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46 tenants relocated after fire at Osawatomie senior living apartments

By Belinda Post
KSHB – November 22, 2017

Nearly 50 people were pushed out into the cold as they were evacuated from their homes when a fire broke out just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, in Osawatomie, Kansas.

One resident of Senior Living Apartments on Carr Street was Jimmy Lewis.

“The main thing I was worried about was my dog,” said Lewis, who only grabbed his chihuahua, Buddy.

Lewis had just sat down to dinner when he smelled something funny.

“Like a bunch of wires burning, you know, when wires get hot,” said Lewis, who actually has only lived at the complex about a month.

Wayne Dempsey lives on the second floor, where the fire started. He said he was wearing pajamas when a police officer knocked on his door during the evacuation.

“When we got outside we didn’t see blazes just a lot of smoke,” said Dempsey.

The city manager said it was a stove fire. The smoke went into the vent and spread damaging five units and one hallway.

When all 46 residents were evacuated they were met by community support.

They were bused by the Life Care Center and school district to the auditorium.

The firefighter’s wives, fondly calling themselves the Osawatomie Fire Wives, grabbed supplies like socks, blankets, food and water. They passed it out to those in need.

“It didn’t take us very long to figure out what to do,” said Loree Love, president of the Fire Wives.

Sonic and Pizza Hut also donated food.

The Fire Wives said some of the people were disoriented or upset, and they wanted to talk with everyone.

“I think all of them knew people were here to help,” said Erica Kriesel, Fire Wife.

The city manager said right now sprinklers are being tested, and they are making sure fire alarms and everything else is up to code.

It is too soon to say when people will be able to move back into their units. In the meantime, the Red Cross is providing assistance and many people are staying in a hotel.

The Life Care Center opened up its west end for those who need routine medical care or a place to stay.

Firefighters from Paola and Fontana fire departments also assisted.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Many apartments could open by noon Monday. Anyone trying to get personal items should do so by 5 p.m. Friday.

Authorities found several pets as well as recovered residents’ medications. Those medications were taken to Schrader Insurance, 526 Main St., and can be collected there after 2 p.m. Wednesday.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Harold “Lee” Miller

Harold “Lee” Miller, age 79, of Garnett, Kansas, passed away on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, at Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Richmond, Kansas.

Lee was the former fire chief for the City of Garnett.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 25, 2017, at the Feuerborn Family Funeral Service Chapel in Garnett, Kansas. Burial will follow in the Glenloch Pleasantview Cemetery, west of Garnett. The family will greet friends from 6:00 – 8:00 PM on Friday evening at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Garnett American Legion Baseball Fund.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Joco car fire video

By Monty Davis
Kansas City Star – November 22, 2017


Firefighters from Johnson County and Olathe battled a car fire on northbound Interstate 35 Tuesday night near 167th Street.

There were no injuries.

The dramatic fire scene was captured by a helmet camera worn by one of the firefighters.

Watch the video above to see the scene unfold.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Wednesday fire damages 2 houses just west of downtown Topeka

By Steve Fry
Topeka Capital Journal – November 22, 2017

Photos by Steve Fry

Smoke towered over downtown Topeka Wednesday morning when a fire heavily damaged the east side of a one-story frame house.

The fire was reported at around 11 a.m. Wednesday at 1404 S.W. Polk. Heavy smoke from the fire could easily be seen from the 600 block of S.E. Jefferson more than a mile northeast of the burning house.

No one was injured in the house or while fighting the fire, Topeka Fire Department Shift Commander Dan Mackey said.

The house at 1400 S.W. Polk just north of the fire location sustained heat damage which melted the vinyl siding. The two houses are about 10 feet apart.

Firefighters wearing air packs struggled to extinguish flames that burned inside the east wall at 1404 S.W. Polk and appeared to be trapped inside the ridge of the east roof. A firefighter carried a singed metal gasoline can away from the smoking house. The seam on the can’s top had fractured.

The fire department, which had nine vehicles at the fire scene, hadn’t determined the cause of the fire or how much monetary damage was done.

Samantha Ginter, an employee at the Tyler Towers, 600 S.W. 14th, said she had just gone outside her job site to take a break and smoke a cigarette when she saw the fire just south of her.

