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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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Young firefighter following family tradition

By Sheila G. Kelley
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – November 1, 2018

Mady Foth, a sophomore at Peabody-Burns High School, is a firefighter-in-training, following in the footsteps of her grandpa, Jerry Foth, and uncle Travis Foth, both of Peabody.

Mady is part of the Peabody-Burns fire department’s cadet program, learning the basics of firefighting but from the sidelines only.

“We’d (fire department) talked about starting a cadet program but none were interested until her,” assistant chief Steve Rose said.

Mady has been with the department six months and finds it very interesting.

“I liked fire even when I was a kid,” Mady said. “I’d go outside and smell a bonfire and try to go find it.”

She and her family camped a lot during her younger years, and she loved the campfires.

Her fascination with fires and a life-changing event helped her decide to join the cadet program.

“My sister lived in Emporia and her house caught fire and was a total loss,” Mady said.

After the fire was out, she took particular interest in the interaction of the firefighters.

“They took us through the house, explaining what happened, what started it — a furnace malfunction — and why,” Mady said. “It was really interesting, watching how they communicated back and forth.”

Rose, a 26-year veteran of the department, said, “Mady will do great if she plans to pursue a career in firefighting.”

Mady is interested in staying in the field, possibly going into a forestry fire position.

Rose said there are two-year fire science programs at Hutchinson Community College and Butler Community College.

“It might be difficult when I’m in college,” Mady said.

Mady has very strict limitations when she’s on a fire scene. She may not suit up, ride in the truck, or participate in any way with extinguishing the fire.

“Right now she’s learning the basics, attending training meetings, and learning from many knowledgeable firefighters,” Rose said.

When at a fire scene, Mady must stay behind the active area with a seasoned veteran to help her understand what’s going on.

“People ask me why I do it,” she said. “Because I like it.”


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Burt Hall evacuated after chemical spill

By Julie Freijat
KState Collegian – November 1, 2018

Members of the Riley County Fire Department in hazmat suits prepare to reenter Burt Hall and continue their inspection. Just before 4:00pm on Wednesday, students received a K-State Alert informing them that Burt Hall had been shut down due to a chemical spill. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

A chemical spill occurred in Burt Hall on Wednesday at around 3 p.m resulting in the evacuation of the building.

Battalion chief with Manhattan Fire Services Mark Whitehair said the spill occurred in Lab 207. He said they used a neutralization product where the spill was, containing it to a small area in the building. The entire building evacuation was a precaution, Whitehair said.

The chemical, isobutyl chloroformate, is flammable, corrosive and toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Susan Whitaker, assistant director of the facility where the spill occurred, said she had been moving chemicals from one freezer to another. When she left the room she heard a crash, read the label on the chemical that had spilled and called the fire department.

According to K-State Alerts, the situation was resolved, but Burt Hall will remain closed until normal business hours on Nov. 1.


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Robert “Bob” A. Forsen Jr.

Robert A. Forsen, Jr., age 89, of Ulysses, Kansas, died Monday, October 29, 2018, at Western Prairie Care Home in Ulysses. He was born May 23, 1929, in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Robert A. Sr., and Vera Lucille (Cox) Forsen.

Bob grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from high school, Bob served in the US Army from 1951 and was honorably discharged in 1952. He moved to Ulysses in 1974; and was a volunteer fireman from 1976-2003 and also served as the Fire Chief. He was also an EMT from 1976 – 1982. Bob was the building inspector for the City of Ulysses for many years. He enjoyed woodworking and made dollhouses, enjoyed flying his airplane, and loved his grandkids and attending their activities. Bob was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Bob married Carol Miller on March 12, 1981, in Kansas City, Kansas. She survives.

Other survivors include his son, Tony Forsen and wife Becky of Holcomb; and three grandchildren, Ethan, Paige, and Jacob.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents; and son, Bobby.

Memorial service will be Thursday, November 1, 2018, at 10:00 AM at Celebration Baptist Church in Ulysses with Pastor Jon Becker and Jeff Rawlings officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. Memorial contributions may be given to his Grandkid’s College Fund or the Ulysses Animal Shelter in care of Garnand Funeral Home, 405 W. Grant Ave, Ulysses, KS 67880.


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Timber Ridge Apartments fire displaces occupant

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – October 31, 2018

Photo by Paola Fire Department

















Paola firefighters are asking community members to be vigilant in the kitchen and around grills after responding to another unattended cooking fire last week.

Firefighters were called to Timber Ridge Apartments, a new senior housing complex in Paola, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Hartig said crews were on the scene in six minutes, and they had the fire under control 10 minutes later. The fire was contained to one unit, but fire and water damage left the dwelling uninhabitable, Hartig said.

Residents in neighboring connected units were evacuated, but Hartig said they were able to return to their apartments later that night.

An investigation revealed that the occupant left the apartment while something was cooking on the stove, and when she returned she discovered the fire and called 911, Hartig said.

About 15 firefighters responded to the fire, and Hartig said they took an aggressive interior attack approach to extinguish the flames. The damage estimate is about $100,000 for the structure and contents, he said.

There were no injuries in the fire.

Hartig said it was the second unattended cooking fire in the past month handled by the Paola Fire Department. The previous fire was Oct. 9 at a home in the Indian Hills subdivision, and it originated with a grill on a backyard deck.

Hartig said unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires in the United States, and he encouraged local residents to be extra careful, especially since October is National Fire Prevention Month.

The upcoming time change is also the perfect time to check the batteries in smoke detectors, Hartig said.


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Woman dies after crashing into trash truck west of Valley Center

KSN – October 31, 2018

One woman died in an accident Tuesday afternoon west of Valley Center. It happened in the 8900 block of North Ridge Road just before 2 p.m.

According to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department, a 65-year-old woman was driving a Chevy Lumina and hit a Waste Management trash truck that was collecting garbage.

Authorities believe she may have had a medical condition. She did not slow down before crashing into the truck.

Right now, her identity hasn’t been released. The trash truck operator wasn’t injured.

Ridge Road is closed near the accident as crews investigate.


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82 year-old woman waits in car for hours after it fell into shallow pond

By Natalie Dattilio
WIBW – October 30, 2018

An 82-year-old woman is lucky to be alive after hitting a guard rail, falling 15 feet and sitting in her car for over two hours.

The woman’s daughter says her mom called around 10 a.m. and said she was going to visit to pick up Halloween candy from her daughter’s house. Around 12:30 p.m., the daughter said she still had not seen her mother. The daughter called her sister, who drove the route between her mom and sister’s house.

The sister ending up finding the car along SW Auburn Road, past 110th St., in Osage County.

The daughter saw tracks heading off the road and into a pond. She says her mom was going northbound on Auburn Rd. when she hit a guardrail and fell 15 feet into the water. She was in her car for about 2 and a half hours until two men stopped and helped her out.

The mom says she stayed in her car because she knew her daughters would come find her.

The daughters say their mom is doing okay. She was taken to the hospital with shoulder and stomach pain.

Authorities have not released the woman’s name at this time.


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Edna firefighters get $2,000 grant

Parsons Sun – October 30, 2018

The Edna Volunteer Fire Department received a $2,000 grant for firefighting gear from Frontier Farm Credit’s Working Here Fund. The department’s new turnout gear will improve the safety of first responders as they answer emergency calls.

Edna Volunteer Fire Department is one of 16 organizations to receive a Working Here Fund grant in the third quarter of 2018. Frontier awarded $24,035 during the latest cycle.

The Edna Fire Department provides Edna, Elm Grove and surrounding townships, with first aid and fire protection. The department has 20 volunteer firefighters. Jason Myers is fire chief.


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Emergency workers visit Happy Days

Hiawatha World – October 30, 2018

Happy Days Preschool had recent visitors from local emergency service personnel.

Instructor Christy Hageman said the Tuesday/Thursday class was visited by the Town and Country EMS, Duke Koerperich and Peanut Merchant. The Monday/Wednesday/Friday class had a visit from the Hiawatha Fire Department, Chief Ryan Shockley and other fire department volunteers.


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Frustrations flare at open house for new fire station in Piper

By Cat Reid
KSHB – October 30, 2018

IAFF Local 64 Business Manager Robert Wing questioned city staff members about the timeline for the new fire station.


More than two years ago, Unified Government commissioners signed off on a new fire station for the Piper community. Now residents, a union leader and even a county commissioner are questioning why shovels haven’t gone into the ground yet.

They made their opinions known Monday night during a heated and packed open house during which an architect presented designs for a fire station at the intersection of Hutton and Leavenworth roads.

The $4 million project will include three bays for fire rigs, plus a decontamination zone with positive air pressure to limit exposure to cancerous toxins.

Those who attended the meeting had no problem with the design; rather, the project timeline raised questions.

The Unified Government Commission approved funding for the station in July 2016. According to the architect who presented on Monday, construction will begin at the end of this year. The fire station is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“Where is the problem with getting this thing done?” asked Robert Wing, Business Manager for IAFF Local 64, the union that represents KCK firefighters.

Wing also raised concerns about a statement made by KCKFD Chief Michael Callahan, who said the new station would be staffed by moving firefighters already in the department.

“It is unacceptable to me that it was relayed tonight that a fire company is going to move from in town out here. That is going to just cause the problem that exists out here downtown,” Wing said.

His questions led to an impassioned speech from Unified Government Commissioner Mike Kane, who said the city has been dragging its feet on the project.

“We need that fire station. You guys gotta figure out a way to build it faster than what you’re gonna do. You can work overtime. You can work ’round the clock,” he said.

Unified Government staff explained the time frame was a result of looking at different sites and going through the land acquisition process.

KCKFD Chief Michael Callahan, who signed on with the department in August, said from his experience, the timeline is typical. He came from the Chicago Fire Department, where he was in charge of building new firehouses. Callahan said the process usually took up to four years.

“I know the people here are frustrated because they’ve been promised this for a very long time. It is being done, and we’re doing our best to move with as much dispatch as we can while doing it prudently as well. You don’t want to move so fast that you cut a corner that later comes back to haunt you,” he said.

According to Kane and Wing, the Piper community was promised a new fire station when it was annexed by the county 25 years ago.

It is currently served by Fire Station 8, a structure that was built in 1979 as a volunteer fire station. According to a 2015 study commissioned by the city, that station is not in compliance with any codes or the NFPA. The study recommended construction of two new fire stations in the Piper area.

The Unified Government plans to either remodel or replace almost half of its fire stations in the next ten years because of the study.


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Kansas man dies after pickup overturns on I-70

Hays Post – October 30, 2018

One person died in an accident just after 4a.m. Monday in Sherman County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1988 Chevy pickup driven by Brian Bender, 59, Salina, was eastbound on Interstate 70 twelve miles west of Goodland.

The pickup left the roadway and entered the median. It hit a paved turn around and a delineator post before re-entering the roadway. The pickup then traveled across eastbound and westbound lanes into the south ditch, overturned and came to rest on its top

Bender was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Koons-Russell Funeral Home. He was properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Wellsville home in flames

By Jeff Gulley
Ottawa Herald – October 30, 2018

Photo by Jeff Gulley

Firefighters from Johnson County, Baldwin and Wellsville responded to a structure fire at 917 Main St. in Wellsville Monday morning. The call came in at around 11 a.m. The structure was a total loss.


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Fresh towels cause fire at local retirement community

By James Ryan
KSNT – October 30, 2018


More than a dozen neighbors were evacuated after a fire at their retirement community.

Topeka Fire was called to Lexington Park Independent Living at 1011 SW Cottonwood Court just before 2:30 Tuesday morning.

When they arrived firefighters found a fire in the lobby and smoke filling the building.

Neighbors were evacuated for around an hour while firefighters put out the fire and aired out the building.

No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by hot towels fresh out of the dryer.

The towels were sat on a bench in the lobby. The heat from the towels caught the bench on fire and the fire traveled up the wall.

No other damage has been reported.


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Training held in Wichita for emergency responders

KFDI – October 30, 2018

Emergency responders from the Wichita area attended a four-hour training session Monday to learn how to be safe when they’re working at the scene of an accident or traffic problem.

The workers include fire, EMS paramedics, tow-truck drivers, highway crews and law enforcement officers. The training was held at the Sedgwick County Public Safety Building.

Tom Hein with the Kansas Department of Transportation said the training helps first responders with best practices in dealing with accident scenes, construction zones and other situations. The training is aimed at improving safety for the emergency workers and for motorists during traffic incidents.

Rusty James, an instructor with the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute in Kansas City, said the training has helped reduce the time that it takes to clear a traffic situation. Average times have dropped from two and a half hours in 2013 to 47 minutes in 2017.

The week of November 11th will be National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week, and it will call attention to the dangers that road crews and emergency responders face when they’re working at the scene of an accident or at a construction project.


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Shawnee Fire Department trains for mass casualty crash

By Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News
Shawnee Dispatch – October 30, 2018

Photos by Mike Frizzell/Operation 100 News

For three consecutive days last week, all 66 Shawnee Firefighters worked their way through a mock mass casualty crash.

Each day the scenario involved a school bus, several vehicles, and volunteers playing the role of injured and hysterical people at the scene.

Last Wednesday’s scenario involved 17 victims with varying levels of injury spread among three passenger vehicles and the school bus.

Eleven volunteers filled the school bus, which in the drill had been rear-ended as part of a chain-reaction crash.

One car was partially under the rear of the bus. A second car was on its roof and partly on top of the first car. A third car was rolled onto its side near the front of the bus and was blocking all access to the door of the bus.

