Archive for December, 2017

1 dead after rollover crash Friday on Highway 75 just south of Topeka

By Angela Deines
Topeka Capital Journal – December 29, 2017

Photo by Angela Deines


One man was killed after a one-vehicle rollover crash Friday afternoon just south of Topeka on US-75 highway.

The crash involving a gray pickup truck was reported at about 1 p.m. about a quarter-mile north of S.W. 57th and US-75 in the southbound lanes.

The driver of the truck who was killed was the only occupant in the vehicle.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Jordan Plachecki said the driver was northbound on US-75 highway when he the left the roadway for an unknown reason, crossing through the median and the southbound lanes of the highway before going into the west ditch.

His truck rolled over, and he was ejected from the pickup, Plachecki said.

It’s unknown at this time whether the victim was wearing a seat belt.

The man’s name and age weren’t being released pending notification of his family.

US-75 is four lanes at that location.

Traffic in the area was slowed because of the incident.


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Honorary Kan. Firefighter, 20, Dies of Cancer

EMS World – December 29, 2017

Dec. 28—A Wichita man who was dubbed an honorary Wichita police officer and firefighter earlier this year has died after a long battle with cancer.

“Our local honorary firefighter Caleb Moraine passed away this morning,” The Wichita Fire Department said on Facebook on Thursday. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. You will be deeply missed Caleb, but we are grateful that you are no longer in pain and no longer have to fight. RIP our friend.”

Moraine, 20, had wanted to be a police officer since he was 10.

On Nov. 8, the Wichita Police Department made his dream come true. He was given a uniform. A badge was pinned to his chest. And he rose out of his wheelchair, stood at attention, raised his right hand and repeated the oath new officers take.

That day, his mother, Renee Moraine, said Moraine was a fighter.

Doctors discovered the cancer when Moraine was 16, after he had said his legs were bothering him. He had serious surgeries—including one to remove a large portion of his skull—and grueling chemotherapy regimens, but he remained upbeat, family said.

Two weeks before he was honored as a police officer, the family learned the cancer continued to grow. Chemotherapy wasn’t working.

At 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, he died.

Members of the Wichita first responders community began sharing their condolences on Facebook.

“While we mourn the loss of our friend and family member, we are thankful for his rock solid faith and all that he taught us about life, love, bravery and perseverance,” the Sedgwick County EMS Employee Association said.

EagleMed LLC said Moraine was a “very special young man who fought cancer bravely and with great courage.”


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Burnt food leads to brief evacuation of Hays apartment building

By Cristina Janney
Hays Post – December 29, 2017

Part of the Centennial Towers apartments in the 2500 block of Sherman in Hays was evacuated today just before noon for a food fire.

Burnt food in an apartment on the fourth floor caused thick smoke in the building, according to scanner traffic.

Those people who were evacuated were allowed to quickly reenter the building and allowed to wait in the cafeteria while the firefighters ventilated the upstairs apartment.

One person refused transport to the hospital.


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Early morning fire damages Ottawa home

Ottawa Herald – December 29, 2017

A structure fire early Friday morning at 926 S. Locust St. chased five occupants from the Ottawa dwelling amid bitterly cold conditions.

Ottawa firefighters responded at 3:52 a.m. and extinguished the blaze in the subfreezing weather. Firefighters cleared the scene about two hours later.

There were no injuries, and the home’s occupants were being assisted by the Red Cross with motel, food and clothing, Ottawa Fire Chief Tim Matthias said.

The cause of the fire was being attributed to an electrical problem, according to an Ottawa Fire Department report.

Damage to the home was estimated at $9,000, according to the report.


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Kansas home uninhabitable after fire

Salina Post – December 29, 2017

Photo by Hutchinson Fire Department

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a Thursday night fire.

Just before 10:30p.m., fire crews responded to a home in the 1700 Block of West 4th Street in Hutchinson for a reported structure fire, according to Fire Chief Steve Beer.

Initial arriving units reported a heavy fire on the rear of a single story residential home. Crews quickly worked to contain the fire, but not before the home sustained major damage. Crews battled sub-freezing temperatures but were able to rotate and warm up in the department rehab unit.

The sole occupant of the home was not home at the time of the fire. The home did not have a working smoke alarm. No injuries were noted regarding this incident. The home is deemed uninhabitable. Fire crews remained on scene overnight.

Hutchinson Fire Department was assisted by Reno County Sheriff department, Reno County EMS, Reno Co. Fire District 3, Kansas Gas, and Westar.


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Firefighters battle Perry house fire

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – December 28, 2017


Firefighters are battling a blaze a rural Jefferson Co. home late Thursday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the home near the 17th Street and Douglas Road intersection, in Perry, after a passerby reportedly noticed flames coming from the back of the house.

The fire has since spread to the roof of the structure.

Authorities said no one was home at the time of the fire.


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Metro firefighters are ready for anything and everything when it comes to winter weather

By Marcus Officer
FOX 4 – December 28, 2017


Shawnee firefighter Ryan Vining knows what to expect when it comes to winter temperatures, but that’s not always the case when he and his shift are sent out on a call.

“You can’t really control Mother Nature, so you just got to take your precautions with it,” he said. “I mean, you just never know what you’re going to get here. You’ve just got to be ready for anything and everything no matter what time of day it is.”

Although the ice and snow can give some folks an out from going to work, that’s not an option for firefighters.

“Working in the cold is not too bad,” firefighter Aaron Taylor said. “It’s just part of the job. You still have to go out. There’s no snow days or anything, and we’ve still got to be out here.”

A post-Christmas training session was cut short after reports of an elderly man taking a fall down some apartment stairs came in — a call that is fairly common this time of year.

“Knowing that apartment complex when they said the stairwell, we said, ‘Oh crap,’ because we know those stairwells are outside, so that could have very easily been associated with the weather,” Shawnee firefighter Andy Fenstermann said, “which is not only the possible cause, but it could be an exacerbation of the issue when it’s whatever it is — 4 or 5 degrees outside.”

“People try to overcompensate for the cold a little too much, so they’ll plug in a bunch of space heaters on power strips or maybe just try to run the furnace up too high, and if you’ve got an old furnace, it might catch on fire,” Taylor said.

Luckily that didn’t happen Wednesday, but it’s something first-responders are still prepared to deal with.

“You just never know what you’re going to get,” Vining said. “You always expect the worst and hope for the best when you get there. And we just take care of the situation when we get there.”

First-responders said this is the time to make sure your smoke detectors are working properly and ensure there are no heat hazards around your home. Anyone with questions or concerns should call their local fire department.


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Chimney fire in Overland Park

FOX 4 News – December 28, 2017

Residents of an Overland Park duplex are not spending the end of 2017 the way they hoped. A fire that started in a chimney spread throughout the duplex in the 7300 block of W. 148th Street at about 7 p.m., Wednesday.

A resident reported a fire coming from the chimney that quickly spread to the roof. When firefighters arrived, they reported flames coming out of the roof of the single-story duplex and all residents out safely.

Additional fire was found in the attic. Firefighters put out the fire in about 20 minutes but crews spent additional time there putting out hotspots. While the fire was limited to the attic, chimney and roof of the single-story duplex, the home suffered smoke and water damage.

The two adult residents told firefighters they were using the fireplace at the time of the fire.

Firefighters remind residents with fireplaces to have their chimney professionally inspected every year to be sure it is free from defects. Overland Park Fire Dept., also recommends having your furnace serviced annually to be sure it’s operating properly.


