Monthly Archives: February 2017

Turnpike Car Fire

Car fire 6On Tuesday evening, Feb. 21st, the El Dorado Fire Department responded to a passenger vehicle fire at mile marker 79 on the Kansas Turnpike.

Crews arrived on scene to find a small Toyota car fully involved with flames. Firefighters were able to quickly put the fire out and there were no injuries due to the incident.

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1947 American LaFrance – One Hundred Foot Challenge

american-lafranceShe was parked on the west side of the hose tower. The rays of the sun were shining down through the open cab upon the black leather seats. The truck was stabilized by an arm on both sides with giant threads which appeared to be adjustable if you had a giant wrench.

 

The ladder was extended upwards almost to the edge of the sun. I was told the driver aimed for the sun when he extended her, but in her old age she had developed a slight arch when extended the full one hundred foot. So, the ladder tip ended up just to the left side of the sun.

Next to the base of the ladder on both sides were two red tubes that looked like grenade launchers. These were the hydraulic cylinders that raised and lowered the ladder.

If I wanted to be a firefighter, my task was simple. I needed to climb to the top, touch the tip, then climb down. All in less than ten minutes.

But, there’s something strange about climbing a gigantic ladder – especially a crooked one – that’s sticking straight up into the air. And stranger yet, it’s not leaning against a supportive structure – like a building.

All kinds of thoughts go through your brain. What if one of those tiny support arms fails? What if one of the hydraulic cylinders holding up the ladder sprouts a leak? Thoughts turn to fear.

The palms began to perspire. The heart beat increased – both in rate and intensity. And, I got a big lump in my throat. Did I really want to be a firefighter?

Yes, was the answer. But, it wasn’t a deep manly yes – it was more like a grade school girl yes.

So, I climbed up to the turntable. As I stood at the base the very top wasn’t quite visible. I was just about to change my mind when the time keeper asked, “Are you ready?” Right before I gave the “thumbs up”, I told myself the death would at least be instant.

The first fifty feet went fast. A hand rail on both sides gave me a sense of security. This wasn’t too bad after all. But the ladder started to narrow. And then the side rail was no longer.

The sun was getting closer as the ladder skinnied down to what seemed to be a size that fit my preboarding child like voice. I had reached the curve point. And it made me feel like there was a super magnet pulling me towards the left.

It was at that point the time keeper shouted, “Five minute mark!” I refused to look down. Up, up, up another sixteen feet. The red painted tip was now in reach. I stretched my arm until I feared it would disconnect from the socket. Slowly my fingers encircled the rung.

Looking down at the pea-sized time keeper he appeared to wave his hand. That was enough acknowledgement for me.

The speed of the trip up the ladder was liken a turtle stampeding through peanut butter. The one down the ladder was liken a rabbit being chased by a beagle. Within what seemed like seconds I was standing next to the time keeper.

All that remained was to ensure he saw me reach the top. And he did.

We all go through challenges in life. In many ways facing and overcoming those challenges is what molds us.

My career as a firefighter began with a “One Hundred Foot Challenge.”

by Fire Chief Steve Moody

Seven Departments Respond to Wild Land Fire

Hay3The fire started alongside the turnpike.  By the time it was extinguished, seven departments were involved in the firefight.

Moderate winds coupled with tall and dense grassland hampered firefighters.

Two homes were endangered, but fire trucks were stationed at each house and they weren’t damaged.  Livestock was also endangered, but no injuries to them.

Approximately 200 acres burned along with approximately 50 round bales.

Chlorine Tank Leaking Valve

ChlorineThe water plant was changing out one of its chlorine tanks this morning.  When they had the coupling hooked up it leaked.

Therefore, they switched over to the secondary valve.  But, It leaked too.  And the leak shot out a small spurt of liquid.  So, just to be safe they called the fire department.

Firefighters donned their level A uniforms.  They uncoupled the valve and capped it.

A job well done.

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Prescribed Burns

Photo Chad Wittenberg
Photo Chad Wittenberg

*This message is from Butler County Emergency Management

So…. burning season is rapidly approaching, and some of you may be planning to conduct a controlled burn (whether a brush pile, ditch or pasture) for the very first time. If you’re wondering how and when to light the match, here are a few things to think about:

  1. Have you called for a permit? Butler County follows a permitting process, which is administered by our three 9-1-1 centers on behalf of the fire districts. Permits are issued only when safe burning conditions exist. Dispatchers and fire chiefs look at things such as forecasted wind speeds and humidity levels to gauge if controlled burns can actually stay “controlled.” The right mix of gusty winds, crispy-dry air and grass, and warm temps can cause fires to grow explosively, putting lives (yours, your neighbors and firefighters) and homes at risk. If your permit request is denied, please understand that this is for everyone’s safety.
  2. Do you have an adequate water supply? If flames start spreading where you don’t want them to go, do you have enough water immediately available to dampen them?
  3. Have you looked at what’s around the pile or space you want to burn? Is there tall grass right by your burn pile? Does that grass extend right up to the side of your house or shed? Are there cedar trees along the ditch you are clearing? When those dry out, they can literally explode into flames.
  4. Look beyond today. A gentle breeze may currently be wafting the smoke away from your house. However, if one of Kansas’ infamous wind-switches happens overnight, that breeze may suddenly become a fierce gale, stoking leftover embers and sending smoke and flames toward your house (or your neighbor’s)…

 

Some helpful resources: The graphic below is from the NWS’ Fire Weather web page and details the forecasted Grassland Fire Danger Index for the next several days. More fire weather info can be found at: http://www.weather.gov/ict/fire.    Additional info on burning rules and regulations, as well as contact info for permits, can be found on the county website: http://www.bucoks.com/index.aspx?NID=203