Archive for September, 2018

Honoring the fallen

Concordia Blade Empire – September 12, 2018

The Concordia Fire Department honored those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with a memorial stair climb at Harold M. Clark Stadium on Tuesday. Firefighters walked the steps at the stadium 23 times. There were 2,977 people killed in the attacks including 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and eight EMT/paramedics. (Blade photo by Jay Lowell)


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Man seriously injured Wednesday in intentionally set southwest Topeka truck fire

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 12, 2018

A 35-year-old man was transported to a Topeka hospital early Wednesday with serious injuries after he was burned when his truck caught fire in front of his house in southwest Topeka, authorities said.

Topeka Fire officials said a preliminary investigation indicates the fire cause to be intentionally set.

According to Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin, crews were called to a vehicle fire at 2426 S.W. Ancaster just before 1 a.m. Wednesday. The address is about four blocks east of Indian Hills Road and just west of Cypress Ridge Golf Course.

Martin said first-arriving crews found a small grass fire next to a vehicle that was no longer on fire.

Firefighters located a man who had suffered burns at the scene.

The man suffered burns to his face, arms and legs in the incident, police said. He was transported to a local hospital by American Medical Response ambulance and was reported to be in stable condition around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The estimated dollar loss of the vehicle was $30,000. Topeka police assisted with the incident.


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Winfield holds event to remember 9/11

KSN – September 12, 2018


On Tuesday, dozens took part in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.

First responders, students, staff, and community members climbed the equivalent of 110 stories on the steps on the Southwestern College Campus.

It took just under two hours to complete.


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Senior center honors first responders at breakfast

By Amber Friend
Garden City Telegram – September 12, 2018

Photo by Brad Nading

Near sunrise, the Senior Center of Finney County’s parking lot was filled with emergency vehicles.

Ten Garden City Police Department cruisers, two from the Finney County Sheriff’s Office, one from the Kansas Highway Patrol and three ambulances sat silent along two of the building’s walls.

There wasn’t an emergency. Instead, men and women in various shades of blue, grey and black uniforms moved in and out of the center throughout the morning, sitting around red, white and blue decorated tables and enjoying breakfast provided in their honor for Patriots’ Day.

The come-and-go meal was the Finney County Retired Senior Volunteer Program’s second annual breakfast for the holiday, and they used the morning hours to remember lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and to thank the area’s first responders.

RSVP, a volunteer program for those 55 and older, celebrated Patriots’ Day partially because the group’s sponsor, the Corporation for National and Community Service, recognizes it as a day of service, said Finney County RSVP Director Marty Dinkel. Volunteers arrived around 4:45 a.m. to prepare a largely fresh and homemade meal, and to give back to responders that serve the area daily, she said.

“It’s a national day of observance and remembrance, and we just want to remember them on this day and give back something. That’s what this day’s about, too … Not only the service the law officers, the firemen, the EMS provide, but their families too,” Dinkel said.

The breakfast caught responders during a 7 a.m. shift change between night and day duties. Officers arrived at the beginning of eight, 10, and 12-hour shifts. Several EMTs had just clocked in for 48 hours. Others’ days were at the mercy of whatever may come up.

“Besides roll call, this is our first stop,” said Garden City police officer Steve Edler, who sat at a table split down the middle with police officers and Finney County Sheriff’s deputies.

Police SMPO Robert Scrivner chimed in, “It’s not a bad way to start.”

Some officers would attend other Patriots’ Day events later in the day. Students, faculty, staff and community members would join local first responders and members of the National Guard at a memorial observance at Garden City Community College. Later, the First Assembly of God would host a lunch for responders.

Like those events, responders said the RSVP breakfast gave them a chance to acknowledge and support the community, and many spoke with volunteers as they ate. Police Detective Jennifer Smith said local law enforcements’ openness with the community helped foster an environment of communication and support between officers and the public. Others shared her sentiment.

“The community stands behind us, they support us and when they do events like this, it’s really important that we support them back and show up…” said Police Sgt. Bill Powers.

For some, 9/11 was a tragedy that took place before they even considered joining law enforcement or emergency response teams. Regardless, the sacrifice and the risk hit home.

“On any given day, at any moment, there’s always that possibility that you could have a situation like that. Not necessarily like that magnitude here, but you can still have an emergency like that affects your community,” said Margo Edler, a police detective.

In the meantime, Dinkel said the RSVP and the community were glad to recognize the responders and their service.

“We appreciate them all year long,” she said. “Not just today, but every day.”


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Reno Commission approves purchase of new extraction tool for Fire District 3

By John Green
Hutchinson Green – September 12, 2018

The Reno County Commission Tuesday approved Fire District 3 spending $34,420 on new extraction tools for the department, replacing a 25-year-old set of “jaws” used to access passengers trapped in crushed vehicles.

Before the vote, however, Commissioner Dan Deming, noting the department didn’t seek competitive bids for the equipment, questioned how often they use it and whether the department pursued used equipment from other agencies.

Fire Chief Bobby White advised that the equipment they want to purchase is a demo model, so it is at a deep discount, and there was a limited window to buy it.

“We don’t use it a lot,” White said. “But when it’s time to use it, it’s time. We don’t have a lot of hazmat (hazardous material calls) either, but when you need specialized equipment, you need it … One call I can remember was at 82nd and Plum. We were there quite a while before Hutchinson could get there. Hutchinson has two units, but if they are on a call, they’re not going to be released to another call.”

The purchase from Amkus Rescue Tools includes four pieces, all battery operated, White explained, including a cutter, a spreader, a ram and a smaller combination tool.

Their current equipment is gas-powered hydraulics, requiring the engine to be hauled out by two people and set up, then started.

“If it’s not close enough and the hoses don’t reach, it has to be moved,” White said.

The battery-powered unit has no hydraulic hoses coming off it and it’s a much more flexible tool, he said. Also, all the tools, since each is independently powered, can be operated at the same time.

The system runs off a universal DeWalt battery, with a pair of replacement batteries 2 for $199. The compares to the battery for the Hirsch tool which is $625 for one, or Milwaukee-brand, which is about $250 each.

Incidentally, a Hurst extractor comparable to the one the department is looking at, White said, was advertised for $45,000.

“We have other DeWalt tools in the department, such as a reciprocating saw,” he said. “The same battery can be used in all the tools, so we don’t have to worry about somebody grabbing the wrong battery.”

The combo tool, White said, will be put out at the station at The Highlands, which doesn’t have any extraction equipment.

Deming asked whether fire departments in the county could establish zones to share equipment, such as the extractor tool, rather than each department spending $30,000 on one.

“My job is to be physically responsible to my taxpayers and the public that come through the district,” White said. “It’s up to each department to decide what’s best for them.”

White said the department has about $600,000 in its equipment reserve.

“I’ve got a plan for two pumpers and a brush to replace over the next five years,” White said. “So a big chunk is earmarked, but we have no problem covering this.”

Commission Chairman Ron Hirst asked whether the department, like several others, is looking at acquiring equipment for filling air bottles and cleaning bunker gear to reduce cancer exposure.

White said they are close enough to Hutchinson that filling air bottles is not an issue, and that the District 3 fire station will need an upgrade to its plumbing before extraction they can install washers. They’re concentrating on cleaning gear before it leaves the scene, which cuts down exposure some 85 percent, as well as new hoods that go under the clothing.

“Also on our radar, is that station in Nickerson, which is undersized for our trucks,” White said. “We’ve started some drawings.”

After about 15 minutes of discussion, the commission approved the purchase 2-0, with Commissioner Bob Bush absent.


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KU bus catches fire

By Nicole Asbury
University Daily Kansan – September 12, 2018

Photo by Chance Parker

A KU bus caught fire Tuesday afternoon in front of Green Hall.

Captain Jim Saladin of the Lawrence Fire Department said the bus driver was heading east down Jayhawk Boulevard when he noticed flames coming from the back of the bus where the rear tires are located.

The bus driver then stopped the bus, went outside and extinguished the flames himself. Fire fighters arrived on scene shortly after and “cooled it down,” Saladin said.

Passengers were evacuated and no one was hurt. The flames were likely caused by an overheated mechanical issue, Saladin said.


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Man killed in motorcycle accident

News Press Now – September 12, 2018

A 40-year-old Hiawatha man died Tuesday from injuries received in a motorcycle wreck that morning near Padonia in Brown County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Shawn Simpson died from injuries received in the wreck at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on 290th Road. Simpson was initially taken to Hiawatha Community Hospital and flown by helicopter ambulance to the University of Kansas Hospital with injuries.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Simpson was driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle westbound on 290th Road when he failed to make a curve at Kill Deer Road and his motorcycle went into the west ditch and rolled.

