Archive for October, 2013

Dive team trains at Clinton Lake

By Liz Zamora
Channel Six News – October 30, 2013


Members of the Douglas County Underwater Search and Recovery Team trained in Clinton Lake. Officer Mik Shanks has been on the dive team since 1988, after the dive team became part of the sheriff’s office.

“We’ve been lucky to evolve to a really top notch team in this region and it’s been great to be a part of that,” said Shanks.

On Wednesday diving down to 18 feet, the water was 50 degrees and the visibility was down to zero.

“In lakes around here we can’t see anything, so when we drop down, we can’t tell the difference if we’re closing or opening our eyes and that makes it that much more dangerous for things like entanglements,” said Detective Dean Ohman.

The team recently helped the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department look for evidence in the Corey Brown murder investigation. Brown disappeared  January 3, 2012. His body was found two days later five miles west of Lecompton. They didn’t find evidence but found a car, a safe and an urn that authorities believed held ashes.

Earl Barnes of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical has been on the team for several years. He says the team members have become very close.

“It’s a very dangerous business that we’re in so you have a lot of trust in each other and part of that is developing a camaraderie,” said Barnes.

Deb Porter is the only female member of the dive team. She called herself a water baby.

“If we are able to close a case or give a family member back a loved one, then that’s what it’s all about,” said Porter.

The dive team is comprised of members of the Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence-Douglas Fire Medical.

Crane damaged in morning fire

By Nick Sloan
Kansas City Kansan – October 30, 2013

A fire at a local railroad yard in Kansas City, Kan., resulted in $700,000 worth of damage to a crane.

Firefighters responded to 720 S. 38th Street in KCK just after 8 a.m. Wednesday morning on a fire call.

After arriving, they discovered a large railroad crane on fire.

“Crews were informed crane was being used to load semi-trailers onto railroad transport cars when the crane caught fire,” said Craig Duke, KCKFD Deputy Chief. “The crane operator was able to exit crane control compartment safely. Crews were able to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes.”

No one was hurt in the fire.


Oil well explodes during lightning storm

Leavenworth Times – October 30, 2013

An oil well exploded and became engulfed in flames following a lightning strike this morning in northern Leavenworth County, according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office.

The incident was reported at 4:36 a.m. today at 22312 Happy Hollow Road. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters from multiple departments responded to the fire as well as Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

The oil well is owned and operated by Daystar Petroleum. Employees of the company responded to the scene and turned off the oil well, according to the report.

A propane tank was too close to the fire and could not be shut off. The tank was allowed to burn off its gas for the safety of the firefighters.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is expected to visit the site to assess the damage, according to the report.

Medic unit for sale

See below for information on 1993 Ford ambulance for sale by Anderson County Fire Department.

medic unit info

Anderson County Fire and Emergency Management
Office: 785-448-6797
Cell/Text: 785-448-4194
Fax: 785-448-1695

Firefighting first set for Holcomb

By Scott Aust
Garden City Telegram – October 30, 2013

For the first time ever, the Holcomb Community Fire Department will be hosting firefighters from across the state for a fire training school through the Kansas State Firefighters Association Nov. 16 – 17 at Holcomb High School.

Bill Knight, Holcomb Fire Chief, estimated anywhere from 125 to 200 firefighters from fire departments around the state will attend the fire school on Nov. 16 and 17.

The association offers fire schools several times a year across the state. Holcomb and its fire department, which consists of 20 volunteer firefighters, are probably the smallest communities and department to host one, Knight said.

“It’s state of the art training, not just for volunteers. We expect all of Garden City’s firefighters to be there, and we’ve received confirmation from several of the smaller surrounding towns that they’ll be there,” Knight said. “This is really world-class training for out west here. It’s offered quite often in the eastern part of the state and the major cities, but very seldom out here in small towns.”

Gary Newman, Holcomb mayor, said hosting the fire school is a positive event for the city, bringing some recognition to the department.

“It’s an honor to be able to host it. With so many fire departments and personnel coming through, it speaks highly of Chief Knight’s involvement at the local and state level to be able to host it,” Newman said.

Newman said it also should help bring some economic benefit locally, mostly to the county, but also to businesses in Holcomb like Ron’s Market, which might get a boost with so many people coming to town.

Training will include both classroom and hands-on training in defensive driving, responding to railway emergencies, wildland fires, oil tank battery fires and grain elevator fires. There will also be a live burn trailer and a new Kansas University fire skills trailer on hand.

