Dec. 10, ICE STORM! Power line arcing in tree calls.

Significant ice storm ongoing! Had 3 power line acring calls in Brookville, plus one at St. Francis Acadamy. All we can do was wait for the tree branches burn through or breakers to pop then go on to the next call. I'm home at 11 pm. and tree branches are crashing as I loaded the stove. Can't believe the power is still on so have to make this short. Roads are getting slick on the dirt roads but main highways are passable. Will add more when we get power on ---sure to loose it tonight.

December 3, grassfire call, mile marker 236.

After recieving a injury auto wreck call this morning at Burma and highway 40, I was hoping that would be it for the day concerning any more pages. Rangeland fire danger was elevated from very high to extreme during the afternoon with even a red flag warning issued for Ellsworth Co. on west. I was unloading cattle grain into the bulk bin around 6 pm. when I heard my pager beeping over the tractor/auger noise. Dispatch said there was a fire along the I-70 236 mile marker which is only approximately 3 miles from my house. I quickly shut down my machinery jumped in the pickup, called on the cell phone to alert Jeremy and called in to dispatch that I was responding. Arriving in the area, I found no fire and reported this while continuing to search both sides of the highway. After a second drive through the area I turned our responding fire squads around and cleared the incident off the channel. The wind had died off and the humidity had risen enough that if there was a fire, it had died before I got there. As usual, we had a good response to this call---most folks were home from their daytime jobs and 4 squads responded to this "non incident call".

November 17, assisting Fire Marshal at 6836 West State St. road.

Shane B. called around noon from the previous night's fire scene asking me to come and assist the Fire Marshal in his investigation of what caused the house fire the previous night. I brought the picture I snapped of the fire when I arrived on scene and showed it to him on my laptop. His main coment was "a picture is worth a thousand words" and went on. Shane and I helped him shovel debris out of the garage area with particular interest around a welder and plugin socket. Presently he said to stop shoveling and started to take pictures, then backed off and showed us the V fire damage wich pointed to the likely fire initiation point. He then explained how the fire progressed from the initial point and spread into the rafters which at that point we had little chance to save the house or at least the east half or third of the house. All in all it was quite a learning experience for me to fight the fire, then learn how it (the fire) developed and spread before we started the attack through finally getting the fire under control. I was glad to have taken the picture I took because he told me that it focused his search in the garage area and found the whole story much quicker.

November 16, early morning house fire 6836 West State St. road.

We were awakened just past 3 am. from the pager beginning a fire tone. I dashed down to the bathroom for a pit stop as the dispatcher stated a house on fire on State Street Road! I had gone to bed with pajamas, shirt and socks so I ran out to the pickup in my stocking feet, donned my bunker gear and took off. In route the dispatcher stated Deputy on scene had flames visible----the real deal! Tait W. arrived first in Sq. 330 and said we would be defensive only with this fire---it had been burning too long for us to save much. I arrived next just behind E- 321 and snapped a picture before running to the fire truck to pull hose lines. The engineer could not get 321's pump to engage or primed so I pulled off hose from newly arrived E-341 and with help from Joe W. set up on the west side of the house where the fire was. We attacked the fire through the attached garage and were making some headway when E-341 ran out of water with no tanker on scene to refill yet. During this interval the fire was pushed by southwesterly winds through the roof rafters and the whole house was involved. District 7 arrived with their engine, tankers arrived and we all "packed up" went inside to get the fire under control. I had Liz call Jeremy, (I was not going to tarry around to pick him up) when we got the page. He went in with District 7 on the east side. I saw Jeremy when we were switching out air tanks and helped him get set to go back in---the tired old man helping son get turned around quicker. At six am. I was released to go back home, soaked and cold from the 39 degree temps and wind while Jeremy, Jed and Shane B. stayed on waiting for the fire investigator to arrive. Cause undetermined as yet.

This picture was taken immediately upon arriving on scene. The west half of the house was involved at this time.

A daytime shot of the house, only the brick walls and chimney are standing.

October 30, pickup fire Sundowner trailer park.