Firefighters had to use struts, straps, and large chains to stabilize all involved vehicles before they could begin the work of safely removing all of the injured.

A firefighter and a Johnson County Med-Act paramedic were lifted through the emergency window of the bus to start evaluating injuries inside as other firefighters worked to cut a hole in the wall of the bus.

One-by-one the injured passengers of the bus were lifted off and then moved across the scene to Johnson County Med-Act’s triage area where their injuries would be evaluated further.

After all of the victims had been removed from the vehicles, firefighters and paramedics gathered to discuss the drill and assess their response and handling of the various aspects.

Deputy Fire Chief Sal Scarpa told Operation 100 News this drill was the first time they had the opportunity to use a school bus.

“On a three or four vehicle crash we may see five or six people with injuries,” he said. “The school bus changes everything, and we have to be prepared for that.”

The school bus was donated to the department for use in the scenario by the Kincaid Group which operates school buses for the Shawnee Mission School District as DS Bus Lines.

Several Kansas City area towing companies also donated the passenger vehicles.


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Wichita firefighters give out coats to students ahead of the cold

By Tiffany Lane
KSN – October 30, 2018


As temperatures begin to drop, more people will pull out their winter coats.

But for some families, it’s more of a challenge being able to afford clothes to keep warm.

Those who protect and serve the community, helped ease some that burden for local kids Monday afternoon.

For the third year in a row, Wichita firefighters, in partnership with Operation Warm, are handing out brand new coats to children from low income families.

Their goal is to provide warmth, confidence and hope.

There were a lot of smiles at Colvin Elementary Monday, as students were given the winter essentials.

“It’s getting kind of wintery out,” said Christopher, a student at Colvin Elementary. “It’s almost like Christmas. So, I think that that’s a very thankful thing that they do.”

One by one the kids lined up to get the right size.

“I haven’t gotten a coat from the firemen before and it made me really happy,” said Colvin student Lakeya.

“It has pretty colors and it looks pretty cool,” said Nevaeh, a Colvin Elementary student.

For students like Lakeya, having Wichita firefighters provide new coats meant more than just adding a new item to her wardrobe.

“We would have had to buy them ourselves and we didn’t really have enough money for that,” she said.

“We leave that to the school counselors on how many coats they need and they go through and they pick the kids that are in need of coats,” said Matt Schulte, president of the Wichita Firefighters Charitable Fund.

This year they’re giving out more than 250 coats.

“If kids are sick and miss school you know, they’re not learning, they’re not progressing,” said Schulte. “And, this is a way to keep them healthy.”

After the kids received their coats, and got their names added on to make it official, they were able to show them off in front of the fire truck.

“I think I will be a firefighter when I grow up,” said Christopher.

The goal is to double the amount of coats given away every year.

They are purchased through donations and fundraisers.

Tuesday, they will be giving out coats to students who qualify at Jefferson Elementary.


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Fire department conducts training exercise

By Melissa Lowery
Emporia Gazette – October 29, 2018

Photo by Melissa Lowery

Part of Mechanic Street was shut down on Sunday morning while the Emporia Fire and Rescue squads conducted training maneuvers in a condemned house.

The house, located on the 900 block of Mechanic Street, is set to be razed soon. This presented an opportunity for the fire department to hold a training session in a residential setting versus the training tower at Fire Station No. 2.

“When we have a condemned structure, we like to use it for training,” said Battalion Chief Rich Gould who was overseeing the operation. “We don’t get the opportunity to pull out the ladders and hoses very often, and you can only conduct so many scenarios at the tower.”

A ladder stretched from one of the fire trucks into the third-story window of the house as firefighters and EMT’s gathered for the training mission.

Gould said they could not actually start a fire in the structure due to regulations around training missions, but would use a smoke machine and other techniques to simulate smoke and low visibility.

The training is an opportunity for Emporia Fire and Rescue to stay up to date on skills and department protocol, and a chance for new people to learn how Emporia’s emergency response teams work together.

“We have some newer people coming into the department, so this is a good way to reinforce policy and show the new people how we do things,” Gould said.


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Apartment fire was intentionally set

By Nick Viviani
WIBW – October 29, 2018

A Sunday night fire at a central Topeka apartment complex was intentionally set, fire investigators say.

According to the Topeka Fire Dept., firefighters could see smoke when they responded to the three-story structure, 1306 SW Harrison St., around 10 p.m. They attacked the blaze, which had started in Apt. #17, and kept it contained to the original structure.

A search of the building found no fire victims and no firefighters were hurt knocking down the flames, the department said.

A preliminary investigation determined the cause was incendiary. Investigators estimated the fire did about $500 in damage to the structure.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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