Archive for April, 2017

Fire training at Manhattan Regional Airport

By Cathy Dawes
KMAN – April 28,2 017

Photo by Jesse Romo. Click on photo to view full-size.

It may look like the real deal, but Manhattan Firefighters have been conducting annual firefighting certification testing at the Manhattan Regional Airport. The testing was going on Friday. A photo of the training was provided by Airport Director Jesse Romo. Manhattan Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Almes confirmed it was part of an annual exercise. Almes adds the training was for Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting, adding they are required to annually certify firefighters that are responsible for working at or covering the airport per the FAA. The training includes classroom portions in rescue and firefighting of aircraft. There is also a requirement to annually do live fire training with hand lines and ARFF apparatus.


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Medicine Lodge couple rebuilds after losing everything in wildfire

By Molly Brewer
KSN – April 28, 2017


Parts of Kansas are still actively working to recover from wildfires earlier this year but in some areas, people are still recovering from the damage caused by fires more than a year ago.

KSN revisited the Gerstners; a couple who lost just about everything they owned when the Anderson Creek Wildfire ripped through their home of more than a half century, diminishing it to rubble.

“When the fire came it broke it all down,” Don said. “We were pretty lucky to get out of here, I guess.”

Today, they’re recovering after an abundance of community support, along with more than $18,000 in donations to a GoFundMe page set up in their name.

“It helped a great deal,” he said.

At 88 years old, Don built him and his wife a new place to live on the same plot of land they love so much.

All they have left to finish now are the final touches, like adding sidewalks and furniture.

“When I get started on something there’s just no place to quit,” Don said.

While the Gerstners look ahead, the reality of the Anderson Creek Wildfire is still fresh for many people in Barber County.

“It’s hard to look back and say we had that kind of a fire in Barber County,” said Rick Wesley, Barber County volunteer fire chief.

The fire devastated nearly 400,000 acres across Kansas and Oklahoma, but Barber was the hardest hit, facing a cost of $1.5 million, exhausted resources and several destroyed homes.

It’s a memory those who fought to save the Gerstners home won’t forget any time soon.

“We just got to Don’s and it was just, already fully engulfed in fire and there wasn’t much we could do with it when we go there,” Wesley said.

In the future, the community has to be ready for any possibility, Wesley said.

“Whether this is an extreme the last couple years and whether we’ll see it again, we don’t know but maybe we’ll see it every year like this,” he said. “You just don’t know so we’re going to have to work at keeping fire guards around our houses and stuff in good shape.”

Should another fire sweep the prairie, the Gerstners are prepared, Don said. He pushed back all the tall grass away from their new home to keep it from igniting.

“It was a little close and probably if I’d been able to mow back in there further to the west it might not have burnt the house down,” he said.

With just a little work left on the house, the Gerstners still see the impact of the community’s support.

“Wherever I go everybody says, ‘How’s the house coming along’?” he said.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Car Fire Threatens Rose Hill Home

By Olivia Haselwood
Andover Leader – April 28, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

A car was destroyed by fire Thursday morning threatening a home.

Around 7:25 a.m. Butler County Fire District 3 responded with several vehicles to a car that was completely engulfed in flames. The white BMW was parked in front of the homeowners’ garage as it burned.

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly before any fire spread to the home. However, the car sustained substantial damage. No one was injured. There is no word yet on what started the fire.


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House fire in El Dorado

By Jeremy Costello
Butler County Times Gazette – April 28, 2017

The fire department quickly responded to a house fire call at around 2:30 Thursday afternoon on Emporia Street near Fifth.

An elderly lady was home when she said she heard a fire crackle sound. She looked and saw a fire start in her house. She made it out safely, as did her dog.

The front portion of the house burned, including the roof top. Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames quickly. Check the video to see the firemen in some of the action.

Neighbors in the area said they first saw the fire from as far as Sixth Street.


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Structure fire in Coffeyville

Independence Daily Reporter – April 23, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – April 27, 2017

The Coffeyville Fire department responded to a kitchen fire at 4 p.m. Friday at 304 E. 9th St. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and light flames were visible. The fire was quickly extinguished with an interior attack.

