Archive for January, 2018

Firefighters already dealing with out-of-control grass fires

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – January 31, 2018

It’s nearing that time of year again when rural fire departments know what to expect.

Although it may be a little early for the start of a typical grass fire season, rural firefighters have already begun dealing with these types of fires which usually start out as planned or controlled burns that spread. And they can face challenges with each fire, Bourbon County Fire District No. 3 Chief Delwin Mumbower said.

“We’re not truly into grass fire season, there are still a lot of people who haven’t started burning yet,” Mumbower said. “Depending on the weather, it’s either February or March for grass fires.”

But rural fire departments spent several hours Jan. 25 battling three separate controlled burns that spread due to the weather conditions.

Mumbower said firefighters received the call for the first fire about 3:30 p.m. that day, and didn’t finish clearing scenes until about 8 p.m. that night. He said he’s trying to get a message across to property owners to not burn on particular days when the weather is unfavorable, which are days when Red Flag warnings are usually issued.

“When the conditions are dry and there’s low humidity and high winds, it’s probably not a good day,” he said.

The first grass fire firefighters dealt with Jan. 25 occurred near 195th Street and Unique Road by Fulton. A second fire broke out near 75th Street and Poplar Road north of Uniontown. A third fire later occurred at about 80th Street and Hickory Road south of Uniontown.

“With the first two fires, they had been burning brush piles a couple days before,” Mumbower said. “You gotta check the weather down the road. All were controlled burns that got out of control. And I hate to call them ‘controlled’ burns because there’s usually nobody watching them.

“In the first two (fires), that day it got so dry and there was such low humidity that wind blew embers beyond the burn area. In the third one, they were trying to burn some vacant lots and it got into some tall weeds and got away from them.”


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Shawnee duplex damaged by fire, two families displaced

By Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – January 31, 2018

Photo by Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News

The Shawnee Fire Department is investigating after a duplex caught fire late Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters from the Shawnee and Overland Park Fire Departments were called to the fire at 13415 West 60th Street at 3:54 p.m.

“Shawnee Fire crews arrived and found heavy fire involvement on the back of the duplex with the high winds spreading the fire to the inside,” Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands said in a news release. “Residents on both sides of the duplex were not home at the time of the fire and damage estimates are at $80,000”

The fire also spread to the grass around the duplex, burning black patches into the back and side yard.

Fire Marshal Sands confirms no injuries were reported. The American Red Cross responded and is assisting both families.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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Press Release: Building Fire, Via Christi Village, 2225 Canterbury Drive, Hays

At 1:16 PM, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, City of Hays emergency dispatchers were alerted to an automatic fire alarm at Via Christi Village, 2225 Canterbury Drive. The City of Hays Fire Department, assisted by the Hays Police Department, was immediately dispatched to investigate.

First arriving police officers found Via Christi staff evacuating residents from one wing of the assisted living facility and reporting smoke in that wing. Additional reinforcements were then dispatched including Ellis County Fire Department Company 5, Ellis County EMS and the recall of Hays Fire Department off-duty members.

Firefighters found significant smoke and a fire burning above the ceiling in a resident’s room. The fire was quickly extinguished with a fire extinguisher by firefighters. Firefighters then worked to remove smoke from the building. EMS paramedics checked all of the affected residents and staff but found no one to be injured.

The most probable cause of the fire was a malfunction in heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment located in the void space above the ceiling.

Six fire trucks and 25 firefighters responded. The last fire crew left the scene at 2:41 PM.

The members of the City of Hays Fire Department would like to commend the staff of Via Christi Village for their calm, organized and professional response. All of the residents in the wing where the fire was located were quickly evacuated. All of the building fire protection systems operated as designed to detect the fire, sound the alarm and limit the spread of smoke into other building areas.


Gary A. Brown, Sr., EFO
Fire Chief
City of Hays Fire Rescue


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Job Opening – District Fire Management Officer

Kansas Forest Service, Kansas State University, is hiring a District Fire Management Officer to help KFS Fire Program meet the needs of fire departments and communities we serve by being the direct contact for the program to the fire departments and related organizations within their assigned districts. They will help provide training, direct incident support, and have the opportunity to more effectively pursue relations with those we serve.

For more info


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Duplex fire reported near 68th and Everett

Wyandotte Daily News – January 30, 2018

Firefighters fought a fire on one side of a duplex in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 6813 Everett Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to a Fire Department spokesman, one side of the duplex is a total loss, and the fire was in the basement, first floor and attic.

When firefighters arrived, the fire already was through the roof, the spokesman stated. Crews deployed two lines through the front door.

At this time, the cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the spokesman. There were no injuries, and the resident was not home at the time of the fire, according to the spokesman.

The owner of the home, who lives on the same street, said the tenants were in the process of moving.


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Chimney fire displaces Overland Park family

By Chris Oberholtz
KCTV 5 – January 30, 2018

Photo by Rob Rhodes

An Overland Park family has been temporarily displaced and staying with neighbors after a chimney fire inside their home.

Crews from Overland Park and Leawood fire departments responded just after 12:30 p.m. Monday to a house fire at 152nd Terrace and Hardy.

First units on the scene reported smoke and fire from the attic and chimney of a two-story, single family home.

A resident met firefighters and reported everyone out of the home.

Firefighters went to work attacking fire in the attic and confirmed that everyone was out of the house. It took about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control.

