinator and fire chief.

“The main thing to point out is it’s always better to physically call 911 rather than send a text,” he said. “There are certain situations where it would be better to text. The hearing disabled can text 911 if they have an issue, and we could respond back and forth with that, as well as if there’s any type of hostile situation.”

Text messages can be sent to 911, and the message should include as much detail as possible, including the nature and location of the emergency. It’s important to spell out words entirely rather than using popular abbreviations, he said.

A phone number and the service carrier can be pulled from the text messages. But quickly pinpointing an exact location is only possible when a telephone call is made to the communications center, which enables an improved mapping feature that also was part of recent upgrades.

Calls made from landlines can be traced to an exact location quickly, while emergency operators can ping cellphone devices to help identify where the caller is located. The mapping accuracy improves the longer a phone connection is maintained, Myers said.

The mapping software now allows dispatchers to view all of the counties surrounding Ellis County, instead of cutting off at the county line. Previously, the county had to contract with an outside company each year for GPS locating capabilities.

Improvements to the 911 system — known as Next Generation 911 — are part of a nationwide program to enhance emergency communications. Approximately 80 Kansas counties have implemented the technology.

In Ellis County, the 911 upgrades were combined with radio infrastructure improvements at a total cost of approximately $800,000. The project was funded through a statewide cellphone tax of approximately 60 cents per cellphone, per month. The county had been saving that money since the tax was implemented approximately six years ago.

Communications infrastructure was replaced on the county’s tower at Spring Hill Road — that technology had dated back to 1992. New radio consoles also were purchased for dispatch personnel.

The upgrades also will improve the county’s back-up capabilities to ensure emergency services always will be available. The new technology has a fiber link to a statewide master site in Salina, which would enable communication to be transferred elsewhere and continue. In the event the dispatch center itself would have to be evacuated, the county now could transfer call center operations to Russell County until a backup center is established, he said.

The emergency operations center is staffed by the city of Hays, while Ellis County provides equipment. At least 12 agencies — including city, county and state law enforcement, fire departments and EMS — rely on the county communications system.

“Whenever there’s an emergency in Ellis County, the first point of notification that anybody gets always goes to the communications center,” Myers said. “And usually, up until that emergency is done and the last part of that before the scene is being cleared and everybody’s returning to their stations, is communication with the communications center. They’re involved in every single emergency day-in and day-out.”


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WaKeeney man killed Monday after pickup overturns

Hays Post – October 31, 2017

A 75-year-old WaKeeney man was killed in an accident at approximately 11:45 a.m. Monday in Trego County, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The KHP reported a 1997 GMC pickup was eastbound on M Road when it drove over a washboarded portion of the road. The driver, James M. Opat, lost control of the truck and entered the south ditch, where it overturned.

Opat was transported to Schmitt Funeral Home, the KHP said, after next of kin was notified by the Trego County Sheriff’s Office.

He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, the KHP reported.


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Starting Thursday, callers can text 911 dispatch

By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun – October 31, 2017

People will be able to send emergency texts to Labette County’s next generation 911 system beginning Thursday.

The changeover on Thursday is statewide for public safety answering points that use the state’s hosted 911 system, which Labette County does. The county has two answering points, Oswego and Parsons. Parsons police dispatch their own officers while the Oswego center dispatches for the sheriff, fire and ambulance services, as well as city police departments.

Brandy Grassl, the county’s 911 director, discussed the change with county commissioners Monday morning. She said representatives from the Kansas 911 Coordinating Council will be in the county on Wednesday texting 911 messages to dispatchers to test cell phone carriers’ text service around the county.

Southeast Kansas is one of the last areas of the state to be tested before the ability to text a 911 dispatcher goes live. Wilson, Montgomery and Labette counties will be tested. Neosho, Crawford and Cherokee counties are not on the state’s hosted 911 system, Grassl said. She said about 70 of the state’s 117 public safety answering points are on the state’s next generation 911 system.

Grassl said texting 911 is for emergencies only, just like calling 911. Texting 911 may not be useful in many situations, but if you cannot call and require emergency services, texting is an option. Call if you can, text if you can’t, she said.

No pictures, videos, emoticons or emojis can be accepted. Texters also should avoid slang and text short cuts.

She suggested that texters provide a location and the nature of the call, whether they need police, fire or medical service. Location information is important because in some rural areas cell coverage isn’t great and it may take up to 30 seconds of an active call to get the caller’s location.

She added that callers should not end their text call or power off their devices unless advised to by the dispatcher. Because once a text is closed out by the user, it may limit the dispatcher’s ability to contact the caller. The dispatcher could call the number, but the 911 dispatchers cannot initiate a text message with the current software; they can only respond to emergency messages sent in.

Grassl said she doesn’t expect many people to text 911. Many callers prefer to connect with dispatchers and hear that help is on its way.

“People want to talk to you. People want that instant connection,” she said.

For situations in which a person cannot make a call, Grassl mentioned a burglary in progress or a domestic violence situation, texting may be a preferred communication method.

Dispatchers will have a series of pre-typed questions in the system to send to the texters to get details. Texting can only be done in English. And if devices cannot send a text to 911, the device will receive notification that the message was not able to go through.

Kansas City area communities in Kansas have been using the 911 text service for a while. She said about 1 percent of emergency communications to the 911 centers are from text messages.

She asked commissioners about getting a cell phone for dispatchers that could be used to text back abandoned callers. If a text message is closed out by the user before the dispatcher has all the information, the system cannot initiate a text, but the cell phone would. Unfortunately, the 911 caller would have the phone number of the device used to text them. The fear is the caller would text that number when the next emergency happens, Grassl said, and that phone will not be monitored by dispatchers.

A message could be placed at the end of the text from the phone that in an emergency callers should use 911.

Grassl said she will see how the test goes on Wednesday and how the service runs in its first days and update commissioners next Monday.


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Dog comes to the rescue when 2 hunters got stuck in the mud in Jefferson Co.

By Shawn Wheat
WIBW – October 31, 2017

New details about the two duck hunters who got stuck in waist deep mud Monday morning. Turns out their dog played a big part in their rescue!

