Archive for June, 2018

Firefighters rule Tuesday fire as ‘accidental’

Junction City Daily Union – June 27, 2018

Junction City firefighters are ruling a house fire that occurred Tuesday night as “accidental.”

Firefighters were dispatched to 805 W. Seventh St. at 11:27 p.m. Tuesday for a house fire. According to Fire Chief Terry Johnson, they arrived to find a one-story house with fire coming from the west front room; the window had burned out, and fire and smoke were visible. Police were already on-scene assisting the homeowner away from the house.

After the fire was contained and power shut off to the house, firefighters began to ventilate the home, which Johnson said took a long time in part because there were no windows in the basement. The affected room was cleared of furniture and cooled with water; that room suffered extensive heat and smoke damage.

The rest of the home had minimal water and smoke damage. Overall, firefighters have tabbed the damage estimate to $20,000 to the structure and $2,000 to personal property.

The homeowner — whose name was not known —was transported to Geary Community Hospital for smoke inhalation and respiratory difficulty.


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Topeka Fire Department sends help to Eureka following tornado

KSNT – June 27, 2018

The Topeka Fire Department has sent help to a small Kansas town that was struck by a tornado.

Topeka Fire Chief Craig Duke tweeted Wednesday morning that Topeka Fire Training Chief Kevin Flory and Fire Marshal Michael Martin are in Eureka as part of a State Incident Management Team to help the citizens and first responders in Eureka get through these initial days of the town being struck by a tornado.

The tornado touched down Tuesday night in the Greenwood County town of Eureka, about 60 miles east of Wichita. Greenwood County Emergency Management said on Twitter that the community of about 2,400 people took a “direct hit.”

Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a state of disaster emergency in the county about an hour after the storm hit.

Kansas Adjutant General’s Office spokeswoman Jane Welch says the high school, along with several homes and businesses were damaged. Assessments of the damage are underway. Welch says she didn’t know how seriously the eight victims were hurt.

A shelter has been set up at a church for displaced residents.


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1 person taken to hospital after car goes off ramp, catches fire in Topeka

KSNT – June 27, 2018

Photo by Tim Hrenchir, Topeka Capital Journal

KSNT Video

At least one person was taken to the hospital following a single-vehicle crash.

Multiple fire crews were on the scene just before 7:30 Wednesday morning after a vehicle went off a ramp in Topeka and caught on fire.

The incident took place on the westbound ramp to I-470. It is unknown what caused the driver of the vehicle to go off the ramp.

Fire crews quickly worked to put out the vehicle fire.

At least one person was reported to have been taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

This is a developing story, KSNT News will continue to bring you updates as details become available.


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Kristi Dawn Brown

Kristi Dawn Brown, 45, of rural Parsons passed away peacefully with a little smile on her face at her home surrounded by her immediate family at 4:07 p.m. Thursday, June 21, 2018, after losing her courageous battle with esophageal cancer.

Kristi was born on Saturday, Oct. 7, 1972, in Parsons to James Donald “Jim” and Donna L. (Laver) Krokstrom.

Kristi attended Lincoln Elementary School, Parsons Middle School and Parsons High School. She played softball for many years for the First Baptist Church, was a cheerleader in high school and graduated from Parsons High School in May 1991.

In May 1993, she graduated from Labette Community College with a degree in commercial arts.

On Nov. 6, 1986, Kristi met the love of her life, Craig Daniel Brown, when she was 15 and he was 16, and they knew instantly they were meant for each other for life. Four years later, they married on Saturday, Nov. 9, 1991, at the First Baptist Church in Parsons when she was 19 and he was 20. They had their life planned out, waiting five years after marriage to start their family. They bought their dream home in the country surrounded by three acres of beautiful trees in May 1996.

Kristi was employed at Pizza Hut and Revco Drug during high school. Right after graduating from college in 1993, she began employment with the Parsons Sun in the advertising department as a graphic designer, which she dearly loved. She resigned in November 1998 when her husband was killed while serving the Parsons Fire Department to become a stay-at-home mother for the next 19 years. In lieu of a professional career, she chose to raise her children, who were always her No. 1 priority in life. She fondly referred to her family as “The Brown Bears” and her four bear cubs (which included a set of twins) called her “Mama Bear.”

In March 2017, she ventured into the flea market business, jumping in with both feet, working day and night to get her store, The Emporium, ready to open on Nov. 7, 2017. She had a great business mind as well as having great artistic and design ability that she implemented in her store. She was so excited about this new venture in her life, now that three of her cubs were grown and had left her Brown Bear home to follow their own dreams. However, in late January 2018, her health began to decline and from then on she was unable to get back into the store to complete and enjoy her own dream.

She enjoyed life, saw the bright side of situations, she looked at her glass as half full, never half empty. She had a great sense of humor with the ability to make others laugh and had a very loving heart. She was a very strong, independent woman, never to be underestimated, as she was also known to be quite sassy. She wasn’t afraid to call someone out that was involved in any wrong-doing toward herself or to her loved ones. She always did her research and had facts to back up her case or beliefs. She was well organized in every aspect of her life. All these traits and more were passed on to all four children.

Kristi was a very proud mom and the No. 1 fan of all her children, enjoying and attending every event of their lives, ranging from dance, karate, soccer, cheerleading, proms, softball, baseball, basketball, football, golf, school plays, chess tournaments, college sorority events and absorbing all the knowledge she possibly could about the United States Marine Corps. She accompanied her eldest daughter to Washington, D.C., the summer of 2015 to accept a college scholarship from the National Fallen Firefighters Association; traveled to KU and K-State to get each of her girls moved and settled at college; and to San Diego, California, in mid-January 2018 to attend her eldest son’s U.S.M.C. graduation from boot camp. She was very saddened when she was unable to attend her eldest daughter’s college graduation from the University of Kansas on May 12, 2018.

Kristi is survived by her four children, Kalee Brown of Lawrence, Katlin Brown of Manhattan, USMC Pfc. Colton Brown of Twenty-Nine Palms, California, and Holden Woodward of the home; her mother, Donna Krokstrom of Parsons; her grandmother, Hazel Laver of Parsons; her uncle, Harley Dean Laver of Iola; her aunts, Lana Laver of Chanute, Connie Schmidt and her husband, Gregg, of Yates Center and Gale Test and her husband, Mark, of Corpus Christie, Texas; a brother-in-law, Scott Baker and his wife, Tammy, of Parsons; a sister-in-law, Cathy Robertson and her husband, Drew, of Parsons; two nephews, Riley Baker and Cory Medlam, both of Parsons; one niece, Stepheni Sotiropoulos; great-nephews, Jax and Kace Sotiropoulos of Fort Myers, Florida; her mother-in-law, Jane Warren of Claremore, Oklahoma; seven first cousins, Kevin Krokstrom, Karl Krokstrom, Angie Eheart, Adrianne Deer, Shawn Ludlum, Brandon and Vanessa Test; and a very special “sister” best friend, Brenda Ruark of Erie, who was there for Kristi always.

Kristi was preceded in death by her husband, Craig Brown, on Nov. 24, 1998; her father, Jim Krokstrom, on July 2, 2006; her father-in-law, Danny Brown, on Feb. 2, 2004; her maternal grandfather, Harley Laver; her paternal grandparents, Don and Virginia Krokstrom; her uncle, Fred Krokstrom; and a special “grandma,” Fern McDaniel.