No injuries were reported and fire damage was contained to the chimney and attic area next to the chimney. The master bedroom suffered water and sheetrock damage.

While the exact cause of the fire is under investigation, the chimney is believed to be the cause.

The homeowner reports that while using the fireplace, he was alerted by sounding smoke alarms.

Overland Park Fire wants to remind everyone to have their chimney professionally inspected annually to be sure it is in good working order and free from obstructions and defects.


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Several buildings damaged, hay lost in fire

By Heather Stewart
Sabetha Herald – January 30, 2018

The combination of high winds and smoldering hay is believed to be the cause in a Friday morning, Jan. 25, fire in rural Sabetha.

At 11:38 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, the Sabetha Fire Department was called out to the Jim Renyer residence at 2328 124th Road to a hay fire.

“The fire was possibly started by smoldering hay from the previous fire and high winds,” said Sabetha Fire Chief Jim Johnson.

Two implement sheds and multiple grain bins were damaged in the fire, but the extent of the damage is unknown at this time. There were also several large bales of hay that were lost in the fire.

According to Johnson, the amount of damage that was caused by the fire is still to be determined by the insurance adjuster.

The SFD received assistance from the Morrill, Fairview, Wetmore and Goff Fire Departments. The SFD was back at the barn at 5:46 p.m.


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Atchison Resident Displaced Following Saturday Evening Fire

Ted Graf, Fire Chief, Atchison Fire Department
January 30, 2018

Photo by Atchison Police Department

At 9:40 pm (Jan. 27th) the Atchison Fire Department was dispatched to the 1100 Block of Commercial St. for a possible structure fire. Upon arrival they found heavy smoke and flames engulfing the front porch of a single family residence. The occupant had reportedly exited safely through the back door. The fire was brought under control rather quickly. The porch sustained heavy structural damage with some extension into the main living area of the residence. This extension was confined to a closet. Smoke damage occurred throughout the remaining parts of the residence. Radiated heat from the flames also caused damage to the vinyl soffit of the neighboring residence, 1139 Commercial St.

The occupant reported that she was in the back part of the residence, when she heard someone knocking on a side window attempting to alert her. She opened the front door and was met with heavy smoke. She had the presence of mind to immediately close the door. Her actions kept the fire spread inside, to a minimum. It was not immediately known if the resident was able to ID the good Samaritan. She is temporarily displaced and is staying with a friend.

It is believed that the fire may have started in a flower bed and spread to the porch, however what actually started the fire has not been determined.

The Atchison Police Department and Atchison County EMS provided assistance on the scene.


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Grass fire burns 200 acres

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – January 30, 2018

A grass fire burned across about 200 acres this weekend before it was extinguished near Basehor, an emergency management official said.

The fire was reported at about 2 p.m. Saturday in the area of 163rd Street and Leavenworth Road. No injuries were reported.

“It was a fast moving fire,” said Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

Magaha also is the chief of the Fairmount Township Fire Department, which responded to the grass fire.

He said firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading into Basehor.

“We got it stopped right at the city limits,” he said.

He said no structures were lost in the fire, but a flatbed trailer was destroyed.

Firefighters from the Fairmount Township Fire Department, Stranger Township Fire Department and Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 responded.

Magaha said firefighters were at the scene for about 3.5 hours.

The fire is believed to have started by accident as someone was burning in a barrel.

Magaha said the person using the burn barrel was following safety precautions but it still sparked the grass fire.

“The guy was doing everything right,” Magaha said.

Magaha said grass in the area is so dry right now that it acts like gasoline.

He said several other grass fires were reported during the weekend in Leavenworth County.


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Smoke detected in Engineering Complex, no threat present

By Rachel Hogan
KState Collegian – January 30, 2018

The Manhattan Fire Department responded to a smoke detector activation in the Kansas State Engineering Complex Monday.

Battalion Chief Keith Habbart said a K-State employee met the responders upon arrival, sometime before 7 a.m.

An air compressor in the basement malfunctioned, producing smoke and triggering the fire alarms. Responders double-checked that the unit was turned off and ventilated the basement. There was no hazard.


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One person injured in east Wichita house fire

By Merry Murray
KSN – January 30, 2018

One person received injuries in a house fire in east Wichita Monday night. The fire burned a home in the 600 block of S. Vassar shortly before 7:45 p.m. That’s south of Kellogg and three blocks east of Hillside.

Wichita firefighters reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the home when they arrived upon the scene.

Not long after they arrived, the requested dispatchers send an ambulance to the scene to treat a person who was suffering from smoke inhalation. The homeowner later refused treatment and did not go to a hospital.

Fire officials on the scene said the fire started in the home’s kitchen, then spread to the attic. They put the damage estimate at $15,000 for the home and its contents.


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Pratt Fire Department deals with heavy hearts after deadly fire

By Tiffany Lane
KSN – January 30, 2018


It’s been four days since a fire devastated a Pratt home, killing four young children and their mother.

As family and friends continue to grieve, the Pratt Fire Department is also dealing with heavy hearts.

“This one was different just simply because of the nature of so many fatalities in one incident,” said Chief David Kramer of the Pratt Fire Department.

Kramer and the rest of the department are still reflecting on the deadly fire.

“I can tell once I was already rolling on scene the volume of the fire just due to the amount of smoke,” said Capt. Todd Hoffman, of the Pratt Fire Department.