Today the rangeland fire danger was in the moderate range with winds southerly at 20 mph sustained. As we are drying out I was thinking grass fire when the pager toned instead for a pickup on fire. This call at 9 am. caught me checking cattle in Lincoln Co. about 5 miles from home. Thinking that if the truck was close to a mobile home with all the wind there might be complications, I tried to call Jeremy to meet me at my house but my cell phone wouldn't dial out! Arriving home I switched trucks and Liz called from her bus route stateing she had passed the area and the truck wasn't burning much and gave direction for me to get to the scene. Through all this, I heard only Shane B. responding in squad 340 from Brookville. As I was halfway to the fire scene on I-70, Dispatch called that the Deputy on scene reported the truck fully envolved with fire with propane bottles in the truck! This call picked up the pucker factor some and I got on scene behind 340 where I donned my bunker gear and took over the hose line from Shane as he only had his grassland fire gear on. I had a little trouble quenching this fire as there must have been a lot of crome (magnesium)around the engine and transmission and it took a lot of cooling to put the fire out. The propane bottles were in the tool box in the back bed and had not gotten hot enough to do anything fortunately. Alan M. arrived with squad 320 and helped cool the engine down and after that we were released to go back home.

October 27, truck fire I-70 mile marker 246.

I was baleing hay when the pager tones for a truck on fire west bound I-70. My big question as I called Jeremy to tell him about the call was is the truck a pickup or semi? Jeremy and Meghan came down to my place as I gathered my gear and cranked the gooseneck trailer off my pickup so we could respond. Our first units on scene called a Suburban truck fully envolved with fire. The fire was pretty well out when we arrived so we helped with setting up cones so traffic could safely pass and picked up hoses. After that we were cleared to go back home.

Meghan cooling down destroyed Suburban.

October 19, vehichle fire K140/29th road west of Brookville.

I was awakened at 11:10 pm. by the pager toning for a pickup in the ditch, leaking gas and on fire. This is straight south of my house so I geared up and headed south at the same time I heard Joe W. leaving the Brookville station with squad 340. We arrived to find a DUI driver had went into the ditch off highway 40 and struck a concrete culvert, damageing the underside of the pickup, but not on fire. We cut the battery cable then determined there was no fire and were released by the Troopers investigating the wreck, and went home.

October 7, house fire call in Bavaria.

It was Sunday night, about 10 pm when the pager tones while I was in the bath tub, (bath tub pages has happened to me several times, sometimes I think I should stow my gear by the tub!) stating a house filled with smoke in Bavaria. I jumped into clothes while Liz called Jeremy and I grabbed my gear on the way to the pickup and headed to Brookville station. Jeremy called via cell phone wanting an update as he and Meghan was driving to Brookville also. A couple of our units arrived on scene and there was the agonizing silence on the radio as they assessed the situation. They came back on saying there was smoke but no fire at that time so the pucker factor dropped somewhat. Jeremy, Meghan and I stood by at Brookville and soon was released to go home. The cause of the smoke was some liquid stored in a jar on top of a refrigerator leaked down onto the compressor motor and smoked up the room while the occupants were away and upon returning found the rooms filled with smoke, a simple ending for us at district 3.

September 24, bale fire at Rolling Hill Ranch hay barn.

We were jolted out of a sound sleep around 1:10 am by the pager toning us for bales on fire by State St. road. The farmer there had stacked between 200 and 250 large rectangle bales of cane right next to a hay barn full alfalfa hay. When our first units got on scene, all the cane bales were burning. When I got on scene I "geared" up and walked down to E-341 and deployed one 2 3/4" hose line while chief Mark powered up the pump and charged my line. Our objective was to keep the flames and heat down on the bales so the hay on the inside of the barn would not ignite while the owner could move in heavy equipment to push the burning bales away from the side of the hay barn. I took the north half of the bale stack and a hoseman on E-321 took the south half and I used all 1500 gallons carried on E-341 to keep the flames at bay. At this time the hay owner started to move the burning bales which stirred up considerable smoke making it hard to see and breath as I was down wind from this action. Shane B. and Joe W. donned air packs and took over from me and I helped to move E-341/ hoselines out of the owners way while he moved the burning hay. District 7 arrived, (we called them for mutual aid) and they deployed a hose team on the roof of the hay barn which really worked well as they could spray down directly on the hay, stay out of the way of the heavy equipment and stay clear of most of the smoke. From there on it was mostly a waiting game, we were ordered to cover the north end of the stack to monitor any fire that needed attention and I took a turn with an air pack as the smoke was very heavy as the hay owner continued to move and spread the burning bales. Around 5:30 am the heavy equipment operators moved the last bales away from the side of the hay barn and left them to burn in an open area. We picked up our hose lines and air packs and were released to go home around 6:30 am.

Sept. 7. two vehicle accident at State St. and Halstead Rd.

