Archive for December, 2016

Mound City asks county to incorporate city into county fire protection

By Jackie Taylor
Linn County News – November 30, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

Following an injury to Mound City Fire Chief Matt Cochran earlier in the year and the inability of Mound City to recruit enough firefighters, Mayor Mat Casner asked the County Commissioners if they would be willing to incorporate Mound City into Linn County Rural Fire coverage.

Casner said they’d been working on trying to recruit firefighters for a while. But with Cochran’s injury, things slowed down and Casner said the city learned that their fire rating will increase from 6 to 10, essentially doubling homeowner insurance rates and increasing commercial coverage by unknown amounts.

“If it is an agreeable course of action, the council would like to pursue it,” said Casner of the city’s formal request to incorporate Mound City into county fire coverage.

County Commissioner Vicki Leonard asked who would own the fire equipment Mound City currently owns and Commissioner Rick James asked for what the council was hoping.

Casner said, “We can’t offer a lot in terms of equipment.”

He explained that their fire truck is an open top unit that is being discontinued by fire services. In addition, it needs a lot of repair. He said they did have hoses and other miscellaneous equipment they could offer.

Casner said, “I contacted dispatch and we were called out 14 times in 2015; half were for lift assists.”

County Counselor Gary Thompson said, “There will need to be a formal agreement between the city and the county. The agreement could say the city drops their mill levy to support the Rural Fire Department.”

With that the commissioners learned that Mound City does not have a line item for the fire department; expenses that equal approximately $3,000 come from the general budget.

Casner said they have a building that houses the fire truck, but he wasn’t clear if the fire truck would become the county’s to surplus or stay with the city.

James said, “I don’t want the rest of the county to suffer.”

He continued that he did not want the entire county ISO rating, at 5, that dictates insurance rates to increase by adding Mound City, which was now at a 10.

Thompson explained that county taxpayers would pick up the increase in budget of approximately 3 mills in 2018 as 2017 was already set. Mound City already has $3,300 in their budget to support the fire department in 2017.

It was estimated that Mound City taxpayers would increase their property taxes by $23 for a $100,000 home when the county picked up fire coverage.

Commissioner Mike Page said, “It’s all about helping you, but we need to make sure it doesn’t create a negative impact. It’s similar to what Parker and Blue Mound had to do.”

Casner said, “It’s already perceived that Mound City is Station 910.”

“You’re not in any jeopardy,” said James. “The phone rings and the county will go.”

Casner said, “We’ve leaned on the county a lot in the last year.”

James again stated concern over what the incorporation would do to the county’s ISO rating.

County Fire Chief Doug Barlet told the commissioners that he’d get hold of “Mr. Conrad,” who handles ISO ratings, who indicated he’d rush it through.

With that Barlet said it’d still take a minimum of four months to get the ISO rating.

Thompson said, “Assuming you won’t get hurt on the ISO rating, I can sketch out an agreement that includes equipment, a year of no funding, and other details.”

Casner said he’d talk to the City Council next Monday night about the agreement, and Thompson continued that there would have to be steps taken for Mound City to be included in the county mill levy.

With that, the commissioners discussed that there is an inter-local agreement already in place and fire coverage would continue.

Barlet said, “It will take six months to get the rate back down to 5 or, at worst, 6. There is a 75-day advertising requirement to publish so insurance companies know.”

County Clerk David Lamb said, “Insurance doubling will cost a lot more than the mill levy increase. Anyone that gets evaluated in the window from now to when it gets rerated, their insurance will double.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Michael R. Schechter


Former Stevens County Emergency Manager and Coordinator Michael R. Schechter passed away Saturday, November 26, 2016 in Wichita at the age of 69.

Mike was born to Loren and Wilma ‘Billie’ Schechter July 29, 1947. He graduated from Hugoton High School in 1966 and joined the United States Army, serving in South Korea until 1968.

November 29, 1969, Mike married Jill Powell. They made their home in Hugoton until 2012.

Mike worked for Mobil Oil for 22 years and owned his own well service business for eight years. In 2001, Mike became the Emergency Manager for Stevens County Fire and EMS until he retired in 2011.

For 42 years Mike served on the Hugoton Volunteer Fire Department and as an EMT for 37 years.

Mike proudly served as the Fire Chief for 30 years. As a part of his Emergency Management duties, Mike was a Unit Officer for the Southwest Incident Management Team, and he was the Operation Manager for the IMT during the Greensburg Tornado disaster.

Mike was very involved in the Hugoton community. He served on the USD 210 School Board from 1995 to 1999, and he was honored as Citizen of the Year in 2010.

Mike is survived by his wife Jill of Wichita; their daughter Latisha Godfrey and husband Jaymes of Wichita; his beloved dogs, Lilly, Ginger, and Winston; his siblings, Tom Schechter and wife Karen, Rex Schechter and wife Renee, Rita Schechter Wray, Hal Schechter and wife “Aunt” Brenda, and Jack Schechter; his 16 nieces and nephews; and numerous great-nieces and nephews.

Those preceding Mike in death are his infant son Nicholas and his mother and father.