There was smoke visible all around town.

But, one moment made them need to act even quicker.

“We got radio traffic that there were was the potential of people trapped,” said Kramer.

Those people were Charee Eggleston and her four children who with all the crew’s efforts, they were unable to save.

“We’re trained to save lives,” said Kramer. “And, when it doesn’t happen, you know, you’re kind of left to fend for yourself.”

To help deal with the fatal fire, the department had a critical incident stress debriefing Sunday, where they were able to discuss what happened that day.

“For me, it was helpful just to see the other guys and how they’re dealing with it,” said Lt. Chad Van Slyke of the Pratt Fire Department. “I mean, I’ve got a little more experience than a lot of the guys do and I do worry about the younger guys more.”

One of those younger guys is Justin Sanko.

“We have a strong group of guys,” said Sanko. “We can talk to each other about anything and we always check up on each other to see how we’re doing.”

While Thursday’s fire didn’t have the outcome Kramer was looking for, he takes comfort in the fact that the team did the best they could.

“I hope the citizens realize what all the fire departments go through in these situations,” he said. “And you know, you think that it can’t happen here and it really can. So, that’s the only thing that rests on our minds.”

KSN News continues to ask questions into what caused that deadly house fire in Pratt.

Monday, we spoke with the State Fire Marshal’s office, which is conducting the investigation.

They tell us the on scene investigation is complete, but they are waiting on test results to come back, which could be a couple days.


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Minor injuries reported after small kitchen fire

By Corrine Dorrian
KSNT – January 30, 2018

Officials are looking into a small fire at a north Topeka home.

It was reported around 6:00 Monday night, at 362 NW Gordon Street. The Topeka Fire Department said the fire started in the kitchen and everyone in the home was able to get out safely. One person was treated on scene for minor burns while attempting to put out the fire.

The estimated damage is about $26,000. The cause is undetermined at this time.


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Dog dies Monday in southeast Topeka house fire

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – January 29, 2018

Photo by Katie Moore

A dog died in a house fire on Monday afternoon in southeast Topeka.

The fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. in the 2200 block of S.E. 22nd.

Upon arrival, Topeka fire crews found smoke and flames.

Topeka Fire Department battalion chief Chris Herrera said a woman and child got out of the house. Crews were working to see if they could save the dog, but later said the dog didn’t make it.

The fire began in the garage.

Crews were using thermal cameras to search for hot spots, Herrera said.

Neighbors and emergency workers with AMR were seen bringing blankets to the woman and her two-year-old son.

Six fire engines responded to the scene. The street was blocked while fire crews worked.

No other information was immediately available including the cause of the fire or how much damage was done.


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Crews battle apartment fire in S. Wichita

KWCH – January 29, 2018

Wichita fire crews Monday afternoon responded to a fire to an apartment home in the 700 block of South Ellis in south Wichita.

Crews spotted heavy smoke as they neared the scene and, according to a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor, and went to fire attack on arrival.

Fire officials say the fire started to a vacant unit of a four-plex. A neighbor to the unit where it started evacuated her apartment and alerted others living on the property, officials say.

The fire department estimates the blaze caused about $40,000 in damage to the apartment and about $8,000 to contents.

Investigators are working to determine how the fire started.


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Monday fire destroys outbuilding in Schoenchen

Hays Post – January 29, 2018

At 4:02 a.m. Monday, the Ellis County Fire Department Company 8 of Schoenchen was dispatched to a structure fire in the 212 North Front in Schoenchen. A neighbor to the property reported the fire to the dispatch center, according to a news release from Ellis County Emergency Manger Darin Myers.

Upon arrival, crews found an outbuilding, tree, and some debris on the ground all on fire. Fire crews used two fire attack lines to extinguish the fire. The building was a total loss. Fire crews stayed on scene until 6:05 AM to extinguish hot spots. A tree was cut down due to the fire extending to the top were hot spots could not be put out. The cause of the fire was undetermined after investigation.

Nineteen ECFD firefighters responded from Schoenchen, Hays, Ellis and Victoria. Ellis County EMS, Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Hays Fire Department responded to assist.


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Fire consumes house northwest of Neosho Rapids

By Brandon Peoples
KVOE – January 29, 2018

Photos by Brandon Peoples

It didn’t take long for fire to consume an entire house Saturday afternoon northwest of Neosho Rapids.

Shortly before noon firefighters were paged out to 1670 Road V6 in eastern Lyon County to a structure fire. The single-story house quickly became fully engulfed and burned for more than an hour. According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the home’s owner Michael Urrutia stated he was burning trash by his shed on the west side of the property. He went into the residence and came out and found the southwest corner of the home on fire. All of the occupants got out of the house safely with no injuries. The house was a total loss.

Several different fire departments responded to the scene including the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Hartford-Neosho Rapids, Emporia, Miller and Reading Fire Departments.

Around 6 pm, what was left rekindled. Hartford-Neosho Rapids firefighters returned to the scene. Further details are pending.


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Three firefighters injured when floor of home collapses

Wyandotte Daily News – January 29, 2018

Three firefighters were injured while fighting a fire at 2:53 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, at a two-story home at 1604 N. 7th St., according to a Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department spokesman.

Four firefighters were on the second floor when the floor collapsed, the Fire Department spokesman stated in the fire report.

