Broken trailer axle ignites grass fire near I-70

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – March 4, 2015

A grass fire 1 mile east of Yocemento burned through 3 acres of land, with flames coming within 300 yards a house Wednesday afternoon.

According to Ellis County Rural Fire Director Dick Klaus, crews were called to the incident shortly after 3 p.m. to find the center median and south side of the interstate on fire.

Klaus said a pickup traveling Interstate 70 was pulling a trailer when the trailer’s axle broke, causing sparks that ignited the fire.

The pickup truck also blew two tires as the driver regained control of the vehicle.

No injuries were reported.

Klaus said Co. 5 and 6 responded to the fire and worked the scene for at nearly two hours.

Crew saw worst conditions trying to save woman in icy pond

By Tim Potter
Wichita Eagle – March 4, 2015

Photo by Jerry Siebenmark. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Jerry Siebenmark. Click on photo to view full-size image.

At the moment that Erika Owen fell into the icy pond at Chisholm Creek Park on Sunday, trying to rescue her dog, almost everything worked against her and the firefighters trying to save her, a fire official says.

The first responding crew came from a fire station only a mile away. Even though that station happens to be the county’s water rescue team, which has trained in icy conditions, the cold and other circumstances were too much to overcome, county fire Division Chief Carl Cox said Wednesday.

The pond at the park, which is north of K-96 on the west side of Woodlawn, is in the shape of an hour glass and about 150 feet wide where Owen fell in.

Owen, a 28-year-old who worked with children at City Life Church, was about 75 feet out on the pond, Cox said. Because Owen was petite, Cox thinks she was able to walk to the middle of the pond before she fell through the ice.

“She really got out there so far that it was too far to turn back,” he said.

When Owen fell through the ice, she was likely in water over her head, Cox said.

It’s natural for people, especially those who aren’t trained for emergencies, to feel an impulse to go out onto ice when they want to save a pet they love, said Cox, who has been a county firefighter for 28 years.

The first firefighters on the scene had to park a quarter-mile from the pond and carry at least 100 pounds of gear over a muddy, snowy trail. They were approaching the shore when Owen went under the last time, and they immediately tried to reach her, Cox said.

When county firefighters train on ice rescues, Cox said, the idea is to slide out onto the ice, if possible, because it’s faster. But in this case, the ice was too thin, so as a firefighter in a cold-weather scuba-diving drysuit tried to slide, he kept breaking through the ice. He had to half-wade and half-swim through one chunk of ice after another, which slowed the effort.

The ice over the murky water was about a half-inch to 1.5 inches thick, white and cloudy, the color of “soft ice,” Cox said. Clear ice is stronger.

A drysuit keeps a firefighter dry but not warm, and the cold was overwhelmingly exhausting, said Cox, who also went to the scene that afternoon.

Later that day, two firefighters in the rescue attempt were treated for hypothermia.

The danger of icy water is that “it’s just paralyzing,” Cox said. It stops muscles from working, takes a person’s breath away and causes him or her to become disoriented and, within seconds, incapacitated.

They found Owen’s body in water that was 6 to 8 feet deep. The body of the dog she was trying to save was about 10 to 12 feet from her.

Ice-covered water is so dangerous, especially in Kansas, where the weather changes often and unpredictably, that when firefighters practice rescues on ice, they carefully pick the spot, Cox said. They take all kinds of precautions, including tying themselves off with rope, just in case – because they never know when they might break through.

As part of standard procedure, the Fire Department brought in professional counselors to help firefighters at Station 37 deal with the rescue attempt, Cox said.

“We do feel pain,” he said. “We do feel sympathy and empathy and compassion.”

EB I-435 at Highway 69 in OP reopens due to crash

By DeeAnn Smith
KCTV 5 – March 4, 2015

overland park fire 342105


A crash between a semi and a car snarled traffic on Interstate 435 at Highway 69.

The crash happened just before 10 a.m. Wednesday and the section of interstate was closed for a time due to the crash and the ensuing fuel clean up. The highway reopened at 1:45 p.m.

Overland Park Police Department officials said 1 person suffered serious injuries while another person suffered minor injuries.

16-year-old boy killed in crash near 175th, Switzer

By DeeAnn Smith
KCTV 5 – March 4, 2015

overland park fire 342015


Authorities are asking motorists to avoid 175th Street following a crash that killed a 16-year-old boy.

The crash occurred about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday. Overland Park police said 175th Street is closed between Antioch and Switzer Road.

The boy died at the scene. Chopper5 was over the scene and it appears the blue car hit a tree and plowed through a fence. The car traveled quite a distance before coming to a stop in a field.

