Archive for November, 2018

Fire damages laundromat

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – November 14, 2018

Photos by Elaine Ray

A dryer fire caused fire and smoke damage to the 1st Street Laundromat Wednesday morning.

Pratt Fire Chief Dave Kramer said flames from the overheated dryer got into the ceiling and burned the back side of the dryer.

“There was a lot of heat and smoke damage. The plastic lenses on the light fixtures were melted and the dryer was destroyed,” Kramer said.

When firefighters arrived shortly after 8 a.m. there was thick, black smoke coming out of the building. The fire was very hot but confined to the dryer and ceiling immediately above. The fire was inside the dryer drum and burned some towels. The fire was so hot, it melted a ladder sitting behind the dryer.

Smoke from the fire got into the Nex Tech Wireless office and the Shelter Insurance office that share the building with the laundromat.

Pratt firefighters placed fans in the businesses to help clear the smoke, Kramer said.

Fire fighters had the fire knocked down in about five minutes but were on site for about an hour, ventilating the building. Both the gas and electric were shut off to the building for safety. Repairs were immediately under way. The business is closed during repairs and no specific time or date has been set but a sign on the door says “soon.”

No one was injured in the fire.


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Home Total Loss in Monday Night Fire

By Joe Denoyer
KSHB – November 14, 2018

Seward County Fire and Rescue were called out Monday evening at 7:35pm on the reports of a structure fire in the 5000 block of County Road M. Upon arrival, firefighters reported the home was totally engulfed. 6 occupants of the home were able to get out of the structure without any injuries. The home was a total loss. Seward County responded with 13 personnel and were back in service by 11:40pm. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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Fatality accident on U.S. 54; three victims

Pratt Tribune – November 14, 2018

Photo by Ashley Winkler Simmons

Photo by Gale Rose

Photo by Gale Rose

Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Brent Hemken said there were three victims involved in the head-on collision of two semis on U.S. Highway 54 early Wednesday morning. Both trucks caught fire after impact, burning down to the frames. The highway remains closed.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Wednesday morning crash involving two semis killed three people in Kiowa County.

The head-on crash happened about 7 a.m. near milemarker 112 on Highway 54.That crash left the highway closed in both directions for several hours.

On the scene, a lieutenant with the KHP says the three people killed in the crash were the only occupants of the semis involved. He says both trucks caught fire as a result of the crash and burned “almost completely.”

The KHP says further information, including the cause of the crash and the identities of those killed will be confirmed through its crash log


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Sabetha Fire Department celebrates Family Night, Retirements

Sabetha Herald – November 13, 2018

Retired firemen and current firemen gather at the Sabetha Fire Department Family night to celebrate the retirement of Tom Nolte and Ryan Meyer. Pictured, with years served, are FRONT ROW (L-R) Dylan Livengood, 5 years; Lieutenant Bryan Minge, 4 years; Tim Winkler, 5 years; Alan Meyer, 27 years; and Chief Jim Johnson, 43 years; SECOND ROW (L-R) retired Bob Steiner, 45 years; retired Russ Baumgartner, 20 years; retired Bob Baumgartner, 20 years; newly retired Tom Nolte, 35 years; Josh Burger, 9 years; Jason Daharsh, 1 year; Andrew Hartter, 1 year; Matt Popkess, 29 years; newly retired Ryan Meyer, 29 years; and retired Zayne Painter, 21 years; THIRD ROW (L-R) Captain Jason Meyer, 8 years; Grant Meyer, 1 year; and Dave Nonnast, less than a year; BACK ROW (L-R) retired Rob Oom, 20 years; Tracy Rokey (partially hidden), 34 years; Lieutenant Tristan Nichols, 5 years; Assistant Chief Gary Elliott, 21 years; Corbin Knobloch, 1 year; Captain Riley Wells (partially hidden), 5 years; Josh Hartter, 2 years; Jesse Hartter, 3 years; retired Dave Hartter, 29 years; Baylen Edelman, 3 years; and Kevin Wiltz (partially hidden), 19 years. Not pictured is Jacob Hartter, 4 years; Blake Popkess, 4 years; and retired Don Strahm, 35 years.

Ryan Meyer, left, and Tom Nolte retire from the Sabetha Fire Department after a combined 64 years of service. Nolte served 35 years, and Meyer served 29 years.

Sabetha Mayor Doug Clark and City Commissioner Julie Burenheide attend the Sabetha Fire Department Family Night for the retirements of Tom Nolte and Ryan Meyer. The two served for 64 years combined. Pictured are (L-R) Fire Chief Jim Johnson, Tom Nolte, Mayor Doug Clark, Ryan Meyer and Commissioner Julie Burenheide.


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Cub Scouts visit EMS, Fire Department

Sabetha Herald – November 13, 2018

Cub Scouts Pack No. 77, Webelos den, visits the Sabetha Fire Department. Pictured are (FRONT ROW L-R) fireman Bryan Minge, fireman Riley Wells, Jayton Meyer, Nathan Smith, fireman Jason Burger and fireman Jason Meyer; BACK ROW (L-R) Jayce Rebant, James Sallman, Isaac Schmid and Simon Livengood.


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Lawrence City Commission to review funding agreement for fire and medical services

By Rochelle Valverde
Lawrence Journal World – November 13, 2018

Photo by Nick Krug

Discussions will soon begin regarding how much city of Lawrence and Douglas County taxpayers should pay for firefighting and emergency medical services.

City officials have said the current funding agreement for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical is unfair to city taxpayers. As part of their work session Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners will review the funding agreement and provide direction to city staff.

Currently, the city pays about 75 percent of the fire-medical department’s budget and the county pays 25 percent, according to a joint resolution between the city and county. The funding agreement has not significantly changed in the 22 years since it was established.

The city and county have various funding agreements, and City Manager Tom Markus said such agreements needed to be reviewed and updated periodically.

“My preference is that we maintain the agreements but that we update them and that we look for a better balance of distribution of costs based on who should be paying what,” Markus said. He said the current funding agreement didn’t reflect the true costs.