Three firefighters were injured in the fall, the spokesman stated.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital from the scene, according to the spokesman. One firefighter was taken to the hospital after returning to the fire station, the spokesman stated. The firefighters have since been released from the hospital.

Pumpers attacked the fire from the rear and sides, and a search-and-rescue was conducted, according to the fire report.

The fire was under control, and firefighters were hitting hot spots, when the second story collapsed to the first floor, according to the spokesman.

No residents, or anyone besides the three firefighters, were injured in the fire, according to the report.

In all, 46 persons, as well as five pumpers, two trucks, an EMS unit, two quints and an air trailer responded to the fire, according to the report.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, and is under investigation, according to the spokesman.

The damage to the home was estimated at $35,000, with the contents damage estimated at $5,000, the report stated.

There were no smoke or fire detectors in the home, according to the fire report.


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Man dies in crash while fleeing from authorities in Atchison

By Zoe Brown and Marc Jacobs
KCTV 5 – January 29, 2018

An Effingham man who was fleeing from the authorities died after crashing into a wall early this morning in Atchison.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol’s accident report, Raymond Bosch, Jr. died after he failed to navigate a turn in the road and struck a brick retaining wall.

The report said that Bosch was being pursued by law enforcement on Main Street near 22nd Street, shortly after 1 a.m. when the accident occurred.


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Trash fire starts 25-acre blaze in Cheney

KSN – January 29, 2018

Fire officials says a large grass fire in Cheney started with a trash fire.

Crews were called to the area of 3400 S. 343 W. in Cheney.

When they arrived, they say found a grass fire that scorched 25 – 30 acres of land. Members of Cheney Fire worked with those from Sedgwick County to prevent the flames from spreading to homes.

Through investigation, Cheney Fire Chief Brad Ewy says the flame started when an ember blew out of a trash barrel.

The weather conditions have increased the risk of fire in the area. In Hutchinson Saturday, crews responded to four fires. Two of which were grass fires. One fire was a trash fire and another was a porch fire.

Authorities with Hutchinson Fire said all of the fires were contained. However, officials are warning residents with the continued dry grass and wind conditions any burning, improperly discarded cigarettes or uncontrolled embers can quickly lead to a disaster.


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Galena Fire Department Responds to House Fire

Galena Sentinel Times – January 29, 2018

A house, owned by Lloyd and Debbie Kitch, caught fire in Galena on late Saturday afternoon, on South Main Street, causing multiple fire departments to respond to the area.
The Galena Fire Department got a call shortly after three Saturday afternoon for a fully engulfed structure fire.
When the department got to the home the flames were confined to one room.
The neighbor was able to get the homeowner out of the house safely.
And the quick work by the fire department is something the relatives are thankful for.
The home owners are lucky and very fortunate that’s all the damage that was done.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation


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Fire Destroys Saline County Home

By Todd Pittenger
KSAL – January 29, 2018


No one was hurt when a fire destroyed a rural Saline County home Sunday afternoon.

Saline County Rural Fire Districts 3 and 7 responded to the fire in the 800 block of North Fairchilds Road.

The resident of the home, Dan D’Albini, was not home when the fire started.

The home, and its contents, are a total loss. There were no injuries and D’Albini’s pets survived the fire.

Authorities were working to determine a cause of the fire.


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Large grass fire near Derby contained

KWCH – January 29, 2018

A controlled burn near Derby quickly spread Sunday evening, forcing first responders to bring in water trucks as they fought through brush and cedar trees

Fire officials say wind and dry conditions are to blame for the fire spreading quickly through trees, brush and grass.

One official say the fire is no longer a threat but crews will stay here overnight to make sure those hot spots are put out.

“So at this point in time, we do have the fire contained. But with the wind change and the way the winds picked up, we’re taking extra efforts to get it fully extinguished,” said Sedgwick County Fire Chief Carl Cox.

Officials say the fire burned about 10 acres. They also mentioned that they believe they’ll keep seeing these types of grass fires until we get more rain or snow.


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Sunday structure fire extinguished quickly

By Mary Ann Redeker
Emporia Gazette – January 29, 2018

Emporia fire crews were called out to a reported structure fire around 7:30 p.m. Sunday at 425 Lincoln St.

Scanner traffic indicated everyone had made it out of the home safely, but flames were showing inside.

Crews worked the scene and the fire was reported to be contained at 7:50 p.m., with the request for response to the Olpe Fire Department cancelled.


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$90k in damages after fire at Topeka church

By Nick Viviani and AJ Dome
WIBW – January 29, 2018

The Topeka Fire Dept. is investigating what caused a blaze at a southeast Topeka church late Friday afternoon.

Firefighters responded around 4:30 p.m. to the Divine Love Outreach Ministries Church, 3101 SE Adams St., in the Highland Park area.

Firefighters noticed heavy smoke and flames when they arrived.

They were able to get the fire under control, but one person was injured by the flames. That person has not been identified; they were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Firefighters said the fire started in the kitchen area, and was most likely caused by inattentive cooking — although the official cause of the fire has not been determined.

Damage estimates sit around $90,000.


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Topeka Zoo enlist help of TFD to locate sleeping bears

By Kion Hudson
Topeka Capital Journal – January 29, 2018


The Topeka Zoo needed a little help locating their bears.

So, they enlisted the assistance from the Topeka Fire Department and its thermal imaging camera to help find the bears.

Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley told 13 NEWS, there are more dens than there are bears. That means, when they want to escape, they have a lot of places to choose from.