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Firefighters have busy day in Pratt with five calls

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – December 28, 2017


A fire of unknown origin destroyed an arts and craft shed and caused major damage to a garage at 211 Austin in Pratt Wednesday night. It was one of five calls for the fire department Wednesday.

Pratt firefighters had a very busy day Dec. 27 answering five calls starting at 2 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m.

The biggest fire of the day was a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an arts and crafts shed and caused major damage to a nearby garage Wednesday night.

Firefighters were called to the Craig and Karla Bates residence at 211 Austin just before 6 p.m. and found the shed totally engulfed in flames and the west end of the garage on fire, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.

Fire was shooting out the east end of the garage, the furthest end from the shed fire, and firefighters immediately attacked that part of the fire because it was threatening the house. Fire fighters knocked the fire down in a few minutes but it took about an hour and half to get the last of the hot spots put out.

Shortly after firefighters arrived at the scene, another call came about another house on fire at a different location. One Fire truck started to the second call but they received information that it was not a fire but just the glow of Christmas lights and returned to the fire.

Kramer said if the second call had been an actual fire, they would have called for assistance from Township 12.

Shortly before the firefighters were ready to pack up their equipment, they received a call of a carbon monoxide detector going off at another address in town. A pair of firefighters went to check on the detector.

Karla Bates said she was upstairs in the house on Austin Street when she noticed a glow on her security camera and went to investigate and found the shed on fire. The fire department will review the video to help determine the cause of the fire.

Kramer said the fire marshal would not be called in to help determine the cause of the fire.

It was uncertain if the power to the shed was on or not. Bates said she thought the power was shut off and had no idea why what started the fire.

The shed was full of arts and crafts supplies and the garage was split with half for tools and half for arts and crafts. There were paint cans, a couple of small propane battles and other explosive items in the shed when it caught fire. There were a number of big plastic toys in the yard and they melted from the heat of the fire.

There were about a dozen family members, including several children, in the home at the time of the fire but no of them and none of the firefighters was injured.

The fire brought down a power line that fed the house. Pratt Light Department replaced the line and restored the power.

When the firefighters left, there was ice on the shed and garage plus ice in the street gutters from frozen runoff from the fire.

The firefighters busy day started with a fire call around 2 a.m. for a very small fire in an attic that didn’t take long to put out. No one was injured in that fire and damage was minimal.

Later in the day, a squirrel came in contact with a wire on a power pole. The electricity killed the squirrel and when it fell to the ground it set fire to grass at the bottom of the pole. The fire was extremely small and took only a few moments to get completely out.

Then the shed fire happened at 211 Austin along with the false alarm that turned out to be Christmas lights followed by the carbon monoxide call.

But the fire fighters were not done yet. Around 10 p.m. a fire was discovered in a metal trash dumpster in the alley on the west side of the 500 block of South Main. The fire was producing thick smoke and Kramer said when he come out of the fire house, it looked like the smoke was coming from the Parrish Loft apartments. Fire Capt. Todd Hoffman also saw the smoke and he thought it might be coming from across the auto repair shop across the street from the Parrish but then he saw the glow of the fire between two houses in the alley beside the dumpster and got the fire trucks headed in the right direction. The fire was put out quickly but firefighters sprayed a lot of water to make sure everything was out.

There was a boarded up window in the building next to the dumpster and firefighters made sure there was nothing on fire behind the board.

Kramer said this cause of this fire was also unknown.


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Notice of Vacancy – Accountant – Requisition #188531 – Vacancy Closes 1/11/2018

Requisition #188531 – Applications Accepted Through 1/11/2018

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has an opening for a full-time Unclassified Accountant.  This is advanced professional accounting work.  Work involves the responsibility for directing an accounting sub-system or fiscal activity; assisting in the management of an extensive accounting or fiscal management program; or performing specialized accounting tasks.  Duties at this level require a high degree of concentration due to the many factors that must be considered and weighed before a decision can be reached.  Errors may cause major program failure or a high degree of confusion.  Employee researches financial problem areas, identify significant trends, prepare a variety of specialized financial management reports, schedules and analyses.  May work with users to identify reporting needs and anticipate need and benefit of information and formulate reporting techniques to comply with statewide fiscal policy and special requirements of other funding sources.

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

  • Interprets and directs the application of statutes, regulations, Department of Administration policies and internal policy to resolve operational problems related to fiscal and purchasing; serves as liaison with other governmental entities concerning fiscal matters.
  • Resolves accounting problems/issues within the agency.
  • Directs the preparation and processing of all accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial management reports.
  • Serves as the agency Grant Manager.  Maintains all financial files in support of all grant funds.
  • Plans, establishes and executes internal audit procedures for the agency’s fee funds of services rendered.
  • Budget preparation, submission, legislative process and implementation.
  • Serves as the agency’s approver, primary contact, help desk contact, training and security administrator for SMART.
  • Works with the State Fire Marshal and Division Chiefs regarding interpretation and compliance with contracts awarded to outside vendors.  Coordinates the processing of RFP’s requested by the agency, possesses state purchasing certification and serves as the agency purchasing card program coordinator.

Pay Rate:  $20.00 – $23.00 per hour commensurate with experience and qualifications


  • Three years of experience in professional accounting work.
  • Education may be substituted for experience as determined relevant by the agency.

Preferred Skills:

  • Working knowledge of SMART
  • Working knowledge of IBARS
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Professional products especially Excel, Word and Access
  • Must be proficient with the office equipment and software used by this position
  • Must have effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • Must have a valid Kansas driver’s license.

Performance Standards:  To be successful, the expectation is that a candidate will be able to competently perform the routine tasks of the position with limited supervision within six (6) months of hire date.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:

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

Additional Required Documents:

  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume
  • College Transcripts (if applicable)
  • Valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Throwback Thursday: From fire station to clubhouse

By Steve Harmon
Hutchinson News – December 28, 2017

Today’s installment of “Throwback Thursday” takes us to the 500 block of South Main Street on the east side. As Hutchinson was growing tremendously, its fire protection needs grew also. As most of Hutchinson existed south of Sherman Street at the time, there was a need to expand coverage there.

In about 1910, fire station No. 3 was constructed at 516 S. Main St. The first photo is of that station showing off its new “Hose Truck” in around 1920.

This two-story station was in continuous usage until closing in 1975 and moving to a new site at 100 E. Ave. E. After closing, the building was used by the Public Works Department, mostly for storage. The city tried to sell the building in around 1992 without much success. In around 2002, it was finally sold to private parties and has been used as the Sons Of Silence motorcycle clubhouse since. The second photo shows the building today, at 516 S. Main St. owned by Gene Hall.

Photo Credits: Before and After: Conard – Harmon Collection


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2 dead after semi trucks collide in southeast Kansas

KAKE – December 28, 2017

Two people have died after two semi trucks collide in southeast Kansas.

The crash happened at around 2 a.m. Thursday on U.S. 400 on the western edge of in Greenwood County, just east of Beaumont .

The Kansas Highway Patrol said two semi trucks crashed into each other and the road would be shut down as authorities worked the scene.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

We will continue to follow this story and provide updates when we know more.


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Rainbow Communications thanks the Robinson Fire Department

By Joey May
Hiawatha World – December 28, 2017

Rainbow Communications visited the Robinson Fire Department to honor and recognize their volunteers and organization. Pictured (l-r): Rachel Knudson (Rainbow), Josh Long, Laura Hooper, Jason Hooper, Liz Jeschke, Craig Jeschke, Nicole Dolisi, Dennis Tietjans, Sein Sample, Matt Tietjans and Jeremy Dolisi. Not Pictured: Kaley Clark (Rainbow, took picture), Todd Massey and Gordon Hooper.

Rainbow Communications visited the Robinson Fire Department on Monday, Dec. 18, and delivered pizza and pop for them to enjoy.

While at the Robinson Fire Department, Rainbow presented the organization with thin red line bracelets to show support and recognition of their efforts. Thank you to the Fire Department for their daily acts of courage and contribution to the community and its surrounding areas.

The Robinson Fire Department is an all-volunteer organization that is comprised of 12 committed volunteers – one where Dennis Tietjens has been volunteering for 40-plus years, nonconsecutive. Monthly meetings are conducted where specific training sessions are held. The Robinson Fire Department does a unique type of training, where they use a mannequin, “Randy” or “Sylvester” to reproduce building rescues. This helps the volunteers know exactly what they need to do in a time of need. The Robinson Fire Department has three EMTs and three nurses – all who help with CPR training. The Robinson Fire Department typically responds to around 40-50 calls a year – half of those being medical calls. 911 calls go through the Brown County Dispatch Center where the Robinson Fire Department is then paged. The Robinson Fire Department serves the Robinson and Irving Township, approximately 180 square miles.

Please join Rainbow in honoring and recognizing our local heroes!


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Fire damages Paola house on Christmas morning

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – December 28, 2017

Photo by Paola Fire Department

A fire damaged a Paola house Christmas morning, but both occupants were able to safely escape.

Assistant Paola Fire Chief Bruce Hartig said firefighters responded to 503 N. Pearl St. shortly after midnight on Christmas morning. It appears that the fire started in the detached garage and then spread to the house, but the cause is still being investigated.

Hartig said the husband and wife were awakened by a booming sound coming from outside. The husband looked out and saw that the detached garage was on fire. He quickly got his wife out of the house.

Crews were on the scene for about three hours, and a crew from the Osawatomie Fire Department provided mutual aid assistance. Former Paola volunteer firefighter Greg Cole, who lives nearby, helped out at the scene.

Hartig said the fire spread to the back porch and did heavy damage to the back of the house. It also damaged a pickup in the driveway and caused smoke damage throughout the house.

The damage estimate is about $70,000, Hartig said.

Firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading to nearby homes, but there was a little heat damage to a home to the north.


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Residential Structure Fire – 1021 N. Pershing Ave.

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – December 27, 2017

At 9:31 am Wednesday, Liberal firefighters were dispatched to 1021 N. Pershing for a report of smoke in the residence. First arriving units at 9:33 am reported light smoke inside the home and smoke pushing from the North side eaves and attic area. Four occupants were at home when the fire was discovered, one adult and three children. All were able to escape safely. Firefighters established protective positions inside the home and began opening the exterior wall to access the main body of the fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and was declared under control at 9:53 am. Firefighters had to conduct a considerable overhaul process due to the fire burning deep into the structural members of the wall, attic and floor space. The fire is believed to be accidental and electrical in nature.

The fire department responded with a total of 13 personnel and two engines. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, American Red Cross, Liberal Water Department, Liberal Street Department, Liberal Building Department, Southern Pioneer Electric & Black Hills Energy. All units were cleared from the scene at 10:58 am and fully returned to service at 11:00 am.


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Russell Firefighters Respond to Camper Fire

By David Elliott
KRSL – December 27, 2017

Russell City Firefighters responded Wednesday afternoon to a camper trailer fire in the Fossil Creek Mobile Home and RV Park on South Front Street in Russell.

Firefighters, EMS and law enforcement were paged to a fully engulfed in flames camper at about 3:15 PM Wednesday.

Upon arrival, firefighters located the camper on the north side of the park and law enforcement closed Front Street.

The camper and its contents were destroyed.

Multiple explosions were reported due to propane tanks in the area and ammunition in the camper.

A cause of the fire is not yet known.

No major injuries were reported.


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Family safe after fire ravages house

By David Colburn
Marion County Record – December 27, 2017

A Peabody couple is safe but homeless after a fire Friday that apparently started in a chimney and spread to an attic, leading to extensive smoke and water damage.

Firefighters from Peabody, Florence, and Burns responded to the home of Del and Linda Eden at 116 W. 3rd St. when a caller reported flames “coming from the back of the house” shortly after noon.

According to a social media post by their daughter, Allison Tajchman, the Edens were asleep when Del Eden woke up and smelled smoke. He woke Linda and they escaped.

The source of the fire appeared to be a fireplace that had been added to the east side of the house by a previous owner, Peabody fire chief Mark Penner said.

“It looks like it started in one of the little vents for the fireplace,” Penner said. “It was kind of in the walls there in the whole area where the chimney went up the side of the house. It went clear up into the attic.”

While some firefighters tackled the blaze from the outside, others donned breathing gear and entered the two-story house, heading for the attic.

“There was a lot of heat and smoke upstairs,” Penner said. “It was a little difficult getting up there.”

The main attic entry was inaccessible, Penner said, but firefighters found an alternative.

“We had to go in through where the attic fan was,” he said. “It was rolling pretty good in the attic when we got in, and about that time one of the windows broke and it flashed down on us. We had to back off then go back in and hit it hard again.”

Firefighters were successful in containing the fire to the attic, chimney, and roof of the house, built in 1900, and quickly extinguished a flare-up on the east side of the roof about an hour after the fire began.

“There’s considerable smoke and water damage inside, but the people who lived here, we could walk them in to get some of their belongings,” Penner said. “They were able to save quite a little bit of their stuff.”

Peabody has two volunteer firefighters in town every day, Penner said, enabling the department to respond quickly. Conditions at the house also helped slow the fire’s spread.

“It was buttoned up really tight,” Penner said. “If it would’ve had any more windows broken or ventilation, we would’ve lost the whole house. We were fortunate in the way the whole thing worked out. I’m proud of my guys today; they did a fantastic job.”

Del Eden’s barber shop, operated in a separate building behind the house, was not damaged.

The Edens reportedly found temporary housing in Newton.


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Firefighter, animal control officer rescue injured duck from icy Newton pond

KAKE – December 27, 2017

Newton Animal Control Officer Jennifer Burns and Newton Fire Fighter Ryan Dick teamed up to save an injured duck. The bird’s injuries had prevented it from moving as the water froze and it was stuck in the ice. The rescue crew used a small boat and broke the ice freeing the duck and used a net to haul it aboard. The bird was taken the Hutchinson Zoo Wildlife Rehabilitation facility for treatment.


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Spotlight on bravery and courage

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – December 27, 2017

ABOVE: Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith, far left, joins Kansas State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen, far right, and Derby Mayor Randy Smith, center, to honor firefighters Aaron Fent, Skyeler Reynolds, Brady Scifres, Hector Gonzalez and Kenneth Linot for their efforts to rescue a victim in a Derby fire with the presentation of the Tom McGaughey Award on Dec. 12 at City Hall. Also named but not available for the photo were Kyle Gasaway and Chris Hodges.

At the award presentation, Smith provided details of the incident: at 4:40 a.m. on Nov. 14, 2016, Derby’s “A” Crew responded to a house fire with the report of a person trapped inside. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames but were able to remove the elderly victim from the house.

The Tom McGaughey Award award is in honor of four local firefighters: Wichita Fire Chief Tom McGaughey, Fire Inspector M. O. Wells and firefighters Dale Mishler and Jimmy Austin. They were trapped under tons of burning debris in the Nov. 21, 1968, Yingling Chevrolet fire in Wichita. All four men perished.