The Lawrence Fire Department and the Douglas County Ambulance Service consolidated their services in 1996. The funding allocation established at that time was based on what the city and county had been paying for each service when the consolidation occurred, according to a memo from the fire-medical department to the commission. Under the agreement, the city is supposed to be financially responsible for firefighting within the city limits and the county responsible for emergency medical service in the county, including within the city of Lawrence.

Markus said the 25 percent paid by the county no longer reflected the cost of providing emergency medical services throughout the county.

“The county basically is reimbursing us for what percentage they were paying at the time, without the recognition that things change,” Markus said. “That’s a big concern, and so, finally, we’re able to sit down and start negotiating this.”

The department has 150 employees and a multimillion-dollar annual budget. For this year, the city budgeted about $23 million to pay for the department’s expenses, which include costs for personnel and equipment.

City staff is recommending the commission pursue equitable financial obligations for emergency medical services, which make up 75 percent of the fire-medical department’s service calls. Fire calls make up 23 percent and Coroner Scene Investigator calls 2 percent. Staff is also recommending that the agreement incorporate clear language for capital and equipment costs and review the CSI and technical rescue programs.

Markus said the city wasn’t recommending a specific funding allocation at this point, as he said it would make sense to first start the communication between the city and the county and to understand the county’s counterpoints. He said that, following Tuesday’s meeting, the next step would be for city staff to begin meeting with county staff.

The Lawrence City Commission will convene at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.


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Three Russell Firefighters Promoted

By David Elliott
KRSL – November 13, 2018

The Russell City Fire Department has promoted Jordan Harrison to Captain, Rick Webb to Lieutenant and Dylan Riedel to Lieutenant.

Also, they have openings, so if you want to join, please contact a firefighter or stop by the City Building and pick up an application.

(Information courtesy Russell City Fire Department.)


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One dead in northwest Sedgwick County crash

KSN – November 13, 2018


One person has died and another person was injured after a crash in northwest Sedgwick County. It happened just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday near 21st Street North and 167th Street West.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said a suburban was traveling east when it was struck by a pickup heading west on 21st Street.

Authorities blocked off 21st Street from 167th to 183rd Street as they investigated.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said icy road conditions could be a factor. They urge drivers to slow down and be cautious.


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Jefferson County standoff ends with suspect burning house down

By Mark Feuerborn
KSNT – November 13, 2018

An Ozawkie man set his house on fire after a fight with his mother and a standoff with local deputies, the Jefferson County Sheriff said.

The sheriff’s office received a report of an argument between a mother and son, possibly suicidal, around 5 p.m. Monday evening at 10927 Arapaho Lane.

When deputies arrived on scene, the son, identified as 37-year-old James Patrick Hutchins, barricaded himself in the house with a knife. After attempts by deputies to talk Hutchins out of the home, the subject started a fire while he and the family pets were inside.

Deputies ran into the burning structure and brought Hutchins out, who began fighting with three of them. He was taken into custody on charges including felony arson, criminal damage, animal cruelty with intent to kill, and three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

The burned house was declared a total loss, and the investigation is ongoing.


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House fire in Topeka neighborhood

WIBW – November 13, 2018


Authorities were called to a home in the 1200 block of SW Lincoln just before 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Officials tell 13 NEWS the home was vacant at the time, however, they believe the fire may have been started by a squatter who was trying to keep warm.

No injuries have been reported at this time.


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1 person taken to hospital after KCK duplex fire

By Brian Dulle
FOX 4 – November 13, 2018

One person was taken to the hospital Monday morning after a duplex caught fire.

Crews were called to the structure fire near 79th and Corona Ave. just before 8 a.m. When fire crews arrived they could see heavy smoke coming from a garage.

The fire appeared to have started in the basement of the duplex, according to the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department. Crews fought the fire until it was extinguished and a search was completed of the duplex.

Red Cross was called for four adults and two children. One person was taken to the University of Kansas Medical Center for smoke inhalation.

The estimated amount of damage is reported to be $23,000.

The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.


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Residential Structure Fire in Liberal at 4 Palo Verde Dr.

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – November 13, 2018

At 1:58 pm Sunday the Liberal Fire Department was dispatched to 4 Palo Verde Dr. for a report of a stove fire. The first fire unit on scene reported heavy fire from the front windows of a manufactured home and directed incoming units to begin an offensive fire attack. All occupants of the home an adult female and six children were able to safely escape after the fire started and took refuge in a neighboring home. Firefighters were able to make entry and knockdown fire in the kitchen and living room areas of the home. An additional secondary search of the residence was conducted to rule out the presence of any additional occupants or pets. The fire was declared under control at 2:33 pm. Fire personnel remained on scene until 3:41 pm overhauling hot spots and investigating the origin and cause of the fire.

No injuries to any occupants or emergency responders were reported from the fire. However the home is considered a total loss from fire, smoke and water damage. Liberal FD investigators were able to determine the area of origin in the kitchen from statements by the occupants and supporting evidence from fire damage. At this time the fire is believed to be accidental in nature and related to the malfunction of an electric dishwasher. All fire units were cleared from the scene and returned to service at 4:24 pm.

Liberal Fire responded with a total of 14 personnel, two engines and four support and command vehicles. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department, Seward County EMS, Southern Pioneer Electric, Black Hills Energy, Liberal Water Department and American Red Cross.


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Woman dead in Overland Park house fire

KSHB – November 13, 2018

Photo by Cat Reid

The Overland Park Fire Department said one woman has died as a result of the fire on Kessler Lane.

A department spokesman said the woman was pulled from the basement of the home and taken to the hospital, but did not survive.

The woman was later identified as Leanora Marks, 67, of Overland Park, Kansas.

Investigators are now working the fire as a fatality.

PREVIOUS — OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — One person was injured Sunday night when fire tore through an Overland Park, Kansas, house.

The Overland Park Fire Department responded to a fire in the 7500 block of Kessler Lane shortly after 9 p.m. and reported thick, black smoke from the roof.

Crews quickly got the fire, which was described as “heavy,” under control then discovered a victim in the basement during a primary search of the house.

The unidentified victim is in critical condition, according to a release from OPFD.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.


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Car fire ignites Manhattan garage

By Tiernan Shank
WIBW – November 13, 2018

Manhattan fire crews do not know what sparked a car fire in a garage Sunday evening.