I was driving home from Salina when my pager toned for a two car accident with two people ejected! The accident was 31/2 miles behind me at an intersection I had just passed. Normally I don't respond to wrecks unless I accompany Liz who is qualified to work with injured folks, but it was close and I might be first on scene with a radio so turned around and retraced my path back to the accident. I arrived on scene the same time that a deputy arrived with EMS and fire rescue a mile away. Checking the ejected victims I found them conscious and talking, being held fast by good samaritons. This I radioed in then got my camera and snapped shots of the wrecked car as well as Tate W. our district 3 first responder, helping EMS prep the injured to be loaded onto ambulances. Robb G. arrived with squad 320 and we disconnected the battery on the wrecked car then checked the battery on the wrecked pickup. At this point the Salina Journel photographer snapped a picture of us which made it into the next day's account of the wreck in the Saturday newspaper.

District 3 member Tait W. assisting EMS people in preping accident victim who was ejected from the car pictured below.

This car was the one where two teenagers were ejected from.

Sept. 5, three calls in one day.

We at district 3 not only had 3 calls in a row, but had all three in one day! Two calls were medic calls to St. Francis Academy and one was a tree on fire after dark, a result of an earlier controlled burn. I was near home when the fire call came in but it was on the far side of the district and Alan and Jed took care of it so I didn't respond.

August 12, some fire calls.

We here at district 3 have had some fire calls today and yesterday. Yesterday, it was a grass fire started by a hot tire on I-70---the grass was so green that the fire burned out before our units got on scene. Today, (Sun.) there was a rekindle of a controlled burn from yesterday. Both times Jeremy and I got ready to go but could see that we wern't needed so didn't respond. A few days ago we had some dry lightning between home and Brookville and I even saw some brief smoke but thankfully the rains of 2 weeks ago have kept the grass green so fires will not carry. This is unusual for mid August as the grass is usually drier and we've had some big grass fires. We've been saved by the wet year, but only for now. We are set up for a major grass fire potential this fall/winter/next spring.

July 30, one vehicle rollover, mile marker 238 I-70.

We were paged to a rollover injury accident on I-70 around 5 in the morning. As Liz and I were enroute Darrin W. arrived on scene and said there were two people involved with one having head and shoulder injuries. We arrived on scene and found a small pickup truck with a topper had rolled, coming to rest on its side in the medium. I pulled my pickup onto the medium, facing the accident scene so my headlights would illuminate the area and Liz attended to the injured person who was ejected from the truck while I helped hold a tarp over the injured person due to heavy rain that was falling at the time. EMS arrived and we helped "board" and load the injured person then searched for some personal belongings that the patients needed before being transported to the hospital.

Pickup on it's side with topper ripped off in foreground.

July 27, Sometimes you get a good page.

We at district 3 have had a medical call or two and a couple of minor fire in the ditches calls in the last week, but today the pager toned for a road reopening! A bridge had been under construction on a blacktop road we use to get to Salina and that road has been closed for almost a year making us detour around on gravel/bumppy roads. It sure will be fine to drive a straight shot into Salina now!!

July 18, Grass fire mile marker 243 I-70.

Rangeland fire danger was in the "high" category today with heat and wind the past week drying out the vegetation somewhat. I was hauling bales home during the evening when the pager started to get active. District 6 and 2 had calls in progress when we were paged for grass on fire in the median at marker 243. I drove onto I-70 thinking that the east stations would respond and take care of the fire. I could turn back but responders were slow to call in. Squad 320 from Glendale and I reached the scene first. We found two small fires in the median. We put out the west fire and squad 350 took care of the east fire. Shane B. arrived with 340 but we had the fire out at that time. It appeared that overheated tire pieces were what started these fires.

June 7, Semi roll over mile marker 237 I-70---calls come in three's.

After receiving a power pole on fire call and a medical call to Brookville both occurring on Wednesday (June 6), I wondered when the third call would come since they always seem to come in three's. I didn't have to wait long. At 5:30 am the pager toned for a semi rollover at the 238 marker westbound on I-70. Liz and I dressed, drove to the scene finding a tipped over semi lying across both lanes 1.5 miles west of the 238 marker. This was reported to dispatch. Liz looked after the driver while I helped the only officer there with traffic control diverting traffic through the medium around the wreck scene. Liz found the driver ok, just a little shaken. EMS arrived and gave him a clean bill of health. Liz and I went back home.

Semi on it's side on I-70.