One of the classes Knight looks forward to his firefighters taking is responding to railway emergencies, a class Knight took a couple of years ago and wanted to bring to Holcomb’s fire school. Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is bringing in an instructor to offer a detailed class about railroad emergencies.

“Not only will it help with people who have BNSF right of way in their district, but any train engine is set up the same way, by law, for the kill-switch locations, how they work, how they operate, the identification of tank cars,” Knight said. “Just from the silhouette of the car, you can tell whether it’s high pressure, low pressure, and things like that.”

One of the things the public can come out and look at, Knight said, is the brand new Kansas University Fire and Rescue Institute firefighter skills trailer, which will be making one of its first appearances anywhere in the state on Nov. 17 at Holcomb.

The KU skills trainer is built into a 50-foot semi-trailer and offers training in forced entry, ventilation, sprinkler and valve training and a lot of other hands-on training never before offered in a mobile classroom. The specially designed training trailer includes a glass-breaking room, wall-breaching room and forcible entry door.

The KSFFA also will have a live burn trailer on site in which fires can be started.

“Firefighters gear up in all their safety gear, go in, observe the fire’s behavior and what different types of water pressures, water patterns will do to knock the fire down, keep the fire under control, prevent a flash over or a more dangerous situation,” Knight said. “While the general public wouldn’t be able to go in, they can sure come by and visit the facilities. This is the first time KU has brought this trailer out here. It’s brand new.”

In addition to firefighters, the school has a couple of classes that also will benefit EMTs, such as defensive driving and firefighter rehab. Knight said following a house or grass fire when firefighters have been on scene awhile, they often go to firefighter rehab, where EMS provides oxygen and checks their vital signs. Defensive driving is training Knight requires all Holcomb firefighters to have once each year.

“Those are big trucks. I get a bunch of 19 to 25 year olds driving them. It’s extremely important,” he said.

Fire school classes are free, paid for by the KSFFA and sponsors. School participants planning to go through the KU skills trainer trailer need to pre-register through KU’s website, , or by calling (866) 804-8841.

For more information about the fire school, contact Knight at (620) 277-2250 or (620) 275-5858, or by email at .

School Schedule


Lightning hits rural home

Great Bend Tribune – October 30, 2013

Lightning struck a house Monday night at 237 SE 40 Road, following the cable TV line into the house.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said firefighters were dispatched to the rural home at 10:59 p.m., but there was no fire.
Sheriff Brian Bellendir said the occupant, listed on the call log as Donna Williams, was home at the time and could smell smoke. The lightning strike left the cable red hot, and made a small hole in the roof. Everyone exited safely.
At 7:26 a.m. Tuesday, Great Bend firefighters were dispatched to SW 60 Road and SW 60 Ave., where a power pole was on fire.
There were no fires over the weekend, but there was one false alarm on Saturday, caused by a malfunction, and two false alarms on Sunday. There was also a natural gas leak Sunday afternoon at 1015 Wilson St., caused by a limb falling on a meter as people were cutting trees.
GBFD made five ambulance runs last Friday, two Saturday, two Sunday and had a busy day Monday with 11.

1 hospitalized after north-side fire

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – October 30, 2013

One person was hospitalized for what a fire department official said was “severe smoke inhalation” after an early-morning blaze at a North Topeka home.Topeka Fire Department crews were sent at 4:51 a.m. to a house at 1229 N.W. Van Buren on a report of a house fire.

Fire department Shift Commander Mike Thompson said at the scene that first-arriving crews found flames and heavy smoke coming from the front room of the one-story house.

The front door was locked, so fire crews kicked in the door to begin attacking the fire.

Crews had the blaze under control in a matter of minutes, but not before it had ravaged the inside of the home.

One person was reported to have been inside the home at the time of the fire. That person, a man, escaped out the back door of the residence.

Thompson said the  man was taken to a local hospital by American Medical Response ambulance for treatment of smoke inhalation. The man was walking around before he was taken to the hospital.

Crews initially used water that was transported to the scene by two truck companies to fight the fire.

Thompson said a fire hydrant only about 50 feet from the home wasn’t usable because crews couldn’t remove a nut on top of the hydrant.

Crews had to hook up to another fire hydrant about two blocks away and  hand-drag the hose to the home.

Thompson said crews “never ran out of water” during their attack on the fire.

A fire investigator had been called to the scene, but as of 6 a.m. there was no word on a possible cause of the fire or an estimated dollar loss.

%d bloggers like this: