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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Leavenworth Fire Department saw increase in fires in 2012

  • The Leavenworth Fire Department saw an increase in the number of fires in the city in 2012. But the department's overall call load decreased slightly last year.
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  • The Leavenworth Fire Department saw an increase in the number of fires in the city in 2012. But the department's overall call load decreased slightly last year.
    That's according to the Leavenworth Fire Department's annual report for 2012.
    The report recently was published on the city's website, www.lvks.org.
    The report provides statistics about the calls the Leavenworth Fire Department received last year as well as other department activities.
    "Although our department name is the Leavenworth Fire Department, as this report outlines we respond to much more than just fires," Acting Fire Chief Mark Nietzke wrote in a message for the report. "Our emergency calls for help include hazardous material responses, trench rescues, medical emergencies, carbon monoxide, confined space rescues, electrical emergencies, ice/water rescues and automobile extrications."
    The Fire Department had a total of 2,353 calls for service in 2012. That's down from 2,378 calls in 2011. However, last year's total was more than the 1,914 calls the department had in 2010.
    "I don't know offhand what exactly contributed to that," Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lingenfelser said of the increase in calls since 2010.
    He said weather is a variable that can affect the call load. He said drought conditions, for example, can result in more brush fires. Warm weather can lead to calls for things such as heat exhaustion.
    He also said something such as an ice storm can result in a number of calls.
    The department had 130 fire calls last year. That was up from 118 in 2011.
    The fire calls in 2012 included 42 building fires, 31 trash or rubbish fires and 22 grass or brush fires, according to the report.
    The fire calls represented only 5 percent of the department's overall call load in 2012.
    A majority of calls received in 2012 were for medical emergencies. There were 1,448 "medical first response" calls, or 62 percent of the total call load.
    The 199 hazardous calls the department received last year made up 8 percent of the call load. There were 159 false alarms, or 7 percent of the total calls. There were 131 rescue and extrication calls, or 6 percent of the total.
    What the report labels as simply service calls and other types of calls numbered 286, or 12 percent.
    The number of medical emergency calls the Fire Department receives has dramatically increased during the last 10 years. The Leavenworth Fire Department had 149 medical calls in 2003 compared to 1,448 last year, according to the report.
    As of Tuesday afternoon, the Leavenworth Fire Department had responded to a total of 751 calls for service since the beginning of the year. At the same time last year, the department was up to 835 calls, according to Lingenfelser.

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