In their memory, the Tom McGaughey Award was established in 1971 to recognize fire departments and firefighters whose bravery and courage went above and beyond the call of duty.


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Teen dies in Kansas rollover crash

Associated Press – December 27, 2017

One person died in an accident just after 10p.m. Tuesday in Haskell County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2005 Toyota Tacoma driven by Luis Rene Guitierrez-Loera, 49, Chihuahua, Mexico, was northbound on U.S. 83 ten miles north of Sublette.

The driver attempted to pass another vehicle. Due to inclement weather, the driver lost control of the pickup. It entered a side skid, tripped in the dirt and rolled an unknown number of times into the east ditch.

Cristian Rene Guiterrez-Portillo, 13, Chihuahua, Mexico, was transported to the hospital in Garden City, where he died.

Guitierrez-Loera was transported to the hospital in Satanta. Another passenger Allen Alexander Guiterrez-Portillo, 17, Chihuahua, Mexico, was not injured.

They were not wearing seat belts, according to the KHP.


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Machine shed catches fire near Eskridge

WIBW – December 27, 2017

Fire crews in Wabaunsee County are battling a structure fire near Eskridge Wednesday morning.

Fire was called in around 5:20 a.m. in the 15000 block of Mission Valley Road, about five miles northeast of Eskridge.

When crews arrived, they found a machine shed fully engulfed in flames.

The shed contained various farm implements and equipment.

Crews on scene say a tractor was plugged in at the time of the fire, but no official cause has been determined.

No injuries have been reported.

Firefighters from Dover, Harveyville and Eskridge had to deal with sub-zero temperatures, and even colder wind chills.


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No injuries in Sunday’s fire

By Stephanie Potter
Pittsburg Morning Sun – December 27, 2017

A family home was a substantial loss, but thanks to firefighters two tots’ presents were saved, along with other precious family belongings.

The Pittsburg Fire Department responded to a structure fire at approximately 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve located at 919 S. Olive Street.

The home was occupied by a family with two children, but everyone evacuated before the firefighters arrived, and there were no injuries.

According to PFD, the firefighters tried retrieve as much property as they could for the family.

The structure was a heavily damaged and the cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation, according to PFD.

Along with some of the children’s clothing the firefighters retrieved the presents under the tree.

“Without asking they got the kid’s presents from under the tree,” Brendan Maxwell said.

They also retrieved one of the occupant’s parent’s wedding china.

“They carefully made sure they got everything,” Maxwell said.

Phillips said she was grateful for the help from the community since the fire.

“We are very grateful for the support we have been getting,” Michaela Phillips said.


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Crews battle mobile home fire

KAKE – December 27, 2017

An east Wichita family is without a place to live after their mobile home went up in flames.

Crews were called to the 11700 block of East Waterman near Greenwich just after 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday. That’s where they arrived to find fire coming out of both sides of the house.

Fire officials say three people were inside when the fire broke out, one person was treated on scene for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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Emergency teams prepare for cold weather response

By Sara Berlinger
KSN – December 27, 2017


On cold days like this, people often try to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the frigid temperatures, but work can sometimes force you to face the elements.

KSN talked with those who have to be in cold about how they cope with it.

First responders say they don’t get to choose the day an emergency strikes. Whether it’s a car accident or a house fire, they say it’s important for them to be there and be prepared.

When Cole Mitchell and his team rush to a cold weather emergency he says they are ready to help.

“All the crews do a really good job of keeping extra blankets on hand, keeping patients warm,” said Capt. Cole Mitchell, Sedgwick County EMS.

“I also have another long sleeve shirt under that,” said Lt. Roger Graham, Sedgwick County EMS.

Mitchell says first responders dress in layers to bear cooler temperatures, as well as wear gloves and hats at emergencies. Though the team says their main focus during cold weather months is always getting the patient out of the cold.

“Once we get them into the ambulance it’s not as big of a deal because we have great heaters in the truck,” said Graham.

Other first responders have ways they deal with the chill. The Wichita Fire Department utilizes a rehab bus during extreme weather months to check on their team.

“They’ll come to the scene and we can get them out of the elements, get them out of the extreme heat or extreme cold, provide them a place where they can rest, and that’s also where we can monitor their condition,” said Douglas Winter, Battalion Chief at WFD

Winter says firefighters will also rotate positions at scenes more often to help them work more efficiently. He says these are important to get the job done with no health emergencies of their own.

“When we come outside on a day like this when you have nine degree wind chill it can take affect on us pretty fast,” said Winter.

Mitchell says some of the most vulnerable people during these months are the elderly and homeless. He stressed how important it is to stay indoors during very cold days and dress warm.


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Firefighters statue fund goal reached

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – December 27, 2017

Derby’s statue honoring firefighters is on its way to becoming a reality.

More than $50,000 in private donations have been raised to help pay for the work, which will be placed at the southwest corner of Madison and Woodlawn as part of the landscaping fronting the new fire station there.

City Manager Kathy Sexton announced that as of Dec. 12, $54,323 has been raised. Some 23 families and three organizations made the campaign a success, she said.

The work will cost $139,000 plus shipping and installation, for an approximate total of $145,000. The proposal was to obtain $50,000 in private donations and use public funding for the remaining $95,000.

“We appreciate Derby’s community commitment,” Sexton said.

The city has engaged local artist John Parsons to create the work.

Parsons, a Derby native who for years ran a taxidermy business before switching to sculpting, also has a close connection to the firefighting profession as he was one himself before being critically injured in a 1979 hunting accident, which left him with a broken back.

“It’s something that is near and dear to me,” he said of firefighting.

He has begun work on the project, but said it’s not much to look at right now. It will begin to take shape in a few months.

Currently, Parsons has several other works underway, but those will soon be finished and it will be “full speed ahead” on the statue.

He should be done in July, or August at the latest, and then it will be taken to a foundry in Colorado where it will be cast and made into a bronze work.

Parsons will be molding it out of clay, and it’s a long and tedious process, he said.

“They make an exact replica of my clay model in metal but it goes through a lot of steps to get there,” he said.

Moving it will be a complicated job, too.

The two firefighter figures will have to be separated, and the taller one may need more of his body removed, too, and then reattached.

“It’s quite a process to move it all but it has to be done,” he said.

The statue should be ready and in place by this time next year.


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4 killed in rollover crash on I-70 near Abilene

KAKE – December 26, 2017

A trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol says four people have died in a rollover crash on Interstate 70.

The single-vehicle crash happened just before 10 a.m. Tuesday on westbound I-70 near Abilene. Names of the victims have not been released.

“Troopers are working to complete ALL death notifications to the families involved before further info is released to the public.” Gardner said on Twitter.

Gardner said says the vehicle went off the roadway and rolled over. The cause of the accident isn’t immediately known but snow was falling Tuesday morning, causing slick roadways in many parts of the state.

Several vehicles slid off of roads and highways because of the slick conditions, Gardner said, but no other fatal wrecks were reported.


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Notification of LODD: Firefighter Jason Garrett

It is with great sadness that we announce the Line of Duty Death of Kansas City Kansas Firefighter Jason Garrett. Firefighter Garrett passed early this morning (12/26/2017) while on duty at Fire Station 19. EMS 19 was dispatched on a 911 call and when he did not report to the EMS Unit his crew went and found that he had passed away in his bunk.
Arrangements and services will be forthcoming and you will all be notified as soon as arrangements are made.
Again, this is a difficult time for all of us, but, as a department and a family we will get through this difficult time.


John P. Peterson
Sr. Deputy Chief

James M. Zeeb
Assistant Chief


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1 person unaccounted for in early morning house fire

By Brian Dulle
KSNT – December 26, 2017

Photo by Alec Gartner

Multiple fire crews were on the scene early Tuesday morning in Pottawatomie County for a house fire.

The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office reports when crews arrived at the scene just before 4:00 a.m. the house located between St. George and Wamego on Stewart Farm Rd. was fully engulfed in flames.

Crews fought the wind driven flames with sub-zero wind chills and falling snow through most of the morning.

Five people were reported to be in the house but only four have been accounted for at this time. None of the four are reported to have injuries.

The house is reported to be a complete loss.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Kansas Fire Marshal.

KSNT News has a crew on the scene and will update this story when new details become available.

The St. George Fire Department, Wamego Fire Department, Blue Township Fire Department, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, Red Cross, St. Marys Fire Department, Belvue Fire Department, and the Lousville Fire Department all assisted at the scene.


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Firefighters battle house fire in south Wichita

KSN – December 26, 2017

Photo by Jeff Goodvin

Wichita firefighters battled a house fire early Monday afternoon. The fire broke out in a two-story home in the 900 block of S. St. Francis about 1:30 p.m.

The first crews on the scene reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the second floor of the house. Police also told dispatchers there were reports of two people running from the scene. Officers conducted a search of the area after the reports.

Fire officials said the house was vacant at the time of the fire and no one was injured in the blaze. They were not able to give an immediate damage estimate. The fire caused extensive damage to the upper story and the roof. There was water damage to the home’s first floor.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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Local firefighters prepare Christmas supper while protecting town

By Mark Minton
Garden City Telegram – December 26, 2017

Brandon Carmichael

Even on Christmas, two things are always true. One: anything can happen. And two: many things that always happen… continue to happen.

As such, some jobs never stop, not even for the holidays. People still need to fill their cars up with gas. Accidents happen, injuries occur, people get sick, and people stay sick. Crime never ceases. Fires remain a constant threat.

Case and point: the Con Agra beef plant fire in 2000 on Christmas day. Garden City Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Seirer has been a firefighter in Garden City since 1995, and he remembers being called in on Christmas day to help put out the blaze that took 18 hours to extinguish and left 2,300 people without jobs. That was a Christmas many locals will not soon forget and one that left a lasting impression on the region’s workforce.

Seirer says the amount of calls that come in on any given holiday are totally random and hard to predict. “It’s like Fourth of July,” he said. “Sometimes we run a couple calls, and sometimes we run 40 calls.”

This year, things were calmer. Just in case, though, seven firefighters remained on duty at the central fire station in Garden City to be ready in the event that duty called. But even though they were on the clock, the guys didn’t forget the spirit of the holidays, and things at the fire department got festive with some culinary dabbling that kept their professional attention for at least the first half of the day with no outside interruptions.

Now seven men in the kitchen may sound like a pretty bad idea to many local women who might know better, but not to worry. These men are trained, and if the green bean casserole becomes a tin bed of white hot flames, they can do what they do best: put out the fire.

It was Brandon Carmichael’s first time making green bean casserole, and he seemed a little skeptical as he loaded on the cream of mushroom soup. But as he put finishing touches on the pastiche of milk, green beans, mushrooms and French-fried onions with black pepper, the possibility remained that he could be a chef in the making.

Carmichael, Seirer, Jon Irsik, John Bemis, Josh Delehant, Jeff Babcock and Andy Crittenden were all charged with keeping Garden City residents safe on Christmas. None were strangers to working on Christmas day, which for many of the guys is just another day at work. Even Babcock, the new guy who has been the new guy for maybe over a year now, takes the task in stride.

Together, they were getting Christmas supper ready for as many as 30 of their family members and friends to enjoy later in the afternoon. In addition to Carmichael’s green bean casserole, guests would be treated to brisket, mashed potatoes, turkey, creamed corn, a cheese ball, a meat tray, a fruit tray, a veggie tray, mac n’ cheese, deviled eggs, cheesecake, cherry pie, blueberry pie, raspberry pie — maybe more.

Some of the gadgets they use in the field even come in handy in the kitchen, or at least at the grill, where Delehant employs a thermal energy camera — usually used to detect people in an inferno — to check the brisket’s temperature. It was 165 degrees.

After cooking the brisket for five hours in a glaze of brown sugar, chili powder and garlic, it took three men to carefully take the 19-pound monstrosity from the grill and transport it to the kitchen, a task to which they dedicate the same teamwork they use on a daily basis to keep Garden City folks safe.

As for the remainder of the food, the guys are lucky they’ve got a new kitchen double the size of what they had available last Christmas. The renovations to the kitchen and the rest of the central fire station were part of a $1.7 million project completed in late summer and intended to ready the facility for the next few decades and the changes that inevitably will come with them.

A new living area, kitchen, workout room, dormitories, office space, bathrooms, study space, meeting room, laundry facility and apparatus bay access are all intended to make the fire station both more effective and homely for the men who often stay there night and day. Crittenden hid down in the exercise room, to, as he said, “work off the Christmas fluff.”

But it’s not all fun and games.

Even on Christmas, the firefighters have to get going at 8 a.m. and check the fire trucks for 45 minutes to an hour before washing the vehicles outside the apparatus bay — pretty much everything but the fire trucks — and standing by for calls. A firefighter also heads out to the local airport three times a day to monitor commercial flight landings and takeoffs.

Seirer explained that carbon monoxide calls have been more common lately with the wintertime uptick in furnace-related incidents. He added that Christmastime shopping traffic also has resulted in more accidents, even though the actual day of Christmas oftentimes leaves the roadways empty to an almost ghostly degree.

“There’s no pattern to anything,” Seirer said.


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Wichita fire crews work garage fire on N Clara

KWCH – December 26, 2017

The Wichita Fire Department is on the scene of a garage fire in the 500 block of north Clara Ave on Sunday morning.

The Battalion Chief says the fire started in the van that was parked in the driveway. They don’t believe it was running at the time.

The fire spread to the garage, causing damage to the outside including the roof.

Fire crews say two people were inside the home at the time of the fire. They both made it out with no injuries.

Investigators are on scene looking into what caused the fire.


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Family displaced by Wednesday night house fire in Fort Scott

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – December 26, 2017

Fort Scott Fire Department officials are investigating a Wednesday night fire that damaged a house in the 100 block of N. Judson Street and displaced the family living there.

Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said Thursday firefighters responded about 11:30 p.m. to a one-story house at 115 N. Judson following a report of a structure fire. Firefighters remained on scene for several hours containing the fire.

“When the trucks and guys got on scene, it was going pretty good,” Ballou said. “There was fire out the windows and in most of the house. There was a lot of smoke in the attic. It was a worse case scenario.”

Ballou said there were about six people inside the house at the time of the fire and “everybody made it out.” There were no reported injuries. He said he was not sure who called in the fire.

Fire investigators worked at the scene Thursday to try to determine the cause and origin of the fire. Deputy Fire Chief Dave Bruner said Friday the fire is still under investigation and it would likely be a week before it is completed.

“We had a report it may have started in a bedroom,” Ballou said.

The FSFD called Scott Township Fire Department for aid. That department responded with “at least one engine” and about six to eight personnel. The FSFD responded with seven to eight personnel and two pumper trucks, Ballou said.

Ballou said firefighters cleared the scene about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

“It didn’t burn down but it’s an older home … and there are several roof lines so when we open up a ceiling to get to the attic, you run into another roof,” he said.