“All I saw was flames,” Ginter said. The flames were burning through a back window on the east side of the house, Ginter said.

Mackey said no one was inside the house when firefighters arrived at the fire scene. The front of the house appeared to have some damage.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Johnston named ‘Firefighter of the Year’

By Ron Steele
SEK Voice – November 22, 2017

From left: Capt. Dakota Wixon, Chief Gunnar Wixon, Deputy Chief Art Mallory and Firefighter P.J. Johnston

Baxter Springs American Legion Post 206 honored the city’s 2017 “Firefighter Of The Year” during their November meeting. The year’s recipient was P.J. Johnston.

Fireman Johnston is a young 2015 graduate of Baxter Springs High School. Even though P.J. is only in his second year as a volunteer firefighter, Chief Gunnar Wixon said: “It was unanimous by our department that P.J. should be our ‘Firefighter of the Year’. He responded to 67 percent of our calls. No one, including myself, came close to this. It is very hard to do this, and is simply amazing.”

Fireman Johnston completed the rigorous 16-week long Fire Academy in Joplin, and is qualified in all aspects of firefighting. Because he works full-time as a machinist trainee at KMT in Baxter Springs, the 16-week course was done all on his own time.

American Legion Post 206, and the City of Baxter Springs is proud to have this young man step up, volunteer, and protect our community.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Seward County fire news

By Joe Denoyer
KSCB – November 22, 2017

The Seward County Board of County Commissioners met Monday evening for their regularly scheduled meeting. The Commissioners started the meeting by recognizing the 2017 Seward County Volleyball team for their accomplishments during the 2017 season.

Commissioners then moved to approve the purchase of 4 Motorola radios for the Rural Fire Department and waived the purchasing policy as their was only one vendor. The Commission then approved the acquisition of a 8×8 2500 gallon tanker from the Kansas Forest Service and approved the expenditure of $33,320.00 to modify the unit so it can be fire ready. The money will come from the Rural Fire Equipment Fund.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Conditions ripe for fires in county

By Greg Mast
Ottawa Herald – November 22, 2017

Photo by Susan Welte

Any little spark could ignite a wildfire when there are windy, dry conditions mixed with low humidity.

Monday across Franklin County the conditions were ripe for fires. Three structure and grass fires between 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. erupted throughout the county.

Thomas Winter, Emergency Management Coordinator, said windy, dry conditions mixed with dead vegetation can happen at anytime of the year, not just during the traditional spring burn season. He said low humidity, not having a significant amount of rain, and high winds spells are a fire hazard.

“Relative humidity is one of the large factors,” Winter said. “In the springtime when we are coming out of winter, we have a lot of dead vegetation on the ground. We have already had our fall kill — a frost — so we have a lot of vegetation that is dying off. It is available to burn.”

The wind gusts were above 30 miles per hour Monday afternoon.

“If winds are above 15 miles per hour, you can’t burn,” Winter said. “Look at your weather conditions. A spark can go a long way. It can start a pretty big [fire].”

Winter said burn permits are needed to legally burn in the county. He said residents should heed the restrictions and make sure to follow all the regulations printed on the permits.

The first reported fire Monday was at 1:44 p.m. in the 200 block of North Seventh Street in Centropolis. A property owner reported a fire on his property, which ended with three structures on three different properties being damaged, according to a sheriff’s report. The fire was ruled accidental, possibly from a fire pit, the report said.

The other fires in the county Monday afternoon were at 3743 Cloud Road and on Utah Road near Wellsville.

Winter said those three fire calls were handled by six different departments, spreading the county fire fighting resources thin. He said the emergency management’s role is to monitor the situation and provide help if mutual aid is needed.

“We are the Home Depot for the fire services,” Winter said. “We listen and see what their requests are. They did not need any out-of-county resources. We can help with that. They handled their business like they were supposed to.”

He said Franklin County and the surrounding counties have mutual aid agreements to help fight fires.

“We are more than willing to help them, and they are willing to help us,” Winter said.

Even residents did what they could to help. Robert Smith, a Pomona resident, who lives a couple of miles from the Centropolis fire, was one of the first to arrive on the scene after hearing about the fire on the scanner.

“We are the neighborhood watch,” he said.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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