Jefferson Co. Fire Dist. 11 Chief Jason Nellis tells 13 NEWS the hunters went into the Kyle Marsh, at Perry Wildlife Area, before sunrise Monday morning. The hunters, whose names weren’t released, ventured across the marsh while it was still dark and got stuck in the mud.

They called for help and when fire crews arrived, they could see the hunters flashlights more than a quarter-mile from the nearest boat ramp.

Nellis says firefighters couldn’t get closer than a hundred feet.

But, they were able to call the hunter’s dog. They, then, tied a rescue rope to the dog, who took it to the hunters one at a time, so crews could pull them out.

Both men and their hero dog are okay.


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Commission gets a look at new 911 system

By Kelly Breckunitch
Newton Kansan – October 31, 2017

Inside the heart of the Emergency Operations Center, Harvey County dispatch personnel have been being dealing with a lot of change over the past couple of weeks. The county’s new Next Generation 911 (NG911) system went live as of Oct. 26, and commissioners saw first hand how that has transformed the way in which 911 calls are processed during a tour of the center on Monday.

On the first day the new system went live, Communications Director Don Gruver said the advantages of the new system were made clear as calls started coming in about a grass fire in Sedgwick. With the new system, dispatch was able to quickly pinpoint the location of the fire and call in support from surrounding departments in Halstead, Newton, etc. — even some departments that were not paged by Harvey County 911 turned up to assist in the fire suppression efforts.

At the center of NG911, Gruver informed commissioners that the mapping resources are one of the biggest benefits of the new system. With 76 percent participation from Kansas counties in NG911, and each providing geographic data, the map-based system makes the process of locating callers much quicker. With the majority of calls now coming from cell phones, he added that residents turning on GPS services will aid in that process all the more.

“You can have that set for 911 only,” Gruver said. “We encourage people to do that.”

In addition to the mapping benefits of the new system, the fact of NG911 being a state initiative brings a host of positives for Harvey County 911 — from the state being in charge of equipment maintenance to the near uniformity of the system allowing the Emergency Operations Center to log into its own system at any other NG911 center across the state.

Text to 911 will also be going live in Harvey County, on Nov. 1 officially, with Gruver demonstrating that facet of the new system to commissioners and noting that while it does get information to dispatch, a call is still the best way to help pinpoint your location — part of the impetus being the statewide motto to “call when you can and text when you can’t.”

Calling, Gruver noted, is also a more streamlined way of getting information across to dispatchers, as he noted information sent via text cannot be copied and pasted into the computer-aided dispatch system.

“It’ s a very tightly protected, closed network,” Gruver said.

What the new system will also provide is an easier way for department administrators to plug in and help take calls in busy times — which Gruver noted the department has had its share of. So, while the upgrade to NG911 was not required, it is for reasons like that Harvey County 911 pursued the shift in technology.

“If you don’t keep up with it, things start breaking down here,” Gruver said, “and we can’t have that.”


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Grill possibly the cause of Topeka house fire

By Johanna Hecht
KSNT – October 30, 2017

An early morning house fire near Lake Sherwood may have been caused by the homeowner’s grill.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, the Mission Township Fire Department responded to reports of a fire on the back porch of a home in the 3000 block of Canterbury Town Rd. The homeowner explained to fire crews that he heard a popping noise outside the door.

Firefighters suspect the fire broke out due to the homeowner’s grill being so close to their wooden porch. There was no damage to the home and there were no injuries.


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Overland Park, CFD2 crews knock down house fire

By Jay Senter
Shawnee Mission Post – October 30, 2017

Photo by Overland Park Fire Department

Firefighting crews from the Overland Park Fire Department and Consolidated Fire District No. 2 this morning extinguished a fire that had broken out in a home in northern Overland Park that appears to be under renovation.

Overland Park Fire Department Media Manager Jason Rhodes reports that the first units on the scene to the call in the 6000 block of Robinson Street found smoke coming out of the single story home around 9 a.m. Neighbors told investigators that the home is currently vacant and being remodeled.

Preliminary reports indicate that the fire started in the living room and spread up to the attic, which was exposed. Crews had the fire under control quickly. No one was in the structure at the time of the blaze. The homeowner has been contacted and informed about the incident.

Rhodes said the home has suffered significant smoke and fire damage in the living area and attic. The cause has not been determined.

Video from the scene provided by the Overland Park Fire Department is below:



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Fire department burned home in training exercise

Eureka Herald – October 25, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – October 30, 2017

Photo by Craig Olson

After several months of being used as a training site for local firefighters, the house located at 125 S. Walnut Street was lit ablaze last Monday evening as a final training exercise in controlled burning.

The property, owned by Invena Corporation, was purchased with the intent of constructing a new commercial building to replace the two-story vacant home. In preparation for the burn, Invena employees and volunteers removed 100% of the asphalt shingles, per KDHE regulations, and removed everything from inside of the house.

The Eureka City Fire Department used it several times over the summer for SCBA and emergency egress training. They also practiced rescues with zero visibility by using smoke generating machines inside. The house had a spiral staircase, which added a unique training element and made it more difficult to bring victims down to the main level.

“A lot of people feel it was a waste of a good house, but that lot and the one next to it together form a deep frontage lot that is desirable to retailers,” stated Matt Wilson, owner of Invena Corporation. Wilson hopes the lot will bring new business to Eureka, adding, “If we are to thrive as a town, we have to have businesses that pay both property and sales tax, and highway frontage is the best chance to do that.”

A few homeowners in the area expressed frustrations on Facebook about the burn, after soot and ashes landed on their property. “We will clean it up,” replied Wilson. “Demolition is always messy and we try to do our best.”

Others were concerned about the lack of notice they received about the burn. Because the burn was contingent on the weather and wind conditions, the decision to burn the house was not made until late afternoon. As late as 3 p.m. that day, the wind speed and direction were not favorable. However, by the time the monthly fire meeting began at 5 p.m., the wind had died down so the exercise proceeded.

