Archive for June, 2015

Fire Crews Called to Afternoon House Fire

By Terry Tebrugge
Salina Post – June 30, 2015

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Salina Firefighters were at the scene of a small house fire in the 200 block of E. Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, which appeared to be on second floor of a two story home, was reported shortly after 3:30 p.m.

A fire official at the scene tells the Salina Post the fire appears to be minor.

There were no reports of injuries and no immediate word on the cause of the fire.

Firefighters offer advice on how to handle the heat

By Tim Potter
Wichita Eagle – June 30, 2015

Photo by Travis Heying.

Photo by Travis Heying.

If anyone knows how to survive summer’s heat, it’s firefighters.

They battle red-hot blazes while wearing thick gear, and they respond to emergencies where people are overcome by heat.

The key is to start hydrating well before you’re going to be doing some serious sweating, said Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp. Firefighters are told to begin drinking plenty of water and electrolytes the day before they come to work, said Wichita fire Capt. Dan Feil.

Or, as Howard Chang puts it: “You don’t want to start your trip with an empty tank.”

“Our bodies are really fine-tuned machines,” said Chang, medical director of the emergency department for Via Christi hospitals.

Sweating is the body’s mechanism for dissipating heat, and if you are dehydrated, you are not going to be able sweat enough to cool down, Chang said.

Proper hydration comes from water and drinks with electrolytes, Crisp said. Electrolytes include things like sodium or potassium that help the body, especially muscles, to function. Alcoholic drinks and coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages take water out of the body.

Too much alcohol and too much heat is a dangerous combination, especially when someone passes out, Chang said. Fire and rescue workers see the situation with homeless people abusing alcohol. The patients are already overexposed to the heat, and then alcohol compounds the problem by dehydrating them.

Generally, the people who are most vulnerable to becoming ill from heat are the very old, the very young and those who are obese, experts say. Older people’s bodies can’t compensate as well, and infants depend on others. Every year across the nation, small children die when they are left in closed-up, super-heated vehicles.

Older folks and young children can get overheated in 30 minutes to an hour in the sun, said Ashley Lunkenheimer, a Wesley Medical Center emergency department manager. She’s seen people come into the emergency room with body temperatures of 105 degrees, when it shouldn’t be above 99.4.

An obese person’s body is already strained, and the added stress of heat causes them to sweat more and get dehydrated very quickly, Lunkenheimer said. Also, excess fat works as insulator and makes it harder for the body to dissipate heat, Chang said.

Heat also puts people who are at risk of heart attack or stroke at a higher risk, Lunkenheimer said.

When you get exhausted from heat, it can affect your judgment, Lunkenheimer said. You might do something you normally wouldn’t. “And you may not realize you should get out of the heat, because you can’t think clearly.”

So the moment minor symptoms show up, it’s time to stop, she said. She’s heard patients describe how they suddenly felt overcome: “I didn’t feel bad until I did.” “Before I knew it, I passed out.”

Staying out of the heat, of course, also is key. That’s why construction workers and others who have to work outside learn to get things done in the cooler morning hours and to take frequent breaks in the shade. When Crisp did some part-time roofing 20 years ago, he would start at 5 a.m. and finish at noon.

When it’s hot, firefighters avoid training outside to limit their exposure and conserve energy, to save it for the emergency calls, Crisp said.

Part of prevention is thinking before you start working, said Feil, the fire captain. For example, he said, an elderly person who does yard work in the spring with no problem might not realize how fast he or she can get overcome when the temperature and humidity rises.

Wichita has seen the weather turn from relatively cool to very hot recently, said Sedgwick County EMS Maj. Kevin Lanterman. “People’s bodies haven’t acclimated to it,” he said. He recommends that people wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to reduce the heat.

Some early warning signs, Feil said, include thirst, a headache, light-headedness, and profuse sweating that is not making you cooler.

When fire crews work in hot weather, they have to take a break at which their vital signs, including blood pressure, are checked.

If the readings aren’t acceptable, the firefighter can be taken to a hospital.

Spray painting of Cedar Crest furniture causes evacuation of Docking Building

By Justin Wingerter
Topeka Capital Journal – June 30, 2015

A crew of state employees painting lawn furniture from Cedar Crest triggered a fire alarm Monday that evacuated the Docking State Office Building.

The Topeka Fire Department responded to the alarm at 12:09 p.m. Monday. At 12:18 p.m., the Kansas Highway Patrol issued an alert. Six minutes later, the “all clear” was given by KHP.

Lt. Eric Hatcher with Capitol Police said either fumes or splatter from the paint set off the alarm.

“It was pretty strong over here,” Hatcher said.