“This fire was unintentional, a result of unattended cooking on the kitchen stove,” said Fire Captain Joe Rexwinkle. “The occupant, Ray Davis, was alerted by a working smoke detector which enabled him to exit the house unharmed.”

The house, which is owned by Larry Trotter, sustained approximately $5,000 in damage. Off duty fire personnel, South Coffeyville Fire Department, Coffeyville Police Department and CRMC EMS all assisted at the scene.


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Junction City Fire Department promotes new fire captain

By Michael J. Sellman
Junction City Daily Union – April 21, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – April 27, 2017

The Junction City Fire Department promoted one of their members to the rank of captain.

During a City Commission meeting Tuesday, Junction City Fire Chief Terry Johnson promoted James Reynolds to the position of Captain as there was an opening for the position.

Reynolds joined the department in 1995, and was promoted to lieutenant in 2009. Johnson said Reynolds is qualified as an engine and aerial driver operator, emergency medical trainer, and inspector.

“He went through the final process of our assessment, which is an interview panel. And he came out on top,” he said.


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Fort Riley firefighters provide mutual aid in Bluffs Apartments blaze

By Season Osterfeld, 1st Inf. Div. Post
Ft. Riley Post – April 21, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – April 27, 2017

In the early morning hours of April 8, the Bluffs Apartments building b in Junction City, Kansas, caught fire. As the blaze started to take over the roof of the building, firefighters from Stations 3 and 5 at Fort Riley responded to a mutual aid request from the Junction City Fire Department.

At about 1:20 a.m., crews with Engine 5 and Ladder 1 responded to the request, said Lt. Cody Sims, Fort Riley Fire Department, who was a responder on duty at Station 3. The firefighters worked with other crews from the local area including Abilene, Geary County, Junction City and Manhattan to extinguish the fire.

“We arrived on scene at approximately 1:40 a.m. and we were released from the scene at approximately 6:45 a.m.,” Sims said. “I believe the fire was under control by approximately 4:30 a.m.”

Upon arrival, the Fort Riley crews assisted with protecting neighboring structures to prevent the fire from jumping to the buildings. Once the threat to neighboring structures was eliminated, the crews began supplying water to the Abilene Fire Department ladder truck. Additionally, the station 5 crew pushed into the interior to extinguish the fire. Shortly thereafter, the station 3 crew used the Ladder 1 to assist with advancing hose to the third floor and conducting overhaul and salvage operations on two apartments, Sims said.

“Fort Riley had many assignments while on scene,” said Capt. James Kennedy, Fort Riley Fire Department, who responded with Station 5. “The first assignment was exposure protection of the surrounding structures. Windy conditions and the high volume of fire exposures were a major concern. Other assignments were water supply to other apparatus on the fire scene. Engine 5 and Ladder 1 were connected to a hydrant approximately a block away. Engine 5 crews then were called to help with some interior work once the roof had burnt off. Crews went to the 3rd floor and extinguished an apartment that couldn’t be extinguished through elevated master streams and ground monitors. Engine 5 personnel also assisted with extensive overhaul of the building until being released.”

While the mutual aid request was necessary because the JCFD was unable to tackle a fire as large and fast moving as the Bluffs Apartments fire, it is also important for community relationships and partnerships for fire departments to work together protecting the people they serve and live with, Kennedy said.

“Mutual aid is important to Fort Riley and the surrounding communities,” he said. “These partnerships build a regional bond between communities through the professionalism of the fire service. No one community can handle fires of this caliber. Fire departments rely on these mutual aid agreements to assist the community. It is vital to the Soldiers and families on and off the installation to provide fire protection.”

Sims said the fire was also important for them to be a part of because of the Soldiers and their families who lived there.

“It is what we train for on a daily basis and also there were quite a few of the tenants at the fire building that were soldiers of Fort Riley and it is a great customer service that we provided them even when they’re off the installation,” he said.

Kennedy said he credited the professional demeanor and training of all firefighters involved for why the fire was successfully extinguished without injuries or damage to neighboring structures. He added this event can also be a teaching tool for future training.

“Training plays a key role in any event,” he said. “The crews on scene were very professional and calm during the event. This is what we train for, emergency situations are stressful and the FRFES (Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services) remained professional and tactful due to the know-how and training.”


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