“Quality training houses are few and far between. We may only get a good one once every ten years,” stated Eureka City Fire Chief Doug Williams. “Even more rare are opportunities with a two-story structure. Normally when we are asked about a house, it has deteriorating floors, caved in roof, or is not hygienically fit for our firefighters to crawl around in,” he continued. Other factors that are a vital role in training include a good hydrant water supply and adequate distances to structures on neighboring properties. “We completed numerous evenings of varying search and rescue drills, including critical firefighter self-rescue procedures,” William stated.

“Due to having this available for several months, we were able to include members from Madison and Greenwood County Fire Departments as well. This combination training can greatly enhance our coordination and success on future mutual aid calls,” commented Williams. The local fire department, as well as these neighboring departments, received valuable training that would cost thousands of dollars per man to accomplish by sending them to fire schools.


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Trash fire gets away

By Dayna Mannebach
Oberlin Herald – October 25, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – October 30, 2017

The weather was calm enough last Monday morning to burn trash, but after lunch, the wind came up and started a grass fire at the old Cleo Bastin farmstead in the southwest corner of Decatur County.

Fire Chief Bill Cathcart said that seven firefighters from Oberlin Rural Fire Department were called to the scene at 2:45 p.m. and fought the fire and wind until 7 p.m.

Mr. Cathcart said the fire was 16 miles south of U.S. 36 on the Rexford road and a half mile east.

It was about a mile from Sheridan County and a mile and a half from Rawlins and Thomas counties.

“Someone was burning trash at a corral,” said Chief Cathcart. “The fire started at the farmstead and jumped the road onto Conservation Reserve Program grassland owned by Chester Hayes and 200 acres were burned.”

Oberlin volunteers were assisted by the Selden and Rexford Fire Departments.


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Two Families Are Real Winners in Charity Game

By Nicole Ascher
KSAL – October 30, 2017

Since 2006, law enforcement officers, fire fighters and EMTs in Salina have come together every October to raise money for local families in need. No matter the final score, the real winners in a charity football they compete in are Salina families dealing with medical issues. This year’s Salina Guns vs Hoses charity flag football game was held at the Graves Family Sports Complex on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University on October 15th.

Two families were selected for the 2017 Guns vs Hoses charity flag football event.

Lainey is 6 months old and she was given a diagnosis of Double Inlet Left Ventricle, a rare, congenital heart disease. When she was born, Lainey spent over a month in the hospital. In August Lainey had her Glenn Shunt Surgery, the second of 3 heart surgeries. She will undergo her third surgery when she is 3-5 years of age.

In 2009, Brett, then 3 years old lost his dad, Heath, in a plane crash. Heath, a pilot for the Department of Natural Resources, was spotting forest fires when his plane went down. Brett, now 10 years old, has been diagnosed with bone cancer (Osteosarcoma) in his femur. Brett receives chemo every couple of weeks, and in between visits as issues arise. Brett had surgery in February to clean out and rebuild his femur.

Lainey, Brett and their families arrived in style in a stretch limo.

Former Salina PD Officer Kevin Reay’s wife Leah was honored at the beginning of the game. On January 22, 2017 Leah was struck and killed by an impaired driver.

Organizers had several activities and fundrasing events throughout the game. The game raised over $18,000 to split between the families.

The law enforcement Guns team is made up of Salina PD, Saline County SO and KHP. The fire depatment Hoses team is made up of Salina firefighters and EMTs.

A crowd of 500 people came out to watch the Hoses shut out the Guns. The final score was Hoses 12 – Guns 0.


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FedEx Truck Crash

By Mike Mahoney
KOAM – October 30, 2017

KOAM Video659

A driver escapes injury after a fiery crash in Southeast Kansas. It happened around 1 AM Saturday morning, when a FedEx double trailer truck plowed into a hill.

The wreck happened on the 400 bypass after the truck failed to stop at the intersection. The truck crossed over Highway 166 and crashed into the berm, where it caught fire.

The driver was able to escape and tells KOAM/Fox 14 he was not injured. He says his vehicle’s brakes failed. Baxter Springs fire and police responded to the incident.


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Missing Iowa man found dead in Kansas

KWCH – October 30, 2017

A missing Iowa man was found dead in Kansas.

Jake Roos, from Ashton, Iowa, was reported missing Friday. He was last heard from at 1 A.M. on Friday.

Kansas Highway Patrol says Roos died in a one vehicle accident a little before 2 A.M.

The report says he was driving on U36 four miles east of Phillipsburg. His vehicle crossed the center line, entered the ditch, struck a guard rail and came to rest in the bottom of a creek.

According to the missing person report, Roos was traveling from Iowa to Stockton, Kansas to pick up a load of cattle.

Roos was not wearing a seatbelt.


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Fentanyl: deadly drug endangers first responders

By Michael Stavola
Pittsburg Morning Sun – October 30, 2017

As first responders grapple with the opioid epidemic, a new, more potent synthetic opioid is making its way to the street and changing the way they respond.

Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Reno County Drug Enforcement Unit Sgt. Corey Graber said it is often called the “death medication” since it is prescribed to manage chronic pain to people with advanced cancer or people who are immune to other painkillers.

The sergeant said fentanyl first appeared in the area last year. He knew of a few instances of a fentanyl overdose in 2017. Narcan, a nasal spray that blocks the effects of opioids, was used to counterattack at least two.

Data specific to opioid overdoses in Reno County is not available.

Graber said fentanyl comes in pills or patches. Sometimes, he said, a user will put an acidic liquid on the patch to extract the drug to be used in a syringe. He said the lethality of the drug “scares me.”

An Ohio officer made national headlines earlier this year when he allegedly had an accidental overdose after he brushed fentanyl off of his shirt.

“Since fentanyl can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with extreme caution as exposure to a small amount can lead to significant health‐related complications, respiratory depression, or death,” according to guidelines for first responders issued in June by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

But Reno County EMS Chief Terry David contends no proof exists that fentanyl could be absorbed into the skin.

David, who sits on the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians board, attended a conference in Washington, D.C. in September. The name of the conference hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: “Protecting first responders on the frontlines of the fentanyl epidemic.”

David said cases exist where airborne drug particles caused an overdose. He said first responders should use a dust mask if fentanyl is believed to be present.