The service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons. Burial will follow at South Mound Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

The family suggests memorials to the Holden Woodward Educational Fund. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS, 67357.


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5 injured in tornado in Eureka

KSN – June 27, 2018



Officials say five people have been injured in a tornado that touched down Tuesday night in Eureka.

The National Weather Service reports that the tornado touched down around 7:31 p.m. causing structural damage and uprooted trees.

Governor Jeff Colyer declared a State of Disaster Emergency proclamation at 8:33 p.m. and Greenwood County has declared a state of local disaster.

“We did have five injuries, one of which is critical, but they’re all kind of the walking wounded, they’ve been treated at the local ER,” said Sheriff Health Samuels.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has closed Highway 54 from mile marker 287 to mile marker 266 and will be manning the detour.

Westar Energy crews are working diligently to restore power. As of 6:30 a.m. just over 2,700 people remained without power in Greenwood County.

Two KDEM Public Assistance representatives and one Kansas Department of Health and Environment representative will arrive in Eureka this morning to start debris damage assessment.

The American Red Cross is asking anyone affected by the tornado to register at their Safe and Well website or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. A shelter was also opened for displaced residents at the Methodist Church on Main Street in Eureka. It is located at 521 N. Main Street.

If you have already been or become injured by debris from the tornado you can go to the Greenwood County Health Department to receive a Tetanus shot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at 200 West 1st Street.

All volunteers assisting with the tornado clean up are being asked to check in at 12 p.m. to 100 North Jefferson at the Matt Samuels Community Building.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka was activated to coordinate the response of state agencies. Personnel from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management are in contact with Greenwood County Emergency Management officials to respond to requests for assistance.


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Home destroyed in overnight Eastborough fire

By Shane Ewing
KAKE – June 27, 2018

An early morning house fire erupted near East Kellogg & Peach Tree Lane in Eastborough just before 5:30 am Wednesday. The home was entirely engulfed in flames when Wichita Fire arrived on the scene. The homeowner, Chris Owen, says he was home at the time his garage caught on fire. He says his fire alarm alerted him to the smoke and flames as he was taking two dogs outside.

Wichita Fire battled the blaze for over an hour an hour and is working to determine a cause.

Owen says his power was knocked out last night by storms in the area.


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Two adults escape late night house fire

By Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – June 27, 2018

Photos by Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News

Shawnee Fire investigators are working to determine what sparked a late night fire which heavily damaged a home near 56th Terrace and Noland Road on Tuesday.

Firefighters were dispatched to 13248 West 56th Terrace at 11:11 p.m. They arrived to report heavy smoke visible from the two-story home and a second alarm was requested.

The second alarm brought in additional firefighters and equipment from Shawnee, Lenexa, Overland Park, and Consolidated Fire District No. 2, along with Johnson County Med-Act.

Firefighters battled heavy fire in the upper level and through the roof of the home for nearly an hour before the flames were knocked down and the fire was declared to be under control.

Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands says both adult residents of the home were able to get out, with their dog, and were not injured. The couple’s cat is missing. Sands says the couple will be staying with family and has not requested any assistance from the Red Cross.

Fire investigators arrived on scene before midnight and spoke with the residents to begin their investigation.

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


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Manhattan Fire Department’s new recruits battle live fire

By Ann Olamiju
WIBW – June 26, 2018



The Manhattan Fire Department put their new recruits to the test by throwing them into the fire– literally.

The live fire training is a part of an intense six-week training academy for new recruits coming to work for Manhattan Fire.

Battalion Chief of Training Mark Whitehair said this is many recruits first encounter with a live fire.

“This is as close to a real fire as we can get in a controlled setting so we don’t want to get anybody hurt but at least introduce them to what they may possibly see when they get out in the field and start to get them use to real world conditions,” explained Whitehair.

The 220-hour program covers more than just fighting fires. Recruits receive medical training, ladder instruction, search and rescue, and car extraction training.

The department’s goal is to give the recruits the best training before they go out into the real world.

The new recruits will graduate from the Academy Friday.


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Crews respond to fire early Tuesday in East Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – June 26, 2018

Topeka fire crews made quick work of a backyard fire early Tuesday on the city’s east side.

Firefighters reported heavy smoke around 7:25 a.m. in the area of the 200 block of S.E. Klein. The location is just east of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and just south of the railroad’s shops.

Topeka Fire Department officials said at the scene that the smoke was coming from a fire that was confined to a pit in the backyard of a residence at 229 S.E. Klein.

Fire officials said in addition to tree limbs, it appeared wire was being burned in the pit.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, and an individual at the scene was advised not to burn the materials.

Smoke could be seen for several blocks to the south.

Crews cleared the scene around 7:35 a.m.


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21-year-old Kansas man killed in early morning crash

KSNT – June 26, 2017

A 21-year-old Fowler man was killed in a single-vehicle crash Tuesday morning.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol crash report, Nicholas Finke was traveling on 15 Rd. and went around a corner at an excessive speed when he lost control of his vehicle.

The KHP said Finke attempted to overcorrect the vehicle several times when it went in and out of a ditch and came to rest on the driver’s side facing west.

The crash happened around 6:00 a.m. about 11 miles south of Meade.


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NOTICE OF VACANCY – Deputy Boiler Inspector – Requisition #190062 – closes 7/17/2018

The Office of the State Fire Marshal has an opening for an Unclassified benefits-eligible Deputy Boiler Inspector.  The requisition number for this vacancy is 190062 and the Notice of Vacancy closes on 7/17/2018.

The territory that this position covers will include the following counties:  Phillips, Rooks, Ellis, Smith, Osborne, Russell, Barton, Jewell, Mitchell, Lincoln, Ellsworth, Rice, Republic, Cloud, Ottawa, Saline, McPherson, Washington, Clay, Dickinson, Marion, Marshall, Pottawatomie, Riley, Geary, Wabaunsee, Morris and Chase.  Residency within the territory is required.

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

  • Conducts internal and external inspections of high and low-pressure boilers and pressure vessels according to the codes established by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors and the Kansas Boiler Safety Act.
  • Makes contact with local and state officials, contractors, installers, owners, users and others.
  • Extensive travel, including overnight is required of this position.

Employees at this level exercise minimal latitude in performing the duties of the position.  Receives verbal and written instructions; follows the guidelines set forth in federal and state laws, regulations, policies and procedures and division guidelines.  Receives guidance from the Prevention Division Chief and Chief Boiler Inspector.

Pay Rate:  $20.13 per hour ($41,870.40 annually).

Qualifications:  Have completed courses and training, and have experience in the construction, installation, repair, operation, or inspection of boilers, steam generators, super-heaters, or pressure vessels, which in the aggregate amounts to not less than two years of education, training, and work experience; or have not less than five years’ experience in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or plumbing fields related to the installation or repair of boilers or pressure vessels; and hold an in-service commission issued by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors or obtain such commission within 12 months after appointment.  Must have a valid 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

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 your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents.

Additional Required Documents:

Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal

Letter of Interest


College Transcripts, if applicable

Copy of all Commissions held

Copy of all Training Certificates

Valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate

send to Brenda Schuette,

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.


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.  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


How Your Application Will Be Evaluated:  Once you complete and submit your application and materials, your application will be reviewed to ensure you meet the minimum and any necessary special requirements.  Please indicate all relevant prior experiences and training on your application.  Next, your application will be evaluated and rated based on preferred competencies and selection criteria for the position.

What to Expect Next:  After your application is evaluated and ranked, you may be contacted for a possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome after the selection process is complete.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

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


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Fireworks with Firefighters will show kids how to set off safely

By Patricia Middleton
McPherson Sentinel – June 26, 2018

Photo by Patricia Middleton

July 2 is the first day you can legally set off fireworks in the city of McPherson, but a few booms will be heard earlier.

“Fireworks with a Firefighter” will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. June 28 in the 200 block of East Euclid, near Hopps Sound and Electric. The event is part of the Concerts for the Cause series.

“Our main focus of the evening is to teach and reinforce safe behaviors with setting off fireworks, especially with young people,” said Deputy Chief T.J. Wyssmann of the McPherson Fire Department.

In past years, the Fourth of July holiday brought calls for service when people suffered injuries or accidentally started fires when shooting off fireworks. To demonstrate both fireworks safety and how dangerous fire can be, the McPherson Fire Department will set up several interactive stations.

“There are some new things that we’ve added and things that we’ll continue to do,” Wyssmann said. “It should be a fairly packed evening.”

Attendees can try their hand at using a fire extinguisher on live fires.

“We’ll have tons of fire extinguishers there for them to use,” Wyssmann said. “We’ll have two fires burning the entire time.”

CHS will also provide a digital version of fire extinguishing for participants to use.

In two modules, set up by Viega, the difference between a structure equipped with sprinklers and one without sprinklers will be shown when they are set ablaze.

“We’ll also show you how fast and intense a fire burns in this day and age,” Wyssmann said.

Children can play in the spray of water from sprinklers and fire hoses or pick up water balloons to throw at a “Kids’ Car Wash.” There will also be two bounce houses open and a dunk tank will be set up.

Tacos, snow cones and popcorn will be available during “Fireworks with a Firefighter.”

The McPherson Police Department, McPherson Emergency Medical Services and American Red Cross will be present at the event.

The McPherson Fire Department will set up its fire command trailer so that seniors can fill out File of Life forms detailing their prescriptions and medical condition. They will be able to take the File of Life information home and place it in a conspicuous spot for first responders to find.

“That way, if they have a medical emergency, we have all their information,” Wyssmann said.

Live music will be performed at “Fireworks with a Firefighter” by Zach Batson, worship pastor at Journey Mennonite Church.

“There’ll be music throughout the whole show and then we’ll end it with our guys setting off fireworks,” Wyssmann said. ”…There should be a ton of seating, but if they want to bring chairs for the fireworks, that’s encouraged.”

Stover’s Restoration, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Viega are sponsors of “Fireworks with a Firefighter.”


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Woman killed in motorcycle crash on Johnson Drive

By Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – June 26, 2018

Photo by Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News

Shawnee police say a 35-year-old Shawnee woman was killed late Monday night when the motorcycle she was a passenger on crashed.

The crash occurred around 11 p.m. on eastbound Johnson Drive near Barker Road.

In a news release, Major Sam Larson says an off-duty Shawnee police officer was driving through the area shortly after the crash occurred. The officer found an unconscious woman on the ground and began life-saving efforts.

Firefighters from the Shawnee Fire Department and paramedics from Johnson County Med-Act responded and pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

“She was a Shawnee resident and her name is being withheld at this time until her family has been notified,” Maj. Larson says in the release. “She was a passenger on the motorcycle involved in the crash.”

Larson says the operator of the motorcycle is a 41-year-old male who was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Recorded radio traffic indicated the man was being detained by officers and was being processed at Shawnee Police headquarters when Med-Act was requested to respond to transport him to the hospital.

Police have yet to respond to questions regarding the man’s arrest.

The Traffic Safety Unit continues to investigate the crash. No other details have been released.


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Valerie Eastman

Valerie Eastman, 58, Quenemo, passed away Saturday, June 16, 2018.

Valerie was born March 30, 1960 in Topeka to Lou and Mary Lou (Swager) Adkins. She grew up in the Rossville community and graduated from Rossville High School in 1978.

She married Darrell “Grasshopper” Eastman on October 27, 1978.

She was a cook in the Rossville community for many years and was a C.N.A. and C.M.A. for over 30 years and had been a firefighter for a few years. She loved to cook and take care of people. She was a fun, loving and caring person. Most of all she loved her kids and grandkids. She helped raise many kids, some still call her mom. She was loved by many and hated by none.

She is survived by her husband Darrell of the home; son, Chance (Tonya) Eastman, Overbrook; daughter, Christi Eastman, Michigan Valley, parents; grandchildren, Trinaty, Gage, Samara, Caydance, Taelynn, Jordan, Riley, Emma; brothers, Jim (Misty) Adkins, Topeka; sisters, Margaret Shelman, Berryville, AR, Janet Adkins, Barns, KS; brother-in-laws, Gary (Joyce) Ward, Delia, KS, Garold Ward, Topeka, Bob Ward, Delia, KS; sister-in-laws, Vicki (Dave) Rezac, Delia, KS, Debb Ward, Sue Ward, and Sandy (Darvin) Rogers, all California, MO, Mary Morelan, Poplar Bluffs, MO; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by sister-in-laws, Helen Ward and Pauletta High; and nephew, Stevie Evers.

A Celebration of Valerie’s life will be held at a later date.


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Life-saving Liby

By Jackson Welsh
Abilene Reflector Chronicle – June 26, 2018

Colten Liby was a volunteer firefighter before going off to college.

Imagine a close friend was suffocating on a piece of food, struggling to swallow, speak, or even breathe. Imagine a woman was collapsed in the middle of the road, alone and injured. Would you know what to do?

These are both real world occurrences Colten Liby has experienced throughout his college years. He recently received an associate’s degree from Hutchinson Community College in fire science, and his emergency response skills have been put to use there.

Liby has received a large amount of emergency training beyond his degree.

He first began his CPR training as a boy scout in sixth grade, and then became Red Cross certified as a lifeguard in his sophomore year of high school. In college, he continued this training through Emergency Medical Technician classes. This knowledge helped him greatly in the two incidents described below.

Hit and run

During Liby’s third semester of college, he intervened in a hit and run incident on Plum St. in Hutchinson.

“I was driving down from my college dorm and I saw a lady in the middle of the crosswalk in the fetal position,” Liby said.

The first person on the scene, Liby pulled over to help the woman. He asked her if she was all right and called 911 immediately. He stayed with the woman until emergency services arrived. Liby made sure the woman wasn’t moved in case she had internal injuries.

The woman ended up without any serious injuries, but Liby appreciated the chance to see the response team in action since he aspires to be a firefighter.

“I just looked at what they were doing and learned,” he said.

The Heimlich maneuver

Another incident occurred not much longer when Liby put his CPR knowledge to use once again.

“I was eating dinner with six friends. We were eating chicken, and my friend (the potential choker) bumped me on the shoulder and put his hands on his throat,” Liby recalled.

He quickly put his arms around his friend and thrust upwards, causing his friend to spit out the food. This is known as the Heimlich maneuver.

Liby, the son of Mike and Denise Liby of Abilene, will be joining the Ellis County Fire Department in Hays which is a paying on call fire department.

This will be his next step as he continues to stay responsive and aid those around him.


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Todd Walter Eckert

Todd Walter Eckert, 52, of Effingham, KS, passed away Friday, June 1, 2018 at the Atchison Hospital.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM, Friday, June 8, 2018 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church with Fr. Benjamin Tremmel, OSB as Celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Ann’s Catholic Cemetery. A Parish Rosary will be recited at 6:00 PM, Thursday, June 7, 2018 at the church, with visitation with the family following until 8:30 PM. Todd will lay in state at the Becker Chapel 402 3rd St, Effingham on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Memorials are suggested to the Todd Eckert Memorial Scholarship Fund and may be sent in care of the Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home, who has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Todd was born on October 27, 1965 in Horton, KS the son of Russell and Carol (Hundley) Eckert. He graduated from ACCHS in 1984 and then attended North Central Technical College, Beloit, KS earning an Associate’s degree in Diesel Technology. Todd was a Field Service Diesel Mechanic for thirty-two years, having worked for Martin Tractor, Topeka, KS and more recent North East Kansas Harvest Center, Valley Falls, KS. He was a member of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, the Atchison County Rural Fire District #2 Board Member as well as a volunteer Firefighter and EMT, along with serving on the Effingham City Council. Todd was involved in 4-H and enjoyed being outdoors whether that was being on a tractor, fishing, camping, boating, racing of all types and working on antique tractors and cars.

Todd married Janet Blackwell on June 27, 1986, she survives of the home. Additional survivors include his father, Russell Eckert, Effingham, KS, two sons; Russell and Rick Eckert, Effingham, KS; four brothers, Brett (Jacki) Eckert, Hutchinson, KS, Chad (Danielle) Eckert, Spring Hill, KS, Kurt Eckert, Overland Park, KS, Russ Eckert, Park City, KS and mother-in-law, Edna Blackwell of the home.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Carol Eckert and an uncle, Andrew Vincent Eckert.


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Salute the Badge: MHK Firefighter keeps his cool during Hale Library fire

By Regan Porter
WIBW – June 26, 2018

A little over one month ago First Responders swarmed Hale Library on Kansas State University’s campus after a fire broke out.

Manhattan Firefighter Lawilson Horne kept his cool for more than 20 hours on scene while the situation heated up.

“It’s our job,” Horne said as a matter of fact.

When you ask Lawilson Horne why he chose to be a firefighter the answer is simple, “because I just like dealing with people!”

Although firefighter Horne may be a little bias. He thinks this occupation one of the best forms of public service.

“You’re there in all kinds of emergencies,” Horne said, “You’re there to help sick people and you’re there to help put out fires.”

One of the biggest fires Horne’s ever worked was here at Hale Library, but that’s when his determination shined through. He tirelessly battled the blaze for more than 20 hours with only a four hour break.

Horne said, “I was on scene at that fire from start to finish.”

He didn’t do it alone — more than 70 other First Responders were there.

“We did a ton,” Horne exclaimed,

Although a reported one-point-five million books were damaged by smoke and water. Battalion Chief Linc Lunsway said it could have been a lot worse, if it weren’t for the hard work of his crew and other responding departments.

“I know it’s a big loss, but all the work paid off,” Lunsway said, “They saved a lot of the books a lot of the areas can be reused and remodeled and continue on.”

Whether it’s a historic building on K-State’s campus in flames, a person in need of medical attention, or a false alarm, Horne treats every call the same because of his love for the job.

“I could do everything I wanted to do here,” Hone explained, “I could work with people, I could be physical, I could be inside, I could be outside. I mean, you’re using every part of your brain and your body to do this job.”

“He’s always smiling, he’s always happy,” Lunsway said, “He really wants to do well with his skills so he does a great job for the community.”

Horne credits his mother and his faith for pushing him in the right direction.

“I learned a lot about dealing with people and wanting to be around people from my church too,” Horne said, “So that’s what’s caused me to turn out the way that I am.”

Lunsway says Horne’s vibrant personality is an incredible asset to the department and those he serves.


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Firefighters extinguish blaze started by discarded cigarette

Ottawa Herald – June 26, 2018

The Ottawa Fire Department extinguished a small fire outside of Ransom Memorial Health, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, early Sunday morning, a fire official said. Firefighters were called to the scene at 4:06 a.m. Sunday.

Tim Matthias, fire chief, said the fire was contained to a flower pot and firefighters put out the fire with a water extinguisher. Matthias said the cause of the fire was a cigarette being left in the pot.


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One dead in semi crash on Highway 75, south of Holton

By Brianna Johnson and Tiffany Littler
KSNT – June 26, 2018

Kansas Highway Patrol says one woman is dead after a semi crash on Highway 75.

KHP dispatchers said the crash happened around 8:00 p.m. Monday just south of Holton.

They identified the woman who died as 80-year-old Helen L. Nolan, of Topeka.

KHP said she was headed east on 190th Rd when she failed to yield as she attempted to cross Highway 75 and was hit by a semi in the intersection.

The driver of the semi, Steven W. Akin, 55, of Saint Marys, was not hurt.


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Residential Structure Fire – 2520 Mustang Dr. in Liberal

KSCB – June 25, 2018

At approximately 11:15 pm Sunday a Liberal resident called directly to the fire department to report that his home had been struck by lightning and that his family could see and smell smoke. Due to a strong language barrier, the original address was incorrectly reported as 2500 N. Western. As firefighters went en-route they also received an emergency dispatch to that same area for a possible structure fire reported by a third party. Due to an ongoing intense thunderstorm, rain and dense smoke from the fire were blanketing the area making it difficult to identify which home was actually burning. It was finally located at 2520 Mustang Drive and first engine on scene at 11:21 pm reported heavy fire venting from the East peak of a double-wide manufactured home. Response by the second due engine was delayed as that unit was committed at the scene of a previous call for a broken power pole and damaged electric transmission lines on E. Pine Street. The third engine was committed at the airport for an inbound commercial flight. Firefighters battled not only the fire, but also heavy rain, high wind and frequent lightning strikes in the area.

A hose line was quickly put into operation to darken down the attic fire and an interior crew made entry to begin pulling ceiling to access the fire from below. After only a few moments, the fire vented through the roof at the mid-point of the home and the roof began collapsing into the home. Crews backed out of the structure and transitioned to a defensive attack in an attempt to control the fire. Once control was regained crews re-entered the home to extinguish the fire and begin overhaul operations. The fire was declared to be out at 1:16 am. The home and its contents are thought to be a total loss due to the extent of the fire and water damage. Firefighters remained on-scene until 2:42 am locating and extinguishing fire in the collapsed attic area. The structure was very unstable due to fire damage. That fact combined with the wind and stormy weather made the task much more difficult than normal.

The home was occupied by the family at the time of the lightning strike and fire. Fortunately, all those inside were able to escape unharmed. Representatives of the American Red Cross were called to provide assistance to the family. No injuries to occupants or responding personnel were reported.

Liberal Fire responded with a total of 15 personnel and three engines. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, Southern Pioneer Electric, Black Hills Energy and American Red Cross.


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Steven G. Miller

Steven G. Miller, born March 14, 1956 in Wichita, KS passed away on June 22 surrounded by his loving family after a long battle with cancer. Steve attended Wichita North High School and then graduated from Wichita State with a BS in Health Science. He received a paramedic degree from KU Medical Center before joining the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department in 1984. After 33 years of service, Steve retired as a Captain at station 10s. All who had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Steve, could tell he had an incredible passion for life. He was often seen relaxing at Table Rock Lake, attending concerts around KC for “brothers night out”, cheering on his favorite sports teams and laughing loudly with friends and family. He enjoyed traveling the world with his wife and daughter and was always up for new experiences. He loved helping everyone around him, which continued even through his illness. He was involved with the Firefighter’s Relief Association, the Sister Servants of Mary Men’s Group, and a member of the Cathedral of St Peter’s Parish. Steve is survived by his wife of 34 years, Kathy, his daughter, Leah, mother Lila Miller, sister, Alisa Phillips (Randy), Brother Jim Miller (Julene), and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, George Miller. The Rosary will be prayed at 4 p.m. with the visitation from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 94th & State Ave., Kansas City, KS. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 28 at St. Patrick Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Outpacing Melanoma and Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care.


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Local Uber driver and passenger save man from car fire

By Karl Mann
KAKE – June 25, 2018

Sunday morning emergency crews were called out to Maple and Ridge on the west side of Wichita for a brutal one car crash.

But the real first responders?

Uber driver Brookelynn Struzik and her passenger came up on the crash seconds after impact.

“So, we got out and there was some flames in the front engine,” said Struzik.

Struzik had a cup of water on her and used that on the growing fire, but more help came from complete strangers.

“People were driving by giving us water bottles and cups and like things that they had been drinking,” added Struzik.

The Uber driver and her passenger got the fire out, then crews moved in to get the 33-year-old man out of the mangled mess.

The man had critical injuries but was alive, officials on scene credit the duo for saving the driver from the fire.

Struzik doesn’t want the label as a hero, instead she hopes others are inspired to take an extra second for a stranger, it could just save their life.


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New assistant fire chief to transition into top position

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – June 25, 2018

Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 has a new assistant chief. But Todd Farley plans to stay in the position only a few months.

That is because Farley will be promoted to chief when longtime Chief Rick Huhn retires at the end of September.

For now, Farley is working with Huhn as he prepares for the transition.

“Right now, it’s really a learning period,” Farley said.

Fire District No. 1 provides fire department services to the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie townships.

The department employs full-time firefighters but also utilizes the services of volunteer firefighters.

Farley was sworn in as the new assistant chief Monday during a meeting of the district’s Board of Directors.

The board hired Farley with the idea of him working with Huhn to transition into the chief’s position.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Farley said.

He said Huhn has a lot of institutional knowledge about the department.

Farley said he has been impressed with the level of professionalism of the members Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1.

Farley, 49, said fire service was a calling for him.

He said firefighting is the only job in which the mission every day is to help others.

Farley grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri, and became a volunteer firefighter when he was still a junior in high school.

He has held positions with various fire departments including an earlier stint as fire chief of Fulton, Missouri.

For the last 1.5 years, he has worked as the operations chief for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

Farley said he was familiar with Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 before he applied for the assistant chief’s position.

He visited the department’s Lansing fire station about 17 years ago as an instructor for training.

Farley said the chief’s position will require him to be more than an administrator. He will be responding to calls with the other firefighters.

“That’s what really excited me about this job,” he said.

Huhn will retire Sept. 29.

Huhn said he has asked Farley if he can continue serving Fire District No. 1 after his retirement as a volunteer.


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Semi truck falls 60 feet off of I-670, I-70 in KCK

By Nick Sloan, Michael Portman and Nathan Vickers
KCTV 5 – June 25, 2018


Emergency crews were on scene after a semi-truck went off an overpass on Interstate 670 and Interstate 70 in KCK.

The truck, which was heading eastbound, fell approximately 60 feet after going over the barricade.

The skid marks where it left the road are visible on the overpass.

A witness was waiting to pick up some railroad workers when he saw the truck fall from the highway.

He ran over to help the driver and said he was alert and conscious right after the crash.

Kansas Highway Patrol said he’s currently in serious condition.

“I can’t believe he’s alive,” said Bill Newcamp, the witness. “It’s not normal. Someone was looking after him. How can somebody survive that mangled mess?”

KHP said the semi was broken in three sections and that it could take hours to tow away the wreckage.

They are still investigating what led up to the truck going off the highway. They said no other cars were involved.

The truck appears to have been carrying lettuce and celery, or some kind of similar produce.


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Vehicle fire

By Molly Patt
KSNT – June 25, 2018

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a possible injury accident near 18251 B. Road in western Jackson County early Saturday morning.

Just before 5:00 a.m. Saturday it was reported that a car was in the ditch with its wheels spinning and another vehicle on fire.

Deputies arrived to the scene and arrested 32 year old, Adrian Ramirez of Hiawatha.

Deputies believe Ramirez’ vehicle caught fire after he wrecked it near the residence.

Ramirez then allegedly entered a shed, and stole a 1997 Chevrolet pickup from the residence in which, he crashed again just past the end of the victim’s driveway.

Jackson County Fire Departments and EMS were able to put out the fire from the car and grass.

When deputies found Ramirez, he was huddled with his 4 year old child hiding in the pickup bed of the Chevrolet pickup.

Ramirez was medically evaluated and transported to the Jackson County Jail where he was booked in on the following charges: burglary, felony theft, felony DUI, aggravated child endangerment, driving without an interlock device, and failure to report an accident.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s department said the child is okay and was not injured.

Bond on Ramirez is pending at this time.


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2 firefighters hurt in Andale church fire

By Porsha Riley
KAKE – June 25, 2018


In the small community of Andale, church members are counting their blessings after a fire broke out at the St. Joseph Catholic church early Sunday morning.

“Heard the thunder and lightning just after four o’clock,” Father Daryl Befort recalled. “Got up a little bit around six o’clock and looked out the window and saw the fire trucks, and that’s when we recognized it was the church that was on fire.”

Firefighters rushed to the church around 5:30 a.m. Two of them were sent to the hospital.

“One has some burn injuries and one has some inhalation injuries,” Sedgwick County Fire Chief Tavis Leake stated.

They say a lightning strike may be to blame.

“When we arrived on scene, we had smoke and flames showing from the attic,” said Leake.

But instead of focusing on the damage, Father Daryl is already looking ahead.

“I’ve seen situations like this before so really it is what it is,” he said. “We just gotta start putting a plan together to repair and rebuild.”

Some of those repairs include fixing the ceiling and replacing the roof line.

As far as the structure, it’s fine. The church may have been built in 1910, but the outside walls are made of solid brick.

Until everything is fixed, the close-knit community has found a place for the church to have mass.

“The high school immediately offered to, allowed us to have it over here,” Father Daryl added.

It’s something every church member is thankful for.


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Memorial donation

Parsons Sun – June 16, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – June 22, 2018


Labette Community College officials presented the SEK Fallen Firefighters Memorial at Girard Fire Department a $500 check raised from donations of participants in the 32nd annual fire school two weeks ago at LCC. All Southeast Kansas fallen firefighters can be remembered at the memorial and will be named on a plaque. The LCC fire school’s donation will help complete the memorial, which is anticipated to be erected by the fall. (From left) LCC President Mark Watkins, Trudy Hill, Girard Fire Chief Joe Clow, Girard firefighter Mike Woods, LCC director of workforce education Linseh Johnson, Carol Rabig and Melissa Bruce posed for a check presentation photo.


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Melvern home destroyed by fire

By Tammy Schlingmann
Osage County Herald Chronicle – June 14, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – June 22, 2018

Life can quickly change as Melinda Reece, Melvern, discovered the afternoon of Sunday, June 10. Reece had just walked out to her mailbox when she saw her home located at 430 NW Lincoln St. was on fire.

According to Gary Kitt, Osage County Fire District No. 3, Melvern, they received the call at 3:26 p.m. They were assisted by the fire departments from Lyndon and Waverly. Fire departments were on the scene until approximately 10 p.m.

“Upon arriving we found that the structure was heavily involved,” the fire department’s Facebook post stated.

No one was inside the home at the time of the fire. Reece did rescue one dog. There were no reports of injuries.

Besides the home, a vehicle that was parked in the attached garage was also destroyed. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Reece has been living at her daughter’s home since the fire.


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Earl Eugene Engelbert

Earl Eugene Engelbert was born on November 14, 1935 in Beloit, Kansas the son of Vincent and Elizabeth (Gronewoller) Engelbert. He died early Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at Hilltop Lodge in Beloit at the age of 82 years, 7 months, and 6 days.

Earl grew up in the Beloit area and attended the Field School before attending and graduating from Beloit High School.

On April 7, 1958, he was united in marriage with Mary Frances Graff, and four children were born to this union, which lasted more than 60 years.

Earl spent 30 years employed in maintenance and electrician at the Girls Industrial School in Beloit. He also remained active in the community as a Volunteer Fire Fighter, a member of the Knights of Columbus, National Guards for 13 years, NFO, and he was in the first class of Hunter Safety, and later became a competition shooting instructor.

Family was of great importance to Earl, and he greatly enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids sports activities, as well as his great grandkids. He also loved camping with the Winnebago groups, spending winters in Florida and Texas, and going to coffee with the boys at Plum Creek.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Earl is survived by his wife Mary Frances of the home; four children, Blaine and wife Angela of Beloit, Martin and wife Kelly of Celina, TX, Leon and wife Terri of Beloit, and Leia Heiman and husband Jeff of Beloit; nine grandchildren, Joshua and wife Liz of Olathe, Casey Dannenberg and wife Amy of Concordia, Matthew and friend Tara of Manhattan, Amber May and husband Adam of Wichita, Cami of Wichita, Jared and fiend Erin of Hays, Vincent and friend Brittney Stocker of Beloit, and Elizabeth and Thomas, both of Celina, TX; great grandchildren, Henry, Samuel, Josephine, Emma, Maddox, and Bowen; sister Ruth Ann Bryant and husband Richard of Ashland, VA; and brother-in-law, Paul Graff II of Mankato; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be at 10 AM Friday, June 22 at the St. John’s Catholic Church. A rosary service will be at 7 PM Thursday at the Roberts Family Funeral Home, & visitation will be from 2 PM until the rosary service begins. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Solomon Valley Transportation, Home Health, Solomon Valley Hospice, or the Church.


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Gary Wayne Belden

Gary Wayne Belden was born to Wayne Belden and Allene (Motes) Belden on January 7, 1943, in Beloit. He passed away on June 20, 2018, in his home in Shickley, Nebraska at 75 years of age.

Gary grew up on a farm in Beloit and remained there throughout his adult life. He could be found working around the farm with animals and tinkering on equipment. He attended school in Beloit and graduated from Beloit High School with the class of 1960.

He was married December 28, 1960, to Karin Taylor. They welcomed four children into their home. While raising his family, Gary was active in 4-H and was very involved in his children’s lives. He also volunteered his time to Rural Water District 1 and Mitchell County Fire District #3. In his spare times he enjoyed fishing, carpentry, sheep shows, riding horses, and watching NASCAR. After retirement, he raised dogs and passed on his farming expertise as manager of a local farm.

His hobbies and interests were passed on through his children to his 11 grandchildren. He could often be found helping his grandchildren get their animals ready for fair or parked on a gym bleacher spectating basketball games.

Gary is preceded in death by his parents and his beloved dog, Missy.

He is survived by his wife, Karin of Shickley; his children Tom (April) and granddaughters, Jessie (Collin) and Jamie of Beloit; Tim and grandson Kevin of Barre, Vermont; Traci (Thad) and granddaughters Lexi, Bryn, and Hanna of Shickley, Nebraska; Terri and grandchildren Kyla, Celeste, Silas, Arianna, and Gavin of Eudora. He is also survived by his sister Sandra (Lee) Elder and family, as well as his best four-legged friend, Minnie.

Graveside memorial services will be at 10 AM Monday, June 25 at Elmwood Cemetery in Beloit. Cremation has taken place, & there will be no visitation. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Asherville Achievers 4-H Club or Shickley Volunteer Fire & Rescue.


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Crews put out large grass fire near Andover

KWCH – June 21, 2018

The fire that threatened homes and led to a couple evacuations near Andover is out.

Andover’s fire chief tells us sparks from welding equipment started the blaze that burned about 30 acres. The fire threatened several homes, but did not damage any structures, the chief says.


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El Dorado Fire Department news

Butler County Times Gazette – June 21, 2018

Photo by John Giffin

Four El Dorado Firefighters were sworn in Monday night. Those being sworn in were (being promoted) Michael Rose to Captain, Caleb Carson to Lieutenant, Caleb Fistler to Master Firefighter and new hire Grayson Pryce as Firefighter.

The El Dorado Fire Department is now at full staff.


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90 bales burn before storm

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – June 21, 2018

Photo by Gale Rose

Firefighters joined forces to put out a stubborn mote bale fire at the Next GINeration Cotton Gin in Cullison Tuesday night. Because of threatening weather late Tuesday night that included predicted high winds, Cullison requested help from other fire districts with tankers and trucks to get the fire out before the storm. Firefighters from Cullison, Township 12, Iuka, Haviland and Kiowa County helped control the fire, said Next GINeration Cotton Gin office manager Cassie Goyen.

The 90 bales that burned were in one group north of the gin building. Mote cotton is material left over from the ginning process and is a cotton by product used to make cotton swabs and toilet paper. The bales have very little value so there was no real monetary loss to the gin, Goyen said.

Firefighters were on scene for several hours to make sure the fire was controlled and did not spread before the storm came in.


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Stapleton is first female at Galena Fire Department

Galena Sentinel Times – June 13, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – June 21, 2018

The City of Galena would like to welcome Galena’s first female volunteer firefighter, Cadie-Marie Stapleton. Cadie-Marie is the daughter of Chad and Stephanie Stapleton. She graduated from Galena High School in 2018. The Galena Volunteer Fire Department currently has 24 active members.


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Crews battle fire Wednesday in North Topeka, rescue several cats

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – June 21, 2018

Photos by Tim Hrenchir

Topeka fire crews battled a house fire Wednesday afternoon in North Topeka and rescued several cats in the process.

Topeka Fire Department shift commander Christopher Herrera said the fire was reported at 4:03 p.m. Wednesday at 1029 N.E. Monroe. Herrera said firefighters believed the fire started on the second floor of the house, as most of the damage was there.

Herrera said the cause of the fire was unknown and an investigator was working at the scene. He noted the house was crowded inside because of the volume of items inside.

One person was inside the home at the time the fire started, and Herrera said it was believed the person might have suffered from smoke inhalation. When EMTs arrived, however, the person refused treatment.

Animal Control was at the house, as the owner had several cats. Herrera said firefighters had been able to locate and save many of them, but not all.


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Local 83 celebrates century mark

By Juan Cisneros
WIBW – June 21, 2018

Topeka firefighter’s Local 83 held their annual picnic with extra reason to celebrate this year.

2018 marks the century mark for Local 83, as well as the International Association of Firefighters.

Current and past firefighters and their families enjoyed a meal and saw some old equipment from the creation of the union.

Organizer said it is important for younger firefighters to learn and honor those who fought for better wages and work conditions.

“I wouldn’t have had what I’ve had as far as union aspects if it weren’t for the gentleman that came on starting back in 1918,” Bill Miller, a recently retired firefighter, said.

The picnic lasts two days and will finish on Thursday.


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County accepts $500 grant for fire district

By Jason Beets
Salina Journal – June 20, 2018

The Saline County Commission accepted a $500 grant for Saline County Rural Fire District 2 Tuesday morning. Emergency Management Director Hannah Stambaugh said the grant will be used to purchase safety gear and/or equipment.

The grant was offered by the Walmart Community Grant program. Stambaugh thanked Sarah Hawbaker, wife of Firefighter Riley Hawbaker, for helping District 2 apply for the grant.


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Man dies after fall at silo

Marysville Advocate – June 20, 2018

A fundraiser has been established for the family of Steven Curtis-Boese, who died Saturday after he fell inside a ladder cage attached to a silo on a northeast Marshall County farm.

A GoFundMe account has been established online in support of the Curtis-Boese family. Steven’s wife, Jessica, is expecting a child, and the fund will help with the new baby, according to the site.

Marshall County Sheriff Dan Hargrave reported that dispatch received a 911 call about the accident at 6:38 p.m. Saturday.

Officers responded to the farm at 2475 Harvest Road along with Axtell Fire Department, Axtell Ambulance Service, Beattie Fire Department and a Lifestar helicopter.

Curtis-Boese was pronounced dead at the scene.

A funeral service was set for 10:30 a.m. Friday at Marysville’s American Legion hall. Visitation was to be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Kinsley Mortuary in Marysville. Family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m.


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Audit: Kansas wildfire response system underfunded, understaffed

By Tim Carpenter
Topeka Capital Journal – June 20, 2018

The wildfire suppression system in Kansas suffers from leadership fragmentation and the lack of financial resources and personnel to effectively coordinate responses by state and local agencies to windswept blazes churning through dry grasslands, a legislative audit said Wednesday.

The audit was ordered after Kansas suffered through record wildfires in 2016 and 2017 that burned more than 800,000 acres, caused $80 million in damage, destroyed 6,000 miles of fencing, killed one person and about 5,000 cattle.

Andy Brienzo, an auditor with the Kansas Legislature’s auditing division, said the state’s approach to wildfire suppression fell short of operations in Texas and other states. He said Kansas’ operation was inadequate to meet the demand for services.

“We found, overall, it is not,” he said.

In Kansas, wildfires are first the responsibility of local units of government. Those officials can call upon three state agencies — the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, operated by the state’s adjutant general; the Office of the State Fire Marshal; and the Kansas Forest Service.

State auditors informed a legislative committee of House and Senate members the state-level structure for grappling with wildfires was scattered over three agencies that struggled to work collaboratively. The Kansas system conflicts with centrally organized operations in other Great Plains states.

The state’s designated primary agency lacks expertise specific to combating wildfires, while the state agency with the know-how has been relegated to a limited role in combating wildfires and possesses few financial resources for the job, auditors said.

In addition, ineffective working relationships among the entities responsible for wildfire suppression and incomplete management data further hinder adequate wildfire suppression activities.

The audit said Kansas’ limited wildfire suppression training and mitigation programs fail to sufficiently prepare local volunteer firefighting organizations for wildfire response.

Auditors recommended the Kansas Legislature designate a single state entity to independently lead the state’s wildfire response activities and appropriate the money to make certain the state can deploy sufficient firefighting equipment, certified firefighters and wildfire management personnel.

The report also said the Legislature should amend Kansas law to require the State Fire Marshal’s office to mandate local fire districts report wildfires to the state’s fire incident reporting system.


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Three killed in Anderson County accident Tuesday

By Nick Gosnell
WIBW News Now – June 20, 2018

Three people died in a three-vehicle accident just north of Garnett Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a northbound 2010 Mustang convertible driven by 56-year-old Richard Lynn Money of Richmond crossed the center line of US 59 just over a mile north of town for an unknown reason and struck a southbound 1999 Oldsmobile driven by 57-year-old Shawn L. Gill of Garnett. Gill and a passenger, 27-year-old Maxarthur Scott Jackson of Garnett, along with Money, all died as a result of their injuries. A third vehicle, a southbound 1995 Chevy S-10 driven by 68-year-old Darla L. Thacker of Garnett, collided with the two vehicles following their impact. Thacker was taken to Anderson County Hospital for treatment of possible injuries. Her passenger, 39-year-old Albert Eugene Thacker, also of Garnett, was not hurt.


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Ness County accident kills one, injures another

By Nick Gosnell
WIBW News Now – June 20, 2018

A Brownell, Kansas woman died in an accident in Ness County Tuesday evening.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2017 Ford F150 was eastbound on 210 Road in Ness County when it was hit by a northbound 2014 Dodge 3500 in the intersection with Z Road around just before 7:20 Tuesday evening. Both vehicles continued northeast into the ditch and then into the field going through a barbed wire fence.The F150 came to rest facing south with the 3500 facing west in the field.

The driver of the F150, 64-year-old Shirley K. Weeks died at Ness County Hospital. The driver of the 3500, 38-year-old Timothy Turner of Ness City was taken to Ransom Memorial Hospital to be checked for injuries.


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20 apartments damaged by early morning fire

By Mike Frizzell, Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – June 20, 2018

Photos by Mike Frizzell

Shawnee Firefighter Michael Owens Jr. monitors the pump control panel of one fire truck.

Firefighters from the Shawnee and Lenexa fire departments responded to a fire at Hampton Woods Apartment Homes near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Interstate 435 just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Shawnee Police arrived in the area quickly and reported heavy black smoke coming from the building at 16907 West 69th Terrace. Officers went inside the building and began going door-to-door to alert residents of the fire.

Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands says the fire is believed to have started in the attic area. A resident activated the building’s fire alarm.

Sands says 14 adults and six children evacuated from the building. The building had 20 apartments, and Sands believed all have at least smoke and water damage.

The two-alarm fire was brought under control in about an hour.

All residents of the building escaped, and no injuries were reported. Residents are receiving assistance from the Red Cross and apartment complex management.

The cause of the fire is under investigation as investigators wait for daylight to continue their search for a cause.


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One person killed in motorcycle crash in southwest Wichita

By Gordon Bassham
KSN – June 20, 2018

One person was killed in a motorcycle crash in southwest Wichita Tuesday afternoon. The incident occurred in the area of I-235 and W. MacArthur Rd. shortly after 5 p.m.

Investigators at the scene told KSN News a man riding a motorcycle northbound on I-235 lost control of his vehicle and ran off the roadway, down an embankment, and struck a railroad track. Officers said the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Officials said the man was from the Wichita area but were not ready to release his name since family had not been notified.

Traffic area was tied up as first responders arrived on the scene and began investigating the crash.

Police said the man was not wearing a helmet.


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Satanta teen killed in Stevens County crash

KWCH – June 20, 2018

A 17-year-old from Satanta is dead after a Tuesday-afternoon crash eight miles north of US-56 and K-25 in Stevens County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says in the crash reported about 3 p.m., a 2014 Buick Enclave driven by 17-year-old Brandon Salas was traveling east on County Road Y as a Western Star Power Unit driven by a 72-year-old Seward, Nebraska man was southbound on K-25.

For unknown reasons, the Buick failed to yield to the truck at the stop sign, leading to the collision, the KHP’s report says.

“Both vehicles came to rest in the southeast ditch in a field,” the KHP says.

The KHP says Salas died at the scene. The driver of the truck was injured and taken to the Stevens County Hospital.


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Chief calls for earlier truck replacement, more staff

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – June 20, 2018

Firefighter Skyeler Reynolds gives local students a tour of Station 82, including its fire truck, which is due for replacement. When it’s replaced, it will be moved into a reserve capacity. Photo by David Dinell

Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith has proposed moving up the timetable for replacing one of the city’s fire trucks by a year. Engine 82 was set for replacement in 2020, and Smith said he would like to see that done next year.

Smith made the proposal in his report in the 2019 city budget, which is now in the process of being examined by the public and City Council members.

Engine 82 was purchased in 2001 and for four years was used by the city’s volunteer fire department.

Since 2005, it has responded to all types of fires, emergency medical calls and vehicle accidents, he said, but it’s now reaching the end of its life as a main resource.

“Historically, 19 years is the limit on front line dependability for an engine,” he said.

While the engine may look fine to the casual observer, appearances don’t always provide the total picture, he said.

“It does looks new, but then our goal is to keep them up,” he said. “We don’t let them get beat up.”

However, with age, all fire trucks experience more service-related work and the need for repairs, which can place them out of use.

Smith uses an industry formula that results in placing it at about 210,000 miles of use. That includes hours of use such as being at an emergency scene pumping water and other tasks that put pressure on its operation systems.

The new truck will cost $723,000 and, once ordered, it will take six to nine months to build and be delivered.

Once replaced, the current Engine 82 will serve in a reserve capacity for about five years.

“Currently, the department has no reserve apparatus,” he said.

“Reserve apparatus fill short-term assignments when front line engines are out of service for maintenance, repairs or tied up on alarms,” he said.

“The insurance service office strongly recommends a fire department maintain at least one reserve engine for times when front line apparatus is out of service for preventive maintenance, repairs or extended scene time,” Smith said.

Also, in the budget, Smith also is calling for three new firefighter positions in 2019, a budget item of $225,119. That would bring it up to national standards, he said.

In the future, he has proposed replacing Quint 82, a 105-foot ladder truck, in 2022 at a cost of $1.3 million, and Rescue 81 in 2023 at a cost of $600,000. Both vehicles will be at the end of their lifespans by those years, he said.


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Teen dead, mother hospitalized after I-70 rollover crash

Hays Post – June 19, 2018

One person died in an accident just before 11p.m. Monday in Gove County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2003 Ford F250 driven by Tristan Ash Coleman, 19, Albany, Mo., was eastbound on Interstate 70 seven miles east of Colby.

The driver lost control of the pickup. It entered the median and driver overcorrected back onto the eastbound lane. The pickup entered median a second time and rolled into the westbound lanes.

Coleman was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Baalmann Funeral Home in Oakley.

The driver’s mother Melinda A. Coleman, 56, Albany, Mo., was a passenger in the pickup. She was transported to Logan County Hospital.

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


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High winds cause power outages, safety concerns in Hutchinson

KWCH – June 19, 2018

The strong winds didn’t last long, but they made their presence known on Hutchinson’s north side.

The Hutchinson Fire Department says problems began before 6 p.m., when crews responded to down power lines and power pole fires in north central Hutchinson.

A little before 6:10 p.m., fire crews responded to a structure fire in the 400 block of East 43rd.

“Crews were faced with storm damage that lead to many difficulties,” the Hutch Fire Department says. “All the high voltage power poles along 43rd from Monroe to Plum had been blown over blocking access to the structure involved.”

The fire department says power poles fell onto a home and one of the lines arced through the house, igniting a fire. Crews put this fire out quickly, the Hutch FD says, but “while all this was happening, the homeowner was found inside her car in the driveway under the high-voltage power lines.”

The woman wasn’t hurt and was able to stay safe in her vehicle as Westar crews cleared the area near her so fire crews could help her safely out of the car.

Due to the down power lines, the Hutchinson FD says the north side of the intersection of 43rd and Plum will stay blocked for up to three days.

The fire department reminds people not to approach a downed power line and if you approach an intersection with the stop lights not working, treat it like a four-way stop.


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Fire does substantial damage to southeast Topeka home on Monday

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – June 18, 2018

A fire early Monday afternoon caused substantial damage to a one-story home in southeast Topeka.

No injuries had been reported as of 1:30 p.m.

Crews were sent around 12:50 p.m. to a report of a fire at a house at 3123 S.E. Michigan Ave.

Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Brannock said crews arrived to find flames and smoke coming from the south side of the residence.

Firefighters made an interior attack and had the blaze under control in a matter of a few minutes.

Initial reports indicated a dog and a cat may have been inside the house. However, Brannock said, firefighters made an extensive search of the inside of the home and couldn’t locate either animal.

About 18 firefighters battled the fire. The house was being ventilated of smoke shortly after the blaze was under control.

The Topeka Fire Department’s rehabilitation bus, which provides air-conditioning for firefighters to help prevent heat exhaustion, had been called to the scene. However, Brannock said, the rehab bus was disregarded before it arrived on the scene after the blaze was out and firefighters were able to find shade to the north of the house.

Topeka fire investigator Zach Bottenberg was on the scene to determine the cause of the fire.

The cause and estimated dollar loss weren’t immediately available.

According to the Shawnee County Appraiser’s Office, the home is owned by Constantino Del Real-Montoya. Its 2018 appraised value was $68,930.


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SALUTE THE BADGE: Rescue mission turns tragedy into friendship

WIBW – June 18, 2018


The Mission Township Fire and Rescue began an unforgettable friendship with one man after saving his life.


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Motorcyclist dies in Miami County accident

KMBC – June 18, 2018

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office said a motorcyclist died after an accident early Monday morning at U.S. 169 Highway and Pleasant Valley Road.

Upon arrival, first responders observed a 2014 Harley Davidson soft tail motorcycle and a 2006 KIA Spectra on the shoulder. Police said it appears the motorcycle was northbound at 5:15 a.m. on U.S. 169 Highway when it lost control and went down. The car struck the motorcycle on the shoulder of the highway.

Police identified the victim as Timothy W. Winterringer, 44, of Garnett, Kansas. He died at the scene and was not wearing a helmet.

The accident is currently under investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

According to witness statements, there were other vehicles in the area during the accident, including an SUV or truck with a camper shell southbound on U.S. 169 Highway, that pulled over on the shoulder for a short period.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division would like to speak to this witness to obtain a statement.


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