The department says firefighters were called to 2300 Vineyard Circle just before 6:30 p.m.

They found a vehicle on fire inside the garage of a two story house.

Within ten minutes they extinguished the vehicle fire but it had spread to the garage.

The only person at home was able to evacuate without injury.

The fire caused over $31,000 in damage.


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Wrong-way crash kills one in Miami County

By Gary Brauer
KSHB – November 13, 2018

One person was killed and two others were injured Sunday morning in a wrong-way crash on U.S. 69 just north of 223rd Street in Miami County.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office said Jacob Knapp, 29, was traveling south in the northbound lanes shortly before 4 a.m. in a white 2016 Jeep Wrangler.

Knapp’s vehicle crashed into a maroon 2011 Chevrolet Malibu with two passengers the driver, Charlene Crabbe, 44, and Joshua A. Kinsey, 25, of Kansas City, Kansas.

Arriving deputies found Kinsey dead from injuries suffered in the collision.

Crabbe was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Knapp, whose Jeep caught fire, was in stable condition at a local hospital, according to the sheriff’s department.

The crash remains under investigation by the Miami County and Johnson County, Kansas, sheriff’s departments.

First responders from the Louisburg fire and police department, Johnson County Fire District 2 and Miami County EMS also assisted at the scene.


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Kan. woman dead, 1 hospitalized after head-on crash

Hays Post – November 13, 2018

One person died in an accident just after 7p.m. Friday in Linn County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1999 Honda Civic driven by Autumn R. Robinett, 43, La Cygne, was westbound on Kansas 152.

The vehicle crossed the center line and struck eastbound 2015 Chrysler 200 driven by Karen K. Clemens, La Cygne head-on.

Robinett was pronounced dead at the scene. Clemens was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident and transported to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. The KHP did not report details on Robinett’s seat belt usage.


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Topeka fire officials: Four apartments sustain major damage in blaze

By Brianna Childers
Topeka Capital Journal – November 13, 2018

Four apartment units at a central Topeka apartment complex sustained major damage in a fire Saturday night, an investigator said.

Firefighters responded about 7:20 p.m. to the blaze at 709 S.W. Tyler St. Heavy smoke and flames were visible when fire crews arrived on scene.

Crews completed a search of the building but found no one inside, said Battalion Chief Dan Macke.

Macke said at the scene that the fire started in one apartment and spread to another.

American Medical Response ambulance service was called to the scene to treat people with smoke inhalation, but no one was taken to a hospital.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control about 8 p.m.

In a news release, fire investigator Zach Bottenberg said the three-story apartment building contained 18 apartments, and all of the residents self-evacuated safely.

He estimated structural damage at $40,000 and estimated content loss at $10,000.

The fire started in apartment No. 10, Bottenberg said, but its cause remained undetermined pending further investigation.

The American Red Cross was providing assistance to 14 occupants of the apartment building, he said.

Fire officials said some smoke detectors were sounding inside the building. No injuries were reported.

A fire in the 700 block of S.W. Taylor left one person dead and another critically injured Sunday, according to the Topeka Fire Department.

The fire was reported at about 2 p.m. at 722 S.W. Taylor St. Upon arrival, Topeka fire fighters reported heavy smoke coming from the two-story apartment building.

One adult was found dead on the scene, and another was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Michael Martin, Topeka Fire Marshal, said he was unable to verify the fire was what caused the person’s death, and was unable to give further descriptions of the victims.

No smoke detectors had sounded within the apartment, according to information from the fire department.
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One dead in rollover accident in northwest Wichita

KSN – November 13, 2018

One person is dead after a single-car accident early Saturday in northwest Wichita.

It happened just after midnight in the area of 109 Street North and Ridge Road. When the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office arrived, they say they saw a single vehicle resting on its roof in the middle of the street.

Police say the vehicle looked like it had been driving southbound before it went off the roadway.

The 24-year-old driver was the only person in the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident is still under investigation. It’s unknown whether speed or alcohol were factors in the accident.


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JCFD promotes new fire marshal

By Mike Sellman
Junction City Daily Union – November 13, 2018

Newly promoted Junction City Fire Marshal David Nelson is presented with a badge. Nelson’s wife, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, pinned the badge on him during Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

The Junction City Fire Department promoted a new fire marshal this week.

Firefighter and advanced emergency medical technician David Nelson was promoted to the fire marshal position, and was presented with a badge during Tuesday’s Junction City Commissioners meeting.

Junction City Fire Chief Terry Johnson told commissioners that the position’s interview process came down to two candidates who both scored highly.

“We have some very qualified people in Junction City,” Johnson said.

With Nelson’s promotion, Johnson said the reorganization of staff at the fire department — which began a year ago — is now complete.

Nelson is a 17-year veteran of the JCFD. He has credentials in computer-aided management of emergency operations, fire and arson fatality fire scene investigations, fire scene reconstruction and fire inspections.

He is also a member of the Junction City Fire Fighters Association, the Junction City Relief Association, the Kansas State Relief Association, the Firefighters Aid Association, and is a commander in the JCFD Honor Guard.

Nelson participates in community efforts, as he is a member of the Geared Up Dads Advisory Committee, a Junction City High School wrestling coach and a Kansas State High School Athletic Association official.


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Shelton named 2018 Fire Chief of the Year

Greater Garden City – November 9, 2018

Garden City Fire Department Chief Allen Shelton, middle, accepts the 2018 Fire Chief of the Year award from President of Kansas State Fire Chiefs Association Pat Collins, left, and KSAFC Ex Officio Brad Smith, right.

Courtesy of the City of Garden City

Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton has been named the 2018 Fire Chief of the Year by the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs. Shelton received the award during the association’s conference held in Garden City October 26-28.

Shelton has spent his entire 44 year career with the Garden City Fire Department. He began in September 1975 as a volunteer firefighter, was then elected volunteer assistant chief in April 1978 and volunteer fire chief in March 1982. Shelton became the first full-time, paid fire chief of the Garden City Fire Department on February 27, 1984.

During his time as fire chief, the department has grown from one full-time fire chief to a total of 38 paid employees, including three battalion chiefs, a fire marshal, six lieutenants, 26 firefighters and an administrative assistant. The department currently makes use of two stations, and plans are underway for a third station to be opened in 2024.

