Archive for June, 2014

NVFC Resource Spotlight: Retention and Recruitment Guide

The NVFC, in partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration, released Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions (Second Edition) to addresses the primary challenges departments face regarding retention and recruitment and provide proven solutions to overcome these obstacles. This valuable resource is designed for all volunteer and combination departments who are experiencing retention and recruitment challenges. Access the guide here.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Cause determined in Plymell house explosion

By Lindsay Cobb
KSN – June 30, 2014


A Plymell home exploded on Saturday evening around 5:30 and the blast could be heard for miles.

“It reminded me of the sonic boom from way back, but only louder,” said neighbor John Bilberry.  “Then when I stepped outside, the sky looked like confetti.”

Three members of the Unruh family were inside their house when it exploded, killing 17 year old Spencer.

“He was probably one of the sweetest kids, honestly that you could meet,” said his cousin Benjamin Unruh.  “He was very just generous, very kind.”

Spencer’s 14-year old brother Riley, and their mother Kelly, were both flown to Wichita in critical condition.

The explosion is still under investigation, but the State Fire Marshal’s office, along with the Finney County Sherriff’s office, and the Garden City Fire Department, have narrowed down the cause.

“Through the investigation it was determined that the probable cause of the explosion was due to a concentration of natural gas,” said GCFD Chief Allen Shelton.

While the family mourns, the community has shown their support.

“The outpouring of emotions and prayers have been a little bit overwhelming for the family, so I’d like to express my thanks, and convey their thanks as well,” said Benjamin Unruh.

So far, they’ve received over $9,000 in donations for funeral and medical expenses through a donation site.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sense of neighborhood security slipping after cars are vandalized, one set on fire

By Megan Brilley
FOX 4 News – June 30, 2014


A mom woke up to her teenage daughter screaming and ran out to find flames engulfing her car. Her daughter’s car was torched and dozens of other vehicles were vandalized in an Overland Park neighborhood.

The vandalism happened near the corner of 145th and Floyd.

“I don’t know if it’s even describable,” Gretchen Mitchell said.

It’s a feeling that’s hard for Mitchell to put into words. She was sleeping when she heard shrieking coming from her 16-year-old’s room.

“I heard her scream, ‘mom, the car is on fire!’ I ran to her and said, ‘what are you talking about, what’s going on?’”

They looked out the window and saw flames as high as the house.

“I had just filled the car with gas. I knew there was a lot of fuel in it. I was scared it might explode. We heard tires exploding,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell woke up the rest of her family and ran outside to safety.

“It was just completely engulfed in flames,” she said.

Within minutes, firefighters were on scene. Once Mitchell started talking with neighbors and police, she realized this was no accident.

Police told her several cars in her area had been hit. Some neighbors we talked to say their cars had been rummaged through, some had wallets and chargers stolen.

But Mitchell said there was nothing of too much significance in her daughter’s car.

“That’s the thing that we can’t quite figure out. We don’t at all know what might’ve triggered somebody to do this, it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

A quiet neighborhood with unlocked cars and open garages…

“It’s just a place we have always felt safe,” she said.

A great sense of security, that is now starting to fade.

“It’s a helpless feeling,” Mitchell said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No injuries reported in ethanol plant explosion

By Larry Phillips
Southwest Daily Times – June 30, 2014

Fire trucks and other emergency responders arrive at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday after reports of an explosion in a natural gas burner on the plant’s feed dryer system. No one was injured in the incident, according to authorities. L&T photos/Chris Linenbroker

Fire trucks and other emergency responders arrive at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday after reports of an explosion in a natural gas burner on the plant’s feed dryer system. No one was injured in the incident, according to authorities. L&T photos/Chris Linenbroker

Firefighters responded to an explosion Sunday evening at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant. Fortunately, no one was injured from the blast or subsequent fire, according to Seward County Fire Chief Mike Rice.

“We got the page at 7:04 p.m. (Sunday) about a possible explosion at the plant at 8000 Road P,” Rice said earlier today. “Preliminary reports from plant staff is they had a natural gas explosion in a combustion burner in the feed dryer system on the second floor.”

Firefighters had contained the fire and left the scene at 3:18 a.m. today, but were called back out at 5:23 a.m.

“We’re, basically, on standby right now (9:27 a.m.) while plant staff cuts some holes in equipment so they can get to some smoldering insulation that’s around some of the piping and duct work in that area,” Rice said.

Though no injuries occurred in the incident, Rice said preliminary reports indicate significant damage was caused by the explosion.

“Early, early damages  – from reports of the plant’s staff – indicate damages could be in the $1- to $2-million range,” Rice said.

The exact cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, and Rice said further investigation is under way.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Charles “Charlie” B. Allen



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Libraries are for fun

Colby Free Press – June 25, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Photos by Judy Rogers. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Judy Rogers. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Diane Martinez tried on a fire helmet Monday when Steve Hirsch gave a presentation on fire safety at the Selden Public Library’s “Fizz Boom Read” summer reading program. The girls thought the helmet was very heavy.

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Valentine Bermudez took a turn at spraying the fire hose with a little help from Hirsch.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Geneseo celebrates first Spring Fling

By Ryan Carlson
Lyons News – June 6, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – June 30, 2014

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Click on each photo to view full-size image.

geneseo fire 6302014b

The city of Geneseo held it’s first annual Spring Fling on Saturday. The festivities included a car and motorcycle show, live music, a hog feed and Fun Run Poker Run.

The poker run was one of the first events of the morning starting at 9 a.m. Bikers signed in and started off on a 100-mile trek that stretched from Kanopolis Reservoir all the way to Holyrood.

Prizes were awarded for the best and worst hand. The recipients of the best hand this year were John and Cheryl Snow of Hutchinson.

The winners of the car show were announced later that evening around 7:30 p.m. This year’s winners were Diana Allen for the People’s Choice Award, David Pedigo won the Full Dress Award, Billy Stone won Special Interest and Chopper class, Marvin Foster won the Antique Award, Jason Warren won the Custom Award, Mike Kratzer won an award for the “Before 1960” Class, Steve Clark won the 1960-2000 Vehicle Class, Ted Worl won the 2000 and Newer Class and Street Rod Class and Jason Warren won the Rat Rod Class. Each winner received a plaque showing the class of vehicle they had won and the sponsor of the award.

Geneseo Fire Department was at the event displaying their new fire truck. Geneseo Fire Chief Mike Huggans said Geneseo had a 1965 Chevrolet fire truck for many years. In fact, Huggans said that his father-in-law was mayor when the city purchased it. Needless to say, it was time to get a new truck.

After a month scouring the internet looking at different fire trucks, Mike Huggans and Dean Bigley decided to fly to Company Two Fire Apparatus in South Carolina last February to continue their search. The company gave Huggans and Bigley a tour of their facility and displayed 40 trucks for them to choose from. Huggans and Bigle went through the truck and tried out everything including the water jets. After much deliberation, the two decided to buy a 1992 Simon Duplex.

The City of Genesco raised the sales tax 1% for two years to fund the new truck purchase. While the city received the truck in April, Geneseo Fire Department is still raising funds to pay for equipment through events like Saturday’s hog feed. Huggans said the fire department still needs more hoses, nozzles and air packs for the truck.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster