fire | KCUR

fire

Segment 1: A KU researcher's studies provide context for news from the Amazon.

As global leaders gather for a climate change summit, a KU researcher shares new satellite-based data on the impact of deforestation in the Amazon, with particular insights into where this year's fire (which is still raging) fits in, both environmentally and politically. 

Dylan Dear

Storms across Kansas City on Friday morning caused widespread power outages affecting more than 17,000 Kansas City Power & Light Co. customers by midday.

High winds and lightning were the biggest problems, with wind bringing tree limbs down on wires, according to an email from KCP&L communications specialist Kaley Bohlen.

She said Johnson County bore the brunt of the outages. But with more storms moving into the area, Bohlen could not estimate when power would be restored.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Veteran Chicago firefighter begins stint in Kansas City, Kansas, with 100-day plan.

Two months in as chief of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department and Mike Callahan figures he's 60 percent done with his goal "to visit every fire station on every shift to hear from the field what their concerns are about the department." He's met the command staff and his counterparts in law enforcement, and is working through evaluating equipment in the stations.  "The need here," he says of the department, "is some structure, consistency and discipline."

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, a Jackson County judge sentenced the woman convicted of starting a deadly fire at her own nail salon to 74 years in prison.

Firefighters, law enforcement officials and family of the two firefighters killed in the fire — John Mesh and Larry Leggio — packed the courtroom and an overflow room. 

Celisa Calacal/KCUR 89.3

The city of Raytown, Missouri is considering transferring its Emergency Medical Services department to the Raytown Fire Protection District.

Discussions about this transfer began in May, and it is the third time in 20 years that Raytown has considered this transfer. If approved, the deal would go into effect Nov. 17.

FILE PHOTO / Reno County Fire District No. 6

A legislative audit released Tuesday concluded that while wildfires in Kansas are becoming more frequent, a lack of resources and coordination are hampering the state’s ability to fight them.

Firefighting duties and resources are spread across three separate agencies, which auditors said is complicating wildfire response and communication between state and local officials.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A home once owned by Baseball Hall of Famer Satchel Paige in Kansas City’s Santa Fe Place Historic District was severely damaged by fire early Tuesday morning. 

The former Paige residence at 2626 E 28th St. was built in 1910. Paige lived in the home for almost 20 years, while he gained notoriety pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and later Major League Baseball's Kansas City Athletics.

Bryan Thompson / Harvest Public Media

Segment 1: With an understanding in place, city officials and airport developer work on next steps at KCI.

Last month Kansas City officials and the developer of the planned single-terminal setup, Edgemoor, put a memorandum of understanding in place, but negotiations and planning continue. Today, we got an update on the potential timeline and project costs.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Gary Reese has spent more than two decades as a firefighter, but he's apparently been thinking about the job all his life.

"(My mom) sent me a picture of me as about a four-year-old, and I had a fire truck and I had said, 'I want to be an army man and a fireman,'" Reece told Up to Date host Steve Kraske on Thursday.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How has our relationship with social media has changed over time?

In light of a report that data was harvested from 50 million unknowing Facebook users, many are rethinking their relationships with social media. Today, we explored the changing public perception of online social networks.

FILE PHOTO / Reno County Fire District No. 6

One year and nearly a half million torched acres after the Starbuck wildfire, strong winds blow across a parched Kansas landscape.

In some ways, last year’s experience showed how man-made systems fell short of handling natural disaster.

As March roars in with another dangerous fire season, lessons from 2017 will be tested and Kansas could learn whether it’s better prepared now.

Smithville Fire Protection District

This story was updated Thursday at 4:30 pm with comments from the fire district's lawyer.

In an unusual move, the Missouri State Auditor has subpoenaed the Smithville Fire Protection District for financial records. The auditor requests documents constantly from state and local governments, but very rarely is a subpoena needed.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond.

But seven out of 10 American firefighters are actually volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Is high school too early to figure out what career path to follow?

The Olathe School District doesn’t think so.

When the new Olathe West High School opens for all students on Thursday, the district will have a total of 17 specialty academies in its five high schools.

For as long as most people can remember, the main mission of Johnson County schools has been preparing kids for college.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two children died and four adults were injured in an early morning apartment fire in Overland Park.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday near 88th Street and Broadmoor, according to fire department spokesman Jason Rhodes. He says firefighters immediately called for a second alarm.

"Upon arrival they were met with heavy smoke and fire showing from two sides of a two-story apartment complex," Rhodes says.

SigAlert.com / KC Scout

Parts of I-435 near U.S. 69 Highway and Antioch Road in Overland Park were down to one lane of traffic Monday morning after a semi-truck crashed and caught fire.

The accident snarled the morning commute for metro-area motorists.

According to John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department, two people were injured when the tractor-trailer carrying dried goods hit the median near 69 Highway around 4 a.m. Monday.

The driver and one passenger in the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries. Both were taken to a local hospital and later released.

A firefighter with the Mayview Fire Protection District was killed and another person was injured Monday in a three-vehicle accident.

Great Plains Ranchers Look To Rebuild In Wake Of Massive Fires

Apr 6, 2017
Bryan Thompson / Harvest Public Media

Gena Kirk did not realize the largest wildfire in Kansas history was closing in on the Kirk Ranch on March 6 until she got a call from her brother-in-law. After realizing that her herd was in danger, she jumped into her pickup and sped up the hill where several of her cattle were grazing.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It's been nearly 30 years since six Kansas City firefighters were killed in an explosion after responding to a call about a truck on fire. A few weeks ago, Bryan Sheppard, one of five sentenced to life in prison, was released, because juvenile sentencing laws have changed since the time of the then 17-year-old's conviction. We check-in with Sheppard on life after prison.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Local and federal officials have determined the cause of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex Monday and damaged many nearby homes to be accidental. 

"Based on an examination of the scene, interviews of witnesses and other information obtained during the investigation, investigators are confident the fire was caused by the accidental ignition of wooden building material ignited by a welder conducting hot work on the site," said Overland Park Fire Marshall Mark Sweany.

Courtesy of Daniel King

Updated, 8:20 a.m. Tuesday: Fire officials in Overland Park say “skeleton crews” are on hand Tuesday, monitoring the smoldering remains of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex yesterday.

The fire also badly damaged another apartment building under construction and damaged at least 17 homes nearby, destroying 8 of them, according to Overland Park city officials.

Bryan Thompson / KCUR 89.3

Fire crews battled hot spots overnight Tuesday in Reno County, but residents of one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods were allowed back to their houses.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the county, but eight homes were destroyed.

Velera Adams and her husband got the call, along with thousands of others, to evacuate from rural Hutchinson just as night fell Monday. She said they drove to a church parking lot just outside the evacuation zone.

“And we could see the fire, all along north of there,” said Velera Adams. “It was pretty scary.”

Editor's note: This post was updated Tuesday at 3:40 p.m.

Reno County officials are starting to assess the damage caused by a large grassfire that has burned more than 6,000 acres since Saturday.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

It's been nearly 30 years since six Kansas City firefighters were killed in an explosion after responding to a call about a truck on fire at a construction site near U.S. 71 and 87th Street. But the crime remains present and painful, particularly since further investigations cast doubt on whether the five people sentenced to life in prison actually committed the crime.

Julie Denesha and Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Updated 3:30 p.m.  

"While the flames were dramatic, the fire damage could have been worse," stated City Manager Troy Schulte in a news release. "The redevelopment plan will move forward on schedule."

City officials said Thursday that despite the damage to two of the buildings in the historic 18th and Vine jazz district "there are no plans to demolish the surviving facades as a result of the fire."

courtesy twitter user Colt Snapp ‏@Colt_Snapp

A massive fire was reported Monday morning at the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Shortly after 10 a.m, large plumes of smoke and flames were sighted outside the historic building at 510 Francis Street. 

Islamic Center of Northland

A possible arson is being investigated at a mosque under construction in Kansas City.

Islamic Center of Northland leaders say they arrived at the site, near Barry road in Kansas City north, for a meeting early Saturday morning and discovered blackened interior walls. There was no serious damage reported. 

Kansas City police and a bomb squad responded. Police confirm that two burned bottles were found inside the building. 

courtesy of Heidi Holliday / Rosedale Development Association

A gas explosion Tuesday morning destroyed one of the buildings in the Rosedale Ridge housing complex, an affordable housing project which closed in 2015 due to poor conditions.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department reported heavy damage to the building, one of six in the complex. The building has been torn down.

Forestry officials report the wildfire in southern Kansas is now 95 percent contained, and crews will continue to patrol and monitor the fire line, looking for hot spots.

Farmers and ranchers in Barber County are starting to assess the extensive damage to their land, livelihood and the community.

City of Kansas City

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved  a $1.5 billion budget on Thursday that kicks off a $10 million two-year plan to tear down about 800 abandoned houses, increases spending on basic services by 5 percent and allows for 2 percent raises for city employees.

The same day the council approved a union contract granting firefighters 2.6 percent raises. The agreement reduces a potential wage freeze in case emergency medical services revenue does not increase by 6 percent from two years to one.

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