January 2-3, hay fire, north Reese Rd.
We got this call about 10:15 at night. A farmer was tub-grinding 250 large rectangle bales when a belt or bearing overheated and deposited embers in the hay pile. Hours later the smoldering embers burned to the top and flamed so we got called. Almost all of district 3 units responded except E-321 and T-399. All we could do was keep sparks from involving sheds and bale stacks as well as cooling the farmer's high-loader's tires and hydraulic cylinders as he spread the burning ground hay out so it could burn faster. Jeremy and Meghan and I went home around 1 am. then Jeremy and I took the 6 am to 11:30 am shift watching over the smoldering mess. All our units went home in the afternoon but was called back the next day (Sunday) due to calles from people passing on I-70. Jeremy and I did not respond this day as the firefighters dumped 4000 gallons on the remaing burning hay. This time the fire was fianlly put out.
Picture of Michael and Jeremy and another firefighter standing guard over burning haypile.
Jeremy and others watching haypile burn as smoke blows by T-342.
January 6, grass fire call on north Lightville Rd.
Grassland fire danger was moderate today. I was building new fence on my newly purchased property late in the afternoon when this call came in. I drove home and swiched trucks and called in I was responding to Brookville station. Enroute Jed B. arrived on scene and called off most of the responders---it was a very small fire, so I turned around and went home.
January 7, abandoned house on fire call west Shipton Rd.
I was eating supper at around 7:15 when this call was paged. By the time I responded to the scene,(It was 6 miles from home, I was 3rd on scene) the roof had already fallen in but the walls was made of native stone and was still standing. The wind was light and conditions were cool and damp so the embers from the house was not igniting the grass surrounding the house. Jeremy and Meg. arrived but again, it was just a standby situation. The house was well known throught the area because of its age and all the subterrainian tunnels running from the basement. The fire was deemed "suspicious" as the landowners were not burning or even working around the area. Also the house was not far from the road so easy access was available. We stayed on scene for a couple of hours, letting it burn out somewhat then we went home leaving Sq. 350 and the landowners to watch over the remains. Sq. 350, 330, 360 and 320 responded to this fire with only Sq. 350 pumping any water.
I snapped this picture of the house as I was driving up through the pasture.
I walked around the house and took this picture of the "keep out" sign painted on the rock wall.
Picture taken through the open window showing hot interior.
January 8, Grassfire at west Watkins Rd.---the calls keep coming!
Grassland fire danger was in the "high" category today I think. This call came in as I was loading the outside wood stove around 9:30 at night. As I was loading the stove I noticed the wind had increased to around 15-20mph out of the south---much faster than when I came in for the evening at 7 pm. As I was putting on gear in prepairation to respond dispatch said the fire was in a pasture with cattle in it! I left home east bound listening at district 3's response which would dictate my options---go direct to the fire, or to the station to get a truck. As I pulled up to Brookville Rd. I was leaning toward going to the scene as Sq. 340 was rolling and Jed B. was enroute to get T-342 out of the Brookville station when Shondra A. in Sq. 360 arrived on scene and called a large grassfire in progress. After conversing with Shondra, I headed for Brookville to get E-341 to use for water support. As I was pulling up to the station, Jason and Jeremy was leaving the station with T-342. I followed with E-341 and as we were about 2/3 of the way to the scene, the IC called the fire under control and turned us back. The fire was brought under control quickly due to the quick hit from Sq. 360,(the Hedville station was 3 miles from the fire scene)and assisted by Sqs. 350, 340, 330, maybe 320, as well as T-351. Today, (Fri. Jan. 9), the grassland fire danger is in the top of the "very high" category so could be interesting if anything developes.
January 19, two calls in one day.
Grassland fire danger was "high" today. Jeremy, Liz, Jed and I had just finished working my cattle and were coming in to eat when the pager tones for a grassfire in Ellsworth Co. 27th Rd. and Ave K. Jed grabbed his gear as Jeremy cranked the gooseneck trailer off my pickup then we proceeded to the scene. We got on scene just after Sq. 340 finding a medium sized grassfire in a brome field burning up to a gravel road. Jeremy jumped on with 340 as Jed and I geared up. Jed got on with Sq. 330 who arrived next. It was a few tense minutes, due to gusty northwest winds, until Sqs. 340& 330 knocked out the fire in the ditch, keeping it from jumping into the next pasture and creating a much bigger problem. Sq. 320 arrived next and I got on with Rob and worked the fire line back where the fire originated. Soon after this, the fire was brought under control as Sq. 350 and T342 and T 331 also arrived on scene. We refilled the empty squads from T-331 and rechecked the fire perimeter and as we were beginning to exit the scene the radio tones for a grass fire near Hedville! This is 20+ miles from where we were, so there was a scramble back east towards this fire. Luckily, Chief 301 was near the Hedville station and he took Sq. 360 to the scene 2 miles from the station finding a small grassfire along the RR right-a-way and took care of it. Most of the "Ellsworth fire" squads were passing through Brookville when Chief 301 called fire out so I gathered Jed off of 330 and Jeremy off 350 and we went home. Cause of the "Ellsworth" fire was a pile of burned trees that was set 3 days earlier when there was a light covering of snow on the ground. The snow melted with warmer temperatures and as the wind came up, sparks from the smoldering logs blew out in the now dried grass and ignited.
January 23, one vehicle rollover, I-70 mile marker 247.
I was in the house prepairing dinner at around 12:30 while Liz was driving her noon kindergarten route when this call was paged. Usually, at this time, Liz is driving home on I-70 so I called her cell phone to inform her since she usually doesn't carry her pager or radio on the bus. She answered "I'm there, could you call dispatch and tell them there are two occupants involved in this rollover". Knowing how information gets garbled second hand I said "you'd better call 911 and tell them yourself", which she did. Dispatch is always wanting as much info. as they can get and Liz provided location information as well as codes on the occupants. She stayed on scene until the rescue folks arrived as well as Rob in Sq. 320 from Hedville. I did not respond as the distance from home was much greater to the scene than it was from Salina, so my help was not needed.
January 30, right-a-way fire around the 7000 block of west State St. Rd.
Grassland fire danger was increased to "very high" today with gusty northwest winds. Jeremy, Liz and I had just finished eating dinner at "Grandmas" around 2 pm. when the pager began to tone. One's adrenalin spikes when our district's tone comes in when it's so windy. Once we heard the address, I knew there wasn't much grass in that area but Jeremy and I responded anyway---just in case. Rod B. arrived on scene, finding small fire on a field right-a-way under a private electrical line that had burned in two. He turned everybody back but Sq. 360 and 330 and they quickly put the fire out. Tomorrow we are in a fire weather watch with extreme grassland fire danger forecasted. Liz and I are planning a trip to Wichita tomorrow so hope nothing gets started.
January 31, red flag warning!
The NWS issued a red flag warning for central Kansas from noon to 6 pm. Liz and I had a trip planned to Wichita this afternoon and before we left, I alerted most of Brookville's firefighters on the prospective conditions. In Wichita, we took time to stop in at the NWS and visited with Chris, Jim, Leon and especially Mary who heads the fire weather forecasting. After making our stops after the NWS, we visited with our friends on the east side of the city. At this time, my phone rings---it's my cousin (a firefighter for district 3) asking "where's the fire at?" I answered that I didn't know, whats up. He responded that he could see smoke out in our area. I called Jeremy, who was at Grandmas, and told him to go and look around. He called back a couple of minutes later stating he could see a large plume of grassfire smoke 5 miles west of our place which is in Ellsworth/Lincoln Co. districts! Liz and I left Wichita immediately as I was concerned about the gusty southwest winds that might bring the fire towards our place. It turned out that there were two fires in that area with the closer fire to us, burning into a creek and stopping there. Ellsworth and Lincoln fire units knocked out the the other fire fairly quickly despite 70 degree temps and gusty but diminishing southwest winds. By the time Liz and I got home, (one hour before sundown) the winds became calm and the fire danger had diminished.
Today,( Sunday Feb. 1) we were eating in Salina after church when district 5 was paged to a possible structure fire on the southeast side of Salina. We looked out the resturant and saw a black cloud of smoke. First units on scene stated a structure fire as well as an expanding grass fire, pushed along by 15 mph northwest winds. This fire involved units from District's 5, 2 and 6 before it was brought under control. Fortunately district 3 had no calls but it's very dry so any wind will create problems with any fire that does develop.
February 19, pasture fire at Muir and Shipton roads.
Grassland fire danger was in the high category today when this page came in around 4 pm. I was still recovering from hospital tests so Jeremy responded as he had no school bus today. Jed B. got on scene and called in a small grass fire and every one was turned back except Squad 360 and 320 from Hedville. They quickly got the fire under control and went home.
March 5, some calls sandwiched around a red flag warning.
We've had some calls this week, two were med. calls at the east end of our district and one fire call due to the county burn ban. I didn't respond to the fire call as I was in the doctor's office. March 5, the NWS issued a red flag warning but fortionuately no fires happened.
March 6, train engine fire, Ellsworth Co. 31 &ave. J.
Jeremy and I were in the middle of eating dinner when this call came in. We immediately jumped into my pickup and called in we were heading to Brookville. Jed, Michael, Rod and Jeremy and I arrived at the station at the same time. Jeremy left first with Sq. 340 as the rest of us geared up---I wanted him to find the scene as well as giving a size up. Michael and I followed with E-341, then Jed and Rod responded a couple of minutes later with T-342. E-321 and T-331 also responded from Hedville and Bavaria stations. Jeremy arrived on scene and called a fire in the train engine's generators as well as location---just south of CK ranch headquarters. When Michael and I arrived we found some moderate smoke and some flames spewing from the heat manifold/air filters area. I called on scene, gave a second size up and declared incident command. Michael and I pulled the no. 1 speedlay off E-341. I supplied Michael with water, then pressure as he attacked the burning filters. Meanwhile Jeremy was on the other side with the booster line where he and the engineer were cooling the red hot generators through an access door. The rest of the guys arrived and we achieved fire control rather quickly. After 3/4 of an hour of cooling down the "innards" of the train engine, I called the fire out. We gathered up our hoselines and went back to the Brookville station. To say the least, this fire was a lot less than what it could have been as those locomotives sit on an ocean of diesel fuel.
When things settled down a bit I took this pic of Michael finishing off the fire in the upper filters of the engine.
A pic. showing E-341 and Sq.340 and the train. Jeremy is on the other side with Rob and Rod.
Jeremy was inside the access door, cooling down the generators as Rob G. looks on.