Mike wished to be cremated and a graveside service will take place at a later date.


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Official attributes fire in detached garage to youths playing with lighter w/video

Topeka Capital Journal & WIBW – December 30, 2016


A fire in a detached garage Friday afternoon started when juveniles were playing with a lighter, a fire official said.

Firefighters were called about 2:20 p.m. to the fire behind a house in the 200 block of S.W. MacVicar.

Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin said crews immediately attacked the blaze, which had engulfed the garage by the time they arrived. It was quickly extinguished, he said.

Three adults and two children were occupying the house, which wasn’t damaged, Martin said. No injuries were reported.

Martin said the fire would be classified as accidental, attributed to youths connected with the house playing with the lighter.

For more than an hour, law enforcement blocked through traffic from the north and south along about three blocks of S.W. MacVicar as emergency vehicles blocked much of the street near the house.


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City looks into options for firefighters’ insurance

By Jared Janzen
Harvey County Independent – November 17, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

Bentley – City Council continued discussion of options for insuring police officers and volunteer firefighters during its meeting November 10, but no binding action was taken.

The council was presented with three insurance plans from Provident, an insurance agency that covers volunteer firefighting departments. Additional options for accidental death and dismemberment were also presented.

Provident representative Karen Allen was available via telephone to answer questions from the Council, Interim Fire Chief Moe Lallement and Police Chief Kevin Dorritie.

The policy would cover responses within the city and township but will also provide coverage in other townships if a written mutual aid agreement exists, Allen said.

Lallement asked if this agreement could be done verbally between chiefs instead of in writing since this is more often the case, to which Allen said she thought it wouldn’t be an issue.

The policy presented covers a total of 14 members between the fire and police departments. Allen said that an increase of one or two members on this plan would not be a significant increase. She said that Provident looks at more factors than just the number of people covered when determining prices–factors like frequency and severity of calls.

The council decided to go with the option with the highest coverage plan of the three basic options but turned down an additional policy for 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment, which would include both on- and off-duty coverage.

The annual premium for the option the council chose is $4,083. Of this, $231 would come from the police budget, which has money available for this purpose. Since the rest of this expense wasn’t budgeted for 2017, the council decided to prepay it from the 2016 budget. The council decided to wait till their December meeting to finalize the insurance decision so that they could ensure that the quoted price is accurate.

The city council examined recent improvements to the fire department’s brush truck. These include a new bar light on top of the truck and some mechanical wiring.

The city council also tabled until the December meeting a government service agreement concerning fire code inspections by Sedgwick County Fire District No. 1.


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Harper County Landfill Office Building Destroyed by Fire

Anthony Republican – November 23, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

The Harper County Landfill building, located six miles north and one half mile east of Anthony, was listed as a total loss in a fire last Thursday evening. As of press time the cause has not been revealed, as authorities are waiting on professional input. The visual cost of damage from the fire has been listed at $40,000 for the building, $42,000 for the bobcat skid steer trac loader and $4,000 for the scale ticket printer and scale indicator.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Humboldt receives grant

By Joshua Vail
Chanute Tribune – December 6, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – December 30, 2016

The Humboldt Fire Department was among the first recipients of a new grant program from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Humboldt was one of 19 fire departments that received grants for safety equipment. The department received $10,998.

Humboldt Fire Chief Sean McReynolds said the funds will be combined with some money from the budget and a grant of about $2,200 from the US Department of Agriculture to purchase eight sets of structure fire gear.

“It enables us to get some of our structural firefighting gear that we would not be able to afford otherwise,” he said.

These are the heavy suits that firefighters wear when entering a burning building. The current suits are reaching the end of their service life and needed replacement, but McReynolds said that was prohibitively expensive on the fire department’s budget.

The fire department will purchase one suit for each of the eight air packs it currently has in use. The total cost is about $14,600.

“A pretty good chunk of it is being paid for through grants,” McReynolds said.

Getting enough top of the line gear to allow firefighters to do their job safely has been a goal of the fire department. Earlier this year, the department used other grants along with money from its budget to purchase Wildland firefighting gear, which is lighter protective clothing for grass fires and other outdoor situations like car wrecks, for all its firefighters.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Sunday fire destroys home

By David Tan
Colby Free Press – December 5, 2016
Submitted by Newz Press – December 30, 2016

Photos by Evan Barnum

Photos by Evan Barnum

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

A mobile home fire Sunday at Colby Trailer Village is still under investigation.

The fire department received a call at 10:52 a.m., Colby Fire Chief Bob McLemore said. He and firefighters arrived on scene by 10:57 a.m. to Leon Zerr’s mobile home with a water truck and other special equipment because the location did not have a fire hydrant nearby.

The fire was contained around noon, McLemore said. No one was inside the trailer at the time of the fire. A truck stayed at the scene to take care of embers in case it sparked back up after the other trucks were sent back to the firehouse.

“We are still investigating the cause,” McLemore said, adding that there is no reason to consider it suspicious.

Zerr was in the process of moving into the trailer. “They (trailers) go up fast,” he said. Zerr said all his belongings were gone, but “It was just stuff. I can get more stuff.”


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