May 16, controlled burn call/late night horse rescue.

I was going home from choir practice in Salina, while I was passing Brookville, the pager toned for a field on fire with no one in attendance. I u-turned and drove the short mile to the station, (wow how could this happen when I was so close) and donned my gear. Shane B. drove around the corner and we took sq. 340 towards the fire scene with me driving and Shane running the radio. The first units on scene called in that there was a controlled burn, and the farmer WAS attending the fire so we turned around and returned to the station. This was the first time I had driven a fire truck in 3 or 4 months! Later, after getting home and ready for bed, we received a call for some fire fighters to help with a horse that was stuck in the creek. I called Jeremy who was with Jed B. and they responded from Salina while Shondra and Sheldon A. brought sq. 320 from Hedville. When we all arrived on scene around 11:15, we found a horse stuck in the bottom of the creek with only it's head out of the water. I had my bunker gear with boots on so I waded out with the horse owner and placed a strap around it in waist deep water. The owner dragged the horse up the bank. This took 3/4 of an hour as the strap kept slipping off the struggling horse due to wet and mud. Finally we got the horse pulled on top of the bank with Jeremy and others pulling on the halter while I kept the strap on the best I could while the owner pulled with a tractor that kept getting stuck! The horse was 30 years old and was in shock after all the time in the cold water. I didn't think it would survive. The next day we heard that it was up, walking and eating hay--a successful extraction!

April 15, some first responder calls.

We've been getting some first responder medical calls/wrecks during the last week. Either Liz was at work or the calls were on the east side of our area of responsibility meaning that EMS would arrive on scene before Liz would. The most interesting call came this morning, (2:30 am) when we were paged to the Smoky Hill bombing range for unknown disposition! Since a couple of our first responders live around 5 miles away and Liz and I are 13 miles away from the range we didn't go. Smoky fire came on the channel and reported that a Blackhawk helocopter had crashed but the 5 crew had made it out. After some time, it was determined that the crew was OK and EMS ect. responders was turned around. As for fires, the incredible wet spring has put a damper on pasture/CRP burning with little chance of controlled burns getting out of control like they did last year.

March 31, not much in the area of fire calls.

Due to the very wet weather we've had the last two weeks, there have been no fire calls here at district 3. We have had some medical first responder calls during the last week, but they were at the east end of our district which is closer to Salina EMS than it is for Liz to respond, so she stayed home. That was until today when we were paged to an injury accident on I-70 mile marker 239. The accident was said to be the end result of a police pursuit. Liz responded but was immediately turned back---there must have been no injury after all.

March 27, One vehichle rollover, I-70 mile marker 238.

Liz and I were jolted out of sound sleep at 3:38 am. by the pager sounding a one vehicle rollover, car on fire!!! This kind of call, for me, is one that I dread, since the possibility of a person being trapped in a car that is on fire. I had left my fire bag on the porch so was able to jump into my bunker gear before I hopped into my pickup (I wanted to be ready for anything when I got on scene which was about 6 miles away from my house). Liz didn't want to waste time transfering her gear to my pickup so she followed in her car. As I left the house I realized that it had been raining most of the night and was slick and muddy on our dirt roads and rain was continuing to fall. After entering I-70, trying to keep my foot from "flooring" the accelerator, I heard squad 350 from Glendale arrive on scene and report "no fire", then "no rollover". ALRIGHT! I arrived on scene and found a compact car had spun into the medium and dropped a front tire into a drainage grate with it's hot muffler sitting in running water from the rain, causing lots of steam which promped the fire call. I used a log chain from sq. 350, pulled the car back on the highway with my pickup. Since there was no injury to the driver, Liz and I went home.

March 21, Grass fires along highway 40 east of Brookville.

We were paged after dinner to a grass fire in the ditch at Hohneck and Highway 40. The temp was in the upper 70's and winds in the 30 mph range. I responded to the Brookville station thinking that a train might be starting fires along the highway. Shane B. took squad 340 from Brookville and promptly found a fire at Wyman and 40 which heightened my concern that a train was spreading fires like they have in the past. After some discussion on the radio, I took 342 west of Brookville to check for fires along the RR when it was determined that a vehicle was causing the fires on 40. Kevin in Sq. 350 and I searched west to Carneiro and found no fires while 340 and 320 put out the small fires to the east. Luckily those fires had no grass or pastures north of them or the wind would have created a big problem controlling them.

Feb. 25. Grass fire off of I-70 mile marker 248.