Ballou said the fire did not spread to any nearby structures or vehicles. He said the department contacted the American Red Cross about helping the residents with temporary shelter and other needs as they lost several possessions in the fire.

Rachel Fountain, who lived in the house with her cousin and eight children, said Friday the family “lost everything” in the fire, which included Christmas presents, clothes, TVs, and other possessions.

Fountain said one of the family’s greatest needs is housing. The Red Cross provided her with money toward housing, but for now she and the family are staying at a cousin’s parents’ house until they come up with a better solution. She said the house is small and cramped for a large number of people.

While everyone made it out of the house unharmed, a puppy and five cats were lost in the fire, Fountain said.


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1 dead, 3 hospitalized after Phillips Co. semi crash

Hays Post – December 26, 2017

One person died in an accident just after 10:30 Friday in Phillips County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2012 Hyundai Elantra driven by Jolene Wennekamp Nikl, 61, Ankeny, IA., was eastbound on U.S. 183 seven miles south of Alma, Nebraska.

The driver pulled onto the right shoulder to do a U-turn. A semi struck the Hyundai on the driver side.
Nikl was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Olliff-Boeve Funeral Chapel in Phillipsburg.

One passenger in the Hyundai Larry Douglas Nikl, 69, Ankeny, IA., was transported to CHI Health Good Samaritan. Another passenger in the Hyundai Kristina Kikl, 26, Ankeny, IA., and a passenger in the semi Aymara Rodriguez, 35, Houston, TX., were transported to the Harlan County Hospital.

The semi driver was not injured. All five were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Passerby alerts sleeping residents of house fire

By Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – December 26, 2017

Photos by Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News

For the second time in less than 24 hours, firefighters from Shawnee and Overland Park were called to respond to a house fire in northern Shawnee.

Police dispatchers received a 911 call from a frantic resident of the house at 10525 West 57th Terrace, who reported a roof fire, shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday.

Fire Marshal Corey Sands says a man driving through the area noticed the fire and stopped to alert the sleeping residents. Both adults were able to escape without injury.

Firefighters arrived to report fire from the roof of the attached garage.

It took about an hour for firefighters to bring the fire under control.

Fire Marshal Sands says a wood-burning stove inside the garage started the fire. The home is a total loss, with damage estimated at $175,000.

Shawnee firefighters were able to rescue a cat from inside the house. The family’s dog died in the fire.

The family is receiving assistance from the American Red Cross and their insurance company.

Sands says there were no working smoke alarms found in the house.


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Salina Fire Department Announces Three Promotions

Salina Scoop – December 26, 2017

Capt. Chad Leister

Lt. Tait Walker

Engineer David Gardner

The Salina Fire Department has announced the promotions of three members of their personnel: Chad Leister, Tait Walker and David Gardner.

Chad Leister has been promoted to the position of Fire Captain.

Leister joined the Salina Fire Department on August 18, 2005 as a Firefighter/EMT. After being hired, he attended Coffeyville Community College where he graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic. He was promoted to a Paramedic in 2007. Leister was promoted to Fire Engineer in 2012 and then to Fire Lieutenant in March of 2016. He has served on the department’s EMS Protocol Development Committee, as well as its Planning and Improvement Team.

In his new position, Captain Leister will be responsible for the management of the apparatus, station, and personnel in one of four run areas within the city.

Tait Walker was promoted to the position of Fire Lieutenant.

Walker joined the Salina Fire Department in March of 2003 as a Firefighter/EMT. He then attained his Kansas Paramedic license and was promoted to SFD Paramedic in November of 2005. Walker was promoted to Fire Engineer in September of 2010. He is a member of Kansas’ Task Force 8 technical rescue team. He is also a HazMat team member as well as serving on the Fitness and Rescue committees. Walker’s water and technical rescue expertise assisted him in his deployment to Houston for Hurricane response in 2017

In his new position, Lt. Walker will function as a company level officer. He is responsible for the supervision of personnel assigned to his apparatus including the training of his crew, fire prevention activities, fire suppression and EMS service delivery to meet the department’s mission: Respond Quickly, Perform Professionally, Be Caring and Compassionate to All, and finally, (to make sure) Everyone Goes Home.

David Gardner was promoted to the position of Fire Engineer.

Gardner joined the Salina Fire Department in March of 2005 as a Firefighter/EMT. He possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Kansas Wesleyan University. After being hired, he attended Barton Community College where he graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic. He was promoted to an SFD Paramedic in 2009. In 2014, Gardner was again promoted, this time to Paramedic II.

In his newest position, Gardner will be responsible for driving and operating the various fire apparatus in the Salina Fire Department fleet. He holds multiple emergency medical certifications, and will continue to contribute on the medical side of emergency response as well. Gardner is married with 2 children; Hannah and Nick.

The Salina Fire Department announced all three promotions on Thursday.


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Shawnee Rotary Club raises money with charming Santa Claus photo

Shawnee Dispatch – December 26, 2017

To celebrate the holiday spirit and continue it’s mission to help the community, the Shawnee Rotary Club recently turned to its sense of humor and the past for fund-raising inspiration.

Years before, rotary club member Charley Vogt would dress up as Santa Claus around Christmastime and other rotary club members would bring their children for a visit. The tradition, however, fell by the wayside.

To coax Santa back for one more visit, Shawnee Police Chief Rob Moser and Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox, both Shawnee Rotary Club members, were invited to sit on Santa’s lap for a fun photo shoot.

Both chiefs responded with equal humor and challenged their fellow rotary club members to raise “a little extra change” in exchange for the photo.

Both sides met the challenge and as a result, the Shawnee Rotary Club raised over $700.

The money was given to both Shawnee Community Services and a Nieman Elementary School family-in-need, which the rotary club adopted for Christmas.

A spokesman for the Shawnee Rotary Club told the Dispatch the organization wishes to thank both Moser and Mattox for their good humor and Vogt for donning the St. Nicholas attire one more time.


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WFD battling outbuilding fires in south Wichita

KSN – December 26, 2017

Crews from the Wichita Fire Department are on the scene of an outbuilding fire in south Wichita.

According to the Wichita Fire Department, a building in the 600 block of E. 58th St. South is on fire. Fire crews at the scene say two outbuildings are involved.


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Residential Fire Keeps Firefighters Busy

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – December 26, 2017

At 09:06 am Saturday, Liberal firefighters were dispatched to 544 S. Pennsylvania for a reported fire in the bathroom of the residence. First arriving units at 9:10 am reported heavy smoke from the Southwest corner of the home. Six adult occupants had awakened to find smoke inside the home and were able to escape uninjured. Firefighters made entry through the front door and were able to quickly extinguish the fire located in a bedroom and bathroom. The fire was declared under control at 9:23 am. Electric, Natural Gas and Water utilities were turned off to the residence due to heavy fire damage. Firefighters had a lengthy overhaul checking for fire extension and extinguishing hidden pockets of fire due to an addition that had been constructed onto the original residence.

The fire originally started in the bathroom and spread outward into an adjacent bedroom. It is believed to be accidental and electrical in nature. The fire department responded with a total of 13 personnel and two engines. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, American Red Cross, Liberal Water Department, Southern Pioneer Electric & Black Hills Energy. All units were cleared from the scene at 10:44 am and fully returned to service at 11:15 am.


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Sedgwick County EMS helps Wichita man realize Christmas wish

KWCH – December 22, 2017

Photo by Sedgwick Co.

Medics with Sedgwick County EMS stepped up to lift the holiday spirits of a 20-year-old Wichita man fighting cancer.

Caleb Moraine was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer four years ago. That cancer has returned, but it hasn’t stopped him from realizing a Christmas wish.

Moraine’s wish this year was to make some holiday memories with his family. This is where Sedgwick County EMS comes in.

Medics planned a night for Moraine and his family to attend Illuminations at Botanica. They loaded Moraine onto an ambulance and wheeled him to each display at the annual holiday-lights spectacle.


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Police investigate arson at Kmart

Salina Journal – December 22, 2017

Salina police are investigating an arson at Kmart, 400 S. Broadway.

Capt. Paul Forrester said the fire was set between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Friday under a pile of pallets on the west side of the building. It was reported by someone who saw the blaze.

The Salina Fire Department extinguished the fire, Forrester said.

Damage was estimated at $1,500 to the pallets and a garage door.


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Gene Arthur Seirer

Gene Arthur Seirer passed away on November 8, 2017 in Smith Center, Kansas. Gene was the sixth child out of seven, the youngest boy born to John and Dorothy (Gier) Seirer on August 29, 1937 in Lincoln County, KS. Gene went to school in Lucas, Kansas. His love for sports started at a young age. He loved to play football, basketball, and baseball. Gene loved working with his brothers on the family farm and no one could handle the team like Gene. His only living sibling is Lavonne Rupert, who was like his second mother and helped mold him into the great man he was.
After Gene graduated from high school, he married the love of his life, Marilyn Kay Bates on June 9th, 1956. The couple moved to Natoma, KS to run the lumber yard and raise their three children Tresa, Tracy, and Troy. He was a great father who raised his children with love. He taught them that hard work and honesty is the way to go.
In 1979, Gene and Marilyn moved to Lucas to run Gary’s Grocery with Gene’s brother Gary and his wife Carol. Gene was the butcher and enjoyed visiting with the customers while cutting their steaks and grinding hamburger. He was such a great conversationalist, a man very easy to talk to. In 1995, Gene had the opportunity to work with his son and daughter-in-law every day for 5 years, after Troy and Tina bought Gary’s half of the store. Gene was active in his community involvement which included the fire department, ambulance, and the cookies baseball teams. Grandpa took great pride in coaching the youth in the community. He took these young men under his wing and inspired a passion for baseball. He also wanted to help them become better people.
In 2000, Gene and Marilyn retired from Troy’s Grocery. Gene loved retirement from walking the creek, to cutting wood and to playing round after round of golf. He loved watching the Royals, as long as they were winning. Gene even had the opportunity to coach the local high school golf teams. Gene also loved vacationing in Colorado every summer. He loved fishing for trout, spending time with the May family, falling asleep by the campfire, and cooking over the open flame; but he was okay with the women cleaning up! He just loved this place so much that it was his wish to have his ashes spread over The Big Rock at Bear Canyon.
Gene’s tires spun many miles traveling to his grand kids’ and great grand kids’ endless sporting events. Whether Grandma and Grandpa traveled to Wilson or Wakeeney, or Omaha, NE., New Orleans, LA, or the Bahamas, he truly enjoyed every minute watching them compete. He was so proud of us.
Grandpa and Grandma provided us a great example of what love looked like, and how to love each other. It was no secret that the most important part of Gene’s life was his family. Even though he didn’t show his feelings very often, we all knew how much he loved us. He was proud of who we became as people. He also loved the in-laws who married into his family. He embraced them from day one. Gene also valued his extended family and friendships. He was grateful for all of these relationships he had in his life.
However, after all of this Grandpa did have one regret. He mentioned in his final days that he
couldn’t believe that he still couldn’t make any of us Wildcat fans.
Survivors include his wife Marilyn of the home; daughter Tresa Finch of Smith Center, KS; sons
Tracy (Carolyn) Seirer of Hays, KS and Troy (Tina) Seirer of Manhattan, KS; Grandchildren,
Darcy (Justin) Couse of Lucas, KS; Denyse (David) Kattenberg of Smith Center, KS; Dayna

(Tim) Weltmer of Smith Center, KS; Mykel (Arelyn) Seirer of McPherson, KS; Maryssa Seirer of St. George, KS; Trenton Seirer of Tyler, TX; & Shane Seirer of Hays, KS; 9 Great Grandchildren Dharma, Dayton, Dakota, Dominick, Deklynn, Drake, Darris, Dayvie & Roland; a sister Lavonne Rupert of Salina, KS; many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.


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Larry D Smith

Larry D Smith, 79, of Mcpherson, KS, passed away at 10:35 p.m., Thursday, November 9th, 2017 while in the company of family members, at his residence.

Larry was born in Sylvan Grove, Kansas on December 29, 1937, a son of Robert C. and Goldie (Clark) Smith.

Larry attended the Lincoln grade schools and graduated from Lincoln High School, Lincoln, Kansas.

He honorably served in the U.S. Navy.

Larry worked at Femco, and retired from CertainTeed after 32 years of service. After Larry retired he helped his wife run a home base assembly parts business for 12 years.

Larry was a member of the Lions Club of Windom, and served on the Windom Volunteer Fire Department.
Larry enjoyed his family, fishing and camping

Larry D. Smith was united in marriage to JoAnn Lucille Taylor on December 17, 1960 in Lincoln, Kansas. They young couple established their first home in Lincoln, Kansas.

He is survived by his wife JoAnn Smith, of McPherson, Kansas; daughters, Teresa Crawford and her husband Greg, of McPherson, Kansas and Lisa Komarek and her husband Daniel, of Newton, Kansas; brothers, Robert Smith and his wife Ila, of Lincoln, Kansas, Gary Smith and his wife Jan, of Hoisington, Kansas, Ron Smith and his wife Shelia, of Ozark, Missouri; his sister, Patty Kissick and her husband Leland, of Lincoln, Kansas; his 5 grandchildren, Jason Crawford(Julia), Nicole Butler(Adam), Heather Crawford, Dustin Komarek(Jenn) and Luke Komarek; his 2 great-grandchildren,Caleb Crawford and Cole Butler; many nieces and nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Joan Michaels and Carolyn Smith.

Friends are invited to call on Monday November 13, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Glidden-Ediger Funeral Chapel.

Funeral Service will be held at Glidden-Ediger Chapel, McPherson, Kansas, at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 with Father Juan Garza officiating.

Final resting place will be at McPherson Cemetery McPherson, Kansas. Military Honors will be presented by members of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 2715 and American Legion post 24.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Good Shepard Hospice and they can be sent to Glidden-Ediger Funeral Home, 222 West Euclid St., McPherson, Kansas 67460.


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Milan home was a total loss

By Michelle Leidy-Franklin
Conway Springs Star Argosy – December 14, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – December 22, 2017

A fire in Milan destroyed the home of Rodney and Robin Loeher in the early morning on Friday, December 8.

At approximately 4 a.m., one of their sons woke the family when he discovered the house was on fire. Rodney and Robin Loeher, and their sons Joe and Chris, were able to make it out of the house with their three dogs, without serious injury.

The responding fire department from Argonia was unavailable for comment, but Luckner said she believes the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction. The fire spread quickly and the Loeher family was unable to do anything but get out of the house. The house and contents are a total loss.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Leonard LeRoy Marcotte

Leonard LeRoy Marcotte passed away November 22nd, 2017 at Graham County Hospital surrounded by his loved ones. He was born on April 14th, 1966, in Honolulu, Hawaii to Thelma Kaolelopono & Leverett Marcotte.
Leonard attended Palco High School, where he married Laura Lynn Roy and to this union three children were born. Matthew Marcotte (Holly), Brittanie Hammes (Eric), and Courtney Marcotte (Jon).
Leonard was involved in the Palco Community, serving as part of the Palco Fire Department, City Council and the construction of the McKenna Center. Leonard was involved in town team sports such as volleyball, basketball and softball. As a child Leonard farmed for George Whisman and continued farming into adulthood. Leonard work for the KDOT, Coffeeville Resources and Dan’s Dirt Work. Leonard loved to work and continued working until his death.
Leonard is survived by: Ex-wife Laura Marcotte, his wonderful children, grandchildren Ava & Leland Marcotte, Kaitlynn & Gavin Hammes, Layne Mengelkoch, his father and mother in law Stan & Diana Roy, his father Leverett Marcotte and many nieces and nephews whom Leonard treated as his own. Leonard is proceeded in death by his mother Thelma Momi Kaolelopono.
Leonard’s children will have a celebration of life late next summer when his son Matthew returns from a deployment overseas. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Palco Fire Department in loving memory of Leonard.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Blunt St. display becomes a fitting memorial to fire chief

By Ryan D. Wilson
Clay Center Dispatch – December 22, 2017

Photo by Ryan D. Wilson

The Siemers family’s Christmas light display at 711 Blunt has served as a fitting memorial to Fire Chief Jon Siemers for almost as long as the display was up while he was alive.

Although the Siemers had put up Christmas lights before, they really started decorating in 2004 when their son Adam wanted a light display big enough to make the newspaper.

“We started really decorating about four years ago,” Jon Siemers said in a 2008 Dispatch article. “My youngest son (Adam) at that time wanted to make it in the paper as the once a week house of the week.”

After Jon passed away in February 2010, the display continued in his memory. as declared by a wooden fire truck trimmed with Christmas lights.

Lights of all shapes and sizes are strung up everywhere and a reindeer and a sleigh feel right at home looking over the wintery scene from up on the porch roof. The lawn has been decorated that way every year since Jon died.

Candy cane lights, little Santas and miniature evergreen tree lights decorate the lawn each year. A blow-up Santa stands guard at the sidewalk, accompanied by snowmen and penguins.

“We enjoy the way the kids come and see the lights and how the kids in the neighborhood respond to them,” Jon said in 2004. “Once we started, we figured we’ll be doing it as long as we can.”

In 2008 Jon said it took the whole family, including his wife Brenda and their children Adam, Courtney, Daniel, Tasha, Nicole and Marci six days or three weekends to put up all the decorations.

Brenda said that’s still true, but now that her children are all adults, they and her grandsons DJ and Kadyn assist her in the annual tradition of setting up the lights.

“(My favorite memory is) putting up the lights as a family and watching the people drive by and enjoying them,” Brenda said.

While the Siemers were not certain on the exact count on the decorations, Jon said in 2008 about 40 strings of lights light up the yard. Although a little has been added over the years, the display has remained fairly similar to what it was eight years ago.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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New fire stations to serve Ogden and Leonardville discussed

By Bryan Richardson
Manhattan Mercury – December 22, 2017

The Riley County commission discussed new fire stations to serve Ogden and Leonardville.

The county is going through the process of applying for an U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to build the two fire stations.

If approved by the USDA, the $1.33 million loan will provide $581,368 for the Leonardville station at 108 West Barton Road and $750,190 for the Ogden station at 500 East Riley Ave.

Both stations will be 4,000 square feet with three vehicle bays, a training room, a private office, restrooms and a mechanical mezzanine.

Clint Hibbs of BG Consultants, who is working on project design, said the next steps are to complete the construction documents, submit documents for final review with the USDA and start the bidding process.



Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Fire at Wendy’s on west side of Manhattan

KMAN – December 22, 2017

Photo by Sam Hennigh

Wendy’s on the west side of town burst into flames Thursday resulting in an emergency response by the Manhattan Fire Department.

Manhattan Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief, Ryan Almes spoke with KMAN Thursday regarding the fire that impacted the Wendy’s on Anderson Avenue on the West-side of town.

Almes said when crews arrived on scene, they found fire and smoke coming from an air conditioning unit on the roof.

Fire had extended to the roof, but Almes added crews were able to knock it down quickly.

Almes didn’t have a cost estimate for damages, but he said based on past restaurant fires, costs could be extensive. If the fire cause smoke damage, Almes said Wendy’s could be closed for a while for repairs.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Three people escape from early-morning house fire

By Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – December 22, 2017

Photo by Cody Newman

Photo by Mike Frizzell

Photo by Mike Frizzell

Three people were able to get out of their Nieman Road home shortly after it caught fire early Friday.

Dispatchers received multiple 911 calls from people reporting the house at 5019 Nieman Road was on fire. Police and firefighters were dispatched a 4:03 a.m.

Neighbor Cody Newman said he looked outside to see what his dog was barking at and saw the fire across the street.

Firefighters from Shawnee and Overland Park responded to the fire and worked for more than an hour to bring the fire under control.

Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands confirms three people and their dog escaped from the house. One person was treated at the scene for a minor injury.

Nearly 2,900 people were without power for a short time as KCP&L power to a large area along Nieman until they could get close enough to the house where the fire was.

A damage estimate was not immediately available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No firefighters were injured.

The American Red Cross is assisting the residents of the house.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Sprinklers extinguish apartment fire

Leavenworth Times – December 21, 2017

No injuries were reported as a result of a fire at a Leavenworth apartment building.

The fire was reported at 9:12 a.m. Tuesday at 110 Lakeside Drive.

Light smoke could be seen coming from the building when firefighters arrived. After entering the building, firefighters determined the fire had been extinguished by a sprinkler system, according to Shawn Kell, health inspector and safety officer for the Leavenworth Fire Department.

The fire started in the kitchen of an apartment. Someone apparently had been heating up an aroma therapy substance in a pan on the stove.

Kell said the fire was contained to the stove and nearby cabinets and a microwave.

The damage was estimated at $10,000.

Kell said utilities had to be shut off to the entire complex.

The Red Cross was contacted to provide assistance to the people who were being displaced.


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Woman falls from roof, firefighters finish hanging her Christmas lights

By John Asebes
KSN – December 21, 2017

Haysville: Maureen Gile is tough.

“The top of my head is sore.”

But she’s in pain. She can’t even lift her right arm above her shoulder. And it’s all because of what she was doing on Monday.

Maureen was doing what she does every year, just putting some Christmas lights up.

“I never have been afraid to do stuff like this,” says Gile.

She had one foot on the roof, and the other on the ladder.

“I threw the lights and I was getting ready to step around the ladder and put the other one up when it came out and went from under me,” she says.

Maureen fell eight feet from the top of the roof.

“Just a little old lady falling off the roof,” says Gile jokingly.

She landed on a pile of metal. If she fell to the right she could have landed on her pointed metal gate.

“I could have broken my neck,” says Giles. “I could have died.”

But it was her heroes, Sedgwick County Ladder 34, who came to her rescue, and saved her holiday.

“As I was getting in my husband’s truck to go to the emergency room , I turned back around and here is all these firemen up on my house putting the lights on top of my house. And I said ‘You guys don’t need to do that!’ and one of them said, ‘Yeah we are the ones who have the ladder!’”

She says they did a great job.

“Oh, they look wonderful,” says Giles.

Maureen says the firefighters also volunteered to come back and put them up next year, so she toughed this interview out so everyone would know.

“I just thought that was the nicest thing for the fire department. You never hear about the nice things that they do for people, but you always hear about the bad stuff. They were an awesome bunch of guys,” says Giles.

Giles says she plans to surprise the first responders with some fresh cookies.


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