March 11, two calls in one day.
I was doing some banking business in Salina after my Dr. appointment when the pager toned for a semi on fire, I-70, mile marker 241. I called in that I was responding from town as I didn't know if Shane B. was in Brookville or not. Hedville units called in that they could see flames from 3 miles away so I continued on to Brookville to get T-342 for water support as Shane had already left with E-341. By the time I got halfway to I-70 from Brookville, E321, E341, Sq. 350 and Sq. 330 got the fire under control and I was turned back, a good thing. According to Shane, the semi tractor was a total loss. I returned to Salina to finish some work on my pickup, then I heard district 7 paged to a woodshop fire on West Plesent hill Rd. which is just out of district 3's area. I had around 3/4 of an hour to kill before Church so I drove up to I-70 intending to be near if district 7 called us for mutual aid. Their first units arrived on scene called fully involved structure and called for district's 3 aid. I got on scene in about 5 minutes, checked in with the IC. called on my radio to district 3 responders to bring tankers and engines (carrying air packs) and geared up. I gave my ID card to the IC and was assigned with a "7" guy to do an exterior attack through an open door of the blazing building. With 3 hoselines going, we knocked out most of the visible flames and the packed up district 7 team was called back out due to the roof collapsing in. At this time district 7's engine was running out of water in the drop tank when T-331 arrived and replenished water in the nick of time. Many District 3 firefighters arrived and Michael H. Matt R. packed up and relieved myself and other district 7 firefighters so we could take a break. After that it was an overhaul situation which I let the "fresh" firefighters do while I retrieved my ID from the IC and headded back to Salina for Church. I had left my camera next to the computer where I posted the train pictures of last week so didn't get pictures of this fire, Dang!
Picture of the wood shop after the initial knockdown of the fire. I'm the firefighter at the door with the reddish trim gear assisting district 7 firefighters. Right after this the IC. pulled all firefighters out due to the roof collapsing. Picture courtesy of Dean Speaks, Saline Co. emergency management.
March 20, one vehichle rollover, mile marker 235, I-70.
I was just driving to the pasture to feed an evening bale when this call came in. Liz was already at work at UPS. Since it was close to home (5 miles away) I figured I would be able to give some info. to responding units from Salina. I called in that I was responding and in 5 minutes I arrived on scene. A small car has swerved off the east bound lane and rolled through the ditch, through the barbed fence and came to rest upright. A Ellis Co. ems supervisor stopped and evaluated the 4 occupants before I got there so he filled me in on the extent of injurys which I relayed back to dispatch. I then interviewed the occupants to double-check for injurys---they all wore their seat belts and came out ok. Troupers and deputys arrived then the ems Lt. pulled in just in front of the ambulance. The Ellis Co. director briefed the shift Lt. and I talked to the emt's pointing out the scrapes and bruises on the two occupants that had minor injuries. I left the scene at this time since I was not needed any longer. Later I heard on the radio that all patients refused transport on ems a good ending from a potential serious situation.
March 23, Red Flag warning, semi rollover I-70, grass fire at Watkins and Muir Rd.
The NWS issued a Red Flag warning for central Kansas, then a high wind warning was issued around mid morning. At this time the wind was INSANE---40-50MPH! At about 10:30 we were paged to a semi blown off I-70 west of Salina. I was hauling a bull to the sale barn so didn't respond to this call as no entrapment or fire happened. Later in the afternoon while Cody T. and I were chasing storms in the area we were paged to a grass fire at Muir and Watkins. When the pager tones for a fire in wind conditions like today, it sends immediate chills up your back (this could be the big one). I called in that we were responding to the scene but no one answered due to the wind knocking down the repeater in Salina. Knowing that there was a lot of pastures in that area we got in the area and found a fire in a yard between 3 houses instead. Several piles of fire wood was burning as well as the fire burning right up to two structures. Squad 320 and 360 arrived ahead of us but 360 couldn't get the pump started so it was dicy for a while until other trucks arrived. After that it took a lot of time to "foam" the firewood and get everything out. Sq. 320, 360, 350, 340, 330 and T331 participated with this fire. After this we went back on the storm chase.
Fire fighters cooling and foaming firewood at Watkins and Muir Rd.
Rob is walking back after inspecting the source of the fire---wind blowing the power line into the transformer.
April 1, grass fire call, I-70 mile marker 237.
I was driving towards Beloit, north of Lincoln when this call came in around 10 am. I called Jeremy via cell and he said he was responding. He said the fire was on the north side of the highway but with an east wind the fire burned parallel to the highway and not out into the CRP and a nearby house which would have been more dicy. Jeremy was hoseman on Sq. 320 and along with Sq. 340 they got the fire under control rather quickly. The fire started off of the highway by either a cigerette--hot bearing or burning tire fragment, Jeremy didn't know which.
April 7, controlled burn out of control, 29th Rd. and Old 40 Highway. A pretty big one!