“Allen is most deserving of this recognition,” City Manager Matt Allen said. “Not only is he deeply committed to the department and the community, but Chief also is committed to the state and national fire chief associations. He shares his knowledge in a way that helps develop his staff and other fire service leaders around the country.”

Shelton has been a member of numerous committees and associations throughout his career, including the Kansas Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators, and the Kansas State Fire Chiefs Association. Shelton has served as a board member and, most recently, as the vice president of the Kansas State Fire Chiefs Association.

Battalion Chief Ken Seirer wrote in his letter of nomination that Shelton has always prioritized firefighter education and training. As one example of this, Seirer noted that the fire department and Garden City Community College teamed up in 2007 to build a training tower used by fire departments throughout southwest Kansas. He also cataloged various training and leadership courses Shelton has encouraged staff to participate in.

“Another top priority for Chief Shelton has always been to provide each firefighter with the best and safest equipment so that they can provide the best service possible to the community,” Seirer wrote.

In addition to his recognition at the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs Conference, Shelton was also recognized by the Garden City Commission Tuesday.

“I am proud to see Chief Shelton being honored with this very prestigious award,” Mayor Roy Cessna said. “He has provided outstanding leadership over the many years of service that he has given to the City of Garden City and Finney County.”


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CARSTAR Presents NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication Events in Kansas City

Body Shop Business – November 9, 2018

CARSTAR announced that over 120 first responders from the Kansas City and St. Joe area attended demonstrations offered by CARSTAR on how to extricate people from today’s advanced vehicles.

The National Auto Body Council (NABC) First Responder Emergency Extrication (FREE) training on the latest in technology was offered by three CARSTAR locations in the Kansas City area. Events were hosted in St. Joseph and Smithville, Mo., and Stilwell, Kan., Oct 16-18, 2018.

Fire departments from Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas, St. Joseph, Smithville, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Lenexa, Johnson County, Anderson County, Shawnee Heights, Louisburg, Winfield, Rushville, King City, Maryville, Warrensburg, Fishing River and Falls City attended one of the three events.

“Hosting the NABC FREE events are a way for CARSTAR to further serve the Kansas City area,” said Steve Hahn, owner of CARSTAR Metcalf.

Twelve salvage vehicles were donated by State Farm for firefighters to practice “cutting” techniques.

“State Farm is proud to support this program that will help prepare our first responders to handle the emergency situations they’ll face,” said Kevin Gamble, State Farm Community and Media Relations. “We make it our business to help build safer, stronger and better educated communities.”

In crashes where minutes can spell the difference between life and death, first responders to the accident scene need up-to-date information so they can act quickly and safely. Knowing where and how to efficiently cut, pry and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders.

Keeping first responders up to date on the latest new technology in vehicles is a challenge for every local fire department. The NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication program (FREE) helps first responders stay abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design. High-strength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems, onboard technology and safety around alternative fuel vehicles are all covered in the program. The growing popularity of high-voltage hybrid and electric vehicles and the many safety concerns surrounding these vehicles makes this program a necessity. Alternative fuel systems present different challenges when first responders arrive at the scene of an accident. Electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles have fuel systems that pose dangers for first responders if the need arises to cut or pry the vehicle for rescue.

Billy Hurt from Alex Air Apparatus was the instructor at all three events. The program displayed key products used to increase the speed at which occupants can be removed safely from damaged vehicles. Hurst Jaws of Life is a rescue equipment manufacturer who has partnered with the NABC.

“Our training and experience in repairing vehicles also translates into knowledge of how to “cut” these vehicles in an emergency scenario,” said CARSTAR Metcalf’s Hahn. “Hurst knows the tools and techniques for extrication. CARSTAR body shops know the vehicles.”


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One person dead after fire at Paxico winery

By Brianna Childers
Topeka Capital Journal – November 9, 2018

Photo by Brianna Childers

Firefighters and Wabaunsee County law enforcement were on the scene Thursday night of a large fire at Wyldewood Cellars Winery in Paxico.

A woman who identified herself as longtime manager of the winery, located at 23633 Grapevine Road, but declined to give her name said a person set themselves on fire outside the front door. The fire spread to the building. The person’s body and a gas can were found near the front door, she said.

The winery closed at 4:30 p.m. because of the winter weather. The fire started about 6 p.m., which is the winery’s normal closing time.

The manager said a person driving past the winery saw the fire and reported it.

Firefighters were expected to remain at the scene for several hours.

The Wabaunsee County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters from at least two Wabaunsee County fire districts and Wamego Fire Department were on scene as of 9:30 p.m. The fire crews continued to spray water on the building.


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Drowsy driving suspected in deadly Saline County crash

KWCH – November 9, 2018

A 44-year-old woman is dead after a rollover crash early Thursday morning in Saline County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says the car was headed eastbound on I-70 when it left the roadway and crashed.

Stacy Crader of Tipton Missouri died. The driver was taken to the hospital for treatment. No word on the extent of his injuries.

Troopers says the crash may be the result of driver fatigue and was not weather related.

One person was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Saline County early Thursday morning.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says it happened shortly before 4:30 a.m. on I-70 near mile marker 244 (Hedville/Culver exit).

Trooper Ben says the crash is likely due to driver fatigue.


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Shawnee Fire Department to launch online dashboard in push for transparency

By Leah Wankum
Shawnee Mission Post – November 9, 2018

Sal Scarpa, deputy chief of the Shawnee Fire Department, presented updates Oct. 29 on the department’s five-year strategic plan.

In the name of transparency, the Shawnee Fire Department is launching an online platform for residents to see exactly what local firefighters are up to.

Now that the Shawnee Fire Department is halfway through its 2016-2021 strategic plan, feedback from the public has been abundantly clear: Residents want more transparency.

Sal Scarpa, deputy fire chief, said the push for transparency is a direct response to the department’s last collection of public input in 2015, which led to development of the online dashboard.

“We’re not very good at telling our story,” he said. “They wanted to know more. And so this next piece that we’re going to do on the dashboard is a direct response to that.

“We’re hoping that our dashboard provides them a good deal of information about what your department’s doing: Performance measures, response times, number of calls, types of calls. All those types of things will be out there.”

Scarpa said the department staff expects to launch the dashboard sometime during the first quarter of 2019.

The online dashboard will be free to access, open to the public, located on the city’s website and updated monthly. Scarpa gave public presentations Oct. 29 on the strategic plan and showed local residents and city leaders a sneak peek at what the dashboard will look like.

“We wanted to reach back into the community to give them an update on what we’ve done so far and our progress towards our goals and then get feedback on the direction that we’re going,” Scarpa said.

Fire department staff are planning to incorporate public input from the Oct. 29 meetings into its short-term plans for the remainder of the five-year strategic plan, Scarpa added.

“It’s pretty straightforward: We want to give the community an opportunity to have input into our planning process,” he said. “We want to be completely transparent with all of the efforts that we’re undertaking.”

The seven goals of the five-year strategic plan can be found on the city’s website. As of Oct. 29, the fire department has completed two of its seven strategic goals, while the rest are in progress. About 54 percent of the strategic plan is complete, while 15 percent is in process and the remaining 31 percent has not been started.


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Fire protection rating improves

By Phyllis Zorn
Marion County Record – November 8, 2018

Marion’s fire protection rating — a measurement of how well residents are protected from fire — went up this year.

Fire protection ratings are assigned by Insurance Service Office, an independent company that rates a community and its area, city administrator Roger Holter said.

A public protection classification ranging from 1 at the top to 10 at the bottom is used by insurance companies to set the fire risk for properties they insure.

“All insurance companies are supposed to use this as their classification guide to set their rates,” Holter said.

A metropolitan area with direct access to a fire station is rated 1, Holter said.

Marion’s rating notched up from 6 to 5, and residents of the county lake went up to 5 along with them, Holter said. The county park and lake is one of Marion’s direct fire districts, he said. A few of the lake homes are rated 9 because of the distance to a fire hydrant, Holter said.

The large water tower on the east edge of the city holds a half a million gallons.

“We were able to prove the water tower can maintain over 700 gallons a minute,” Holter said.

Holter said getting Marion’s fire protection rating higher took cooperation from several people.

All members of the city fire department became certified with Federal Emergency Management Agency in the past year, which was also a factor in the improved fire protection rating.

The report was created Oct. 18 and officially goes into effect for insurance carriers Feb 1, 2019.

Marion insurance agent Casey Case said some insurance companies won’t cover homes rated 9 for fire protection.

“Most of the companies we represent are rural and include farm insurance,” Case said. “There is a significant change in premium from a class 9 to a class 5.”

Case said homes with a classification changing from 6 to 5 probably won’t see any difference in their insurance rates.


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Program outfits Osawatomie homes with new smoke alarms

By Doug Carder
Miami County Republic – November 7, 2018

Photo by Osawatomie Fire Department

The Osawatomie Volunteer Fire Department and OZFD Wives and Family group recently installed 50 smoke detectors in 13 Osawatomie homes – including a half dozen that had no detectors at all.

The Oct. 28 effort was made possible by the American Red Cross Sound the Alarm program, Osawatomie Fire Chief Brian Love said.

“It’s the first time we’ve done that program,” Love said. “I was real pleased with the results.”

In the past, the fire department has distributed smoke alarms donated by the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. Love said he likes the Red Cross program because it requires firefighters to install the alarms.

“We handed out the smoke alarms (provided by the state fire marshal) in boxes,” Love said. “The Red Cross program provides the alarms on the condition that firefighters install them, which we like, because there’s no guarantee when you hand someone a smoke alarm in a box that it will actually get installed.”

Loree Love, Red Cross volunteer, said she learned about the Sound the Alarm program three or four months ago during a presentation in Ottawa, she said.

“I wanted to bring that program back to Miami County,” she said.

The husband-and-wife team’s goal of getting smoke alarms to Osawatomie residents was realized when a baker’s dozen signed up for the installation, the Loves said.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to allow a stranger to come into your home, and we really appreciate everyone who opened their homes to us,” Loree Love said. “We had six houses that did not have smoke alarms, which was surprising.”

The American Red Cross recently announced the Sound the Alarm 2018 campaign has led to 122,259 smoke alarms being installed nationwide. The program was established in 2014.

In Osawatomie and the surrounding area, smoke detectors were made available to all residents who are served by the Osawatomie Volunteer Fire Department.

The Loves said this first installation through the Sound the Alarm program was not a one-time project.

“We’re going to be continuing that program, and our plan right now is to do it every six months,” Chief Love said.


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Crews battle early morning garage fire

By Marleah Campbell and Regan Porter
KSNT – November 6, 2018

A blaze at a Shawnee County garage is under investigation after fire crews were called to the scene early Tuesday.

Soldier Township and Rock Creek Township fire crews responded to the blaze at the garage on NE 56th St. near Shaffer Rd just after 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Doug Schmitt, fire chief for Soldier Township, said his crews arrived to the scene and found an RV on fire.

The fire then spread to the garage.

A boat and pickup truck were also severely damaged by the flames.

The owner of the RV said he just had it serviced yesterday and believes it caused the fire.

No one was injured in the fire.

Schmitt says the cause of fire is still under investigation.


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Crews battle fire at vacant house in East Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – November 6, 2018

Photo by Phil Anderson


Topeka fire crews early Monday afternoon responded to a blaze at a vacant house in East Topeka.

The blaze was reported around 1 p.m. at a one-story, boarded-up house at 1506 S.E. 4th. The location was just east of a bridge that goes over the Shunganunga Creek.

Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Ty Christian said at the scene that crews arrived to find light smoke showing from the residence.

Firefighters made quick work of the blaze and were ventilating the house of smoke as of 1:30 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

A Topeka Fire Department investigator was being called to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze.


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No injuries in attic fire

Hutchinson News – November 5, 2018

Hutchinson firefighters were able to a contain a fire to the attic of a home and “minimal damage to the exterior” at 309 East 16th, according to a press release.

The Hutchinson Fire Department was called to the home by its occupants around 5 p.m. on Saturday. HFD stated the fire was unintentional and that no one was injured.

The press release does not say how the fire started.


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Fire destroys family home in Meriden

By Nick Viviani and Tiernan Shank
WIBW – November 5, 2018

A Meriden couple escaped their burning home unharmed as an overnight fire destroyed it.

Diana Funk woke up smelling smoke and alerted her husband Cliff, their son Paul told 13 NEWS. He said the couple grabbed the dogs and just made it out of the home.

Soldier Twp. Firefighters arrived around midnight at the house, 2227 NE 74th Street, to put out the blaze, but not before it left the structure “a complete loss,” firefighter Shiloh Burris explained.


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Battle of the Badges benefits Special Olympics

By Kelly Saberi
KSNT – November 5, 2018

The 15th Annual Battle of the Badges took place at Yager Stadium at Washburn University.

The Topeka Police Department, Topeka Fire Department, Kansas Highway Patrol and Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department competed in the flag football competition.

The Topeka Fire Department won this year’s tournament.

The money raised from the event will benefit Special Olympics.


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Two homes damaged by spreading fire in KCK’s Strawberry Hill neighborhood

By Robert A. Cronkleton
Kansas City Star – November 5, 2018

Photo by Keith Myers


Fire severely damaged two houses Sunday in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported shortly before 2 p.m. in the 400 block of Barnett Avenue.

Arriving crews reported seeing heavy smoke and fire coming from both houses and immediately asked for additional firefighters to battle the blaze.

Firefighters searched the houses and reported that no one was inside either home, said Kansas City, Kan., Battalion Chief Don White.

Richart Nastav, who has lived in one of the damaged houses for 55 years, said he was watching the Kansas City Chiefs game on TV when he smelled smoke.

Concerned, he got up and looked outside to see where it was coming from. That’s when he saw flames shooting out of the back of his neighbor’s house. Nastav said he noticed that the fire was spreading to his house.

Nastav got his garden hose and started spraying water on his house to put out the flames. He said he had the flames halfway out when he was told that it wasn’t safe and he had to leave.

The fire was across the street from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, which was hosting a birthday party at the time. Children at the party came outside to watch the firefighters work.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters let the kids spray water on their equipment to help clean it off. Some of the children shared cake with the firefighters.

The fire department tries to get out into the community and interact with children whenever they can, White said.

“We don’t want our first interaction with them to be at this kind of situation,” he said. “We want them to know we are their friends.”


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TFD battles four weekend fires

By Tiernan Shank
WIBW – November 5, 2018

The Topeka Fire Department responded to four fires over the weekend, one being suspicious.

The first fire happened around 12:30 a.m. Saturday in an apartment building located at 4420 SW 34th Street. Fire crews say the heavy smoke and flames were accidental and could have been caused by cigarette smoking.

The occupants of apartment #12, where the fire started, escaped without injury. The estimated total dollar loss is $40,000.

On Saturday evening, fire crews responded to 507 NE Paramore Street just after 9 p.m. and found a vacant house on fire. TFD says the cause of the fire was electrical. The house has an estimated $4,500 in damage.

On Sunday, TFD was called to another apartment complex, this time at 5991 SE 22nd Park just after 6:30 a.m.

They extinguished flames coming from a first floor apartment. The occupant was able to get out without injury. Cigarette smoking is to blame for the fire, according to TFD.

Hours later, TFD was called to a vacant house at 1401 SE Washington St. shortly after 8 a.m. They found heavy smoke and flames. They do not know the cause of the fire and say it is suspicious in nature.


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Man dies after crashing into bridge pillar on Kansas highway

KAKE – November 5, 2018

Authorities say a 52-year-old Kansas man was killed when he crashed his truck into a bridge support pillar.

The accident happened just after 3:15 p.m. Sunday on U.S. Route 83 in Haskell County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Brian Quimby was heading north when he veered off the roadway and struck the pillar for the U.S. Route 160 bridge.

Quimby, of Sublette, died at the scene.

The patrol’s crash log didn’t state what caused Quimby’s truck to go off the road.


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Kansas man killed in motorcycle crash

KAKE – November 5, 2018

A 43-year-old man died after a car turned in front of his motorcycle in northern Kansas.

It happened at around 1:45 p.m. Sunday near Bennington in Ottawa County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Brian Montague was heading south on 170th Road when a Nissan Altima made a left turn from K-18 and collided with the motorcycle.

Montague, of Delphos, died at the scene. The patrol says he was wearing a helmet.

The 18-year-old woman driving the Nissan and her two passengers were not hurt.


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Crash near Garden Plain kills 1, injures 2

KWCH – November 5, 2018

An early morning crash near Garden Plain killed one person and injured two others, according to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said around 2:00 a.m., a Ford F-250 truck was traveling eastbound and a Toyota Rav-4 SUV was traveling westbound near 39th Street south and 279th Street west.

The two vehicles collided and the SUV caught on fire, according to investigators. The person inside the SUV was pronounced dead and the two people inside the truck were taken to the hospital. Deputies said the two people who were hospitalized are expected to recover. The name of the person who died has not been released.

Deputies are investigating what caused the crash.


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TFD battles house fire in north Topeka

By Grant Stephens
WIBW – November 5, 2018


Just after 9:00 Saturday night the Topeka Fire Department was called to a house fire near the 500 block of Paramore.

According to Topeka dispatchers multiple trucks were called to the scene, battling fires in the rain.

TFD believes the house is vacant – no one was inside at the time of the fire.

There is still no word on the cause of the fire.


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Soup’s on

Hutchinson News – November 5, 2018

Photos by Kristen Galow Piper

Downtown Kiwanis of Hutchinson hosted the annual 2018 Downtown Kiwanis Chili & Soup Festival on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Hutchinson. The event drew crowds to Main Street for samples of numerous soups and chili, with a variety of activities during the day.

Winners of the 2018 event are:

1st Place Soup – Hutch Recreation Commission

2nd Place Soup – Apron Strings

3rd Place Soup – First National Bank

1st Place Chili – Hutchinson Fire Department

2nd Place Chili –Wade Patton Insurance

3rd Place Chili – Reno County Sheriff

Best Decorated Booth – Home Safety Environment

Most Enthusiastic Booth – Family Children’s Theater

Winner of $100 from ballot drawing – Katie Perez


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Topeka Fire Dept. responds to early morning apartment fire

By Cecelia Jenkins
WIBW – November 5, 2018

The Topeka Fire Department responded to an early Saturday morning fire in an apartment complex near 34th and Gage Boulevard.