I had just gotten home from church and was watching Nascar on the tv when I heard district 7 paged to a fire on I-70 marker 248. I was thinking that the fire scene was on the boundry or even in our area of responsibility when district 7 asked that we (district 3) be paged too. I quickly changed clothes, donned my grass fighting gear, and headed for I-70. On the way to the fire scene squad 350 pulled on ahead of me and I followed them to the fire area. I jumped on 350 with my camera in my pocket. We were ordered to attack the right flank of the fire which the wind carried a long ways off the highway. Between district 7's and all of district 3's squads attacking the fire, we quickly put the fire out. Mud from the recent rains dictated slow going fighting this fire and having many squads on scene helped complete the chore. We refilled the squads from district 3's tanker which Jeremy manned and went home. Around 20 acres burned.

Following squad 350 to fire.

Darrin putting out the fire.

Jeremy refilling trucks from tanker.

Feb. 19, Grass fire.

It was around 5 pm, I was getting ready to unload Jeremy's feeder pigs out of the trailer when my pager toned for a grass fire in the ditch west of Reese and State st. Since I had my "fire pickup truck" hooked up to the trailer, I grabbed my gear and camera and took my "feeder truck" with out a radio to the fire scene. Listening to my pager I heard three squads responding to the call. Shane B. in squad 340 and I arrived first on scene and found that the fire was out in the middle of the pasture instead of in the ditch. A rancher was checking his cattle when his exhaust ignited the grass and his 911 cell call was routed through Ottawa Co. instead of Saline Co. which was why the fire scene was paged wrong. Squad 350 and 330 also arrived shortly after myself and Shane B. We had some difficulty with manuvering the squads through the muddy pasture but quickly put the fire out as there was not much wind and the grass was damp from recently melted snow. About one acre burned.

Beginning the attack.

Getting the fire wrapped up.

Feb. 13, Shed fire in Brookville.

I was in the process of delivering Valentine flowers (church project) in Salina when my pager tones for a shed on fire in Brookville. I called Jeremy on my cell phone so he could respond since I couldn't leave my tasking in Salina. Shane B. responded with squad 340 and Jed B. brought 342 as backup when Jeremy got to the scene the shed was pretty well burned down. It was a small shed containing rabbits and chickens. Some children were burning some wood near the shed and thought the wood was out but it spred to the shed after they left. The homeowner was able to save the chickens but some rabbits were lost. Jeremy et-all struggled with freezing hoses and pumps due to the frigid temps around 17 and gusty wind-chills.

New squad for Bavaria station,F550 with 500 gal tank.

Jan. 14, one vehicle injury accident on I-70.

We were paged to a injury accident at around 6 am at mile marker 238. The roads were slick with sleet and snow which contributed to the driver spinning into the medium. Liz and I were second on scene behind a sheriff deputy with Liz working on the injured passenger while I tried to open the hood of the damaged pickup to disable the horn that was stuck blaring! Air bags were deployed and seatbelts were used by the driver and passenger with the driver out of the truck, walking around, and the passenger with a severe cut to his head. EMS arrived and as Liz helped load the injured passenger some of us tried to determine whether the pickup rolled or not. The damage suggested that they didn't roll, but the air bag deployment and head injury made us wonder. I didn't talk with the driver to find out since he was busy talking with law enforcement and watching over the care of his passenger.

Moving injured person from pickup.

Jan. 7, 07 False alarm call.

Sunday after church we were paged to a grass fire along the railroad, one mile east of Carneiro in Ellsworth county. Rangeland fire today was in the "high" category so Jeremy and I left Salina for the Brookville station. In route to Brookville, we saw that Smoky Hill Weapons Range had a couple of controled fires that could have been mistaken for the call we had. Our first units arrived in the area and found no fire so terminated the call and we all went home.

Jan. 5, 07 Brush pile fire.

We were just sitting down for dinner when we were paged to Eff Creek and Watkins Rd. for a brush pile fire that was blowing embers into CRP grass at a road construction site. Jeremy, Meghan and I were first on scene and I determined that with all the recent rain/snow that the sparks would not ignite the grass and we turned back the responding squad from Hedville. The landowner arrived as we were dropping the smoldering/burning logs in a water puddle and we used his water bucket to douse the remaining embers which made him happy. Jeremy's friend Meghan, took pictures while we were doing our tasks and when finished, we went back home.

Moving burning logs to water puddle.

Putting out fire the old fashioned way.