Grassland fire danger was in the "high" category today. Due to the recent moisture we received, all county burn bans were lifted in the area, so everybody was out burning pastures today. I was 5 miles southeast of home fixing fence when the breezy wind picked up out of the west. Soon after, at about 5:30 we were paged to this fire. I called Jeremy and he & Meghan got my pickup and picked me up 3 miles south of our house. We arrived on scene right after Sq. 340 and finished gearing up. Sq. 330 came next and I had Jer and Meg get on as hosemen. I waited for Rod in T-342 as he arrived next along with many other Sqs. and tankers. The area that was burning was just on the north side of old '40 highway and had very tall grass and was extremely hilly with deep wet draws. It took a while for Rod and myself to get T-342 shifted into low range transmission, 4x4 shifted and wheels locked, pump started and hoseline primed. As we entered the fire area we found 3 fire trucks stuck in the mud with the wind shifting to the northwest driving the headfire straight at the stuck trucks! Jer and Meg were on one of these trucks and used their hoses to stop the fire from reaching their truck! VERY HAIRY! Rod and I knocked out the west fire line burning around the stuck fire trucks then climbed a steep hill to attack the east fire line. By the time we reached the area the fire had jumped highway 40 due to the wind and stuck trucks not able to fight fire. We knocked out the east fire line north of highway 40 then ran out of water. At this time many Ellsworth and Kanopolis units arrived as well as a large tractor who pulled out our stuck fire trucks. Most of the trucks were sent to the fire now racing south. South of highway 40 had bigger hills than where the fire originated north of the highway. Rod and I refilled with water and then worked short fire lines on both sides of the highway. We also got stuck driving in the vacinity of the earlier stuck trucks. The tractor man came by and pulled us out and by this time most of the fire was under control. We went back to the highway where we refilled with water and joined up with Jeremy and Meg. At this time Jer, Meg and I were released to go home which we were happy to do as we were wet, tired and singed. This fire burned for a mile and a half, consuming around 450 to maybe as much as 600 acres.
April 8, four calls in one day!
The first call came in at 2:30 am., back to the previous large fire we had yesterday evening where some trees and a post was burning. Sq. 340 took care of the post and turned the rest of us around as the tree was in the "black". The second call came at around 2:30 pm. a mutual aid call from district 6 at Waterwell Rd. and Muir Rd. for a controlled burn now out of control. Sqs. 320, 340, 330, 350 and T-331 responded to this call as I stood by at Brookville, ready to respond to any call with T-342. After about an hour I was released from the Brookville station as the Waterwell fire was under control and District 3 units were returning to their stations. I had just gotten home when the pager tones again! Ellsworth county units requested our mutual aid for a grass fire in Lincoln county in the Vesper area! After some radio discussion on who would go and who would stay for potential more local calls, Sqs. 320, 340, 350 and T-331 responded down I-70 to the Vesper fire. Jeremy and I stayed home to be ready to respond to any future calls we might get in district. The guys going to Vesper called me to tell me about a Kanopolis fire truck who was also responding, blew a front tire and ditched the truck, breaking it's frame in half! Luckily no one was injured. Around 6:20 while I was in Salina, the pager toned again for smoke and an unknowen fire at Highway 40 and Highway 141 intersection. Jeremy and I responded to this call but was turned around quickly as it was only a controlled burn in the area. All these calls happened with light winds and somewhat low grassland fire danger so one can still loose control of their burns.
Responding Kanopolis fire truck in the Vesper area blew it's front tire and hit the ditch, breaking in half! No one was injured. Picture taken by District 3's Rob Gillham.
April 9, LIVING IN THE FIRE TRUCKS---the calls keep coming!
Grassland fire danger was in the very high category today due to strong EASTERLY winds blowing from 20-35 mph as an intense low pressure moved from southwest Kansas eastward. The first call came in at 4:20 in the morning as there were fence posts, trees and cow patties glowing up in the increasing wind around the highway 40 fire from the day before. All of these smoldering objects were in the "black" so no suppression was needed by us. By late morning we were listening to Lincoln/Russell Co. on the scanner, battling a large fire around Sylvan Grove. Around 3:45, Jeremy called from his bus route warning me about smoke he was seeing just north of Brookville. I told him "Who is stupid enough to be burning in this wind?" A minute later the pager tones for a grassfire north of Brookville. I headed for the scene, listening on the radio to who was responding to which station, thinking I might stop at the scene to give a size up and be the IC. When I got in the area of the fire the situation was clear for me. Rob G was taking IC from his pickup, the head fire was approaching Brookville Rd. and if it jumped this road we would be in a world of trouble, plus T-342, our primary grass fighting truck was still at the station two miles away. I responded with T-342 by myself and got on scene in the headfire area intending to try to knock it down before it reached/crossed Brookville Rd. Sq. 340 was in this area too. Shane drove up to me and stopped helping me ready my truck and giving me his hoseman Jason. When he clipped in the 4X4 hubs, one hub didn't engage all the way so I didn't have four wheel drive when I thought I did. I then pulled into the fire line. We were doing good work until I hit a soft clay spot instantly buried the truck to the front axle. Jason jumped on another truck as many more trucks were arriving in the area while I stayed with the stuck truck. Soon a farmer with a tractor arrived and pulled me out. IC brought Justin to be a hoseman and we were back into the fight. We worked mainly the north fire line, mopping up hot spots and pulling out a District 7 truck who was also stuck. At this time the fire was called under control, (it never jumped Brookville Rd.) and the mop up continued as the gusty winds shifted more out of the north. We ran out of water so went to refill at the staging area. While we were refilling the guys on Sq. 350 joked "for the past 3 days we've been living in this truck, the only thing we don't have is supper"! We then received a page to the old nemnis, CK Ranch, Highway 40 for fence posts still on fire from the previous day's burn. Two trucks responded to this call and took care of the fence posts as rain began to fall. At this time the IC called fire out and we returned to our stations. I then discovered that I had lost my pickup keys somewhere at the fire so Jeremy, (who rode on Sq. 350 after his bus route) took me home to get spare keys and get me going again. A large effort was used to stop this fire. All District 3 trucks were used except E-321 and T-351, District 7 brought 2 squads and a command pickup, Smoky Hill Range brought two squads and Ottawa Co. brought two squads from Tescott. The fire burned for about a mile in length and consumed over 80 acres of grass. It started from a hot spot from a previous day's controlled burn being scattered into the next pasture by the increasing east wind. A final thought to all of this: the recent snows have made the draws wet and watery which contributes to trucks getting stuck, BUT, it also stops or slows fire movement which kept this fire from becoming a disaster.