Greg Moody, deputy fire chief of the Topeka Fire Department, said maintenance personnel at Docking were surprised when the alarm went off.

“They thought, ‘what’s going on, there’s nobody up there — it’s not burnt popcorn this time,’ ” Moody said.

Moody said paint fumes “typically” won’t set off an alarm but mist from the spray could. There was never a fire in the building Monday, Moody added.

The crew moved furniture from the governor’s mansion Monday and began painting on the ninth floor of the state office building before being told by supervisors Tuesday morning that they were no longer allowed to paint at the site, Kansas Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn said.

“They were told to stop immediately and do it elsewhere,” Milburn said.

When a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter walked around the ninth floor Tuesday afternoon, freshly-painted lawn furniture remained on tarps aside paint cans. At least one person could be seen working on the furniture though it wasn’t clear if he was painting.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said he also toured the ninth floor Tuesday afternoon and saw benches with the Cedar Crest emblem.

Paint fumes are the latest in a strange series of nuisances state employees have had to contend with while working at Docking.

In December, bedbugs were found on the first, third and 10th floors of the building, including a nest in an office chair. In January, fleas were discovered in two areas of the building.

Plans to demolish the office building have been considered for some time. In April, the Department of Administration said the building should be demolished between December 2015 and March 2016.

One injured in two-vehicle rollover crash in North Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – June 30, 2015

Photos by Phil Anderson.

Photos by Phil Anderson.

topeka fire 6302015c

Video – TCJ 256

A two-vehicle rollover crash Tuesday morning in North Topeka sent a man to a local hospital with injuries that police said weren’t considered life-threatening.

The accident was reported about 11 a.m. at N.W. Paramore and Topeka Boulevard.

Police Sgt. Byron Endsley said at the scene the collision occurred when a Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle that was headed east on N.W. Paramore and attempting to cross N.W. Topeka Boulevard collided with a northbound Honda Ridgeline sport utility truck.

Endsley said the man driving the Dodge failed to yield to traffic on N.W. Topeka Boulevard.

Upon impact, the Dodge spun around and ended up on its passenger side. It came to rest facing west on the east side of the intersection.

It took about 20 minutes for firefighters to extricate the driver, who was alone in the Dodge. The driver then was able to stand up under his own power before he was placed on a stretcher and taken to a waiting American Medical Response ambulance.

The driver was wearing a seat belt and complained only of pain associated with the seat belt and shoulder restraint.

The woman driving the Honda and two young children also were properly restrained in their vehicle, authorities said. Police said no one in the Honda was injured.

Olathe Fire Department holds firework safety demonstration

By Alyson Bruner
KSHB – June 30, 2015

olathe fire 6302015

Video – KSHB 658

Firefighters with the Olathe Fire Department put on a safety demonstration Monday to highlight the importance of safety when it comes to explosives.

In 2014, 47 perfect of the reported 158 fireworks-related injuries in Kansas occurred on July 4th, according to the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Some sparklers, a holiday favorite, burn at temperatures of up to 1800º Fahrenheit, which is as hot as volcano lava.

“People tend to view sparklers as the innocent type of fireworks, so when you hand them to a kid they assume their child is not gonna get hurt,” Jennifer Parks with the University of Kansas Hospital said.

The possession, sale and use of fireworks is prohibited in Olathe.

RCPD Bomb Team Investigates Suspicous Mail At Via Christi

By Justin Surrency
WIBW – June 30, 2015

Late Monday afternoon Via Christi Hospital staff in Manhattan received a piece of mail they determined suspicious in nature and called authorities for further investigation.

With the purpose of being overly cautious the Riley County Police Department Hazardous Materials Response Team and Bomb Team with assistance from the Manhattan Fire Department Hazardous Materials Response Team responded to the call.

Upon further investigation, authorities determined the piece of mail posed no risk to the public.

Topeka homeowner walks in on person using stove to mix chemicals

By Ann Marie Bush
Topeka Capital Journal – June 30, 2015

A southwest Topeka homeowner Monday afternoon came home to someone using their stove to mix chemicals, said police Lt. Chris Heaven.

Officers were dispatched at 4:45 p.m. to the 2600 block of S.W. Belle on a report of a break-in.

The owner of a residence in that block walked in on a person using the stove to mix some chemicals, Heaven said.

“As soon as we saw the chemicals, we backed out and called the fire department in,” Heaven said.

No injuries were reported.

“We don’t know what they were trying to create,” Heaven said about the chemicals.

No one had been arrested in connection with the incident as of 8:30 a.m.

Officers and firefighters remained at the scene as of 8:30 a.m. and were ventilating the home.

No other details were available late Monday.