Simpson was ejected off the motorcycle. According to the KHP report, he was not wearing a helmet.


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Fireman’s Prayer

History of the Fireman’s Prayer

The only way he could find to ease the pain of such a tragedy was to sit down and put his thoughts on paper. The phrase, “enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout”, sends a chill up a firefighter’s spine as you imagine what he experienced on that fateful night. It was a particularly tough time for him as he had young children around the same age.While most accounts of the Firemen’s Prayer conclude with Author Unknown, the world renowned poem was written by Firefighter A.W. “Smokey” Linn. As a young firefighter in 1958 Linn and his crew responded to a fire in which three children were trapped behind security bars and died in the fire.

His granddaughter, Penny McGlachlin said that back then there were no grief counselors to help the firefighters. Penny believes this was an actual prayer from him, to god for the sake of his own family, the other fireman, and the families of the children.

Smokey joined the Wichita, Kansas Fire Department in 1947 after returning from World War 2. He retired in 1975 and became president of the local chapter of the Good Sam Camping Club. He passed away March 31, 2004 of complications following surgery.

The Fireman’s Prayer was originally published in a book called, “A Celebration of Poets” in 1958. The last copyright of the book was 1998. It is the family’s desire that the credit for the Fireman’s Prayer go to the author, A.W. Smokey Linn.


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Great Bend EMS receives “exceptional” rating on ambulance inspections

By Cole Reif
Great Bend Post – September 11, 2018

The Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ensures standardized criteria for basic life support. Each year, the Board sends out an inspector that reviews departments like the Great Bend Fire Department and EMS. The Board inspects the ambulances to make sure the vehicles are carrying what they are supposed to be carrying and that everything functions correctly on the ambulance.

Great Bend Fire Chief Luke McCormick says the inspector will also verify that no medications have expired.

The Great Bend Fire Department and EMS received an “exceptional” rating on their review that took place August 30. McCormick says the inspector spent a good part of the morning going through all the ambulances.

The Kansas Board of EMS usually gives departments a four or five day notice of their arrival. The Kansas Board of Pharmacy was also in Great Bend to check the DEA license and to make sure the department is ordering narcotics correctly.


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Firefighter Career Opportunities – Lenexa Fire Department

City of Lenexa, Kansas Fire Department

“CFAI Internationally Accredited Agency


The City of Lenexa, Kansas Fire Department is currently seeking highly motivated men and women who are passionate about serving the public and delivering the highest level of professional service as a firefighter. The City of Lenexa is a progressive, dynamic, and growing community located in Johnson County, Kansas. The department is accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and has been awarded the highest public protection classification rating by the Insurance Services Office. The firefighter position is a non-standard, rotating work, shift schedule (nine 24 hour shifts in a 27-day work period), requiring weekend and holiday work.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: To be acquired prior to final job offers on January 9, 2019.

  • Minimum of 18 years of age at time of employment offer
  • Valid driver’s license with good driving record
  • High school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency
  • Firefighter I and II certificate and EMT certification; OR a paramedic certification with or without the Firefighter I and II certificates
  • Successful completion of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) within 1 year of application submission
  • Fire Service Entrance Exam (FSEE) minimum score of 70%

Information for CPAT and FSEE opportunities can be found in the following links:

PREFERRED QUALIFICATION: National registry or Kansas paramedic certification highly preferred.

PROCESS: The application packet must be submitted before the close of business October 12, 2018. Structured interviews will be scheduled between October 29 and November 9, 2018. Candidates moving forward in the process will be scheduled for a ride along activity between November 12 and November 30, 2018. Finalists will participate in an interview with the Fire Chief December 3-5, 2018. Successful candidates who receive a conditional job offer will be required to successfully pass a psychological and medical exam, urine drug screen, and pre-employment background screening. Lenexa firefighters are required to establish residency to be able to report for work within 30 minutes within one year of hire. Starting salary for Firefighter is $40,250/yearly and starting salary for Paramedic is $44,275/yearly. Firefighter I and II certification training will be provided for successful paramedic candidates without these credentials. Competitive benefits package includes vision, dental, and health insurance; short-term disability; life insurance; state and city sponsored pension plans; and educational tuition reimbursement.

TO APPLY: Applications are only accepted online and must include both resume and minimum qualification certifications. All documents must be saved as a single record and submitted with the online application. The resume should include education and credentials, as well as the previous ten years of employment history. Application packets must be submitted no later than October 12, 2018 by 5:00 p.m. C.D.T.  Additional information and application assistance is available at:
City of Lenexa, Human Resources Department




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Fire early Tuesday at east-side bakery under investigation

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 11, 2018

Authorities were investigating an early-morning fire on Tuesday at an east-side bakery.

Crews were around 4:30 a.m. to the La Michocana Bakery at 2410 S.E. 6th Ave. after smoke was reported inside the business.

Topeka Fire Department officials said at the scene that no one was believed to be at the bakery at the time of the fire.

The bakery is located at the west end of a building that also houses a mobile phone store, a barber shop and a restaurant.

While flames weren’t reported at the scene, smoke from the bakery — where the fire was thought to have started — was present in the other business located immediately east in the same building.

Crews remained at the scene as of 5:40 a.m., and a Topeka fire investigator had been called to the scene.

There was no immediate report on the cause of the fire or an estimated dollar loss associated with the blaze.

Additional details weren’t immediately available.


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9/11 Freedom Rally to honor veterans, first responders in Manhattan

By James Ryan
KSNT – September 11, 2018


The first ever 9/11 Freedom Rally will kick off in Cico Park Tuesday night. The event will hopes to honor veterans and first responders who keep our country safe every day.

“Our police, our fire, our ambulance service, our Fort Riley soldiers,” said organizer Lori Bishop. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize them and thank them for their continued service to our community.”

Bishop is the executive director of the Flint Hills Volunteer Center, the organization putting on the rally.

The rally will features speeches from state officials, military and law enforcement representatives including:

  • Lt. Governor Tracey Mann
  • Attorney General Derek Schmidt
  • Chief of Staff COL Curtis Taylor, Fort Riley
  • Chief of Staff COL Roger Murdock, Kansas National Guard
  •  Riley County Police Department Director Brad Schoen
  • Geary County Sheriff’s Office Captain Brian Hornaday
  • KSU Police Department Chief Ronnie Grice​​​​​​​
  • Junction City Fire Department Chief Terry Johnson
  • Manhattan Fire Department Director Scott French
  • Riley County Fire Department Director Pat Collins
  • Riley County EMS Director David Adams

Along with speeches the event will also feature a candlelight vigil and performances by the Manhattan High School Marching Band and the Flint Hills Children’s Choir.

Click here for a full schedule of events. The 9/11 Freedom Rally starts at 7 pm tonight at Bishop Stadium in Cico Park.


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Hutchinson displays new platform fire truck at fair

By Cheyenne Derksen
Hutchinson News – September 11, 2018

Photo by Sandra J. Milburn

Fairgoers of all ages got an up-close look at the newest addition to the Hutchinson Fire Department’s fleet.

Deputy fire chief Doug Hanen said the platform truck arrived Sunday, just in time for Monday’s annual emergency preparedness exhibit of vehicles.

“We pushed pretty hard to get it here on time since we always have a truck here and we thought it would be a good time to show everybody,” Hanen said.

The truck shakes up the department’s white-over-red design with the top half of the truck painted black and the rest red.

“It was on schedule to be replaced, so this go-round, we thought we’d change the color scheme,” Hanen said. “We’ve also changed the graphics. A lot of guys shared input and it turned out beautiful.”

Inside, the truck offers a number of new features.

“We’ve had a platform truck since 1998, but it was cross-man, which means they’d take a smaller vehicle, and then to fires, they’d take this truck,” Hanen explained.

Three years ago, the department shifted to full-time truck companies. Three firefighters travel in the truck to all structure fires. While an engine company is using hoses to put out the fire, the truck company is on the roof, searching for people or completing other ancillary tasks. This means the platform truck driver needs to suit up quickly.

“Here, the driver will keep his gear in this one compartment,” Hanen said. “On the old truck, there were a couple different compartments to get the equipment. We put some work into this compartment and in how we wanted to lay it out.”

Behind the cab is a separate compartment specifically for housing gear after a fire.

As part of the department’s cancer-fighting initiative, the compartment keeps equipment away from firefighters to reduce contact with carcinogens on the material.

“More and more, firefighters die from cancer after they retire. Part of that is because we put our bunker gear back in the cab when we’re done. With the compartments, the gear will be kept separate from the cab.”

When they get back to the station, firefighters use extractors to wash carcinogens from the gear. One HFD station currently has one, an 18-year-old extractor that washes one set of gear at a time, and there’s money budgeted for 2019 to outfit the other six stations with extractors that can wash three sets at a time.

At the fair, mostly children were interested in peeking inside the massive platform truck, though several parents took a look as well.

Hanen hopes these encounters encourage young people to feel comfortable with first-responders in an emergency.

“When we go to schools, we make sure to get dressed in our gear, since we look pretty scary when we have our masks on and everything. We try to show kids that there’s just a person underneath,” Hanen said. “It also allows them to see it up close and understand what we do.”


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Calendar raises money to protect firefighters from cancer

By Tiffany Lane
KSN – September 11, 2018


A local group is working to fight cancer among firefighters with the click of a camera.

Prevention is the main effort the Kansas Firefighters Alliance is hoping to achieve.

Monday, they did a special photo shoot to raise money for awareness and to keep our firefighters who already risk their live, safe from cancer.

“Firefighters have about a 33 percent higher chance of getting cancer than the normal population,” said Tim Millspaugh, who is retired from the Sedgwick County Fire Department. “Those in big cities, the percentage is even higher.”

Retired Sedgwick County Fire Captain Thomas Strunk is someone who has experienced it first-hand.

“I am a retired firefighter that was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, shortly after retirement and I’ve been in treatment now for a little over six years, but I’m surviving,” he said.

That story of survival is one that Strunk shares with other firefighters being featured in the 2019 Kansas Firefighter Calendar, like Tom Richardson.

His time with the Sedgwick County Fire Department was shortened because of his fight with prostate cancer.

“They put their lives on the line every day and then just when you’re- you think you’re about to the end of your career and everything’s good, then cancer pops up and then that’s a whole other battle,” said Richardson.

But, those who have already had to face cancer, and their supporters, are making sure firefighters still serving the community are protecting themselves.

“Awareness of keeping your bunker gear clean, decontaminating yourself after fires, to make sure that you get all those carcinogens wiped off,” said John Troyer, a retired firefighter from Sedgwick County Fire District 1.

“We have to separate the politics and see what’s happening here and it’s been proven across the country that firefighters have a high rate of cancer,” said Strunk. “So, let’s do something about that before they get it.”

Some of the money raised from the calendar sales will go towards decontamination wipes for firefighters across the state.

These wipes help lower the temperature for firefighter’s skin after a fire and slow the rate of absorption.


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Robert Charlie Dowlin

Robert Charlie Dowlin “Bob” / “Digger” was born July 3, 1936, to Norma Faye Wright and John Gouldin Dowlin and passed from this life on September 1, 2018, at the age of 82. Bob married Patricia Ann McKain on August 14, 1966. Two children were born to this union, Monty Lee and Judy Renee.
Bob was born and grew up in the Barnard area before moving to Glasco when he was in the fourth grade. He lived four miles north of town and rode his horse to school each day. The horse would get bored and go home, only to come back to school to pick him up each afternoon. Bob enjoyed playing football during high school but had to be home each day in time to do his chores. It is rumored there are still wooden geometric shapes being used in Glasco High School math classes, one of which bears an inscription of “Bob ’54.” (Defacing school property?)
Following high school, Bob worked in plumbing and fuel transportation before joining King Construction of Hesston in 1957. He ran the largest crane King owned and built many bridges all over the state of Kansas. In 1970, Bob and Patricia bought the Lott & Stine Hardware Store on Main Street and set up permanent residence in Glasco. While owning the hardware store and following its closing in 1977, Digger was self-employed in heating, cooling, plumbing, trenching, and excavating until his retirement in 2015.
Over the years, Bob enjoyed flying radio-controlled aircraft and bowling in various leagues. During deer season, Digger could be seen driving around the countryside in his blue Hello Kitty Suzuki Samurai. After retiring and moving from the farm just north of Glasco, the iconic IBEBOB license plate from his work van remained in the family and now resides on the motorhome. He loved camping with friends and spending the winters in Arizona. Bob was a volunteer for Glasco Rural Fire District #2 and served on the board for Rural Water District #3.
Bob is survived by his wife Patricia of the home, son Monty Dowlin of Cheney KS, daughter Judy (Chris) Cowger of Liberty MO, grandchildren Christopher Hale of Liberty MO, Gerad Hale of Topeka KS, and Claire Cowger of Liberty MO, sister Mildred Heiman of Glasco KS, mother-in-law Lois McKain of Salina KS, sister-in-law Irene (Marlin) Amspacker of Kechi KS, and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents John and Norma Dowlin, brother Howard Dowlin, and father-in-law Rex McKain.
A Celebration of Life Open House will be held at the Catholic Parish Hall in Glasco on Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 1PM -4PM. Memorials may be given to the Glasco Rural Fire Department or the Glasco Alumni Continuing Education.


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Crews assist Sunda the elephant to her feet after finding her down Monday morning

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal – September 11, 2018

Using straps, pulleys and ropes, zoo staff and tactical rescue firefighters helped Sunda, the Topeka Zoo’s 58-year-old elephant, into a standing position Monday morning.

At about 4:30 a.m., Sunda woke up inside her barn but wasn’t able to stand up, city of Topeka spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said in a news release.

“Arriving to work and finding a down elephant is your biggest fear when you work with elephants,” zoo director Brendan Wiley said. “We work with geriatric elephants. We train for this.”

The elephant care team moved the other elephants to an outdoor habitat to give Sunda some time to see if she could get up on her own.

“She was trying,” said Wiley. “She was rocking back and forth but just couldn’t get her legs under her.”

The zoo attempted to use airbags to give Sunda an extra boost, but that method wasn’t successful.

At about 9:30 a.m., zoo staff and Topeka Fire Department firefighters used straps, pulleys and ropes to lift Sunda into a standing position.

Shortly after noon, Sunda was lifted and able to stand. Hadfield said moments later, the elephant was searching for food and interacting with her care team.

“Right now, she appears to be doing well. Having said that, we know that we are in a race with time that we can’t win,” Wiley said. “She is an old elephant and she is a very loved elephant. Her age and health issues tell us that she most likely won’t be with us much longer. Our commitment to her stays the same — we will do everything we can for her as long as we can until her quality of life no longer benefits from it.”

On Aug. 30, Sunda underwent a medical procedure to evaluate a sore behind her ear that won’t heal. Biopsies and cultures are still pending. She also has kidney issues and a mass in her reproductive system, Hadfield said.

Sunda is an Asian elephant who has lived at the zoo longer than any other animal.


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Car crusher catches fire in South Hutchinson

Hutchinson News – September 10, 2018

Fire officials are unsure what sparked a fire in a car crusher at a junkyard in South Hutchinson and whether the blaze damaged the equipment.

Firefighters were advised there was an explosion as the equipment was crushing a stack of three vehicles, said Fire Chief R.C. Watson.

The owner declined to comment at the scene.

After knocking the blaze down, crews were able to unstack the cars using equipment in the lot at North Fifth and Elm Street. It took nearly an hour to extinguish the blaze, however, because of burning tires

A plume of black smoke was briefly visible from downtown Hutchinson.

“Unless the crusher was damaged, there’s not really a loss,” Watson said, noting the fire was contained to the cars being crushed.

The fire was called in at 11:18 a.m. Crews were wrapping up to leave at 12:50 p.m.


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MFD stops for slushees, ends up saving kittens

KSNT – September 10, 2018

Photos by Alexa Frisbie

Alexa Frisbie and her roommate Teyha Enoch went to Sonic on Sunday afternoon and heard meowing coming from their car.

When they realized where it was coming from, Enoch found one kitten and was able to get it out. However a second kitten wouldn’t come out, and then they couldn’t even see the other anymore.

At the same time, Frisbie says a Manhattan Fire Truck pulled into Sonic and they asked the firefighters to help.

The crew stepped in and were able to find the other kitten that they couldn’t see.

Frisbie and Enoch took the kittens back to their apartment and ended up finding a third cat in the car. The kittens are now safe and the Frisbie and Enoch are planning on working with animal control to find the mom of the cats. They also say they plan to take the kittens to the animal shelter on Monday.