April 18, car smoking mile marker 237.
I was feeding cows Sat. evening when this call came in. Mile marker 237 is about 4-5 miles from our house so I drove back home and responded in my other truck. I found nothing on the south side of I-70 in the 237 area so I kept going east searching. I saw a vehicle matching the description on the north side at the 240, so I crossed the medium and checked---it was a overheated radiator spewing steam. I called this in and turned everyone around and headded back home.
April 19, one vehicle injury accident, State St. and Brownhill Rd.
I was up early getting chores done before church when this call came in at 6:45 am. Liz and I responded as this accident was around 7 miles from home. Getting on scene we found a pickup had struck a concrete bridge railing, swapped end around 180 degrees and rolled through the ditch. Michael H. and a Deputy were there before us. As Liz did her assessment of the single occupant, I called in a sizeup of the wreck to dispatch and responding units. When Salina rescue and ambulance arrived I gave a brief sizeup to the rescue guys while Liz gave her stuff to the EMS folks. Michael, Rob and I cut the barbed wire fence on both ends of the truck so EMS/Rescue would not trip carrying the occupant up to the road. After that it was some clean up of the debris off the roadway and we went home. The occupant probably fell asleep before the wreck. We heard later that he sustained serious but not life threatening injuries. He was wearing a seat belt!
Liz, Michael and others working through the passenger side door, prepairing to remove the occupant.
EMS and Salina rescue has taken over and are ready to remove the occupant.
May 4, some calls, but not much.
We at district 3 have had some calls in the last 3 days, the first was a brush pile burning by a house at night---a controlled burn. I stood by at the Brookville station and was released soon after arriving at the station. The next calls were Monday noon---a riding lawn mower on fire on St. Street while I was doing banking in Salina, and Mon. evening a large amount of smoke seen in the Eff Creek area while I was again in east Salina after a meeting. I called Jeremy via cell, on the second call as this call was within 3 miles of our house. He discovered a neighbor burning an old carpet which made lots of smoke for a short time and turned responding units back as they were not needed. District 3 had a very good response with people and trucks to these three calls.
May 16, early morning abandoned house fire, Armstrong and Burma.
The pager toned at 3:30 am. for this fire, stating house fully envolved. I dressed, geared up and called in I was responding. When I topped the highest hill east of home, I could see the flames like 14 miles away. After talking to the responding folks, it was decided I needed to go to Brookville and bring T-342 for water support. By the time I arrived on scene the house was down, (we were defensive only) and firefighters were wetting the perimeter and trees that were burning. I helped with the hoses and with the refilling of E-341 by T-331 and when the land owner arrived we turned the "watch" over to him stacked the hoses and went home. This old house was a favorite for drug making and under age drinking parties so cause of the fire would be suspicious. I got home at 5:45 with dawn showing in my rear view mirror.
June 17, lawn mower explosion, Brownhill Rd.
I was driving home from Salina in the late afternoon when this call was paged, subject burned by a lawn mower explosion. I had just passed Brownhill Rd 5 minutes before but since it was paged as a medical call I hesitated since I was not medically qualified, but there was an explosion, which could mean a fire and I was close, so I turned around and responded. When I was 2 1/2 miles from the scene, Michael H. coded the victim as very serious and I could see a plume of smoke from the area. As I got on scene, Michael gave more information to the responding EMS shift Lt. while I drove to the burning riding lawn mower, did a sizeup and declared incident command. Life Watch helicopter was summoned at about this time. Sq. 320 then 340 arrived and I detailed them to put out the fire while I began looking for a landing zone for Life Watch. I picked an open alfalfa field adjacent to the farmstead for the landing zone. When Sq. 320/340 had finished up with the fire, I had them drive down and we created the LZ using my pickup, the two squads and traffic cones. Soon the Helo arrived and Chief 301 came down and talked the helo down for a landing. EMS and Life Watch personell worked with the victim in the ambulance for a while then loaded him into the Helo and took off. We picked up our traffic cones, talked for a couple of minutes, and looked at the burnt lawn mower again. After that I terminated the incident and we all went home. As I was typing this account this evening, we received back to back fire calls---the first was a malfunctioning automatic alarm at Rolling Hills zoo, then as I was returning home from that, a second call of a grass fire, I-70 mile marker 238. I was second on scene and was geared up when Sq. 350 arrived. Chief 352 and I used booster lines put this smallish fire out. We discovered a piece of burning tire was the cause. I was suprised how well the green grass burned. A 30 by 60 foot area burned.
