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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • City and county firefighters called out in cold

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  • Although 2014 is not even a week old, city and county firefighters have been busy with fire calls in Pratt and in the country.
    A firefighter's quick action saved an equipment shed, a couple of tractors and a truck after a pickup in the shed caught fire Monday morning about three miles east of Cairo on NE 5th Street.
    The fire call was one of two Monday and the third in four days in and around Pratt.
    The fire near Cairo on Monday happened mid morning when Gary Fitzsimmons was using a small propane heater to warm up his pickup to get it started, said Dean Fitzsimmons, Gary's son and a Preston volunteer firefighter.
    The pickup was in a machine shed along with a two-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive tractor, a truck, lots of tools plus an ATV and a lawn mover.
    Dean lives a short distance from Gary's residence and when he arrived he immediately took action. He threw a chain around the rear bumper of the burning pickup and hooked the other end of the chain to his own pickup and pulled it out of the shed to a safe distance away.
    Firefighters from Preston, Township 12 and Cunningham were called to the scene where they let the pickup burn and concentrated their efforts on getting the fire out in the shed. Some of the wooden roof beams were on fire and those were quickly extinguished.
    The pickup and an ATV in the shed were total losses. A riding lawn mower was also damaged and the propane heater tank was scorched but it did not explode.
    Dean said his dad was not injured in the fire although he did inhale a little smoke.
    The next fire emergency in Pratt on Monday didn't result in a fire but it did cause several anxious minutes after a semi trailer hit the body shop at Lanterman Motors and broke off a gas meter on the side of the building, said Pratt Assistant Fire Chief George Stevens.
    All Lanterman employees were quickly evacuated as gas poured from the broken meter.
    Pratt firefighters, Pratt County EMS and Pratt Police responded to the scene. Firefighters laid out a hose and were prepared in case a fire started.
    Kansas Gas Service arrived shortly after the firefighters and shut off the gas without incident. Once the feed line to the meter was tested for leaks and none were found, the firefighters were cleared to leave.
    The Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center, a short distance from Lanterman's, was notified of the problem but the building was not evacuated.
    The call Monday afternoon was the second call for Pratt firefighters in four days.
    Page 2 of 2 - On Friday afternoon, Jan. 3, they were called to 611 North Thompson to the report of smoke in a rental house. On arrival, the firefighters made entrance to the building and discovered a throw rug on top of a floor furnace vent had caught fire.
    The fire was quickly extinguished and the house suffered only some smoke damage. Owner Dick McCall had the electricity turned on earlier in the day. When he went to check on the house discovered smoke in the house.
    He immediately called 911 and firefighters were able to put out the fire with minimal damage. to the house.
    No one hurt in this small fire.
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