The Manhattan Fire Department responded on Twitter:

“Quint 3’s crew extricated a scared little kitten from the engine compartment of the car. She was happy to be out and reunited with her sister #CatWhisperers #WeSpeakFeline


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Woman dead after I-70 rear-end crash

Hays Post – September 10, 2018

One person died in an accident just before 9p.m. Sunday in Dickinson County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2000 Ford Econoline Van driven by Scott L. Rowan, 58, Aurora, Co., was westbound on Interstate 70 just west of Rain Road.

The van rear-ended a 2002 Ford Expedition driven by Elizabet Douglass Baker, 71, Philadelphia, PA., that was traveling at approximately the minimum posted speed limit.

The collision caused the Expedition to enter the north ditch and roll.

Baker was transported to the hospital in Abilene where she died.

Rowan was possibly injured but the KHP did not report where or if he was treated. Baker was not wearing a seat belt, according to the KHP.


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Local firefighters climb 110 stories as 9/11 remembrance

By Nick Starling
KSHB – September 10, 2018


There were 343 firefighters from 14 states in Kansas City on Sunday to pay their respects to the first responders who died Sept. 11 during a terrorist attack in New York.

The firefighters gathered for a unique memorial, the 8th annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Tower Pavilion at 12th and Main streets.

Each firefighter climbed the equivalent of 110 stories wearing around 50 pounds of equipment in honor of someone who died during the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s something that we can do to honor the ones that we lost,” said firefighter Drew Endicott of Lincoln, Nebraska, said he climbed for Jeffery Stark of the Fire Department of the City of New York’s Engine Company 230 in Brooklyn.

Kansas City, Kansas, firefighter Craig Maleta said he’s climbing for Michael Fiore, a firefighter with FDNY’s Rescue 5 and four-time MVP in the FDNY Staten Island Basketball League.

“He was a husband with kids,” Maleta said. “You know, I have kids of my own, so I think about that every day.”

Pictures of the 9/11 victims lined the stairwell inside the Tower Pavilion’s 34 floors, which the firefighters had to climb four times to simulate the 110 floors of the Twin Towers.

Those photos provided motivation for the climb.

“It’s tough, I mean it’s a lot to think about, especially for those guys doing it that day,” Maleta said. “They just didn’t climb the towers. They climbed the towers and they go into rescue mode, go into firefighter mode.”

The firefighters also remembered other first responders who have died since 9/11 due to health complications, like injuries or cancer from the dust at ground zero. Officially, 203 additional first responders have died indirectly from 9/11, bringing the death toll to 547.

“That’s something that’s kind of lost,” Endicott said. “They were at the pile at ground zero for months even trying to bring the brothers and sisters home.”

Maleta added, “The cancer is horrible with it. I mean, that’s the worst. That’s the scariest part of our jobs is we can work out, we can train as much as we want, but the real dangers these days are the cancers. They are all over the place.”

Sunday’s event raised more than $70,000, which is by far the most raised in the event’s eight years.
The 2017 event, which benefits the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment, raised roughly $24,000.


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Fallen 9/11 firefighters honored in Wichita ceremony

By Sara Berlinger
KSN – September 10, 2018


It’s almost 17 years since the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11th. And every year, we remember the people who lost their lives in the attacks, including the first responders.

A local tradition does just that, for the firefighters.

More than two hundred firefighters made their way inside the Epic Center in downtown Wichita. Their mission? To remember the fallen and step in their shoes.

“You kind of get a feel for the challenge the physical challenge and the team work that was required to have those firefighters ascend the towers,” said Mark Misek, Wichita Fire Department.

Participants climbed the equivalent of 110 floors, to represent the height of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers. Each climber honored the 343 firefighters who died by wearing their pictures and names.

“This is my fourth year climbing for Battalion Chief Williamson, did a lot of research and know about his family and what he was about, and just think about that when I’m climbing and try to honor him,” said Justin Turner, Olathe Fire Department.

The fourth Wichita Stair Climb had firefighters from across Kansas, Oklahoma, and even as far as Colorado. It takes roughly two hours and hard work to complete, but firefighters say the journey is worth it.

“Those guys went up the building they didn’t have the chance to think about it and so it’s just a nice way to honor them,” said Turner.


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Citizens meet and interact with first responders

By Juan Cisneros
WIBW – September 10, 2018

First responders gathered in the parking lot of the Kansas Expocentre for the 12th annual Emergency Services Showcase.

The public was invited to meet and interact with firefighters, police officers, search and rescue teams and more.

They also learned what to do in the event of an emergency.

“We’ve heard stories of kids not know that, ‘this is firefighter coming in to save me,’ and they ran and they ended up dying,” Emergency Services Showcase Visionary Kasey Sturgeon said. “We don’t want kids or families to have to go through that.”

Along with Topeka police and fire departments, Washburn police and several search and rescue teams were there for kids to meet.


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City of Concordia Fire Department to Hold 9/11 Remembrance Tuesday

By Toby Nosker
KNCK – September 10, 2018

The Concordia Fire Department will hold their annual remembrance ceremony for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed 2,977 people, including over 300 Firefighters.

Members of the department will gather at Harold M. Clark Stadium in Concordia at 10 am Tuesday, September 11th for a memorial stair climb, where they will walk the stadium steps 23 times while carrying the flag of the United States.

The attacks on the World Trade Center towers resulted in the largest concentrated emergency-service response in American history. Of those who lost their lives that day, 412 were emergency workers — 343 Firefighters, 60 Police Officers and 8 EMT/Paramedics. Many of the 343 Firefighters died while trying to climb 110 Stories of the World Trade Center Towers to rescue victims.


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Kansas woman dies after crash with a semi

Hays Post – September 10, 2018

One person died in an accident just before 7a.m. Saturday in Harvey County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2010 GMC Acadia driven by Max Turnbull, Jr., 77, Vermillion, was westbound on U.S. 50 nine miles west of Newton.

The vehicle crossed the center line into the east bound lanes. An eastbound 2017 Freightliner semi driven by Angel Zatare, 22, Reseda, CA., in an attempt to avoid striking the GMC crossed the center line and drove into the west bound lanes.

The GMC then drove back into the westbound lane and collided with the semi.

A passenger in the GMC Darlene Turnbull, 73, Vermillion, was pronounced dead at the scene and was transported to the Sedgwick County Forensics Center. Max Turnbull was transported to the hospital in Wichita.

Zatare and a passenger were not injured. Both drivers were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Local Firefighters Prepare for 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

By Zachary Dodge
KOAM – September 7, 2018

Many firefighters in the area are preparing for an annual event that honors the *343* firefighters that lost their lives on 9/11.

Keenan Fyfe remembers where he was when the world trade center was destroyed on that fateful day in 2001.

Keenan Fyfe, Neodesha KS Firefighter:”It was in 6th grade, and they actually pulled all the tvs that they had into the library at the school.”

Seeing the event unfold is what inspired him to become a firefighter.
Now, he works at the Neodesha Kansas Fire Department, and is climbing stairs to prepare for the 9/11 memorial stair climb in Wichita.

Fyfe:”It’s awesome to see all these fireman come together and put on an event like this”.

Firefighters climb 110 flights of stairs in full bunker gear to simulate what it might have been like for the 343 firefighters that died in the towers.

Matt Stringer, Pittsburg Firefighter:”Physically it is a daunting task to climb a hundred and ten flights in full gear, emotionally, just keeping the thoughts of the fallen in the back of our minds.”

It might not seem that difficult to prepare for an event where what you’re doing is climbing stairs. But firefighters say it’s much more than that because it takes a toll on you emotionally.

Brennan Tilley, Neodesha KS Firefighter:”They had radio traffic of the actual 9/11 events playing in the background, so that was something else to listen to just the entire time.”

Each climber will carry a picture of one of the fallen .. further honoring their personal memory.

Thomas Vacca, Pittsburg Fire Marshall:”You know, you see that person’s face and realize they had a family, they had brothers that they worked with in the fire house, so it makes it emotional for us to know that we’re gonna carry their memory with us.”

Paying tribute to each of those heroes is what helps many climbers take every step.

Fyfe:”Thinking of all the 343 that made the sacrifice, it helps you push.. keep going, and it’s definitely an awesome event.”

Six members of the Pittsburg Fire Department — and many from Neodesha, Chanute, Independence and Chetopa are participating in the event.

The memorial stair climb takes place Saturday in Wichita.

If you want to learn more about the event just follow this link:


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Fire burns garage

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – September 7, 2018

Photo by Rebecca McCutcheon

Winfield firefighters are still investigating the cause of a fire that damaged a detached garage and a house Thursday.

The fire, which started in the garage in the 500 block of East 16th Avenue, was reported at 1:15 p.m. It took about half an hour to bring under control, said Captain Justin Crawford of Winfield Fire/EMS.

No injuries were reported, although there was major damage to the garage. The roof and a couple of rooms in the house also sustained fire and water damage, Crawford said.

A woman was home at the time and asleep in the house. She was awakened by a passerby and was able to get out safely.

Initial reports indicated there was live ammunition in the garage. Crawford said the fire occurred in a shared garage and it didn’t reach the area where the ammunition was located. Residents of the house said the ammunition belonged to a neighbor.

A number of neighbors and other observers watched as firefighters put out the fire.

A woman who lives across the street said at the scene that she heard a “boom” while inside her home and came outside and saw the garage on fire. A man who lives around the corner said he came over to investigate the cause of the towering smoke plume caused by the fire.

Crawford said the humidity Thursday took its toll on the firefighters. Units from Udall, who normally man the Winfield fire station when all their firefighters are on a call, were instead sent to the fire scene to provide extra help. Extra personnel from Winfield Fire/EMS were also called in to help.

Assisting the Winfield Fire/EMS Department were the Arkansas City Fire Department, Udall Fire Department (Cowley County Fire District 4) and the City of Winfield utilities department.


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Kenneth Wayne Cox

Kenneth Wayne Cox, age 68, of Clearwater, retired Division Chief for Sedgwick County Fire Department, passed away Friday, August 17, 2018. Visitation 1-8 pm Thursday, with family greeting friends 5-7 pm, Smith Mortuary, 1415 N Rock Rd., Derby. Funeral service 2 pm Friday, Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn Blvd., Derby. Kenneth was a USMC veteran serving during the Vietnam War. He is preceded in death by his father Harold Cox; stepfather, Butch McCray; and sister, Patricia. Survivors: his wife of 20 years, Nancy; son, Joseph Russell Cox; daughters, Stephanie Vanatta (Jeff), Charity Hoffman (Scott), Christy Reser and Laura Cox; mother, Eva Mae McCray; brothers, Harry Cox (Sherry), Gary Cox, Joe McCray, Mike McCray, and Terry Cox (Stacy); sisters, Donna Cox and Tammy McCray; grandchildren, Tessa, Anthony, Taylor, Kailee, Nicholas and Jacob; great-grandchildren, Talon and Maesyn; numerous nieces and nephews. Memorials: Wounded Warriors Project and Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Condolences to


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Firefighters respond to fire in south Wichita home

KSN – September 7, 2018

Firefighters responded to a fire in a home in south Wichita Thursday night.

The fire was in the 1000 block of S. Market and it was reported just before 11:00 p.m.

According to authorities, when firefighters arrived to the scene flames were showing from the second floor of a home.

The fire is now under control, however EMS has been called to the scene to treat one person for smoke inhalation.


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Manhattan fire captain takes last ride

By McKenzi Davis
KSNT – July 7, 2018

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A Manhattan fire captain took his last ride at his funeral this morning.

Captain Braun died on Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer. He has worked at the Manhattan Fire Department since 2001. He was then promoted to captain in 2014.

The funeral was held in Wamego where he has family ties.

Captain Wayne Braun’s final ride was in an Old Engine One.


Manhattan Mercury – By Savannah Rattanavong

Gray, overcast skies seemed to stand still as Manhattan Fire Department Capt. Wayne Braun was laid to rest Thursday afternoon at Wamego City Cemetery.

Braun, 46, died Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer.

Friends and family gathered at the Trinity Baptist Church to pay their respects and remember his life.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the thing that people will take away has to do to with his dedication to his job, to helping other people and then to making the people around him the best that they could be,” MFD deputy chief Ryan Almes said.

Uniformed servicemen stood outside the church and saluted as Braun’s casket was carried out and placed onto Old Engine 1.

More than 100 vehicles joined the procession to the cemetery, including those from emergency medical services, fire, police departments and more from across the state. The streets were quiet as the line traveled single-file on U.S. Highway 24.

In Manhattan, firefighters from Riley County and Junction City staffed two stations.

“A lot of people knew him of the people that were there (at the funeral) and I think that speaks volumes to who he was as a person,” Almes said. “Even if they didn’t know him, they knew what he meant to us as a department.”

Braun began his career in 1995, when he worked as a volunteer in Graham County and Hill City. He moved to Wamego in 2000 where he continued his service with the local fire department.

In 2001, he also began his career with the Manhattan Fire Department where he served for 17 years, beginning as a volunteer and then a driver, which he took on with gusto. Almes said there was rarely a time when Braun didn’t know how to fix the trucks, and when he couldn’t, he’d at least identify the problem. Braun also served on the emergency rescue team at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys.

In 2014, Braun was promoted to captain. He led his company, Quint 5 at Fire Station 5, to his last fire at a mobile home park on Farm Bureau Road on June 29. Almes said Braun was then transferred to light duty.

Those close to Braun described him as a dedicated man that took his job seriously. Almes recalled someone at the funeral saying there was a 1/16th-inch difference between Braun’s smile and a frown — but under the gruff exterior, lay a gentle man who cared deeply about the folks he worked with.

Braun stressed education, taking classes and earning certifications throughout his career, and mentorship, making sure new firefighters were capable of handling the job. He also served as a state instructor for search and rescue and taught at the annual state conference .

“I remember when I was a snot-nosed 21-year-old brand-new EMT that wanted to be a firefighter,” Trevor Michaelis, a firefighter at the Topeka Fire Department, wrote on MFD’s Facebook page. “You were there at the good ol’ Wamego Fire Department and made me feel welcome and a part of the team, and help(ed) me realize that I could do the job and love it…. You are a friend, a brother, and the world is a dimmer place without you.”

Instead of flowers, Braun’s family asked people to send memorials to the Good Shepherd Hospice House, as well as that the Wayne Braun Memorial Fund be used for fire education.

“We’ll remember you with all your special nuances, your one-liners, and our memories from all the days gone before that we have been privileged to share with you” MFD Chief Scott French said at Braun’s eulogy. “And today we’ll grieve over you and cry over you and even smile because of you.

“And in all the tomorrows we’ll feel you, gone in some ways, but your presence ever near. As a true fireman’s captain, your name is synonymous with the department’s core values of honor, courage, loyalty and compassion. Rest in peace brother, we will take it from here.”

Braun is survived by his wife and two children.


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Shawnee’s fourth fire station construction on schedule

By Leah Wankum
Shawnee Mission Post – September 7, 2018

Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox

Construction of Shawnee’s fourth fire station is still on schedule, city leaders reported Tuesday evening to councilmembers.

Fire Station 74 will be located on the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Woodsonia Drive. John Mattox, Shawnee fire chief, said McCown Gordon is on schedule to complete construction by Jan. 21.

The station will have a footprint of roughly 9,135 square feet, including two apparatus bays. It will also have a time capsule, which the Shawnee fire department intends to keep sealed for 50 years, until 2069.

“Northwest Shawnee has grown so much, and now we finally feel like we’re growing with it by adding this fire station out here,” Mattox said.

Adding a fire station at that location affects the most people in Shawnee compared with other possible locations, he added. In fact, 11,000 rooftops — roughly 22,000 to 30,000 people, or one-third of the city population — will see an improvement of 1 to 5 minutes in response time when the station opens.

Significant population growth in the northwestern part of Shawnee has created an increased demand for fire services, according to city records of the project.

“The large geographic area to be served combined with limited mutual aid options has resulted in longer than desirable response times to the above part of the community,” city staff reported.

The Shawnee council approved a mill rate increase to fund the project.


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Honoring 103 Fire Heroes at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial-Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters

The 2018 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend will be held October 6-7, 2018 in Emmitsburg, Maryland. For the second year, landmarks across the county will glow in respect to the fallen and their families for Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters. This nation-wide lighting is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, as part of the weekend.

We would like local fire departments to join in this tribute by lighting in red on Saturday, October 6th, the night of the Candlelight Service, or any time during the week of October 1st that you can. This would be an additional symbol of support and comfort to the families being honored and whose loved one is being remembered. Go to to let us know that you will join this extraordinary display of recognition.


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Junction City Fire Dept. thanks donors for grain rescue equipment

By Ann Olamiju
WIBW – September 6, 2018

The Junction City Fire Dept. got some much needed grain rescue equipment to better serve Geary County.

They took time Wednesday to thank the five donors who raised $2,000 to help make the purchase possible.