“It was really amazing to see the fire department and their technology work,” Wiley said. “They were able to take their camera, aim it a den, and tell us if there was a heat signal in there or not. It took awhile, but we did actually find all three bears.”

The Zoo recently welcomed two new sun bears, Ho-Ho and Cupcake.

Wiley said the Zoo’s great habitat and the weather makes for a relaxing atmosphere for the animals.


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One killed in accident near Ellsworth

KWCH – January 29, 2018

One person was killed in an accident involving a semi near Ellsworth early Saturday morning.

The Kansas Highway Patrol tells Eyewitness News the accident happened on Saturday morning.

Troopers say the accident involved a semi and a pick-up truck.

The driver of the pick-up was killed.

KHP says Highway 14 is back open and crews have cleared the scene.


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Kansas man dies after crash through fence, over creek

Little Apple Post – January 29, 2018

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 12:30p.m. Friday in Brown County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Ernest Benjamin Reynolds III, 40, Morrill, was westbound on 280th Road one mile east of Hamlin at a high rate of speed,

The driver lost control of the vehicle. It left the roadway to the south, traveled through a barbed wire fence and a telephone pole, went airborne over a creek bed and came to rest in a pasture south of the roadway.

Reynolds was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the KHP.


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Man killed in house fire in southwest Wichita

KAKE – January 29, 2018


One person is dead following a house fire Saturday morning in the 3500 block of south St. Clair.

Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow, tells KAKE News that a neighbor called to report the fire around 11:04 a.m. When crews arrived they found light smoke coming from the home, and had to break down the door to get inside. Once inside the home, firefighters found flames in the living room and an unresponsive man in the hallway of the home.

The man was pronounced dead on the scene. Fire investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire.


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One person killed in Silver Lake crash

KSNT – January 29, 2018

crash 1292018

Photo by Katie Moore, Topeka Capital Journal

A driver is dead after a car crash Sunday evening in Silver Lake.

The crash was reported around 6:20 p.m. on eastbound Hwy 24 and 102 W Railroad St. The driver went left and crossed over the center line where they struck a heavy piece of machinery that was parked off the north side of the road. The machinery was a forklift, according to Shawnee County Dispatch.

The driver was the only person inside the vehicle, and no other cars were involved. The identity of the driver has yet to be released.

They were transported by ambulance to Stormont Vail Hospital where they later died.

The investigation is still ongoing at this time.


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17-year-old Topeka girl identified as fatality victim of one-vehicle rollover accident

By Angela Deines
Topeka Capital Journal – January 29, 2018

Photo by Angela Deines

A Topeka teenager was killed Saturday afternoon in a rollover crash on Interstate 470 east of S.W. Gage.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the teen as Abigail R. Medley, 17.

Medley was the driver of an eastbound vehicle that about 12:45 p.m. overcorrected, entered the highway’s median and rolled before coming to rest in the westbound lanes.

“For some unknown reason, this vehicle lost control, swerved toward the left and somehow got in the median, hit the ditch and started rolling,” patrol Trooper E.J. Otero-Hernandez said at the scene.

The two other occupants of the 1999 Jeep Cherokee — Brooke Medley, 15, and Mattie Hosie, 2 — were taken to a hospital.

Eastbound traffic on I-470 was reduced to one lane while crews cleaned up the accident site on the north shoulder of the highway. The westbound lanes of I-470 reopened shortly after 3 p.m. after traffic was diverted off of the Burlingame exit to the east of the accident.

Each of the Cherokee’s occupants was wearing a seat belt, the patrol said in its crash report.

Martin Weishaar, spokesperson for Auburn-Washburn USD 437, confirmed Abigail Medley was a student at Washburn Rural High School and that Brooke Medley is a student at the school as well. He said on Saturday night school staff members are organizing a plan to support the Washburn Rural community.


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One critically injured in S. Wichita fire

KWCH – January 26, 2018

The Wichita Fire Department says an ambulance took one person to the hospital with critical injuries after fire to an apartment in south Wichita.

On the call made a little before 3 p.m., the fire department says crews located one person inside the rental property in the 1600 block of East Jump Street, south and west of E. Pawnee and S. Hydraulic.

Wichita Fire Captain Pete Ridder says the initial call came in as a possible fire to a four-plex. When crews arrived, he says they found fire and smoke coming from one of the units.

Ridder says crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly and it did not spread to any other units.

He says the critically injured person had smoke inhalation and some minor burns.


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Grass fire burns nearly 300 acres in Rush County

By Kaley Conner
Hays Daily News – January 26, 2018

Alexander – A large grass fire charred an estimated 300 acres Thursday just south of this small Rush County town with an estimated population of less than 70.

No inhabited homes were damaged, and no one suffered injuries in the blaze, which likely was caused by a downed power line, said Jim Fisher, Rush County’s emergency management coordinator.

The fire likely originated from an abandoned farmstead that still had power running to a house that was used only for storage, Fisher said.

“It appears the wind either blew (a powerline) down or a tree limb knocked the power line down, and it started off a downed power line,” he said.

The structure sustained damage, but was not destroyed.

The fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. and had been mostly contained by 6:30, though crews remained on the scene through Thursday night battling flare-ups. By 4 a.m. Friday, the fire was declared extinguished, though volunteer firefighters in Alexander remained on stand-by.