EMS was working on victim prior to the helicopter arriving.
Life Watch has just landed safely.
Rob G., Chief 301 and Sheldon A. inspecting the burnt lawn mower. Victim was riding it when the gas tank blew.
June 27, grassfire near RR right-a-way, one mile east of Carnerio.
It was nineish, in the evening when this call was paged out. I had been working on the porch wall so just grabbed my fire bag and responded to the scene. Carnerio is around 12 miles southwest of my house. I was second on scene behind Shane in Sq. 340 from Brookville. There was about a half an acre of pasture and roadway ditch burning. I geared up and used the front booster line on Sq. 340 to put out this fire. There was little wind at this time but some of the green grass was still burning! The farmers who were there thought a passing train started the fire. I'm not so sure. There were two separate fires, close together. One burned off the RR/dirt road that crossed the track at that point which "could" have been started by the train. The second fire burned off the dirt road around 20 yards from the RR right-a-way. A spark would have to be very hot to start this fire from the passing train in my opinion.
June 29, big bale fire.
I was swathing hay in the evening when this call came in. Due to working behind a large hill I couldn't hear much of the page or who was responding after the page. I did hear the name of the person at the address which for me, sometimes, is better than a address. This call was for our neighbor 3 miles away. I called Jeremy by cell, (he was working at Grandma's) to get my truck and pick me up to go to the scene. He did this and the first thing I did was broadcast the location of the fire as we were approaching the scene. We got on scene and I determined only one bale was involved, I turned around all responding trucks except Sq. 320 who arrived and put the bale out. My only problem was I was talking to the neighbor, (who lost control of his fire) and the adjacent land owner, (whose bale burned) and forgot to release personnel standing by at Brookville. As soon as the fire was out I cleared the incident and we all left the scene.
Picture of Jeremy, Dugan, Matt and Sheldon standing beside Sq. 320 after the burning bale was scattered and wetted down.
July 6,Rolling Hills Ranch hay barn fire on State Street, third call of the day.
We at District 3 had a "smoke in house in Brookville" call Mon. morning, then a vehicle rollover on State St. in the evening. At 10:35 the pager starts to tone and I told Liz, "Here comes number 3!" It was a steel enclosed haybarn with 1300 big rectangle bales that was on fire. Chief 301 got on scene and called defensive only. Most all of the units from District 3 arrived as well as District 7 guys and equipment. We all soon gathered around Chief 301 and set up shifts to babysit the fire until it burns out. All District 3 units left as District 7 took the first 3 hour shift. I just got back from the 5:30 am to 8:30 am shift and will return for the 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm shift. We will continue to do this till all the bales burn down and not be a threat to the surrounding trees/stubble fields. I'll take some day pictures this afternoon.
Burning paint on walls of hay barn.
Rolling Hills Ranch hay barn fire.
Picture of Cody T., Michael H and myself as we took the morning shift watching over the bale shed fire. Cody is also a active storm chaser who chases with me at times. (See accounts of Cody in the storm section of the website) Michael just passed his first responder course as well as attending firefighter school in Hutchison.
Daytime picture of the burning haybarn. After the neighbor to the west disced his wheat stubble (which was a concern about the fire spreading), and conferring with the hayshed owner, we terminated the incident around 6 pm. the next day and returned trucks to their stations.
July 11, Semi moving van fire, exit 238 I-70.
I was just getting ready to go outside and do morning chores when this call was paged. I geared up and got into my pickup calling in that I was responding to the scene which was located at the Brookville exit. Sq. 350 from Glendale arrived on scene, calling out that the semi tractor had unhooked from a burning van. I arrived on scene and parked off the exit ramp, snapped a picture and assisted Rex and Gary with the initial attack. Fire trucks and firefighters began arriving soon after I arrived. When E-341 from Brookville arrived Michael H. and I grabbed air packs and the 2" hose line off of the engine. Jason was 341's engineer and supplied us with water pressure as Michael crawled in the back of the van to remove household belongings while I kept the fire knocked down in front of him. Other firefighters including Jeremy were opening the other access doors to middle and front of the van, knocking down the fire and removing smoldering furniture in those areas. Michael and I used up our air and retreated out of the back of the van. Due to temps. around 85 and dew points in the mid 70s we needed to remove some gear and cool off. After a break we helped finish mopping up inside the van and the fire was extinguished. District three had a good turn out with E-321, E-361, E-341, T-351, T-342, T-331, Sqs. 350,&340 being on scene per the best of my memory. Chief 301 had me take some damage pictures (documentery) of the van and contents. We then drained and stacked hoses and left the scene around 11 am.
I snapped this picture after arriving on scene. Gary and Rex are opening the back doors to begin fire attack. I helped them doing this until E-341 arrived.
Jason doing his engineering duties. He is a recent member at Brookville and has fit in well with us.
Michael H. taking a breather after he and I made an interior attack in the van.
Jeremy who is looking up at the inside of the front of the van,(he's behind Darren)is helping unload contents where fire was burning. Chief Mark(blue jeans with booster line) is wetting down anything that is smoldering. Rod B. has air pack on and was inside, removing contents to Jeremy who carried them away.
July 24, grass fire I-70 west bound, mile marker 240.