The DEA recommended a dust mask, nitrile gloves, eye protection, paper coverall, shoe covers and Narcan “injector(s).” The DEA also recommends using soap and water to wash any exposed areas.

On average, 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses. The DEA said the current increases in opioid-related deaths “appear to be driven by illicitly produced fentanyl products.”

In 1991, the DEA discovered what is believed to be the first known illicit fentanyl in the U.S., a street heroin known as “tango and cash” that contained roughly 12 percent fentanyl. It is believed to be responsible for roughly 126 overdose deaths.

“Investigators were ultimately able to trace this clandestinely produced fentanyl to Wichita, Kansas, where they seized two laboratories and approximately 40 pounds of additional fentanyl,” according to the DEA.

The DEA said most of the illicit fentanyl originates from China and is either sent to Mexico, Canada or directly to the U.S. Higher quantities have been seized coming through Mexico but at a lower potency.

The CDC reported 33,091 opioid-related deaths in 2015, with 9,580 caused by synthetic opioids (other than methadone) such as fentanyl. The synthetic opioid-related deaths is a 72.2 percent increase from the year before, the DEA said.

Two to three milligrams of fentanyl can induce a respiratory depression, arrest and possibly death, the DEA said, which is the equivalent to “five to seven individual grains of table salt.”


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Nobody injured in early morning structure fire

By Zach Hacker
Emporia Gazette – October 27, 2017

A structure fire caused significant damage to a pool house behind a home in northwest Emporia Friday morning.

At 6:48 a.m., the Emporia Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 2700 W. Ridge Court — about two blocks south of Timmerman Elementary. Upon arrival, they found a pool house behind a home at that address was fully engulfed and worked quickly to knock down the blaze.

There were no injuries associated with the fire.

“It’s a pool house, so nobody inside, no animals,” Emporia Fire Department Battalion Chief Eron Steinlage said. “Everybody’s fine.”

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the single structure. Steinlage did say, however, that firefighters were a little worried about the potential for burning chlorine upon arrival.

Aside from a small amount of chlorine, there were no other chemicals inside the structure.

“All they had was a five-gallon bucket of chlorine, so that was about it,” Steinlage said.

The official cause of the fire is under investigation by the Emporia Fire Department.


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Fire destroys Leckron barn

By Mike Heronemus
Abilene Reflector Chronicle – October 27, 2017

An early Thursday morning fire destroyed a barn at 14th and Brady streets belonging to Randy Leckron, according to Abilene Assistant Fire Chief Ron Rein.

The Abilene Fire Department got the call at 3:04 a.m. Thursday and 18 firefighters from Abilene and Grant Township responded, he said. They were on the scene for three hours.

Rein could not put a value on the damage, but he said the barn was a total loss and presented such a safety hazard that firefighters could not assess what had caused the fire. He said the barn will have to be taken down.


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Shawnee County approves upgrading 911 system

By Luke Ranker
Topeka Capital Journal – October 27, 2017

Shawnee County residents will have the ability to text their emergency to dispatchers as early as next spring after the Shawnee County Commission on Thursday approved upgrading to a new 911 system.

Commissioners unanimously voted to shift the county’s aged 911 technology to a program used in dozens of Kansas counties, called Next Generation 911, at an annual cost of nearly $250,000. The system offers a number of benefits to dispatchers, including the ability to pinpoint a caller’s location, aerial maps and immediate connection with other dispatch centers in system, said Jeremy Rabb, director of the Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center. NG911 will be available some time in the first quarter of 2018.

“This will propel Shawnee County into the future,” Rabb said.

While the system includes a number of improvements for dispatchers, the ability to text 911 marks the most meaningful upgrade to callers.

Eventually, after the county tests and phases in NG911, those needing assistance, but aren’t able to call, can text their emergency directly to dispatchers. The service would be key for those with hearing or vocal impairments, Rabb said, but it would also be useful for domestic violence and hostage situations or for those who generally feel unable to talk.

“We think victims of human trafficking may use this service to communicate with us,” he said.

Texting 911 would require data or SMS texting service on the person’s phone, but those seeking help could send location information, photos and videos to dispatchers.

The annual cost of just over $246,000 includes equipment and maintenance of the technology. Commissioners questioned the price tag, but Rabb said the county would see savings in the long run. About $90,000 is currently spent on 911 phone lines alone, an amount absorbed into the new system’s cost.

“For us to develop a system like this on our own — I can’t give you an exact figure, but it would be much, much higher,” he said.

Shawnee County will pay for the new system with 911 funds, a pool of money generated from the county’s share of a tax placed on phone lines for the purpose of maintaining 911 systems. The county received $1,037,727 million in 911 fees in 2016, said administrative services director Betty Greiner.

Most Kansas counties have chosen NG911, included Sedgwick and Reno counties. Many northeast Kansas counties have expressed interest in the program, according to the Kansas 911 Coordinating Council.

The state hosts the system’s hardware at a secure location, eliminating Shawnee County’s burden of maintaining and upgrading, Rabb said. NG911 is also more protected from cyber attacks such as hacking than the county’s current program, parts of which are 8 years old.

Among upgrades, dispatcher will be able to provide first responders with more information about a caller’s location. NG911 can pinpoint a caller’s location and provide dispatchers with aerial photos of the surrounding area. The county’s current 911 system relies on cellphone towers instead of GPS and can be off by several dozen meters, Rabb said.

NG911 also allows direct communication between communications centers across the state, allowing dispatchers to easily track emergencies that spread across county lines or assist burdened counties.

“Let’s say something happened in Shawnee County, and we had influx of calls and it become overwhelmed, (another county) could start fielding some of those calls,” Rabb said.


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Disaster Drill

By Mike Mahoney
KOAM – October 27, 2017

KOAM Video604

Kansas Task Force 4 is a local disaster response team comprised of members of multiple Kansas fire departments. They spent Thursday simulating their response to a tornado strike, an exercise that provides priceless, hands on training.

“Our job is based off of repetition. The more repetitions we can get, the better. For the last 3 to 4 years, our task force has been able to conduct an exercise like this, and I definitely believe it’s putting us ahead of the game,” said Kansas Task Force 4 member Andrew Johnston.

The team spent the day combing through rubble meant to simulate a collapsed building, and searching for victims. Task force members used GPS and the latest technology to locate and access victims.

“That technology lets us see exactly where they’ve been and what they saw. They can put markings in. We can overlay that on a map, and make sure we’ve covered everything,” said Johnston.

The operation was run by Midwest Search and Rescue. They specialize in creating unique scenarios for response teams that often simulate life and death situations.

“It’s one thing to practice skills. But when you add the element, even if it’s a mannequin, to a scenario that’s real and plausible, it creates a different stress level,” said Midwest Search and Rescue President Jackie Miller.

The tornado strike exercise simulated a lot more than just physical operations. The chain of command and other organizational aspects were also tested. Fortunately for local Kansans, the trainers like what they’re seeing from Kansas Task Force 4.

“I’m very impressed with Kansas Task Force 4. They have really made the effort to work together on their skills, leadership and teamwork,” said Miller.


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Crews battle multiple fires in Butler County

KWCH – October 26, 2017

Firefighters in Butler County are on the scene of multiple grass fires.

911 dispatchers say the fires stretch from SW 40th Ave. and Ohio to Bowyer south to 50th Ave. and 60th Ave.

A reverse 911 has been sent out to homeowners who live in the area.

Eyewitness News has a crew on the scene. Updates


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Crews battle junkyard fire in Sedgwick, grass fire near El Dorado

KAKE – October 26, 2017

Authorities say fire crews were battling a fire at a junkyard in the town of Sedgwick Thursday afternoon.

The fire was reported at 320 Washington Street. A Harvey County dispatcher said oil is causing the black smoke coming from the fire.

KAKE’s Gloria Van Rees reports the fire department’s shed was also engulfed in flames.

Further information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.


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2017 KSFFA Conference Minutes

PDF Files – 2017 KSFFA Conference Minutes


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Looking at the day in the life of a Topeka firefighter

By Jessica Cole
Topeka Capital Journal – October 25, 2017

Photo by Keith Horinek

Jason Boyd never thought about being a firefighter until a friend encouraged him to apply for a job with the Topeka Fire Department.

Now, after five years, he’s an advanced firefighter with Topeka Fire Station No. 10, who finds his job rewarding.

“It wasn’t always a dream of mine,” he said. “I always respected what they do, but I didn’t really get interested until I had a friend come on the department years ago, and he kind of encouraged me to get into it.”

Topeka Fire Station No. 10, 2010 S.W. 37th St., answers calls from Gage Boulevard to Adams Street and 37th Street to south of Topeka at the Shawnee County line. The station answers about eight calls a day, and as much as 15.

“No two days are the same,” Boyd said.

Q: What is your job?

Boyd: Advanced firefighter. I’m usually on the back of the truck, and occasionally I have the responsibility of driving the truck.

Q: What do you enjoy about your job?

Boyd: I enjoy helping those that need our help. I enjoy the group of people that I work with. (I) also enjoy the satisfaction we get from the community events (and) the educational events we do. We give out stickers to the kids. We do tours of the fire station with kids, also. I never realized how much kids really looked up to us as heroes.

Q: What kind of training have you had?

Boyd: I had to get my EMT license, which is required for just about every fire department because we are first responders. A large percentage of our job is running medical calls with AMR (American Medical Response).

I’ve also taken some college courses in fire science. Most everyone on the job has Fire 1 and Fire 2 training, it teaches the basics of firefighting. There’s a vast amount of other training that we go through. Once you get on the job, you’re constantly learning new skills and doing training. We usually try to do some form of training just about every day, even if it’s something on the computer. We try to make training as fun as possible.

Q: What kind of equipment do you use?

Boyd: We use a lot of medical equipment — blood pressure cuff, shears, tape. … (The fire hose) can pump up to about 200 to 300 gallons of water per minute. On most of those engines, there’s 750 gallons of water in the tank to start off with, and it takes about five to seven minutes to go through that whole tank of water when you’re working a large fire.

Q: How much does the equipment you carry weigh?

Boyd: The air pack weighs 30 to 35 pounds, plus gear makes it about 50 pounds total.

Q: What types of things do you have to be physically able to do?

Boyd: There is a physical agility part that is required for you to pass before you come on the job. There’s a certain amount of skills that they want you to display. Like being able to lift the ladders and carry the fire hoses. Lifting is required for the job.

Q: What shift(s) do you work?

Boyd: B Shift, a 24-hour shift — 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. every other day for three days a week, then off for four days. Twenty-four hours on, and 24 hours off.

Q: How long do you have to get your gear on and be on the fire truck to go to a scene?

Boyd: The lights come on in the rooms to let you know to get up. You have about a minute to a minute and a half. If you have on a T-shirt and shorts on, you just pull your gear on over it and go.

Q: Do you have others in your family, who are firefighters?

Boyd: I have a cousin who is a lieutenant at No. 10 station. His name is Damon Smith.

Q: What hobbies do you have away from the job?

Boyd: I enjoy going to sporting events. Go and work out quite a bit, and spend a lot of time with family. I do have a second job that occupies a little bit of my time. I do security over at Brewster Place. I’ve done that for a number of years. I’ve been there eight years.


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Newton Fire/EMS gets grant

Newton Kansan – October 25, 2017

Newton Fire/EMS has received a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to purchase new thermal imaging cameras.

The $17,595 grant will fund four new thermal imaging cameras, which allow firefighters to “see” through smoke and darkness to identify hot spots in a structure fire or see the heat signature of a hidden victim.

The new equipment will replace the department’s first-generation thermal imaging cameras, some of which are more than 10 years old and can no longer be repaired by the manufacturer. The new models are much lighter and more portable.

Division Chief Cory Lehman said replacing the thermal imaging equipment had been identified by department staff as a high priority during their annual needs assessment.

The grant comes from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, founded by Firehouse Subs with the mission of providing funding, equipment, and educational opportunities to first-responders and public safety organizations.


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KCK city leaders at odds with firefighters amid possible plans to close fire stations

By Shannon O’Brien
FOX 4 News – October 25, 2017

There has been a battle brewing for years between the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

At issue is the struggle of how to best protect the city while keeping costs within the budget.

