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October 26, 2017
Harvey County IndependentOctober 26, 2017 Harvey County Independent

BREAKING: 50 Vehicles, 1 Structure Destroyed In Sedgwick Salvage Yard Inferno

Posted 10/26/2017

By Jared JanzenSTARTING as a grassfire just south of Sedgwick Fire Station in the 300 block of Washington Street, the fire Thursday afternoon quickly spread to consume an entire salvage yard to the south. No one was injured. STARTING as a grassfire just south of Sedgwick Fire Station in the 300 block of Washington Street, the fire Thursday afternoon quickly spread to consume an entire salvage yard to the south. No one was injured.

SEDGWICK—Roughly 50 vehicles in a salvage yard in the 300 block of Washington Street in Sedgwick went up in flames Thursday afternoon, as did an adjacent storage structure. Crews from Sedgwick, Halstead, Newton, Hesston and Sedgwick County spent two hours actively fighting the blaze before it was under control.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Newton Fire/EMS Chief Scott Metzler said Thursday.CREW had to cut down a property fence to fight the flames. Firefighters from Sedgwick, Halstead, Newton, Hesston and Sedgwick County were all onscene.CREW had to cut down a property fence to fight the flames. Firefighters from Sedgwick, Halstead, Newton, Hesston and Sedgwick County were all onscene.DARK smoke billows to the southwest, driven by strong winds.DARK smoke billows to the southwest, driven by strong winds.

A wind-driven grassfire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. in the area between the salvage yard and the Sedgwick Fire Station to the north. By the time crews from Halstead and Newton arrived about 20 minutes later, the fire had spread through the entire salvage yard.

“Prior to the arrival of our crews, the fire did extend into a building,” Metzler said.
”It also extended into a salvage yard with as many as 50 vehicles, and when our crews arrived all 50 vehicles were on fire.”

The salvage yard property was surrounded by a wooden property fence that firefighters had to cut down using chainsaws to fight the blaze.

Multiple explosion noises could be heard as the fire roared, and Metzler said these were probably caused by gas or propane tanks.

Strong winds from the north were a factor in response, according to Metzler.

“That made the fire much more difficult to fight,” he said, adding that it creates a potential for flames to spread to areas they normally wouldn’t.

Metzler said crews would remain on scene throughout the evening and overnight to keep an eye on the smoldering remains.

No one was injured in the fire and no homeowners needed to be evacuated, but commercial structures to the south were evacuated as a precaution, Metzler said.

Metzler noted that it is customary for Harvey County fire departments to aid each other on fires like this.

“We’ve got a very robust relationship with all of the communities in Harvey County and around Harvey County, so it’s very customary for departments from outside the city to respond, and that’s what happened today.”

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Chance Encounter Leads To Remodeled Bentley City Hall

Posted 10/26/2017

By Jared JanzenBENTLEY City Hall has a new professional look thanks to a donation of office furniture, including these two desks use for public works and police. Two similar desks are in the bay of the fire department. BENTLEY City Hall has a new professional look thanks to a donation of office furniture, including these two desks use for public works and police. Two similar desks are in the bay of the fire department.

BENTLEY—Out with the old and in with the new. Bentley City Hall has a fresh look thanks to a generous donation of office furniture from a Wichita business-owner.

The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, supplied the city with five desks and office chairs, four filing cabinets, and about two dozen chairs for use in the council room.

This all started with the man simply passing through town according to Bentley Police Chief Kevin Dorritie.

“It was a chance encounter,” he said. “He came in to use our restroom.”

Dorritie said the man noticed the city could use some more functional furniture and extended an invitation to visit his warehouse. The man had purchased the used office furniture in bulk, but the items are still in good condition.

“I don’t know if he bought out an office building or how he did it,” Dorritie said. “It never came up. He just said, ‘I’ve got all this office furniture; come to my warehouse…take what you want.’”

Rearranging the front office created space to move the police desk into this front room out of the back one they had been in. Dorritie said this gives the police a more visible presence and helps them maintain legal compliances with the state for police and court records.

“It just functions a lot better as an office,” Dorritie said.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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Trunk-Or-Treat Is Fun For All

Posted 10/26/2017

By Debbie ParksMAD-scientist Adam Wolfe created a fun way for kids to try to pull candy out of a creature’s body without getting zapped, similar to the board game Operation.MAD-scientist Adam Wolfe created a fun way for kids to try to pull candy out of a creature’s body without getting zapped, similar to the board game Operation.

BENTLEY—More than 70 children and adults enjoyed a fun time in the Bentley City Park on Saturday Oct. 21.  The rain held off long enough for the 15 decorated vehicle trunks, tables and adult sponsors to offer their candy treats to all who attended.  Several members of the volunteer Bentley Fire Department were on hand to do the judging of the decorated trunks and costumed children and youth.

“Detective” Shavon Morgan with the Parks and Recreation Committee led the group of kids down Wichita Avenue from the Bentley Post Office over south to the Park where the decorated trunks and sponsors were waiting to offer delicious candy to the kids and parents, several of whom were also in costume.

One of the sponsors was very creative with a “green monster” plywood board with several holes carved out that held places for different candy selections.  The treaters needed to hold a pair of tongs to reach in a hole to try and get the candy treat without getting “zapped” by touching anything in the hole except the candy.  Sponsor “Mad Scientist” Adam Wolfe made sure that everyone who tried didn’t go away empty handed even if they got “zapped” while trying.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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SW 84th Bridge Repaired, Reopened

Posted 10/26/2017

By Pilar MartinSTEEL supports were added to shore up the bridge.STEEL supports were added to shore up the bridge.

SEDGWICK—The bridge on SW 84th between Ridge Road and Emma Creek Road is back open just outside of Sedgwick. The bridge was opened earlier for a short time but someone driving heavy equipment over the bridge punched a hole in the deck, causing the county to temporarily close it again.

“We have all of our bridges inspected every two years, and the state wanted us to close this one,” Harvey County Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier said. “We asked what needed to be done to keep it open, and we have done that.”

Keeping the bridge open meant installed steel beams underneath to shore up the bridge. “We were able to use our county employees and they did a terrific job,” Meier said. “MKEC out of Wichita did the design. Anthony Spencer, Lynn Lalouette and Jim Rippe did the work. It cost just over $14,000 to fix the bridge.”

The bridge was built around 1960 as far as Meier can determine.

“At that time they used county forces and whatever building materials were available. It just cannot take heavy traffic over it anymore,” he added.

The county crew was back out at the bridge last Wednesday laying down a cold mixture of asphalt to even out the deck surface and provided a smoother ride. The bridge was reopened that afternoon.

A weight limit sign has been posted with a maximum weight of three tons. A regular SUV or car weighs one and half to two tons.

“People need to watch the weight limits on these smaller bridges,” Meier said. “I am hoping the bridge can stay open for maybe another five years. It probably won’t last longer than that.”

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