Officers say the fire broke out just after midnight. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

No one was injured.

Officers cleared the scene around 3 a.m.


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Fire causes $80,000 in damage to Manhattan home

By Willis Scott
KSNT – November 5, 2018

The Manhattan Fire Department was dispatched to 820 Church Avenue for a report of a house on fire with multiple explosions at 9:22 on Friday night. When they got there, crews found a one-story single family home with heavy fire coming from the back.

The fire was contained within 30 minutes. A total of 19 firefighters responded on 6 fire trucks. No one was hurt.

The person who lives in the home was outside when fire fighters got there. The loss is estimated at $80,000 for the house and $20,000 for the contents. Officials are investigating the fire’s cause.


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Thomas Joe Applegate

Thomas Joe Applegate, age 63, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Friday, November 2, 2018, at his home. He was born September 8, 1955, in Ft. Scott, the son of Thomas C. Applegate and Frances Jo Mason Applegate. Tom married Deborah Elaine Lee on August 1, 1980, at Miami, Oklahoma. He had served with the United States Army. Tom dedicated his life to public service. He began his career in firefighting with the Merriam, Kansas Fire Department. He then served with the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department and the Ft. Scott Police Department. He later moved to the Branson area where he was employed by the Hollister Police Department and volunteered for the Western Taney County Fire Department and also worked for the Forsythe Police Department. Tom later returned to Ft. Scott where he worked for the Scott Township Fire Department where he served as Chief. He enjoyed reading Western novels and watching Western movies.

Survivors include his children Mark King and wife, Michelle, of Moscow, Tennessee, Marie Unruh, of Gridley, Kansas, Ashley Kline and husband, Robert, of Ft. Scott and Keith Applegate and wife, Latisha, of Chanute, Kansas; sixteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Also surviving are a brother David Applegate of Hollister, Missouri and two sisters, Una Fullmer and husband, Jim, of Highlandville, Missouri and Melanie McDaniel and husband, Rick, of Ft. Scott. His wife, Deborah, preceded him in death on May 29, 2003. He was also preceded in death by two sons, David and Mason Unruh, a brother, Kenneth Applegate and a sister, Georgia Applegate.

William James Schafer will conduct funeral services at 10:00 AM Tuesday, November 6th, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the Clarksburg Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:00 until 7:00 PM Monday evening at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Scott Township Fire Department and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at


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Methane gas clears Attica School District

By Michael Stavola
Hutchinson News – November 2, 2018

Things were back to normal on Tuesday in the Attica School District.

The internet and phone were down for part of Monday and, on Friday, the K-12 building was evacuated for what ended up being methane gas from an overheating battery, according to superintendent and principal Mike Sanders.

“It had gotten warm enough that the plastic was bulging,” Sanders said.

Sanders said that two classes on the north side of the building couldn’t stay in the classroom, because of the smell. Sanders said it had a “sewage smell” and that the janitor thought the sewage system was backed up before classes started that day.

It started to creep across from the high school side to the elementary school side until Sanders made the call to evacuate the roughly 160-students across the street to the Attica Wellness Center just after 9 a.m.

About 20 minutes later, Sanders decided to send the students home since he knew it would be a long day.

First responders in Harper County couldn’t find the source of the smell, he said, adding it took the Sedgwick County Fire Department Hazardous Material Team about two hours to find the cause.

The team, he said, used meters and detected methane gas from the battery. Eventually, they pinpointed the smell to a closet that housed the district’s SCTelcom system for phone and internet.

A representative from SCTelcom, who did not want to be named, said it was an isolated incident.

″… We are are going to check with the manufacturer of the battery and see what they have to say,” the man said in a phone interview.

By 3:30 p.m., the district started to air out the building. Sanders said the smell left soon after.

“I’ve been an administrator for over 20 years,” Sanders said. “And this was a first.”


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Galena Fire Department Host to Different Halloween Tradition

By Austin Hyslip
Fourstates News – November 2, 2018

Most Halloween traditions revolve around knocking on doors and counting who got the most candy.

In Galena, the fire department has a much different idea.

For more than 30 years the volunteer based department has been host to thousands of kids.

Soda, popcorn and candy as well as big red fire trucks and bunker gear add to the experience.

Wednesday the department was host to more than 780 kids.

With funding from Galena Days, fire fighters spend a few hundred dollars on supplies and invite the kids in.

It all started when the Galena Fire Department thought kids might be thirsty and hot, or on a night like Wednesday, they might be cold and probably a little wet from rain.

Fire Chief Bill Hall says it’s just one of the many ways the department gives back to the community, and the kids never forget getting to spend some time next to those big red trucks.

“The kids are worth any amount of money it costs to put this thing on, the little guys will always remember going to the fire station,” Hall says.


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Structure fire near South Ninth Street in Ark City

By Thomas Carver
Cowley Courier Traveler – November 2, 2018


A local man was tased and arrested Wednesday night on multiple counts after allegedly setting fire to a welding shop in south Arkansas City.

Ark City police responded to a domestic disturbance around 5:30 p.m. in the 700 block of South Ninth Street. The reporting party said the man hit her in the face and threatened to burn down their house, according to scanner communications. Jeffrey “JD” Strange, 35, was later identified as the suspect by the Cowley County Sheriff’s Department in a press release.

Police arrived and informed Cowley County deputies that it was a standoff situation just outside the city limits.

Negotiations were being conducted when Strange entered a commercial welding business at 915 S. Ninth St. While he was inside, a fire was started, according to the release.

Fire units were requested after officers reported seeing a glowing from inside a nearby large Morton building, according to scanner communications. The press release stated that Strange was found sitting on a 4-wheeler armed with a large knife, was subdued by a taser and taken into custody. Strange was also found to be in possession of a loaded firearm. No officers were injured during the arrest.

The welding shop, south of Waldeck Fertilizer and Chemical, was fully engulfed in flames when fire officials from Ark City and Winfield arrived.