Officials said the equipment is an important tool in rural areas where farming is common in case someone gets trapped.

“We do rescue for the entire county so in case somebody, a farmer, is trying to put his grain up in a silo and becomes stuck, we can respond and save him before it becomes too late,” JCFD Engineer John Shepek explained.

Firefighters will receive training twice a year on the equipment to stay up to date on how to use it.

Donors included; Central National Bank, Upland Mutual Insurance Company, Geary County Farm Bureau, Friends of Geary County Rural Fire Fighters, and the Geary Community Health Care Foundation.


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Fire ravages historic Marion home

By Phyllis Zorn
Hillsboro Star Journal – September 5, 2018

A Monday night fire devastated a historic Marion house and took firefighters from three towns seven hours to extinguish.

The house, at 205 N. Lincoln St., was built in 1885 and was once the home of E.W. Hoch, Kansas governor from 1905 to 1909.

Fire investigator Chris Mercer was at the scene Tuesday morning to inspect the property.

Marion fire chief Mike Regnier said the flames were high when firefighters arrived on the scene soon after 9:30 p.m. Monday.

“We left at 4:30 this morning,” Regnier said.

Hillsboro and Peabody fire departments were automatically paged to assist because it was a structure fire, Regnier said.

The second story of the house shows the most destruction, but the first story also shows damage.

A woman watching Mercer and Regnier Tuesday morning said she lived in the house with her 12-year-old daughter and both escaped without injury. She did not want to give her name.

Mounted next to the entry of the house is a plaque reading “1885.”

The plaque was one of several created by a Marion historical group.

“It’s one of the historical houses in Marion,” said Norma Kline.

Kline said the home might best be remembered as the longtime home of Laurel Schroeder Gilbert. She and her first husband operated Schroeder Produce, Kline said.

Kline and her husband, Gerald, own another home with a similar plaque.

According to the county appraiser’s website, the property is now owned by Jeffrey and Kathy Inlow of Florence.


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Robinson Fire Department awarded $2,500 donation

Hiawatha World – September 5, 2018

Brown County farmer Larry Oltjen directed a $2,500 to Robinson Fire Department as part of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

Robinson Fire Department has used the funds to purchase a 2,000 gallon portable dump tank.

“We would like to thank Larry Oltjen for his generous consideration to direct these funds to the Fire Department. With the purchase of this collapsible dump tank, the Fire Department was able to replace an aging smaller dump tank. Dump tanks allow fire departments to have a steady water supply in rural areas when access to a fire hydrant is limited.” said, Dennis Tietjens, Robinson Fire Department Chief.

Since the program began in 2010, the Grow Communities program has partnered with farmers to support nonprofit organizations important to them in their local communities. The program has given more than $29 million to farming communities since its inception, including more than $3 million in 2018. Each year, farmers enter for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit they care about in their community. The organizations reflect the makeup and character of rural America, including emergency response organizations, schools, youth agriculture programs, food banks and many others.

“Farmers play a pivotal role in rural communities, and through their commitment to the Grow Communities program, we are able to provide the monetary support these nonprofit organizations need to make an impact,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “We’re proud to play a part in helping these rural communities grow and thrive.”

To see if a nonprofit in your local community is a 2018 America’s Farmers Grow Communities recipient, visit You can also learn more about the Grow Communities program by checking out


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Reports show cooking to be leading cause of residential fires in Kansas

By Jeremiah Cook
Four States News – September 5, 2018


Nationally, the leading cause of residential fires is smoking. But in Kansas, it’s something all of us do every day that’s actually resulted in the most home fires.

According to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, it’s cooking. And Parsons Fire Chief Jay Hawks says while not all kitchen fires result in losing your home, they can still lead to injuries. For example, Hawks says fire fighters recently responded to a home where a person was heating up oil to cook, when it got too hot and caught fire.

“One of the first reactions that we do is we want to put out the fire, so she grabbed the pan and went to move it to the sink, and in doing so spilled that hot oil on a foot,” says Chief Jay Hawks.

And Chief Hawks says that’s just one example.

“Cooking fires create a lot of injuries,” says Chief Hawks.

And according to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, they’re the most common cause of fires in Sunflower State homes. In Parsons, Hawks says cooking only accounts for about twelve percent of fires. But in Columbus, lead driver Jaden Tedlock says it’s a different story.

“I’d probably say half, if not a third of our fires are probably kitchen fires,” says Jaden Tedlock.

Tedlock says the problems usually come when someone gets distracted.

“A lot of it, people start cooking, and then they just leave the room. I guess the top tip would be to tell people to stay in the kitchen while they’re cooking,” says Tedlock.

Another good way to help reduce your risk is to take extra precautions with oil.

“Anything you’re going to fry in oil, make sure it’s completely thawed and dry it off before you put it in. It’s the water that’s reacting and splattering all over,” says Chief Jay Hawks.

And if an oil fire does break out….

“As long as it’s in a pan, and the flames are very low, you can slip a lid over it and it smothers the fire,” says Chief Hawks.

Tedlock says the stove top isn’t the only place fires can break out. For example, something in your oven could begin to burn. If that happens, he says….

“Close the oven. If you see a fire, close it and let it smother itself out,” says Jaden Tedlock.

Hawks and Tedlock both say the best thing to do, no matter what, is call 911. They say it’s a lot easier for them to get to a call and find the fire already put out than it is for them to get there too late to save your home.


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Crews extinguish vehicle fire early Wednesday outside south Topeka motel

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – September 5, 2018

Photo by Phil Anderson

Crews made quick work of a vehicle fire just before dawn on Wednesday morning outside a south-side motel.

The vehicle fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. in the north parking lot of the Travelers Inn, 3846 S.W. Topeka Blvd.

Officials at the scene said the fire damaged a red Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle that was parked along the north fenceline, about 30 feet from the motel building.

The fire was extinquished quickly, and most of the damage appeared to be to the interior of the vehicle.

A Topeka Police Department officer responded to the scene, and fire crews continued to extinguish the vehicle fire around 7 a.m. to ensure it didn’t flare up again.

There was no immediate word on what caused the blaze, which remains under investigation.

No injuries were reported.


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Osawatomie icon retires after 30 years with city

By Doug Carder
Miami County Republic – September 5, 2018

Ted Bartlett stood at the corner of First Street and Carr Avenue in Osawatomie.

It was his birthday. But the Osawatomie fire chief wasn’t in a festive mood June 30, 2007.

Just a short distance away, at the levee, the Marais des Cygnes River continued to churn closer to the brink.

“I can still remember standing there that Saturday morning and calling the police chief, whose daughter was getting married that day,” Bartlett said. “I said, ‘Chief Stiles, we are in trouble.’

Chief Mike Stiles replied, “Ted, we’ve had water against the levee before.”

“I said, ‘Not like this, boss. We are in trouble,’” Bartlett said.

The rainwater pooling inside the levee was a foreshadowing of what was to come.

“I brought in a truck to pump water out of the area …,” Bartlett said.

The fire chief would soon discover pooling water was the least of his troubles.

The Pottawatomie Creek crested its banks and rushed into Osawatomie, leaving unfathomable destruction in its wake.

“I was dumbfounded,” Bartlett said. “No one ever believed the river would come inside the levee, and no one ever believed the Pottawatomie would be the river that came over. It was utter destruction, not just property but the animals that were affected and lost their lives in the flood, and the helplessness of so many people.”

Bartlett did not sleep for four days, he said, spending most of that time in charge of a command center or at a temporary fire station that was set up underneath the side of the high school stadium.

“We had to evacuate the fire station,” Bartlett said. “Standing in what was my place, seeing it empty, that brought a tear to your eye.”

Bartlett said the community’s ability to come together in a time of tragedy showed what communities can do when they work together.

But the good memories Bartlett said he has experienced over the past 30 years washed away many of the bad memories, like the 2007 flood.

Last Friday, Bartlett, 52, had a chance to relive some of those memories and see many familiar faces when he retired as a building official with the city of Osawatomie. He met his KPERS requirements for retirement at the end of June.

Bartlett began his association with the city as a volunteer firefighter in 1988, and went on to serve the community in many functions with the police department, including as a patrolman and school resource officer at Osawatomie High School.

He’s also served as fire chief, building inspector and animal control officer in charge of the city’s pound, working some of those jobs simultaneously. For the past six years he has been a building official, overseeing zoning, meter reading and nuisance enforcement.

“My favorite job was SRO, hands down,” Bartlett said. “Being there for the kids and working with the kids. I would never have left the SRO position had they been able to fund that position and keep me in the schools like they do the officer today.

“I don’t think we’ll see those SRO positions disappear anymore,” he said. “They’ve just become too vital for our children’s safety.”

As SRO, Bartlett walked the halls of the high school where he graduated. One of the biggest thrills from his tenure as SRO was being able to watch his children Alex and Angel, and stepchildren Sarah and Matt start at OHS as freshmen and graduate while he was with the district, he said.

His most challenging job, Bartlett said, was in his current position as a building official.

“The learning curve associated with this job is kind of outside everything I had done to this point,” he said. “The building codes and zoning regulations, there’s a lot to learn. Now I don’t know if I’ll ever get it out of my head.”

City Manager Don Cawby said Bartlett was the perfect fit for the job because of the way he works with people and always goes out of his way to try and help them.

“He’s talked about volunteering with Olive’s Hope [animal rescue group], which just speaks to the kind of person he is,” Cawby said. “He’s usually the one who keeps things light around here. We’re going to miss him, and I’m sure I’ll be talking with him after he’s left.”

Bartlett has overseen the city’s pound for about 15 years, which handles animals from the cities of Osawatomie and Paola, the county, and the state at Hillsdale Lake.

The infamous “railroad dog,” which used to roam the streets of Osawatomie and chased after one particular railroad truck, has lived with Bartlett and his wife, Lisa, for a number of years since he caught the “longhaired terrier mutt” – for the second time.

“We call her Momma Dog now,” Bartlett said. “We had to rename her because she got a new life.”

He’s handled a lot of calls through the years, picking up all types of animals, including trapping and relocating a group of foxes that had been living in John Brown Memorial Park, where people were handfeeding them.

“I’ve picked up just about everything you can think of, but I won’t do snakes,” he said, laughing.

Of the 400 to 500 dogs and cats that come through the pound each year, this past year Bartlett said he only had to euthanize five dogs and 30 feral cats, in large part to the terrific work of rescue group Olive’s Hope.

“I can’t say enough good things about Olive’s Hope,” he said.

He also couldn’t say enough good things about the current Osawatomie City Council, City Manager Cawby and the city staff.

“They truly care about the city of Osawatomie.”


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Woman killed in fire

By John Richmeier
Leavenworth Times – September 5, 2018

Photo by John Richmeier

A Leavenworth woman died as a result of a fire at a duplex apartment, a Fire Department spokesman said.

The fire was reported at 7:46 a.m. Monday at 509 Vilas St.

Mark DeMaranville, division chief of prevention for the Leavenworth Fire Department, said the fire started in an attached garage and spread into the apartment.

A man and woman were in the apartment at the time. The man was able to get out of the apartment on his own. Firefighters pulled the woman from the apartment, DeMaranville said.

The woman was transported to the hospital by Leavenworth County EMS and she later died.

The man later went to the hospital in a private vehicle.

An occupant of the neighboring duplex apartment at 511 Vilas St. was not injured.

Two members of the Leavenworth Fire Department were injured at the scene.

One firefighter suffered minor smoke inhalation when the face piece of his self-contained breathing apparatus was jarred.

“And the seal broke on the face piece,” DeMaranville said.

The firefighter was able to reseal the face piece.

He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Another firefighter suffered a foot injury.

“He sought medical treatment later,” DeMaranville said.

Members of the Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 responded to the scene to assist the Leavenworth Fire Department. And members of the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department were asked to stand by, DeMaranville said.

DeMaranville said it did not take firefighters long to “knock down” the flames. The fire resulted in an estimated $85,000 in damage.

Firefighters have not yet determined the cause of the fire. But DeMaranville said there are no signs that the fire was the result of criminal activity.

“We’re still investigating it,” he said.


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Manhattan fire personnel reflect on fast flood response

By Marleah Campbell
WIBW – September 5, 2018


The Manhattan Fire Department called back all available personnel from their five fire stations to respond to flooding in Manhattan early Monday.

In total, around 60 responders helped out.

“We started receiving alerts from National Weather Services around 4 a.m., the Wildcat Creek was rising, so we mobilized and started to have people in the emergency operations center at riley county police department around 4:30,” said Ryan Almes, deputy chief of the Manhattan Fire Dept.

The flooding escalated quickly. Waters in Wildcat Creek rose seven feet in one hour.

“We knew it was gonna cause flooding at that time,” Almes said. “We started the alerting of people so not only through our voice sirens, but also with our messaging trying to and let people know, and at that time, we got everyone we could knocking on doors to let people know that the flooding was coming.”

Monday’s flooding was different from others Manhattan first responders have seen.

“This event was faster than many of them that we have experienced. I think the speed that it came up was very much different, and in times past, sometimes we had hours as it came down Wildcat Creek. This was a big surge of water,” Almes said. “We only have so many resource between all emergency services, so there’s only so much we can do, but we’ll know this time that we’re gonna rush even sooner next time.”

Rescue efforts began quickly to get dozens of people to safety.

“We launched our boats right away. I have some estimates of over 150 people that we have moved through, either by boat, dump truck, or walked them out of areas that were inundated with floods,” Almes said. “Lots of civilians brought boats, too, to help, which was really nice. We had lots of manpower but just not enough boats to get all those people out.”

Almes said the floods affected more than 90 buildings. Inspection crews are assessing the damage and hope to get power turned back on as quickly as possible.


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1 critically hurt in house fire

KAKE – September 5, 2018

andover fire 952018

One person is rushed to the hospital in critical condition following a house fire in Andover.

Firefighters were called just after 10:30 pm on Tuesday to the 800 block of South Verna, near Kellogg and South Andover Road.

That’s where the Andover Fire Department says they rescued a 65-year-old man who was trapped inside of his bedroom.

He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. One other person was able to escape without injury.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


A 65-year-old man has died after an Andover home caught fire Tuesday night.

Firefighters were called just after 10:30 pm to a fire in the 800 block of South Verna, near Kellogg and South Andover Road. They arrived to find heavy fire coming from the front of the home.

The Andover Fire Department says the victim was trapped in a bedroom. Once crews got the victim out, he was taken to a local hospital where he died Wednesday morning. His name was not released.

One other person was able to escape without injury.

The fire department said the fire was not suspicious in nature, but the cause is still under investigation. The home was deemed a total loss.


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Close competition in annual Battle of the Badges

Derby Informer – September 5, 2018

Photo by David Dinell

Derby first responders gather around Fire Chief Brad Smith as he prepares to donate blood on Aug. 29 at the Welcome Center’s Austin Room during the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive. The two-day event serves as a friendly competition between Derby police and firefighters. Donors get to submit a vote for police or fire.

This year, the police got 41 votes and the fire department received 40. The police now lead 2-1 in the event.

Along with the spirited competition, the donations are important, says Police Chief Robert Lee because they support our nation’s blood supply for those in need. “The drive is a great time to come together as a community and support this worthy cause and have some fun along the way,” Lee says.

Tammy Hunnell, account manager with the American Red Cross, says the organization is grateful for the donations, especially now as there is a pressing need for them. She says the event will be back next year.


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Two women dead after crash in south Wichita

By Ashonti Ford
KSN – September 5, 2018


Police said two women are dead after a crash in south Wichita. It happened around 2:30 p.m. at 31st South and Turnpike Drive.

Police said an SUV driven by a 38-year-old man was traveling east on 31st Street South and struck the passenger side door of white car turning onto Turnpike Drive.

“The white four door vehicle was going to be making a left hand turn southbound onto Turnpike Drive. As the vehicle turned, the SUV struck on the passenger side,” said officer Paul Cruz, Wichita Police Department.

The 20-year-old female passenger died at the scene. The 21-year-old woman driver of the car was transported with critical injuries. She later died at the hospital. The driver of the SUV had non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities closed 31st Street South between Hillside and Oliver to investigate the cause of the accident.


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Wayne Michael Braun

Wayne Michael Braun, 46, Wamego, Kansas passed away Sunday, September 2, 2018 at the Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan, Kansas.

On April 9, 1972, Wayne, was born to Joseph, Jr. and Peggy (Wynn) Braun in WaKeeney, Kansas. Wayne attended Ellis High School his freshman year and graduated from Trego Community High School in 1990. He also attended Cloud County Community College where he played baseball and graduated from North Central Kansas Area Vo-Tech in Hays, KS with a degree in Auto Technology. He was united in marriage with Chalee Denise Woerner on August 22, 1992 in WaKeeney. She survives of the home.

