Archive for August, 2015

Remembering our Heroes

Chemical smell reported at Northwest High School

By Suzanne Perez Tobias
Wichita Eagle – August 31, 2015

Wichita fire crews responded to a call Monday morning about a chemical smell at Northwest High School that was burning people’s eyes, a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher said.

The call came from a security officer at Northwest High, near 13th and Tyler, at about 11:35 a.m., the dispatcher said.

Susan Arensman, spokeswoman for the Wichita school district, said crews were investigating the smell and checking air quality. Officials suspected some mace may have been discharged, she said.

Two fires reported Saturday

By Susan Thacker
Great Bend Tribune – August 31, 2015

The Great Bend Fire Department responded to two fire calls last Saturday, Chief Mike Napolitano reported.
At 4:36 p.m., units responded to 722 Odell St. for a possible structure fire. They found a fire pit on fire that was too close to plastic combustibles.
“The owner was applying water; however, the fire had already damaged fence and melted a large plastic storage container,” Napolitano said. “The fire also ignited the grass on fire and flames traveled to the house and scorched the siding.” Damage was estimated at $500.
At 5:47 p.m. units responded to 237 SE 30 Road to check on heavy black smoke coming from the area. They found a large pile of trees and trash on fire behind a newly constructed house. This was an unauthorized burning of material, and the fire was extinguished by the builder.

Off-duty registered nurse part of team that pulls woman from vehicle

By Ashley Booker
Hutchinson News – August 31, 2015

Monday, Aug. 3, felt like a normal day off for Lanny Crupper.

He was heading toward his sister’s home on Halstead Street in Hutchinson when he saw a vehicle nose down in a ditch across the street.

At that moment, this registered nurse’s training as a previous Reno County District 8 volunteer firefighter and EMT instructor at Hutchinson Community College kicked in. He knew he had to help.

Crupper, 63, of Hutchinson was either the first or second person there to find Melva Cummings, 79, of Hutchinson trapped inside her car after hitting a driveway culvert at 3503 N. Halstead Street.

“That culvert, it’s kind of down in the ditch. The way she hit it was like running directly into a concrete wall,” Crupper said.

His adrenaline kicked in as he went to help her. After he got to her, the Hutchinson Police Department, Fire Department and EMS came.

Cummings was pinned in her car for 45 minutes, and after methods weren’t working to get her out, he, Officer Grant Ingram and either Capt. Darren Schrock, Brian Rife or Joshua Weber with HFD pulled at the heavy crushed door with their hands and pried it open.

Officer Matthew Rucker was on scene nearby to help as the other men pried open the “pretty rough-looking” car door.

Although their strength was enough to open the door, Crupper says the Jaws of Life would have been next to get her out. It took 45 minutes before she was freed from the vehicle.

“You just do what you have to do,” Crupper said. He doesn’t remember it taking 45 minutes, but “time kind of stands still in a time like that. It’s hard to gauge.”

Crupper says them prying open the door probably looked more amazing than it really was.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Hanen said each person of the three-person fire crew had their own responsibility. One was inside the car, another outside of it and one was helping bring Cummings out.

When asking the crew about the accident later, they responded by saying, “none of us really did anything extraordinary.”

Although Ingram, Schrock, Rife and Weber were just doing their job, which is equally heroic, it’s not every day an off-duty registered nurse is there to help.

Crupper had been identified as an off-duty paramedic at the time, and admits he didn’t want to correct anyone because there were more important things at hand.

Even though it’s been years since Crupper has used his EMT and volunteer firefighter training, he said it came back to him as if he were using it just yesterday.

“I think when you train to do stuff like that it’s always in the back or your mind — you never forget it and it’s always there,” Crupper said.

Crupper graduated from nursing school at HCC after he instructed EMT classes there. Although he isn’t employed now after breaking his hip a week-and-a-half after Cummings’ accident, he had been a traveling registered nurse at the time.

He suspects he will be looking for work soon after he’s able to be mobile again. He is also a co-owner of Crupper’s Corner, Inc., in Hutchinson.

Rucker said Cummings is lucky that Crupper was nearby. It’s “very convenient timing if you’re going to wreck a vehicle that badly,” he said.

“It really scares you after it’s all over and it all sinks in what could have happened,” Crupper said. “It’s sure good to hear that she’s doing better.”

Crupper said he was happy to help and what he did “really wasn’t that big a deal.”

Although this good deed wasn’t a big deal to him, his wife Peggy says he does this kind of thing as often as he can.

“It’s not the first time he’s stopped and helped somebody,” she said, mentioning he’s helped people after they struck a deer and he once helped a woman after she fell asleep behind the wheel.

“He’s one of those kinds of guys,” she said.

City, police and fire unions reach contract agreements

By Becky Kiser
Hays Post – August 31, 2015

The City of Hays and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 48 have reached a tentative agreement for the years 2016 through 2018. The current agreement is set to expire at the end of 2015.

City representatives during the meet and confer process included Toby Dougherty, City Manager; Paul Briseno, former Assistant City Manager; Don Scheibler, Chief of Police; Carolyn McCollum-Scantlin, Director of Communications; and Erin Giebler, Director of Human Resources. Jeff Ridgway and Wade Park represented the FOP.

One change, according to City Manager Toby Dougherty, is reducing short term disability payments from 100 percent to 70 percent and it’s being done with all city employees.

“The practice has been…short-term disability actually pays 70 percent; the city has made up the 30 percent difference. We have found that provides a disincentive for some employees to come back to work,” Dougherty explained, “and the reason short-term disability pays 70 percent is to provide an incentive to come back to work.”

The three-year agreement with the FOP also includes a $2,050 pay raise in 2016, which is being extended to all Hays city employees.

“This will bring the bottom of the (FOP) range up by $1,500, giving the current personnel a good raise. It will also bring the bottom end of ranges up a lot higher, making us more competitive with the (job) market,” Dougherty said.

The $2,050 pay adjustment will be counterbalanced with projected increased sales tax revenues.

City commissioners Thursday night also approved an agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 2119.

The current IAFF Memorandum of Agreement is set to terminate at the end of 2015. City representatives during the meet and confer process included Dougherty; Briseno; Gary Brown, Fire Chief; Ryan Hagans, Deputy Fire Chief; and Giebler. Brandon Woods, Tim Detrixhe, Greg May and Justin Choitz represented the IAFF.

“It’s essentially the same as the police department, but the fire department does not have language in its contract calling for 100% short-term disability payments,” Dougherty told commissioners.

Semi Catches Fire

KSAL – August 31, 2015

Photo by Saline County Sheriff Office

Photo by Saline County Sheriff Office

RFD 3 responded to a semi truck that caught fire on eastbound I-70 at the Brookville exit Sunday afternoon.
Robin Reeve, 63, of La Salle, Colorado felt a shake in his vehicle while driving and checked his mirrors. The right side front tires of the trailer he was hauling were loose, and by the time he was able to stop the vehicle, the back tires and right side door to the trailer were on fire.
Reeve attempted to put it out with his fire extinguisher, but the flames were too strong.
He was carrying 50,000 lbs. of scrap aluminum.

Kansas teen dies in motorcycle accident

Hays Post – August 31, 2015

Law enforcement authorities in Saline County are investigating an accident that took the life of a Kansas teen just after 11p.m. on Friday.

The Saline County Sheriff reported a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle driven by Dakota Harr, 19, Ellsworth, was traveling with a group of motorcyclists near Airport Road and Water Well south of Salina.

Harr left the group at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at the intersection, struck the lid of a water pump station, lost control of the motorcycle and landed about 600 feet from the road in a cornfield, according to the sheriff.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.