The fire was west of county road 120 and the Kansas Highway 96 intersection. Both roads were closed for about an hour Thursday afternoon due to severely reduced visibility from the smoke.

Much of the region is under a red-flag warning for extreme fire danger due to dry and windy conditions.

“We’re still under it today,” Fisher said. Friday. “It is dry, and that grass is thick and heavy and bone dry. Everybody needs to be really careful of what they’re doing.”

County firefighters from La Crosse, Rush Center, Alexander and McCracken responded, as well as from Bazine and Ness City in neighboring Ness County.

“The fire departments from both counties did an excellent job in containing it and I really admire them,” he said.


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Grass fire near Russell businesses causes power outage

By Kaley Conner
Hays Daily News – January 26, 2018

Photo by David Elliott, KRSL Russell Radio

A grass fire near several hotels and retail businesses in Russell caused a temporary power outage to a section of the town Thursday, but was contained before it spread to any structures.

A fire was reported shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday when a semi struck an electrical pole along Stephanie Street. Sparks started a fire in an adjacent grass lot, and wind caused the fire to spread throughout the lot, Russell Fire Chief Shane Preston said.

“Basically behind our Subway and the Meridy’s restaurant there is a grass field right there,” Preston said. “There were no buildings or structures involved or anything; it was just grass.”

The fire was contained by the city fire department within an hour, and no injuries were reported.

The event did cause a temporary power outage for homes and businesses near South Fossil Street as crews worked to extinguish the fire and repair the damaged power pole.

Firefighters responded quickly, as they happened to be nearby at the Fossil Creek Hotel & Suites for a local Chamber of Commerce awards banquet. The city fire department received a community service award, but was not able to accept in person due to the event.

The hotel also lost power, but the event continued, Preston said, noting the city was “fortunate” the fire was contained so quickly.

“The main hotel where the event was being held, (power) was out longer because the pole struck was the feeding pole for that facility,” he said.


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7th Annual Flammable Liquids and Foam Firefighting Conference

April 12th, 2018 8:00 AM – April 13th, 2018 – 4:30 PM

Open invitation for emergency responders to attend the 7th Annual Flammable Liquids and Foam Firefighting Conference in Coffeyville Kansas on April 12th and 13th, 2018. This is free training with lunch and door prizes.

View event details


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Man killed in head-on crash south of Lawrence

By Sara Shepherd
Lawrence Journal World – January 26, 2018

A head-on collision Thursday night south of Lawrence killed a man and injured a woman, authorities say.

Eric Hutchinson, 42, of Lawrence, died in the crash, which happened shortly after 10 p.m. in the 1300 block of North 1000 Road, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kristen Channel said Friday. The location is just west of Wells Overlook Park.

Hutchinson had been driving a Mazda 3 westbound on the county road when his vehicle collided head-on with a GMC Jimmy SUV, Channel said. The driver of the SUV, 48-year-old Kristina Hurt, of Eudora, sustained serious injuries and was flown to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., Channel said.

There were no passengers in either vehicle, Channel said.

The crash remains under investigation, Channel said. At this time, she said, it’s unknown what caused it or whether the drivers were wearing seat belts.

The crash sparked a large grass fire in the area, and it took numerous area fire departments about two hours to get it under control, Channel said.

North 1000 Road was closed for about five hours due to the incident, Channel said.


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Man recovering after house fire in north Wichita

KAKE – January 26, 2018

A disabled veteran is recovering after a fire breaks out inside of his north Wichita home.

Crews arrived to the scene just after midnight on Friday in the 2500 block of North Hood near McLean. The man who lives inside of the home says he was asleep when an electrical heater caught fire.

He was treated on the scene for minor injuries.


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Thousands of bales burn in Stevens County fire

KWCH – January 26, 2018

Photo by Stevens County Emergency Services

Firefighters in Stevens County Thursday night responded to battle a large fire that spread to about 25,000 bales on rural property near Road Q and Road 20.

As crews work the scene, Stevens County Emergency Services advise people to stay clear of the area.


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Local students recognized in State Fire Safety Poster Contest

Western Kansas News – January 26, 2018

Students from across the state recently put their creative talents to work to help spread the message about fire safety by participating in the Fire Safety Poster Contest conducted annually by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The agency is delighted to announce the winners of this contest who will be honored by Governor Brownback and State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen at a ceremony in the Governor’s office Friday.

Several local students received Honorable Mention recognition:

Callie Anderson, Kindergarten, Kinsley-Offerle Elementary School, Offerle, Kansas
Sophia Ibarra, 1st Grade, Jennie Wilson Elementary School, Garden City, Kansas
Edgar Romo-Retana, 2nd Grade, Jennie Wilson elementary School, Garden City, Kansas
Sara Pando, 3rd Grade, Greeley County Elementary School, Tribune, Kansas
Hailey Nolan, 4th Grade, Greeley County Elementary School, Tribune, Kansas
Sienna DeFrain, 5th Grade, Pretty Prairie Middle School, Pretty Prairie, Kansas

The winning posters, along with those earning Honorable Mention recognition, are currently being featured on a display in the Capitol Building rotunda and are highlighted in our 2018 Fire Safety Calendar.

The competition kicked off in October in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. The poster contest is designed to support the fire safety education efforts of local fire departments. Participants were asked to use this year’s theme, “Every Second Counts, Know 2 Ways Out,” in their entries.

“Teaching fire safety to our youngest learners in Kansas is critical to promoting a safer Kansas for the future,” State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen said. “We very much appreciate the efforts of all students who participated, and the schools and teachers who recognize the importance of ensuring their students know about this important subject.”

Schools across Kansas encouraged participation from their students, who demonstrated their knowledge of fire safety that they have learned in school or at home. The Poster Contest was divided into grade categories: Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Andi Grable, Kindergarten, Troy Grade School, Troy, Kansas
Ella Grable, 1st Grade, Troy Grade School, Troy, Kansas
Nicole Wissler, 2nd Grade, Troy Grade School, Troy, Kansas
Blaire Beougher, 3rd Grade, Stockton Grade School, Stockton, Kansas
Mason Holmes, 4th Grade, Northeast Elementary School, Arma, Kansas
Emily Britt, 5th Grade, Central Junior High School, Columbus, Kansas


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Fire crews battle garage fire Thursday near S.W. Indian Hills Road

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – January 26, 2018

Photos by Katie Moore

Topeka-area fire crews battled a garage fire on Thursday afternoon in southwest Topeka.

The Mission Township Fire Department responded to the fire which was reported just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday at 2818 S.W. Romar Road, just east of Indian Hills Road.

Upon arrival, they found smoke inside the garage.

Mission fire chief Forrest Walter said all the occupants and pets got out of the house before they arrived.

The Auburn Fire Department was called in for mutual aid.

The blaze took about 15 minutes to extinguish and was contained to the garage. Crews were going to determine if the interior of the residence had sustained smoke or water damage.

Additionally, the State Fire Marshal’s Office was notified, Walter said.

The residential street was blocked by Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office deputies while crews responded to the fire.

No other information was immediately available, including the cause of the fire and how much damage was done.


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Large grass fire was too close to home Wednesday

By Adam Catlin
Wellington Daily News – January 26, 2018

Photo by Scott McNett

It was a large grass fire Wednesday afternoon just after 3:00 p.m. that got the attention of the neighbors of Roger and Nancy McNett, who live just west of 50th and Maize Road, north of Wellington. Units from Wellington were alerted, but took about an hour and a half to put out the fire, their efforts challenged by the high winds and the terrain.
Scott McNett was notified by his mother and responded as soon as he could. He said he “is a farm boy” so he was “concerned, but not scared.” He knew he had to keep it away from the trees and equipment. His parents’ neighbors had seen the fire and contacted his mother, while another neighbor called 911.
Scott says, “I jumped on my four-wheeler with the spray tank on the back” and got to work trying to contain a few spots before the Wellington Fire Department arrived with their much larger equipment.
Although no structures were damaged or destroyed, it was a close call as the fire got within “inches of the cedar trees.”
Scott believes the fire may have been caused by someone who had thrown out a cigarette into the ditch as they drove by. The fire is believed to have started in the ditch. It ultimately burned around 60 acres.
Scott says he is very thankful that his parents live in a community where they look out for each other. Thanks to their quick actions, Scott and the fire department were able to keep this fire from burning nothing more than just grass. “The grass will come back,” Scott says.


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EFD responds to structure fire on Rural Street

By Adam Blake
Emporia Gazette – January 26, 2018

At approximately 6:37 p.m. Thursday night, the Emporia Fire Department responded to reports of a structure fire at 1214 Rural St.

According to Emporia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Howe, the fire started on the house’s front porch and worked its way up a wooden pillar. Smoke began filling the house and the occupants evacuated. Firefighters reported no sign of fire inside the structure, but found a source of smoke and heat inside the house’s siding above the porch.

Firefighters equipped with chainsaws began tearing through outside walls and insulation to find the point of ignition. As of 7:20 p.m., the EFD remained on scene to ensure there was no possibility of rekindling. The source of the fire is pending further investigation.


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Officials monitored large Kansas hay bale fire overnight

Hays Post – January 26, 2018

Photos by Lyon County Sheriff’s Office

Officials monitored a large fire in Lyon County early Friday. A truck carrying 32 hay bales caught fire on Thursday evening, according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department. Emergency officials closed Lake Road and Kansas 5 and Kansas Street in the community of Olpe.

Photos released by the sheriff’s department indicate the truck’s cab was safely removed from the trailer.

Officials reported no injuries or what caused the fire.


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Family of ten escapes house fire unharmed

By A J Dome
WIBW – January 26, 2018

The Topeka Fire Department says a family is safe Friday after their home was ravaged by fire Thursday night.

Officials say they responded to a fire call around 11:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of SW Boswell.

They say the father of the family noticed heavy flames coming from the back of the house. He then alerted the rest of the family.

As they were making their escape, the father noticed a child was still left on the second story, so he ran back in to get them.

Firefighters say the father dropped the child from a second-floor window, and a neighbor caught the child below.

In total, eight children — ranging in ages from two to ten — along with two adults and one cat all escaped unhurt.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. They say it was caused by a discarded cigarette.

Estimated dollar loss is $42,000.

Firefighters say there were no operating smoke detectors in the home.

The house operates as Grace Allen’s Group Day Care Home.


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Topeka woman escapes injury after roofers warn her of house fire

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – January 25, 2018

Photos by Katie Moore

A woman escaped injury after two roofers banged on her door and alerted her to a fast spreading fire.

The incident was reported around 2:45 p.m. Thursday in the 500 block of N.E. Lime.

Topeka Fire Department battalion chief Mark Brannock said it appeared an electrical line came loose because of high winds, whipping around and setting grass near the house on fire. The siding on the house then caught on fire.

Dion Svacina and his brother were working on the house’s roof when they saw the electrical line drop and spark the grass.

“It started cooking,” he said.

Svacina said he and his brother quickly got off the roof and banged on the door. Margaret Fletcher, who lives in the home, grabbed her heart machine and evacuated, she said.

Svacina said he tried to use a garden hose to help extinguish the blaze, but it had melted.

Fletcher said she went to her car and talked to God, who would help her get through this.

“I could stand here and cry, but what good would it do?” she said.

Crews were cutting through the roof of the home with a chainsaw to reach hot spots, Brannock said.

As Brannock explained to Fletcher why they were cutting through the roof, she said, “You got to do what you got to do.”

The majority of the damage appeared to have occurred in the rear of the house.

No one was injured in the incident.


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200 acres burned in central-Kansas grass fire

Salina Post – January 25, 2018

Fire crews from Hutchinson, Haven, Buhler, and Burrton all made quick work of
a small, but fast-moving brush fire east of Hutchinson Thursday afternoon.

The fire was reported just before 1 p.m. at 4th and Willison. Crews were able to contain the fire just before it reached 17th Avenue. It was contained to an open field with few, if any, trees. The fire burned about 200 acres before it was contained.

One barn was threatened by the fire for a short time, but no damage or injuries were reported. Crews were still on the scene mopping up hot spots throughout the afternoon.

The fire was one of several that burned throughout central and south-central Kansas Thursday.


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Heat lamp ignites house fire

By Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Globe – January 25, 2018

Ford County Fire battled a house fire Wednesday morning with assistance from the Minneola Fire Department.

According to Ford County Fire Chief Robert Boyd, at approximately 11:20 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a residence in Bucklin for a report of a structure fire.

“First-in units reported a two-story structure with heavy fire and smoke showing,” Boyd said. “Stations 1,2,4,5 and Minneola Fire Responded and were able to limit fire spread to the east half of the first and seconds floors.

“Preliminary investigation points towards a heat lamp placed in a dog house that was next to the residence.

“Crews were on scene about 3 hours.”

At the time of the house fire, it was unoccupied and no injuries were reported.

The home was a rent-to-own and was being occupied by Brianna Alcala and her family of 5.

“I don’t even know what to think or to say at this point except thank you to all the fire fighters, sheriff’s department and everyone else that came to help, and everyone else that has called and texted,” Alcala said. “We’re incredibly heart-broken to say the least but we’re are all OK.”


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Grass fire reported in north Lyon County

By Brandon Peoples
KVOE – January 25, 2018

Photos by Chuck Samples

Firefighters from several different agencies battled a grass fire Thursday afternoon that was first reported shortly before 1 p.m.

The fire was located in the 2600 block of Road G, about two miles north of Americus between Road 260 and Road 270. It’s unclear at this point how much damage was caused. Further details are pending.

The Americus Fire Department, Emporia – Lyon County Fire along with firefighters from Miller and Reading are responding to the scene. Lyon County and surrounding counties remain in a Red Flag Warning until 6 p.m. Thursday evening for dangerous fire weather.


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Four children killed in Pratt house fire

KWCH – January 25, 2018

Video & Updates

KAKE Video

Officials in Pratt say four children died in a morning house fire.

Five people were pulled from a home near Second and Austin Thursday morning. No condition was given on the fifth person.

No names or ages of the children who were killed have been released.

Eyewitness News will remain on the scene to gather information as it comes in.

From Pratt Tribune – Fire destroyed a home on 211 Austin Street, near Second Street in Pratt on Thursday morning. The home, owned by Craig and Carla Bates, who were not at home, was occupied by nine individuals. Early reports from law enforcement indicated that rescue was able to get all individuals out of the home by 11 a.m., but status of their conditions is not yet available. Lindsey Eggelston, Krissy Bates, Charree Wheatley and five young children were in the home at the time of the fire. For a time several children were trapped in the basement of the home.
Ammunition in the upper level of the home created increased danger and popped off sporadically during the incident.
Heat from the fire caused a near-by home at 215 Austin to also ignite and fire crews continue to work at both locations to put out flames.

Smoke from the initial structure was heavy at times, causing very limited visibility for several blocks North and West of the incident, slowing traffic on First Street.
An unexplained garage fire on Dec. 27 occurred at the same location, 211 Austin Street.
Pratt City Fire Department, assisted by Pratt Township 12 continues to work on the scene. Other townships have been contacted to be on standby for backup or assistance if needed.


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Fire remains under investigation

Leavenworth Times – January 25, 2018

A fire that damaged a north Leavenworth home remains under investigation, a Fire Department official said.

The fire was reported at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday at 325 Pottawatomie St. No injuries were reported.

Mark DeMaranville, division chief of prevention for the Leavenworth Fire Department, believes the fire started in the front of the two-story house in the area of the front porch. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

No one was home at the time of the fire, which was reported by a passerby.

DeMaranville said firefighters were able to extinguish the flames fairly quickly. The Leavenworth Fire Department requested assistance from the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department.

The fire resulted in an estimated $20,000 worth of damage.

DeMaranville said there were contents inside the home, but firefighters have not yet had contact with the occupant.


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