Authorities believe the boy was speeding and that was a significant factor in the crash. The boy was alone in the car.

Aubry Bend Middle School is located near the crash scene. A middle school student said the car swerved to avoid hitting the bus that he was on.

A woman posted to KCTV5’s Facebook page, and said she was the driver. “It was really bad, but I had to keep the kids calm,” Karen Sillett wrote. “They are going to be really sad tomorrow.”

Job Opening – Firefighter/Paramedic – Winfield Fire Department

Winfield Fire/EMS is accepting applications for a firefighter/paramedic position.  Applications are available at and will be accepted until 4/3.  For additional information, contact Jamie Chism, Human Resources Director, 620-221-5509 or

CLASS TITLE: Firefighter/Paramedic

ACCOUNTABLE TO:  Fire Captain, Fire Lieutenant, or as assigned

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF POSITION:  Under supervision, responds to various emergencies to protect life and property; trains in the use of and operates firefighting and rescue equipment.  Performs first aid or Paramedic duties as certified. Participates in fire prevention programs, fire code inspections, pre-fire planning, public education programs, hazardous materials response, station and vehicle maintenance, and associated training activities.  Work varies requiring individual judgment within prescribed standards and procedures.  Must meet residency requirement of 15 miles from the fire department.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES ARE: Responds to fire, rescue, medical, and other emergency calls.  Assists in the suppression of fires including rescue, forcible entry, ventilation, and salvage/overhaul work. Performs first aid or Paramedic duties as certified. Ensures that the Incident Management System is implemented on emergency responses.  May serve as Incident Commander. As training progresses, on occasion may drive and operate fire department equipment as required. Assists in the suppression of fires and in the protection of life and property. Ensures readiness for further alarms. Assists in cleaning and maintaining fire apparatus, equipment, fire station, and grounds. May assist in the investigation of fire scenes. Participates in continuing and advanced training programs and drills, including rescue and hazardous materials response.  Assists in performing fire inspections and pre-fire planning.  Assists in periodic testing of fire pumps, hose, ladders, and other equipment.  Performs minor mechanic duties.  Trains and maintains good physical condition.  On scheduled call back days wears personal cellular phone with Active 911 application and is subject to call back.

EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: High school diploma or GED equivalent; at least 18 years of age; possession of a valid State of Kansas driver’s license; must obtain a Kansas non-commercial Class B driver’s license within 120 days of hiring; current Kansas Paramedic certification or current Kansas EMT certification and currently enrolled in an accredited Paramedic program with Paramedic certification within 6 months of hire date, ACLS certified, PALS certified, PHTLS required within 6 months of hire date, current national Fire Fighter I certification preferred, and CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) card preferred.

US-81 reopens after crews clear semi hanging off bridge

KSN – March 4, 2015

Photos by Trooper Riedel.

Photos by Trooper Riedel.

concordia fire 342015b

A section of US-81 has reopened after crews worked to remove a semi hanging off a bridge in northern Kansas.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Riedel reports that the non-injury accident happened on US-81 near US-24, about 12 miles south of Concordia.

Northbound traffic was redirected off at US-24 for about an hour and a half.

Fire destroys mobile home, kills pets

By Susan Marshall
Marion County Record – March 4, 2015

David and Kimberly Nunn lost most of their belongings when the mobile home they lived in at 814 W. 8th St., Lot G caught fire in the early morning hours Sunday.

The Nunns were not home when the fire broke out. Their two dogs were in their kennels inside the mobile home and died in the fire.

Marion County dispatch contacted Peabody Police and Peabody Fire Department at 1:42 a.m. The police officer on duty was the first to respond. His transmission said flames and smoke were visible and he was unable to enter the premises.

Dispatch records show the first firefighters arrived at 1:51 a.m.

Peabody firefighter Matt Litton said most of the structure was burning when the trucks arrived at the scene.

“The far eastern room was fully engulfed when we got there,” he said. “It was going pretty good.”

Litton said they were told right away about the pets in the mobile home.

“There really wasn’t anything we could do,” he said. “The fire had been going long enough we knew we couldn’t save them. It was just too late.”

Litton said the firefighters did not call for mutual aid from any other community.

“We decided we could handle it,” he said. “We got it knocked down.”

The State Fire Marshal was on the scene Sunday afternoon along with Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner to investigate the fire. Penner later left for a scheduled trip to Oregon on family business.

Any information on the fire investigation will not be available until Penner’s return later this week.

The Red Cross has been in touch with the Nunns and has provided vouchers for lodging and meals until the family can arrange for a place to stay.