Kansas man dies in rollover accident

Hays Post – November 26, 2014

A Kansas man died in an accident just after 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Neosho County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 1999 Nissan Quest driven by James Merrill, 51, Parsons, was traveling south bound on U.S. 59 a mile north of Parsons.

The vehicle went left of center and drove on the northbound gravel shoulder.

The driver over corrected traveling back across both lanes. The vehicle entered the southbound ditch rolling several times ejecting the driver.

Merrill was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Frontier Forensics.

The KHP reported he was not wearing a seat belt.

Dog killed in Derby mobile home fire

KWCH – November 26, 2014

derby fire 11262014

Firefighters from several departments responded to a mobile home fire in Derby Wednesday afternoon.

When crews arrived in the 5800 block of South Prairie Meadows Road, the mobile home was already full of flames.

The Red Cross was called out to help two people who lived in the home. Firefighters said the family’s pet died in the fire. No people were hurt.

Rose Hill, Sedgwick County, Wichita and McConnell’s fire departments were all called out to help put out the fire.

No cause has been given.

Two Silver Lake families lose homes on Thanksgiving Eve

By Rod Jackson
Kansas First News – November 26, 2014

silver lake fire 11262014

Two families of four lost their Silver Lake homes to fire on Thanksgiving eve.

The fire at 219 Sage Road, at the intersection with Highway 24, was initially reported about 6:00 p.m. as a chimney fire in a duplex.

It then spread to the attic of the home, and quickly spread to the rest of the structure. Both family was able to get out of the home safely.

Both families of two adults and two children were able to get out of the duplex safely and are now being helped by the American Red Cross.

Initially handled by the Silver Lake volunteer fire department, additional units from the Topeka Fire Department.

Firefighters took nearly an hour to knock down most of the flames, which damaged the other half of the duplex and a home behind the structure.

The exact cause has yet to be determined.

Firefighters will install smoke alarms in neighborhood where teen died

By Ann Marie Bush
Topeka Capital Journal – November 26, 2014

Topeka firefighters on Friday will be installing smoke alarms and passing out fire safety information during a walk through an area of Topeka where an 18-year-old was killed last week in a fire.

Morgan Duncan was killed Nov. 20 in a fire at 1106 S.W. 8th.

Firefighters will be walking through the Old Town District from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a news release.

Fire Department donates Safehouse Thanksgiving dinner

By Sarah Gooding
Pittsburg Morning Sun – November 26, 2014

Pittsburg Fire Department members Brian Blythe, Jeff Kavanagh, Mike Shoemaker, Chad Prewitt, Matt Lemon, Richard Jett, Daniel Proffitt and Matt Stringer on Tuesday helped present Safehouse executive director Rebecca Brubaker and shelter facilitator Shana Raciti with food for a Thanksgiving Dinner at Safehouse. The food will provide about 18-20 women and children with a Thanksgiving meal. SARAH GOODING/THE MORNING SUN

Pittsburg Fire Department members Brian Blythe, Jeff Kavanagh, Mike Shoemaker, Chad Prewitt, Matt Lemon, Richard Jett, Daniel Proffitt and Matt Stringer on Tuesday helped present Safehouse executive director Rebecca Brubaker and shelter facilitator Shana Raciti with food for a Thanksgiving Dinner at Safehouse. The food will provide about 18-20 women and children with a Thanksgiving meal. SARAH GOODING/THE MORNING SUN

Pittsburg firefighters help bag food that will provide Thanksgiving dinner for Safehouse residents following a presentation on Tuesday. The women and children at Safehouse will work together to prepare the meal Thursday. SARAH GOODING/THE MORNING SUN

Pittsburg firefighters help bag food that will provide Thanksgiving dinner for Safehouse residents following a presentation on Tuesday. The women and children at Safehouse will work together to prepare the meal Thursday. SARAH GOODING/THE MORNING SUN

For many, Thanksgiving is a day of celebrating with family or friends, but for women at the Safehouse Crisis Center the holidays can be a lonely, challenging time.

Pittsburg firefighters have partnered with the organization each year for the past several to change that, and on Tuesday they presented Safehouse executive director Rebecca Brubaker and shelter facilitator Shana Raciti with supplies for a full Thanksgiving dinner.

“It’s a hard time to be away from home at the holidays,” Brubaker said. “The traditional food that the fire department provides makes the shelter smell and feel like home.”

Brubaker said the meal will feed approximately 18-20 women and children who are living in the shelter as they rebuild their lives away from violence and abuse.

Firefighter Richard Wood said the firefighters look for ways to give back, and providing a meal for Safehouse has become an annual tradition.

“I think we’re on our tenth year,” he said. “We usually spend around $100 and make sure they get their ham or turkey.”

Not only did the fire department provide a ham and a turkey, but firefighters also included potatoes, stuffing, pies and all the elements of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

“This is really nice of the fire department to do this for us,” Brubaker said.

Wood said the firefighters make annual contributions to a fund that allows them to give back to people they interact with or give back to the community as a whole.

“Each fireman will pay $30 a year and we put that in our charity fund,” Wood said.

This allows the fire department to provide gift cards for families who lose their possessions in fires, as well as seasonal opportunities to sponsor Safehouse and to take area children shopping at Christmas time.

Brubaker said this is a season when many around the community open their hearts and express their generosity to not-for-profits, and she added that Safehouse does have an Angel Tree at Walmart.

This week, Brubaker said the women and children currently living in the shelter will prepare the meal together, and Wood said the fire department is glad to make it possible.

“It’s their home away from home and we do what we can,” he said.

Butters honored for life-saving response

By Colleen Truelsen
Osawatomie Graphic – November 26, 2014

Kansas City, Kan., Deputy Fire Chief Frank Duke (right) presents Osawatomie’s Assistant Police Chief Bob Butters (center) the Civilian Award of Merit from the Kansas City, Kan., Firefighter’s Relief Association on Friday night. At left is the on-scene paramedic who nominated Butters for the prestigious award. Photo by Colleen Truelsen.

Kansas City, Kan., Deputy Fire Chief Frank Duke (right) presents Osawatomie’s Assistant Police Chief Bob Butters (center) the Civilian Award of Merit from the Kansas City, Kan., Firefighter’s Relief Association on Friday night. At left is the on-scene paramedic who nominated Butters for the prestigious award. Photo by Colleen Truelsen.

Osawatomie Assistant Police Chief Bob Butters’ life-saving actions last May while off-duty helping build a playground at his wife’s school were honored Friday night with the Civilian Award of Merit at the 112th annual Kansas City, Kan., Firefighter’s Relief Association Ball.

Butters is credited with saving the life of a parent the afternoon of May 10 at Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kan., where Nancy Butters is principal.

Parent volunteer Teresa Ortega, 39, was sitting with other volunteers, Nancy said, when she collapsed.

“She just kind of fell out of her chair,” Nancy said. “We didn’t know what had happened.”

She called out to Bob, who was farther away on the playground.

“I could hear the urgency in her voice,” Bob said.

Ortega’s husband had already started chest compressions, and Bob began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

He checked for a pulse, he said, and found none. Then he heard her begin agonal breathing, the “death rattle” as it is more commonly known, and he knew she was critical.

Moving the husband to one side, Bob began intense chest compressions. Nancy was already on the phone to paramedics, relaying Bob’s imperative information to the emergency team on its way.

Other parent volunteers dropped to their knees in the freshly laid mulch, according to a report in The Leaven Catholic newspaper, and began prayers.

When a civilian is nominated for the prestigious award, Capt. Patrick Dunn, president of the firefighters association said, a thorough investigation of events takes place.

“He was nominated by one of the paramedics,” Dunn said, adding that the award is for firefighters or other people who have done something extraordinary or something above and beyond the call of duty.

Bob’s award carries the results of that investigation, and reads:

“On May 10, 2014, at approximately 3:02 p.m., pumper 17 and EMS Unit 17 responded to 2646 S. 34th Street to the parish center on an apparent cardiac arrest.

“Upon arrival, the crews found off-duty Assistant Police Chief for the Osawatomie, Kansas, Police Department, Robert M. Butters, who had immediately initiated and performed continuous CPR on the cardiac arrest patient.

“While performing CPR, Officer Butters informed and gave the crew of Pumper 17 pertinent medical background information which assisted with patient care. Upon taking over CPR efforts, the firefighters on scene continued to receive assistance from Officer Butters as he helped gather equipment and assisted with moving the patient to the awaiting ambulance as they continued CPR.

“It is the firm belief of KCKFD crews on the scene that without the life-saving efforts of Officer Butters, the patient would not have survived. It should be known that Assistant Chief Butters is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, and grew up in KCK.

“For his willingness to step forward and act to save someone’s life under a very difficult and stressful set of circumstances, Assistant Chief Robert M. Butters is hereby presented the Civilian Award of Merit.”

For Bob and other volunteers on the scene, some relief came a few minutes after emergency crews had placed Ortega in the ambulance.

“We’ve got her back,” a paramedic called to the crowd from the back of the ambulance.

Ortega’s crisis was caused by a defect in her heart, according to the Leaven, that she had probably had since birth. Her aorta had become strangled, blood flow stopped.

Surgery corrected the problem, and Nancy said she has completely recovered.

“I’m just no good in a crisis,” Nancy said, “but Bob was there and the other circumstances worked out.”

Just about 10 minutes before her collapse, Ortega had been working alone inside the building preparing food.

“If that had happened before she joined the group, she couldn’t have survived,” Nancy said.

The Butters brought six of their children to the award presentation held at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Kansas City, Kan.

Dylan, 17, Darla, 18, Hannah, 15, Delena, 9, and twins Noah and Nathan, 6, all knew their father was a hero.

The younger ones had been at the school May 10 when Ortega collapsed.

“It kind of scared me,” Nathan said.

“Dad saved a girl,” Noah said.

“We need him around the house because if we choke on something he can save us,” Delena said.

In accepting the award, Butters brushed aside his own actions, commending the efficiency of the emergency responders and praising his wife for her part in communications under stress.

“I can’t do much,” Nancy had said earlier in the evening, refusing Bob’s insistence that she had been a key part of the team, “but I can make a phone call.”

Woman dies in Wilson house fire, another fire damages Ellsworth home

By Alan Rusch
Ellsworth County Independent Reporter – October 30, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 26, 2014

ellsworth fire 11262014

Two house fires Sunday and Monday in Ellsworth County claimed the life of a 92-year-old Wilson woman and severely damaged the contents of both structures.

Rose Yusta was found dead in a bedroom on the east side of her home at 910 22nd Street in Wilson at 2:29 p.m. Sunday, after firefighters were called to the residence to battle a blaze. She was declared dead at the scene. The cause of death is undetermined. The home did not have a smoke detector.

According to Ellsworth Fire Chief Bob Kepka, at 8:15 a.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a house fire at 211 West Second St. The home is owned by Gail J. Bettenbrock of rural Ellsworth, but Bettenbrock’s sister, Shelly Vopat of Ellsworth, is in the process of purchasing the home and had just completed moving in.

Vopat’s boyfriend, Derek Arensman, called firefighters to the home after the smoke alarm went off and he discovered fire in a northwest corner bedroom of the basement.

Kepka said the State Fire Marshal ruled the fire started in the bed area and was accidental.

“There is heavy fire damage in the bedroom area, with water damage in the basement and smoke damage throughout the home,” Kepka said.

Twenty firefighters and eight fire trucks responded. They remained on scene until about 2 p.m.

Wilson–

According to Wilson Fire Chief Larry Langerman, no smoke was visible from the home upon arrival, but the structure was full of smoke. Upon entry, firefighters found the contents of a southwest corner bedroom on fire.

Neil Steinle of Wilson said his son, Jared, a Wilson firefighter, was mowing Yusta’s yard when Jared looked in the window and noticed the interior looked dark. He also noticed the window shades were dark and saw a little smoke. Steinle entered the home, but found the smoke too thick to proceed. He called firefighters and waited outside for them to arrive.

Langerman said the State Fire Marshal investigated the fire and deemed the cause to be undetermined. There was extensive smoke and heat damage.

Sixteen firefighters and five fire trucks responded to the fire.