Robert Wing, a fire captain and official with the Firefighter’s Union says he agrees with most of a 2015 study of the KCK Fire Department commissioned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, but is concerned about a couple of aspects, most notably the future locations and number of fire stations in the city.

“The evolution of the fire department has to track somewhat the evolution of this city,” said Wing, “The mayor has made continual statements that there are too many other stations downtown and too many firefighters downtown and there is too few out West. Well, the later statement is obvious.”

County Commissioners have recommended a new fire station be built in Piper, and Wing says that is going to happen but worries about other stations closing and consolidating.

“You don’t build that new station and abandon the core,” said Wing.

The study recommends closing a number of fire stations in the North and South parts of KCK.

“I believe the mayors intent is to follow the recommendations of a consultant who recommended that up to 5 fire companies and 4 or 5 fire stations be eliminated downtown,” Wing said.

Mayor Mark Holland said in a statement, “Any discussion of additional fire stations and/or closures would be premature and irresponsible. This has been an ongoing public conversation for the last two years.”

Besides the 2015 study, the Unified Government put together a committee made up of top brass at the KCK Fire Department and Local 64 to make their recommendations about how best to protect the citizens of KCK. The report which is due by the end of the year.

Wing is concerned about statements he says Mayor Holland has made about reducing the size of the fire department before that study is has been completed.

“The public needs to know and we are going to be letting the public know. Not only do they have the need to know we have the obligation to tell them,” said Wing.

Rest of the article and video


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2 dogs dead from house fire in KCK

By Emily Rittman
KCTV 5 – October 25, 2017

Photo by Emily Rittman

KCTV Video718

Two dogs have died following a fire in Kansas City, KS.

Fire investigators from the Kansas City, KS Fire Department are working to determine what caused the fire near 47th and Parallel Parkway.

The original fire call came out just after 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.


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Exhibit marks 130th year for GCFD

By Steve Quakenbush
Garden City Telegram – October 25, 2017

Photos by Brad Nading

The Garden City Fire Department has been protecting lives and property since 1887, and the agency’s 130th birthday is being celebrated with an exhibit in the Front Door Gallery at the Finney County Historical Museum.

Titled “Always Ready,” the display features photographs and artifacts dating back to the department’s first year of service, including a 20-foot wooden ladder from the city’s original horse-drawn ladder wagon, kerosene lanterns from the first local fire engine in the early 1920s, and a red felt firefighter’s uniform tunic and cap worn in the 1890s. There are also nearly 20 additional objects and more than a dozen historic photographs, some borrowed from the fire department and others drawn from the museum’s collection of artifacts and images.

The Front Door Gallery is a 14-foot space located just inside the museum’s exhibit entrance at 403 S. Fourth St. in Finnup Park, adjacent to the pedestrian entry arches at Lee Richardson Zoo. The gallery features about six short-term exhibits each year. Admission is free and autumn exhibit hours run from 1 to 5 p.m. seven days weekly.

While Garden City was founded in 1879, no municipal fire department served the community until citizens voted for bonds early in 1887 to establish a waterworks, purchase two hose carts with 1,000 feet of hose and order the ladder wagon. That followed a restaurant fire north of the railroad tracks in 1886 that quickly burned beyond the ability of a volunteer bucket brigade to contain it, destroying a half-block of wooden frame buildings along Main Street.

One of the earliest photographs in the display shows the 54-member department gathered on July 4, 1887. Another, taken in the 1890s, depicts the separate ladder and hose crews in their uniforms, backed by a banner with the “Always Ready” slogan that became the exhibit’s title.

“Always Ready” will remain on display until the museum puts up its 2017 holiday season exhibit. The opening of the display was timed to coincide with the annual conference of the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs, which was held this past weekend in Garden City.

​Information about the exhibit is available at (620) 272-3664, and museum office hours run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


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County officials don’t accept petitions to consolidate fire districts

By Tammy Helm
Fort Scott Tribune – October 25, 2017

Tom Applegate, left at the table, and Dennis Krom, glance at each other during discussion of their concerns with the Garland Fire District. Also pictured are Travis Mehwinney, Laura Haigler and Glen Haigler. Photo by Tammy Helm

The Bourbon County Commissioners spent much of Tuesday morning discussing and hearing complaints about the Garland Fire Department.

Following advice from Justin Meeks, county counselor, commissioners did not take a stance or accept two petitions residents tried to submit. According to Garland Fire District No. 2 resident Tom Applegate, the petitions ask for a consolidation of the Garland Fire District into the Scott Township Fire District.

Others who attended the meeting were Dennis Krom, and Glen and Laura Haigler in the Garland Fire District area and Travis Mehwinney, who is in the Scott Township Fire District area.

Applegate said the petitions were circulated in the area of Scott and Drywood townships which are in the Garland Fire District.

The residents attending the commission meeting said the response from the Garland Fire District has decreased. The Haiglers said their homeowners insurance has increased $100 per six months due to the Insurance Service Office rating, which depends on several factors related to the fire department.

Bourbon County Counselor Justin Meeks said none of the county officials knew the discussion was going to be about consolidation of the two fire districts and therefore did not have an opportunity to research procedure that needs to be taken.

“However this board, this commission has no authority over any fire district – period,” Meeks said. “I’ve been saying this for three years. Obviously insurance rates and safety issues are important, but this board has nothing to do with it. I cannot state it more strongly than that.”

He said private citizens have options, but the commissioners have no authority.

“You can’t give advice, you can’t give recommendations,” Meeks said.

He said the residents need to hire an attorney to help them through the consolidation process “or read the statutes to figure out how to do it.” Meeks said he also does not have the authority to talk to the residents about the issue.

He later said as county attorney, he does not represent citizens, but handles criminal cases and represents the county commissioners.

Applegate said the townships have spent $20,000 on attorneys to resolve issues with the fire district board.

Meeks said before petitions are submitted to the county clerk to verify addresses of signees, proper procedures need to be taken.

Mehwinney said the day he was circulating the petition, Garland did not respond to a medical call. He asked who taxpayers turn to when they do not get public services they pay for. Meeks said documentation and data could be collected to determine if there is a safety issue.