I was swathing hay when this call came in around 7:30 pm. Temperatures were in the high 90s with a south wind around 10-15 mph. Cause of fire appears to be an overheated tire. I was suprised how well the green grass burned! Below is a pictorial essay.
Jeremy and I arrived on scene after Sq. 320 and just before Sq. 340. Jeremy is on Sq. 340 beginning the attack next to the highway.
I took pictures then got in Sq. 320 working the bottom of the ditch. At this time we were approaching the other end of the fire.
A family affair! Chief 301 and his two kids finishing up the fire from Sq. 360. This may have been his daughter's first active firefight.
Cody T. flashes a smile---fire is out! He was hoseman on Sq.320.
Jeremy is thumbs up. Time to head home. Jason P. is the driver of Sq. 340.
Siarra gives the "ah shucks" look, "I didn't do THAT much to deserve a picture".
August 1, standby at the Smoky Hill Air National Guard air show.
We took squads 340 and 330 to assist Smoky fire with their air show. Our job was to put out any grass or car fire that occurred. With the rains of last night there was minimal fire threat so we enjoyed the flights and renewing old times with retired Smoky personel. This air show was the biggest ever with 6,015 people attending! Jeremy, Michael, Rod, Jed, Matt and I enjoyed a good show.
Jeremy holding his hand out---acting like he's holding the hovering AH-1 attack chopper.
Rod posing with a future firefighter.
September 26, fire training with Salina Fire Department rescue personal.
About the only time we on rural fire work with Salina fire dept. is when there are wrecks where EMS and Rescue respond. Due to this interaction between our departments, we had a training session with the rescue folks. Of interest was their new rescue truck---a state of the art vehicle designed by the Salina rescue leaders. Then we were able to use some of the new equipment on the truck to do an extraction from a junk van. This was really good training for all who attended from district 3.
Checking out the new rescue truck before doing an practice extraction.
One of our firefighters cutting out the windshield of the junk van. This was the first step in our practice extraction. My camera battery gave out after this shot so couldn't take any more of the extraction process.
October 11, two car injury crash, east of Hedville Rd. on Stimmel Rd.
We at the Brookville station, were in the middle of our monthly meeting when this call came in. In fact, I was reviewing our last training covering our responsibilities at car wrecks! The call came in first to district 7 as the accident area was miss-identified to dispatch and then later we got the page. I sent Michael in his POV as he was our medical first responder, then sent Rod & Jason in Sq. 340. I intended to follow in my pickup but heard lots of people responding from the other stations so I stayed at the station and listened to the pager with the remaining guys. The wreck was a serious "head on" and Life Watch helo was called but due to low ceilings couldn't fly. Finally, the guys in 340 returned and told us about the wreck. Two cars met head on at the crest of the hill on a gravel road. The impact threw them 50 feet apart! This accident happened around 8 at night.
October 24, one vehicle accident I-70 mile marker 241.
It was the morning of Jeremy's wedding at o dark thirty. (5:30) We went to this wreck since it was an injury accident with entrapment. There was also the possibility of another person missing from the accident. The young lady sideswiped the bridge and went down a steep enbankment. The car was very hard to see from the road. Due to the frost on the back window, we believe she had been there a while. Fire and rescue were already there when we arrived. Help was given de-energizing the car and spine boarding the occupant. The rescue personel just happened to be the guys that taught our training class on helping with the rescue truck just a short time ago. Squads 320, 330 and 340 along with Darren also responded. There was no major entrapment and no second occupant. Time to go home, go back to bed and get ready for a wedding!!
November 6, combine/sunflower field on fire.
Grassland fire danger was in the very high category today when this call came in around 3 pm. I was cutting milo a mile west of home and only had the semi for transportation. I called grandma to come get me and then took extra time to take the trailer off my pickup. When I fianally called in, lots of people and trucks were responding. Unit first on scene called out combine involved and part of the field burning. I'm thinking "how does sunflower stubble burn?", when I remembered that this field was planted no-till in wheat stubble after harvest. When I got to the Brookville station, IC requested me to bring E-341 for water support. I got on scene and found the fires all out with T-351 refilling the empty trucks so I didn't pump any water. It looked like Michael and possibly Rod "packed up" and did the attack on the combine. Jed B. who lives across the creek from the scene, took his tractor and disc and did lots of good work stopping the stubble fire before fire trucks arrived. The combine recieved extensive damage to it's threshing parts but was still drivable. The field was very big so I couldn't judge how much of the crop and stubble was burned in this fire.
November 11, deer verses car with car on fire, I-70 Mile marker 240 1/2.
We at district 3 have had several car accidents, some serious in the last few days. All of them have been near Salina so I didn't respond because of distance. When this call came in at around 1 am. I hurridly jumped into my gear and headed out. On the way to the scene dispatch called an updated position of the accident as well as stating the fire had gone out----good! I got on scene first, checked the driver for injuries and then the car for fire. I then updated dispatch with what I had and two deputies arrived as well as E-341 and Sq. 330. We set up traffic cones as well as prying the hood up to de-energise the car's electrical system. The lady driver hit the deer broadside which pushed the radiator into the motor. The radiator fan stuck and heated and caught on fire burning the plastic fan blades as well as the radiator shroud. Due to water from the radiator splashing over the engine, when the plastic burned up it did not carry to the engine wires ect. and burned itself out. Interestingly enough, even though there was great damage to the front of the small SUV, the collision did not activate the air bag and the driver was unhurt, a good ending for once.
