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Hundreds of acres burn in Butler County wildfire

KWCH – February 17, 2017


Crews from seven fire departments worked a wildfire in Butler County on Friday.

The El Dorado Fire Department says the fire started on the north side of the turnpike, about a mile north of El Dorado.

The fire department said moderate winds, and tall and dense grassland hampered efforts to battle the blaze.

Two homes and livestock were threatened, but crews were able to save them from damage and injury.

The fire burned about 200 acres and 50 bales of hay.


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

‘These are my angels’

By Dale Hogg
Great Bend Tribune – February 12, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – February 17, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Debra Smith sat in the Great Bend Fire Department’s station two Wednesday afternoon surrounded by Jeff Towery, Joe Ashbaugh and Jayton Burns.

“These are my angels,” Smith said.

It was around noon on October 14 of last year when Smith suffered a heart attack at Straub International and collapsed to the floor. Towery, Ashbaugh and Burns all jumped in and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, saving her life.

“They are my buddies,” the elated Great Bend woman said. All are or were employees of the agricultural implement dealership at the time.

The trio, all of whom had military or other CPR training, started chest compressions. They kept this up until Great Bend Fire Department firefighters Nick Larmer, Michael Reifschneider, Capt. Mark Pohlman and Battalion Chief Eugene Perkins arrived a short time later.

They started intravenous cardiac medication and defibrillated Smith twice.

“I was sore for six weeks,” Smith joked. “I had to sleep sitting up for three weeks.”

But, she said, that beats the alternative.

This story ended happily. Smith wound up at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, and two surgeries and six stints later, she is done with rehabilitation.

That is not always the case. This incident highlights an oft overlooked link in a cardiac arrest victim’s chain of survival, which also includes first calling 911 and emergency medical services response and hospital care, said Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napalitano.

“We want to promote bystander CPR because that’s why she’s here,” Napalitano said.

According to the American Heart Association, this early intervention is often the difference between life and death.

Nationwide, there were over 350,000 out-of-hospital heart attacks reported in 2016. The survival rate where there was bystander CPR administered was 46 percent, compared to 12 percent without the immediate attention.

“We’re good at what we do,” Perkins said. “But, the chances of survival are better with bystander CPR. They help us do our jobs.”

“I’ve played through many scenarios,” in the months since the heart attack, Smith said. This was over the lunch hour and what if she had been at home alone with no one to help? What if it had happened while she was driving to or from work?

She is just thankful it occurred where it did, and that there were people there who knew how to respond.

“I just encourage people to get trained,” she said. She also said employers should encourage their staff members to take training.

On a side note, Napolitano and Perkins said many businesses, schools and other facilities have AEDs. They said those in the buildings need to learn how to operate these life-saving devices as well.


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

Drug arrests made as a result of house fire

Advocate of Phillips County – January 26, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – February 17, 2017

At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, 2017, the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received a report of a structure fire in the 300 block of 6th Street in Phillipsburg. Deputies arrived at 346 6th Street and found smoke coming from the home. The property is owned by Shanon Jarvis.

The Phillipsburg Fire Department arrived and quickly extinguished the fire, restricting the damage to the south end of the residence. No one was home at the time law enforcement and fire personnel arrived. The residence suffered heavy smoke and water damage.

After extinguishing the fire, fire personnel determined suspicious material was present in the residence and a search warrant was obtained. The scene was secured overnight by deputized Phillips County REACT members. Phillips County Sheriff’s Office executed the search warrant at approximately 8:00 a.m., Sunday, January 22, 2017 at the residence.

The search revealed possible drug activity at this residence. The investigation continues and charges are pending.

The Kansas State Fire Marshal Office investigators arrived at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 22, 2017 and determined the fire was arson. A suspect was taken into custody at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Charges are pending and that part of the investigation continues as well.


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

Henry had many positions including 3 years as Chief

Seneca Courier Tribune – January 25, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – February 17, 2017


Allen Henry announced his retirement from the Seneca Fire Department at the regular meeting held on November 28, 2016. Allen had served on the Seneca Fire Department since his election on November 25, 1996.