Falletti advised the deputies that they didn’t know exactly what was inside and to take cover behind something solid, according to scanner communications.

The residents in the area were told to move back due to propane, chemicals and other gases exploding.

Ark City police blocked off the roads around the site for safety. Fire tankers made trips back and forth to the water plant a few blocks away, for water because of no nearby hydrants, according to scanner communications.

Utility companies were notified to shut off services. Power poles near the building caught fire as the building burned out of control.

All Ark City fire personnel were called to the fire scene, and they required assistance from Winfield EMS in case of medical calls. Winfield EMS stationed at Strother Field until Ark City was able to call in extra staff.

The building was a total loss.

Strange was transported to the Cowley County Jail and is being held without bail and is suspected of domestic battery, arson, disorderly conduct and theft of a firearm.

A person’s guilt or innocence shall be determined by a court of law.


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Reception to Thank Fire Chief Preston is Nov. 6

By David Elliott
KRSL – November 6, 2018

The City of Russell will host a come and go reception on Tuesday, November 6 from 2 to 3 PM at the City Council Chambers at City Hall to thank Fire Chief Shane Preston for his 18 years of service to the City of Russell and its citizens.

Preston recently announced his resignation to accept the Hays Fire Department Deputy Chief position.


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104th Halloween Frolic

By Joey May
Hiawatha World – November 1, 2018

By Josephine May

The Hiawatha Fire Department with Fire Pup in the afternoon parade.


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Osawatomie firefighters battle arson fire that damages two homes

By Doug Carder
Miami County Republic – November 1, 2018

Photo by Osawatomie Fire Department

Osawatomie firefighters battled an intentionally set house fire on Halloween, Oct. 31, that damaged two homes in the 400 block of Fourth Street in Osawatomie.

The blaze broke out about 8 p.m. in a vacant house at 409 Fourth St. in what investigators have determined was arson, Osawatomie Fire Chief Brian Love said. The fire sent one member of the Osawatomie Volunteer Fire Department to an area hospital. The firefighter was treated for dehydration and released, Love said.

The fire caused an estimated $25,000 damage to the home and garage, Love said. The house was being gutted for a remodel, he said.

The fire also caused an estimated $5,000 damage to the house next door from radiant heat, Love said.

Firefighters cleared the scene about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.

The state fire marshal’s office and the Osawatomie Police Department are investigating the blaze, which was ruled incendiary, Love said.


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Dust Ventilation Fire at Crestwood

KSAL – November 1, 2018

No one was hurt in a workplace fire incident Wednesday afternoon at Crestwood Custom Cabinets.

Salina Police Captain Paul Forrester tells KSAL News that fire crews were called to the cabinet making business located at 601 E. Water Well Road around 2:30pm to the report of a fire in the sawdust collection system.

Employees were evacuated for 30-minutes while the Salina Fire Department kept the danger contained to a pipe in the ventilation system.

Police say there were no injuries and no damage reported.


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Cowley Co. man behind bars after domestic battery call leads to arson

KSN – November 1, 2018

A Cowley County man is behind bars after police officers responded to a domestic battery call in Arkansas City Wednesday night.

Officials say Jeffrey “JD” Strange, 35, had weapons on him and threatened responding officers to a standoff in the 900 block of S. 9th St. around 5:30 p.m.

While negotiations during the incident were underway, Strange went into a nearby commercial welding business, authorities say.

Inside that business Strange started a fire.

Strange then exited the business and was taken into custody by deputies with the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said he brandished a knife during the arrest so officers tased him.

No one was injured during the incident. Fire officials were able to put out the fire in the welding business, but they believe the building is a total loss.

Authorities did find a loaded firearm in Strange’s possession. He will likely face charges of domestic battery, arson, disorderly conduct and theft of a firearm.


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Firefighting task force pushing forward

By Alexander Simone
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – November 1, 2018

Marion County’s firefighting task force is a budding program, but it is quickly gaining traction.

There are four county departments involved, but more have shown interest. According to Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser, almost all departments in the county plan to pledge manpower or trucks.

The force makes it easier when departments from other counties need additional help.

Instead of sending individual requests for 20 trucks to aid a department, the state emergency operations center can send a call for three task forces. That way they get three forces with six or seven trucks each, Kaiser said.

“Along with these six trucks, you’re sending a command element,” he said. “It’s going to be beneficial all around.”

The state requested each county create a cooperative task force pulling from local departments.

Though the state request is for a task force, the unit is solely allowed to deal with wildfires and related matters. What they can do to assist civilians is suggest safety measures.

Precautions include properly maintaining brush and not using propane tanks as garden decoration, Peabody firefighter Bailey Penner said.

The force helps individual departments too. Having a defined structure helps track resources and prevents departments from overlapping or being cut off, Peabody chief Mark Penner said.

“You remain together, that’s the good thing about it,” he said. “They don’t separate you or put you in different spots.”

Firefighters from Marion County work together more often for jobs within the county, so they know how the others work and teamwork is easier, Mark Penner said.

The group comes at no additional cost to the towns or county, since the fire departments get grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Requests can come in from across the state, which means the departments need communicators that aren’t limited by distance.

“Last year was the first year we did that and it worked pretty well,” Mark Penner said. “The 800 MHz radio we have can go all over the state. We can get on a frequency that’s not being used and communicate, whether we’re going to Medicine Lodge or Rice County.”

Oversight of the collaboration is handled by the county, but the task force teams themselves are called when there is an emergency.

A department isn’t required to respond to a call, and there are a few reasons they might not. Peak wildfire season coincides with growing season, so many firefighters are preoccupied with farming.

“With volunteer departments, everybody has a job,” Kaiser said. “Farmers might be out in the field harvesting or planting.”

They also might not go if there aren’t enough firefighters to have others at the department in case of emergency.

In addition to the practices, the firefighters’ gear is different from for a standard fire.

Gear includes hard hats, fire-resistant leather boots, and lighter-weight clothing.

These factors, as well as the chain of command and equipment are called fire science, which is quickly gaining importance.

“In the task force, it’s the way of the future,” Peabody assistant chief Scott Rose said. “Fire science is always evolving.”


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