“This is my concern – people are going to die because they won’t respond to calls,” Mehwinney said. “That is the bottom line.”


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Two-car wreck at Manhattan gas station injures 1

By Melissa Brunner
WIBW – October 25, 2017

A scary situation at a Manhattan convenience store Tuesday night when two cars collided and took out a gas pump.

Riley County Police say it happened just before 6 p.m. at the Short Stop in the 2000 block of Tuttle Creek Blvd.

RCPD says it is investigating whether a medical issue caused a driver to suddenly hit the accelerator, putting one car on top of the other, with the vehicles rolling into the pump.

The Manhattan Fire Dept. told 13 NEWS safety controls activated as designed and employees were able to shut down the pumps before any fuel or fumes spilled or sparked a fire.

RCPD says one person was taken to the hospital for treatment. The extent of their injuries was not known Tuesday night.


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Fire destroys home on Chestnut Street

By Brandon Peoples
KVOE – October 25, 2017

Photo by Brandon Peoples

Fire destroyed a house Tuesday evening in the 500 block of Chestnut Street.

Emporia and Olpe firefighters responded shortly before 9 p.m. after fire broke out in the living room of the small family home just two doors south of the Sonic restaurant. Firefighters arrived to heavy flames coming out of all windows and doors on the front end of the house and no injuries were reported to any occupants. Emporia Battalion Chief Ryan Schmidt says the fire originated in the living room.

Two of the three family pets were rescued. The third pet, a dog died at the scene. Schmidt says it was likely due to smoke inhalation. He says there was also concerns of the fire spreading to a nearby RV.

The house is determined to be a total loss. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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Fire suspected to be due to arson

Great Bend Tribune – October 24, 2017

Barton County Sheriff’s officers responded to 210 North U.S. 281 for a vehicle fire at 11 p.m. on Monday and it is believed to be a case of arson, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
According to reports, upon their arrival, deputies discovered a 1992 Kountry Star motor home fully engulfed in flames. Responding units from the Great Bend Fire Department were able to extinguish the blaze, but the vehicle was a total loss. There was also fire damage to nearby building.
“Upon further investigation it was discovered items had been removed from the motor home prior to the fire,” Bellendir said. “Evidence of arson was discovered at the scene. Officers from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene early this morning to conduct an investigation.”
A joint investigation is being conducted by the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, the state Fire Marshal’s Office and the GBFD. Losses are estimated to be near $15,000.


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Explosion destroys home in McPherson County

KAKE – October 24, 2017

A man and his dog are safe after an explosion destroyed a home near the McPherson County town of Moundridge on Tuesday.

Emergency management says the explosion was reported at around 10: 45 a.m. at the intersection of Buckskin and 16th Avenue. A propane leak is believed to be the cause.

“Upon arrival, you can see behind us, the house is completely gone, quite a bit of fire and smoke when we arrived on scene,” said Capt. Jeremy Johnson with the Moundridge Fire Department.

The homeowner and his dog were not home at the time of the explosion.


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Two people hurt in Kansas City, KS house fire

KCTV 5 – October 24, 2017


Two people are hurt after a house fire early Tuesday morning.

The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. near 37th Street and Washington Avenue.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy fire was showing. Crews were able to make entry to attack the fire.

Two people who live at the home were treated on scene for smoke inhalation. One person was taken to the hospital as a precaution. They are expected to be OK.

Firefighters say the home is a total loss. Investigators are still trying to determine what started the fire.


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Bomb threat empties Chetopa school

By Colleen Williamson
Parsons Sun – October 24, 2017

At about 9:40 a.m. Monday Chetopa Schools went into a lockdown and shortly thereafter evacuated students and staff to a location off campus due to a bomb threat.

Chetopa Superintendent Bobbi Williams said in a release that at the time of the threat, the Chetopa Police Department was contacted.

The Labette County Sheriff’s Department was then notified by Chetopa Police Chief Scott Feagan, requesting its assistance with the matter as he was out-of-town.

Sheriff Darin Eichinger said when deputies arrived at the school they found administration and staff had done an “outstanding job” of locking down the school and systematically evacuating the students and staff to the football field. The school then performed a head count to make sure everyone was accounted for and released students to their parents.

“About noon, we had a trooper show up with a bomb-sniffing dog, and another from Overland Park arrived with their bomb-sniffing dog. They finished searching the school about 2:15. No bomb was found,” Eichinger said.

He acknowledged the much welcomed assistance of the Chetopa Volunteer Fire Department and Chetopa First Responders that staged the incident, keeping people away from the school while the search was underway.

“Job well done,” Eichinger said to all the agencies involved.

The whole chain of events was set off by a handwritten note found in a boys’ bathroom. The discovery of the note set off the school immediately following its emergency protocols.

While the school was cleared of the presence of any explosive device, the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Eichinger said the investigation is being conducted by the Chetopa Police Department, but the Sheriff’s Department will assist as needed with any follow-up leads or interviews.

No tests were planned for the day. If a student left the note, regardless of what his desire was to get out of school on Monday, the reward will not be worth the repercussions when his identity is discovered.

“It’s considered a criminal threat. It’s a felony, and they will be charged,” Eichinger said. “Not only do they face charges but restitution because of the loss for the teachers of their work for the day.”

Resources were stretched for departments, too, with four officers being dedicated from the Sheriff’s Department to help, in addition to troopers and their K-9’s, the Chetopa officers, emergency medical services personnel and volunteer firefighters taking off work to assist.

“There were a lot of man hours put into it,” Eichinger said. “A lot of people don’t realize when they do something like this that it affects just about everybody.”

While the culprit has not yet been identified, Eichinger said by around 2:45 p.m., the investigation had already narrowed the possible suspects to about four or five students.

Classes will resume as normal Tuesday.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Hays woman killed in accident near Vine Street

By Kaley Conner
Hays Daily News – October 23, 2017

A Hays woman was killed Monday morning in a two-vehicle accident near an Interstate 70 exit ramp off Vine Street in Hays.

Luverna K. Schmeidler, 87, was transported to Hays Medical Center, according to an accident report from the Kansas Highway Patrol. She was later pronounced dead. She had been wearing her seat belt.

The accident occurred when Schmeidler’s 2003 Mercury Sable entered the eastbound exit off-ramp near Vine Street, traveling westbound. She was struck head-on by a 2013 Volvo semi, which was traveling east. The two collided near milepost marker 159 eastbound, just before the Vine Street exit.

The truck driver, Vladimir Ivanov, O’Fallon, Mo., was not injured.

The accident occurred at 11 a.m. Both the eastbound and westbound I-70 exits onto Vine temporarily were blocked as officials worked to clear the scene.


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Hutchinson woman dies in crash in Barton County

Great Bend Tribune – October 23, 2017

Barton County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a three-vehicle fatality crash at 6:15 p.m. on Friday at the intersection of U.S. 281 and SE 50 Road. One woman from Hutchinson was killed in the crash and two Great Bend teens were sent to the hospital, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
According to reports, the investigation at the scene, supported by witness statements, indicates a 2005 Nissan Altima driven by Julie Kanady, 57, of Hutchinson was eastbound on SE 50 Road. Witnesses stated the car did not stop at the stop sign on the west side of the highway. Upon entering the intersection the car collided with two other vehicles, one northbound and one southbound.
The southbound 2014 Buick Verano was operated by Jonathan Martínez-Orozco, 15, of Great Bend. The northbound 2001 Ford Ranger pickup was operated by Conrad Montoya III, 18, also of Great Bend.
Kanady was pronounced dead at the scene by Barton County Coroner Dr. E.L. Jones, Bellendir said. Martinez-Orozco was transported to Great Bend Regional Hospital and later released. Montoya was transferred to Via Christi Medical Center in Wichita with serious injuries.
A spokesman at Via Christi’s St. Joseph Hospital said Montoya was listed in fair condition Saturday afternoon.
U.S. 281 was closed for approximately two hours in order to conduct the traffic investigation and remove debris. The BCSO was assisted at the scene by the Great Bend Fire Department and EMS units and one unit from the Kansas Highway Patrol. The accident was still under investigation as for Friday. Bellendir said alcohol was not considered a contributing factor.


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Kansas man dies rollover crash

Hutch Post – October 23, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 12:30 a.m. Sunday in Ford County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2008 Mazda 3 driven by Robert Cintron-Vazquez, 21 Dodge City, was westbound in the outside lane on U400 just east of U.S. 56 at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle passed a vehicle and got back into the outside lane. The driver overcorrected. The vehicle left the roadway to the right, entered the north ditch, struck a culvert and rolled multiple times.

Cintron-Vazquez was transported to the hospital in Dodge City where he died. He was properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Kan. man dead, 7-year-old hospitalized after I-70 off ramp crash

Hays Post – October 23, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just after 5p.m. Sunday in Wyandotte County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2012 Chevy Impala driven by Dalen C. Jefferson, 31, Kansas City, was westbound on Interstate 70 off ramp at 57th Street at a high rate of speed.

The driver failed to stop at a red light, entered the intersection and the Impala collided with a northbound Chevy Tahoe driven by Estela Carrasco, 39, Kansas City, at it was heading through the intersection.

Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the Impala Jayden Fleming, 7, Kansas City, was transported to Children’s Mercy.

Carrasco was transported to KU Medical Center. All three were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Lightning strike causes warehouse fire at Intermodal

KSHB – October 23, 2017

EDGERTON, Kan. – A reported lightning strike was the cause of a warehouse fire at the Intermodal facility early Sunday morning.

Johnson County Fire District crews were called to 30901 W. 191st street just after 4:15 a.m.

Lightning reportedly struck the Kubota Tractor Corporation warehouse building.

Fire was contained to the roof of the building, and apparently did not damage anything inside.


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Wichita expected to approve mutual-aid agreement with KS State Fire Marshal

KWCH – October 23, 2017

The Wichita City Council at its meeting next Tuesday (Oct. 24) is expected to formalize the city’s agreement with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office to participate in the Kansas Search and Rescue Response System.

The city says the Wichita Fire Department has already informally worked with the state fire marshal’s office and the Kansas Search and Response System to provide training, personnel, equipment and emergency response.

The resolution the council is expected to approve states that the City of Wichita and the State Fire Marshal “desire to coordinate in training and funding for urban search and rescue related to natural or manmade disasters.”

The resolution and a memorandum of understanding locks in the city’s mutual aid agreement with the state.

“It is critical that there is a comprehensive, statewide response system in place, which can quickly provide resources for search and rescue operations that are beyond the capability of local responders,” the city says in its analyses of the formal agreement up for the council’s consideration Tuesday.


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Fanning the flame for Fire Science Careers at HCC Field Day

By Sandra J. Milburn
Hutchinson News – October 23, 2017

Photo by Sandra J. Milburn

Video & More Pics

One hundred juniors and seniors from high schools across Kansas got a close-up look at various fire science careers during the 19th annual Hutchinson Community College Fire Science Student Field Day on Wednesday at the HCC facility, 3211 E. Fourth Ave.


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WFD responds to house fire near 16th and Volutsia

KWCH – October 23, 2017

The Wichita Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 1600 block of Volutsia street on Sunday morning.

An official from WFD said a neighbor called the fire in at 6 a.m. He told Eyewitness News the floor in the back of the home was burned out.

Three people and two dogs were in the house at the time of the fire, but nobody was hurt.

Officials are still trying to determine what caused the fire.


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Two Girard House Fires Only Six Homes Apart

By Veronica Utecht
FOX 14 – October 23, 2017

FOX Video609

The Girard Fire Department got a call around 3 o’clock on Sunday morning.reporting two houses on fire just 6 homes away from each other.

One of the home owners says that nobody lived in either of the homes and that nobody was hurt during the fire.

The home she owns was condemned and had no power hooked up to it at the time of the fire.

She says the fire marshal is investigating the situation.


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Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic – Great Bend Fire Department

The Great Bend Fire/EMS Department is accepting applications for multiple vacancies for Firefighter/EMT or paramedic. 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 $35K-$40K and based upon qualifications. See our website for applications



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