During Allen’s years on the department, he served on the dance committee one year. Allen was in charge of the Water Wagon in 1998. In 1999 Allen was selected to be the Dance Committee Chairman. Allen was in charge of Truck #4 in 2000, and was Assistant Secretary in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was elected Lieutenant of Truck #2 in 2004 and elected Captain of Rescue in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007 he was elected as 1st Assistant Fire Chief and continued as in 2008 and 2009. Allen was elected 2nd Assistant Fire Chief in 2010 and continued as 2nd Assistant Chief in 2011 and 2012. Allen was elected as Fire Chief in 2013 and served as Fire Chief in 2014 and 2015. Allen finished his year on the Stutz Committee.

A fireman may be reelected every year up to three years before he must step down from the office.

Allen has dedicated 20 years of his time and he will be greatly missed by the department. Thank you Allen for volunteering your time and hard work to your community.


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

Trees, grass found burning near crematorium

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – February 17, 2017

Topeka firefighters responding to a report of a fire at a crematorium Friday said they found trees and grass burning just outside that building.

No one was hurt in the blaze outside Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home and Crematory, Midtown Chapel, 1321 S.W. 10th.

Firefighters were called at 1:26 p.m to the scene, a Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center dispatcher said.

Firefighters put out the blaze after it burned trees and grass just outside the building, said Capt. Jim Seichepine of the Topeka Fire Department. The fire didn’t get into the structure, he said.

A fire department investigator was being called to the scene to determine the fire’s cause and origin, which hadn’t yet been determined, Seichepine said.


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

Grass fire near Kechi started along roadside

By Bryan Ramsdale
KAKE – February 17, 2017



Firefighters say a grass fire near Kechi started near a road and then spread to a pasture.

The fire started around 6:45 p.m., Division Chief Ray Hesley says that dry conditions and wind lead to the fire spreading quickly.

The fire near Hillside and 53rd Street North burned several acres of ground, but no buildings were damaged.

With the threat for more wind and dry conditions, firefighters are on high alert.

“Just be careful with what you are doing…be aware, be cognizant of what you are doing with your cigarettes, things like that, because it will catch the grass on fire,” Hesley said.


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

During dry conditions, fire burns 50 acres of Shawnee Mission Park

By Jessica Reyes
KCTV 5 – February 17, 2017


What fire authorities feared would happen, has happened.

A fire spanning 50 acres broke out about 1 a.m. at Shawnee Mission Park.The fire broke out in the woods and hot spots continue to burn throughout the morning.

While most of the area is under a burn ban firefighters in Lenexa firefighters were hard at work for several hours, Friday morning, trying to put a fire out at a popular park.

Fifty acres burned at Shawnee Mission Park and firefighters said the location of the fire was tricky to get to because it was about 300 yards away from the road.

“One of our officers was on patrol saw some smoke in the area of the south side of Shawnee Mission Park,” said Sgt. Matt Gillepsie, with the Johnson County Park Police. “From a different location in the park he was able to see the flames.”

When firefighters arrived they were able to drive up close to the fire. They first focused on stopping the spread of the flame and then moved to put it out.

“The officers reported to us they did a lot of work by hand on this particular one they did a lot of work with rakes tearing up the ground,” said Sgt. Gillepsie said.

With such dry conditions and most of the area under a burn ban park police say it’s not difficult for a fire to start under these conditions.

But with so many people expected to enjoy the weather at the park over the weekend Sgt. Gillepsie says they’ll also be on high alert keeping an eye out for any more flames, “unfortunately the weather conditions being what they are we’re in kind of a high risk for any sort of wildfire at the moment.”

No property was damaged and no one was hurt in Friday morning’s park fire.

The fire came at a time when multiple cities had burn bans in place.

On Thursday, Lenexa firefighters battled a similar situation.

A grass fire quickly spread over Prairie Star Parkway and Monticello Road, burning two acres along the way before it was put out.

Authorities don’t know what caused that fire. Firefighters say under dry conditions, it doesn’t take much to start a fire.


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

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