Welcome to my firefighting page.
My son Jeremy and I are members of Fire District No.3 which covers the western third of Saline County and the east-central part of Ellsworth county. My wife, Liz, is a medical “first responder” for district 3. The majority of our fire calls are grass fires with some car fires mainly on I-70. Occasionally we get a bale pile fire or structure fire. I will go with my wife on car wrecks when extractions are necessary and help with that. I will post accounts of some of our fire runs and how weather affects them.
January 15, vehicle fire, I-70, 241, east bound lane.
I was driving up to the house from Salina around 6 pm. when this call came in. The temp. was around 6 with a stiff north breeze. Thinking we'd get turned around, I headed for the scene in my pickup. No calls were made and I found that I was first on scene. I could see Eric coming from the east with E-321. I got out and talked with the people in the car. I also saw liquid (at first I thought it was radiator fluid but it was mostly engine/transmission oil)under the car. I then called "no fire", and held Sq. 340 at the Brookville exit. I also inquired to dispatch whether any deputy's were in route and she said two. Eric and I opened the hood over the engine and again found no fire. The 3 occupants of the car were without a heater and were very cold. We had them get into E-321 for warmth and the newly arrived deputy got in and started his interview to get driver information ect. I then released Sq. 340 to return to Brookville. After consultation with Eric and the second deputy, I terminated District 3s involvement with the incident. Eric then suggested we push the car away from the driving lane which we did and then we went home. I believe the night before, a person was hit and killed a few miles from our location. I really felt the need for my reflective "yellow"
gear as I worked on the edge of this incident.
Feb. 3, catching up.
I've been snowed by keeping tabs with mom's rehab and my KU Dr. visit ect. We've had a rash of fire calls starting with Sunday, Jan. 28. Liz and I was just ready to travel to Kansas City when this house fire was paged. The house was just west of Salina. Jeremy went and said the house was totally ruined. On Feb 1, we had a stove fire next to a house in Brookville. The guys in Brookville made a quick hit and I was turned around. On Feb 2, there was a stove fire in a basement of a house in Hedville. I made it to Brookville when we were turned around.
Jeremy's picture of the house on fire. The fire got into the attic and spread from there.
March 7, catching up.
Due to my liver transplant, I've been out of the fire fighting business for a while and will be so for another month. While I was gone, we have had many red flag days with horrendous fire weather. District 3 has had 3 or 4 grass fires through all this but no catastrophic fires thankfully. We need moisture bad.
March 14, grass fire just west of Brookville exit 238 I-70.
Grassland fire index was in the extreme category with red flags flying all day. Temps were in the 70s with winds southwest at 25 mph. I was resting in the recliner just after 3 pm. when this call came in. A truck was on fire but was now out, with a grass fire on the north side of I-70. I was about to get up and do chores and feed a pasture of cattle so I thought I would swing around to the fire and see how bad it might be. I was first to reach the scene and normally I would take IC. Since I'm still convalescing from surgery I couldn't so I parked on Brookville Rd and gave chief 301 updates about what was happening on the east flank of the fire. The head fire burned 1/2 mile then hit a wheat field stopping it cold. All efforts were directed to the east and west flanks of the fire. Sq. 360 and 340 did good work on the east flank and 350 and others worked the west flank (upwind). Soon both flanks were knocked out and it was a mop up situation. I went home then. While the fire burned up to Brookville Rd. I watched to make sure it didn't jump the road and burn into a house located on the east side as there were no assets in that area for a while. Jeremy drove up after his bus route and took drone pictures of the fire scene. He emailed me a picture which I'll try to post.
A still picture of the fire scene taken from Jeremy's drone video. Around 55 acres burned and it was good that the head fire burned into the green wheat field or the fire would have been much larger.
April 13, grass fire south ditch of I-70 mile 236.
Grassland fire index was in the very high category today. We were just sitting down to dinner with our cattle working crew when this call came in. Jed, Jeremy and I got up and responded since the fire was 3 miles away. Jed headed to Brookville to get potential tanker support. Jeremy went straight to the scene and I went to the corral to get my pickup that was hooked up to the cattle trailer. I thought the call said the fire was on the north ditch which would have turned into a larger fire than being in the south ditch. Jeremy arrived at the fire the same time as Sq. 350 and was the hose man. They put out most of the fire before other trucks arrived. I arrived later and was not too hurried when I heard the fire was on the south side of the highway. I "dash camed" the trucks mopping up the hot spots, then went back to work cattle. Jeremy sent still shots off his helmet cam video which are below. Fire trucks I saw there were 350, 340 and 360.
Jeremy's drone picture of the fire scene after the fire was out.
May 5, pickup fire at west Watkins Rd, northwest Saline county.
I was at a wedding on a farm when this call came in just after the wedding was over. The fire scene was only like 5 miles away from where I was. In-route I heard sq. 350 call on scene truck fully involved in the engine area. I was second on scene and found the truck involved from the cab foreward with Kenny pouring water into the engine area. Since I had all my gear on he had me open the passenger door for access and I knocked down the fire in the cab. E-341 and Sq. 320 or 360 arrived along with Jeremy and Chance in their personal cars. Jeremy and the guys pried open the truck hood and knocked out remaining fire there. We then let things settle a bit and re-cooled the engine area and cab, called the fire out and got information and went home.
May 12, a bad day.
Around 10 am. a call came in from northwest Saline county of a tractor running over a person. Liz responded and found it was a distant neighbor that was the victim. He did not survive. This sent a shock-wave through the rural community as well as to Liz who knew the family (especially wife and brother). Then at around 11:30 pm. there was a car rollover at the 237, I-70. Liz and I responded and found a pickup had rolled into the right-a-way fence. We were second on scene after a state trooper. The driver had crawled out a window and was the only occupant of the truck. While Liz relayed info and carried her equipment down, I quizzed the driver for injury. He had neck/lower back pain as well as a gash to the top of his head. He was also getting "shakey" so we got a blanket and covered him as I immobilized his neck. Salina EMS and heavy rescue arrived as well as Rob in Sq. 320. I had Rob do ISD to the wrecked truck, then passed info to the EMS tec. about the victim. We loaded him on the gurney and pulled it up out of the ditch to the ambulance. Some how, some of the victims family arrived in all of this and "hovered" almost getting in the way. After that, we loaded liz's equipment in the car and went home.