Wayne was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his motorcycle and attending family sporting events. He also enjoyed playing slow pitch softball in his younger years. Wayne started his EMT/Fire service career in 1995 as a volunteer in Graham County and Hill City, KS. After moving to the Wamego area in 2000, he continued his service with the Wamego Fire Department until 2003. Wayne began his professional career with the Manhattan Fire Department in 2001 where he served 17 years and most recently held the rank of captain. He also served on the emergency rescue team at Jeffery Energy Center for the last 8 years.

He is also survived by two children, Taylor, Wamego, KS and Jordyn, Topeka, KS; two brothers, Eric (Julie), Onaga, KS and Aaron (Karen), Wamego, KS; his mother, Peggy Braun, Onaga, KS; a grandmother, Deryl Wynn, WaKeeney, KS; two brother-in-laws, Chad (Carolyn) Woerner, Newton, KS, and Troy (Sabrina) Bourbon, Ellsworth, KS; seven nephews, Austen Allen, Cooper Swanson, Cody and Chase Bourbon, Isaac and Levi Braun and John Bourbon; three nieces, Maggie and Emma Allen and Calista Woerner; father and mother-in-law, John and Linda Woerner, Jewell, KS; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his father, three grandparents, Carroll Wynn, Joseph, Sr. & Katherine Braun; and mother-in-law, Judy Bowen.

Funeral service for Wayne will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 6, 2018 at the Trinity Baptist Church in Wamego. Burial will follow in the Wamego City Cemetery. Wayne will lie-in-state starting at 1:00 p.m. with visitation from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5th at the Stewart Funeral Home of Wamego. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested memorials to the Good Shepherd Hospice House and the Wayne Braun Memorial Fund to be designated for fire education, and may be left in care of Stewart Funeral Home, PO Box 48, Wamego, KS 66547.


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Local stores left unscathed after calls to EFD Sunday

Emporia Gazette – September 4, 2018

Shoppers at two Emporia businesses had to wait a little longer to check out Sunday as the Emporia Fire Department was called to investigate the stores.

Around 2 p.m., the EFD was dispatched to CVS at 1215 Merchant St. after a power outage caused a rooftop air conditioning unit to begin smoking. At 5 p.m., a similar situation occurred at the Tractor Supply Co. located at 1318 Industrial Road when another rooftop A/C unit began emitting smoke into the building after an apparent electrical issue.

Firefighters were able to quickly handle both situations, and no injuries were reported at either location.

The Emporia Fire Department reminds citizens to call if they see smoke in or around a structure.


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Fire at burn pit at Old Sabetha Lake

Sabetha Herald – September 4, 2018

At 4:25 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, the Sabetha Fire Department was called out to a fire at the burn pit at the Old Sabetha Lake. After arriving at the scene, it was found by firefighters that it was caused by illegal trash dumping. After the fire was extinguished, those who dumped the trash were found and Sabetha Police officers had them clean it up. Sabetha Fire Chief Jim Johnson wants to remind area residents that the dump pit is only for yard waste such as leaves, limbs and brush. SFD responded with two men and one truck. They were back at the fire barn at 5:15 p.m.


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Suspect arrested in deadly hit-and-run crash in south Wichita

KAKE – September 4, 2018

A man has been arrested in connection to a hit-and-run crash in south Wichita that killed a 56-year-old woman

Jail records show 34-year-old Monty Carpenter Jr was booked Monday evening for DUI, involuntary manslaughter while under the influence, failure to stop at an accident resulting in death, driving on a suspended license, no driver’s license, a seat belt violation and three counts of failure to comply.

The crash happened at around 3 p.m. that afternoon at 31st Street South and McLean. Officer Charley Davidson said Marsha Oglesby was heading east on 31st Street when Carpenter allegedly ran a red light and his minivan struck Oglesby’s car.

Oglesby was extricated from her car rushed to a local hospital where she died about an hour later.

“Carpenter fled from the scene on foot, but with the help of citizens in the area, he was located and arrested,” Davidson said.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show has prior convictions of driving under the influence and theft.


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Kansas man dies after ejected when car flips end over end

Hays Post – September 4, 2018

One person died in an accident just after 6p.m. Monday in Brown County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2004 Chrysler Sebring driven by David H. Allen, 31, Hiawatha, was northbound on U.S. 73 three miles north of 185th.

The vehicle left the roadway to the east and the driver over-corrected. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway to the west, struck a concrete culvert, flipped end over end and the driver was ejected.

Allen was transported to KU Medical Center where he died. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the KHP.


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300 affected by flash flooding in Wildcat Creek

By Nick McNamara
KMAN – September 4, 2018

Photo by Matt Lunsford

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Three hundred people were affected and dozens were trapped in their homes following flash flooding in Wildcat Creek Monday, according to the Riley County Police Department. There were no deaths or serious injuries reported at the media conference at 2 p.m., save for one firefighter injured by a pet. They also estimated that 750 residents still were without power.

The Army Corps of Engineers estimated 8.9 inches of rain fell starting late Sunday and running into Monday morning in Riley County, leading to the extensive flooding in parts of Manhattan as well as in Keats.

Flood sirens sounded around 5:30 to 6 a.m. and evacuations began at Hunters Island, Redbud Estates, Highland Ridge Apartments, and the Evergreen Apartments on Garden Way and other properties according to Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr.

Manhattan Fire Department Battalion Chief Jason Hudson said crews arrived at Garden Way around 6:30 a.m. and helped people wade through water until it was hip-deep. Within 45 minutes of their arrival, water had risen too high and people had to be evacuated by boat. 60 people were rescued from Redbud, 16 from Highland Ridge, as well as 50 from Garden Way along with 20 pets.

Fehr said the flooding was “one of the most significant events that we’ve experienced” since he’s been in Manhattan and that “things got flooded this time that never got flooded before — even in some of the rural areas.”

“This was a greater than normal event,” Fehr said. “I think we’re saying it’s at least over a 500 year event, probably somewhere in that 700 to 800 year event, we’ll have to see what the data is on that.”

Riley County Emergency Management Director Pat Collins said the situation isn’t over just yet.

“We still got flooding, we got people that are sheltered in place in flooded areas,” said Collins. “Our goal is still to get those people out — they’re safe right now at home, but they probably not going to be able to spend the night there. If we can get them out safely, we’re going to get them out — if we can shelter in place, we’ll shelter them in place and keep them safe.”

Shelter has been set up for displaced people by the American Red Cross at Pottorf Hall in Cico Park and another is being established at Bramlage Coliseum. Fehr said the city and county are not looking for volunteers or donations at this time, but encouraged people looking to help to check with Red Cross officials to see what their needs may be.

Water ran over Scenic Drive and got very high on Fort Riley Boulevard where the roads bridge over Wildcat Creek and are closed until waters recede enough for engineers to inspect them and ensure they are safe for traffic.

Fehr said their next major priority is inspecting flooded areas to ensure they are safe to allow residents to return as well as to reactivate their power.

“If the building was flooded, it’s got to be inspected to make sure it’s safe to be able to turn that power back on otherwise it’s a high fire danger,” said Fehr.

City damage assessment teams will be rolling out this afternoon to begin evaluating properties.

Heavy rains are forecast for the rest of the week, and Collins said they are preparing by taking names of people with flat-bottom boats who are looking to help as they did not have enough boats for the rescue efforts that occurred today. He also urged residents to sign up for phone notifications and warnings through Riley County Emergency Management website.

The flooding also affected various commercial properties. These included the Manhattan Running Company, Powercat Sports Grill, Goblin Games, CSL Plasma and other companies located at the Village Plaza.

Manhattan Running Company owner Ben Sigle said he saw no waters before 6 a.m., but got calls after that the waters were rising. He spoke to KMAN on scene at his store on Garden Way before noon and said he managed to get all of his merchandise out of the way of the waters that found their way into his store.

He said the situation could have been far worse for him and that he doesn’t anticipate too much damage to the property.

“They’ve done a pretty good job of getting all the water out, we’re drying now,” Sigle said. “We’re pretty fortunate to be where we’re at right now, hopefully everybody else is doing just as well as we are. We’re just trying to save stuff here, there’s a lot more important stuff like people that need to be taken care of — stuff can all be replaced.”

Powercat Sports Grill General Manager Bo Harris also spoke with KMAN outside his restaurant. He said they had about 2.5 feet of water in the property.

“We got a lot of rebuilding and remodeling to do,” Harris said. “Could be a couple weeks to a month before we get a lot of that stuff done and ready to go again.”


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