Picture of the front of the damaged car. Deer Rut is in full swing so these type of accidents will be the norm for the next few weeks. The deer hit was a buck with a small rack.
November 13, two vehicle collision, I-70 mile marker 244.
I was just getting ready to leave the house to bale forage sorghum around 6 pm when this call came in. The text of the page said that one car was located in the medium and one car partially in the driving lane. With a lot of uncertainies--(injuries-entrapment-cars impeding traffic flow??) Liz and I responded even though the scene is far to our east ie Salina EMS/Rescue 1 would get there before us. When we got on scene, basically everything was OK. Liz checked for injuries and I called Rod B. in Sq. 340 to set up to merge traffic to one lane before reaching the accident scene. Before he set up a pickup did not merge and drove right up on the scene, slowing down suddenly, then drove over the deputy's flares and proceeded onward. This incident shows how dangerous it is working around highway accident/fire scenes---especially at night. That's one of the jobs rural fire does at accident scenes now, divert traffic into safe lanes protecting the working fire-law enforcement-medical crews.
Picture of one of the cars involved in the wreck. It was crossing over between the west bound and east bound lanes and was struck when it pulled onto the passing lane. No injuries.
December 11, early morning house fire on west Pleasant Hill Rd. Fighting fire with icicles!
This call jolted me out of bed around 4:44 am. I headed for the Brookville station when I heard units on scene state that snow would be a problem and 4+4 would be needed. On the way to the station, I could see the glow from the fire---the structure was fully envolved. Jason passed me with E-341 then I heard Joe respond with T-342, the truck I was going to get. I turned around and arrived at the scene. At that time Michael & Kody were using one hose line so I pulled another line off 341 and a Hedville firefighter and I attacked the fire on the northeast side of the house. The temp. at this time was 1 degree above zero! Soon we ran out of water, but T-351&T-342 replenished water to E-341 and we kept fighting. The area around the house was 1 lane only so we couldn't deploy a drop tank and could bring in only one truck at a time---a logistic nightmare! Chief Mark was engineer on 341 but had to leave so I took over that job. By now I'm soaked and my gear was frozen solid---I couldn't bend my legs or fingers in my gloves---a ice strait jacket!! District 7 arrived with two tankers to refill our engine but one truck had already frozen their pump and we finally got water from the second. By this time the fire was under control, but we still had trucks freezing their water lines. I traded engineer duties with Jed B. so I could thaw out in my pickup. Now the temp gauge showed -2 on my pickup. We drained hoses and took E-341 and T-331 to Brookville where we refilled them in the comfort of the station. Jeremy and Jed took Sq. 340 back to the scene for standby and I went home around 9:30.
The cold temps caused steam-fog to roll off the structure after being hit with water, a cool pic.
I think this is Michael and Jason fighting the house fire.
Wide angle pic. of the house as the sun was rising. Jeremy is in the "clean" gear at center.
This picture is of a weather phenom. called an inversion. The smoke and steam from the fire is trapped in a very thin layer.
Picture of E-341 and firefighters mopping up hot spots just before we went back to the station.
Frosty the firefighter! Picture of me holding a bucket that held rifle shells. Normally when bullets cook off they don't go far. There were large caliber shells in this bucket and the bullets passed through the bucket! Just another hazzard we firefighters sometimes face.
December 19, house fire, West Third street in Brookville.
Liz and I were jolted out of a sound sleep at 5:30 am. by this call. The narrative stated smoke and flames visible---the real deal! I ran out to the pickup and donned my gear, then took off as Liz called Jeremy to make sure he heard the call too. Listening to the radio traffic, I heard Chief Mark and Jason get on scene quickly but they were too busy to elaborate about the situation on the radio. What they found was the occupant had left the house so they pulled a hoseline off E-341 and Jason, who was "packed up", crawled just through the doorway and fogged the two involved rooms in front of him. Joe W. was backing him up on the hoseline then they backed out to get ventilation started. I arrived and packed up and Jason and I re-entered the house as the ventilation fan started and to my suprise, there was little fire found. Jason's first burst from the doorway "steamed" the fire out! The next hour was spent tearing part of a doorway out as smoldering fire was found working up between 2+4 studs into the attic. Emergency management arrived with a thermal detector and we used it to widen a hole in a particular wall, where some smoldering was going on. We also discovered where a ceiling vent had allowed heat and flames to get into some attic insulation which was smoldering. Dugan F., Jeremy and I then took the thermal imager into the attic crawl spaces and checked out "vent smoldering" area and the area was wetted down. We then restacked hoses and returned to the station. A couple of hours later another smoldering area of attic insulation was found in another crawl space in the attic. This was wetted down and the fire was really out. Temperatures were around 30 so it seemed like a heat wave compared to the house fire a week ago!
Picture of the front door of the house&firefighters working.
Picture of Jason inspecting the origin of the fire---in the bathroom area.
Picture of a thermal (heat) line on a table.
Picture of a melted fan motor. This is why firefighters go in low when advancing into a burning structure. This fan was located 3 ft. from the ceiling.
Picture of Dugan, Jeremy and myself on porch roof. We had just crawled out of the attic window after using the thermal imager in the attic looking for hot areas.
After checking out the attic, we handed down the hoseline and Mark S. is draining water in prepairation of restacking the hoses.