Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2012

Multiple departments battle ‘complex’ grassfire

A fireman walks along U.S. Highway 56 past flaming trees set ablaze as part of a backfire in this July 2012 photo as firefighters from departments throughout Douglas County and those from Franklin and Johnson counties fought a series of fires along the highway.

A fireman walks along U.S. Highway 56 past flaming trees set ablaze as part of a backfire in this July 2012 photo as firefighters from departments throughout Douglas County and those from Franklin and Johnson counties fought a series of fires along the highway.

July 15, 2012

Baldwin City area firefighters those from rural departments in Douglas County and two neighboring counties battled a “complex” series of grassfires late Sunday afternoon along U.S. Highway 56 just northwest of town.

Palmyra Fire Chief Randy DeMarsseman said Sunday he wasn’t sure when the first call came in but thought was about 5 p.m. The call was for a fire in an unpopulated area north of U.S. Highway 56 and east of Douglas County East 1600 Road. His department, the Baldwin City Fire Department and units from Lawrence City Fire Department and rural fire department from Douglas, Franklin and Johnson counties would eventually battle three different fires in the late afternoon heat along 1.5 miles of U.S. 56. The farthest west fire was about 1 mile west of East 1600 Road, he said. Traffic was rerouted off the highway for a time during the fire.

The mutual aid units were released about 9 p.m. when the only remaining flames were those from a backfire set to prevent grassfires from spreading should winds shift or increase during the night, DeMarssman.

One firefighter was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for treatment for a heat-related condition, DeMarssman said.

“It was a very complex fire,” he said. “The reason we called in so much help was because of the heat and the amount of fuel out there.”

DeMarssman said those in vehicles passing by during the fire handed out bottle water to firefighters and one property owner brought water, too.

“It was a group effort, and a very impressive group effort,” DeMarssman said.

No structures were lost in the fire, DeMarssman said. One field of double-crop soybean field planted in wheat stubble was destroyed in the eastern-most fire, he said. That fire spread about ¼ mile north of the highway, he said.

DeMarssman said the cause of the fires wasn’t known but added there was plentiful fuel for grassfires in the current dry conditions.

“We have no evidence of what started the fires,” he said. “This is what could happen day or night with just the smallest fire.

“We don’t have a burn ban in the county. Everybody has been hoping we’d have significant rainfall. There’s a lot of fuel along the roadsides that just needs a little spark. Everybody needs to be very, very careful.”


straub 5 years, 10 months ago

Now will the City of Baldwin put a STOP to this guy selling out of a trailer every week at the grocery store???? Wake up Council you are allowing someone to sell food to the public who consistently scores bad with the Health Department. Here are some other issues I have with him being in town:

  1. Unfair competition to brick and mortar establishments (who have supported this town)
  2. No JOBS supplied to anyone other than himself
  3. Food is prepared in his own home without a commercially licensed kitchen
  4. Sales Tax can be adjusted to show a different amount than what he actually received (cash based business).
  5. I cannot leave my windows open in my car when going into grocery store on days he is smoking and wind blows a certain direction.
  6. Makes Baldwin look bad when driving into town seeing food truck continually.

He should be held responsible for the cost of our Fire Department and surrounding Fire Departmental costs and the cost of any damages to property he caused! He lives outside of town and does not pay real estate taxes in our community.


hyperinflate 5 years, 10 months ago

Uh, you realize that the commenter in the LJW was being facetious, don't you (look at the time it was posted)?

I think the guy has exceptional BBQ. I would hazard a guess you are a restauranteur here in town. I would also hazard a guess that you would be the first to through a teabagger-style fit if the local "gubment" decided to come in and regulate your business in areas where it had no jurisdiction to do so. So why suddenly wanting the local government to meddle in what appears to be healthy, free-market competition?


straub 5 years, 10 months ago

If he has exceptional BBQ, please tell me why he always received so many critical violations on his health inspections from the State of Kansas? This can be found on the web for everyone to look at.

As for being a restauranteur, no not at all. But I would think you would want to support your brick and mortar buildings in the community as they supply JOBS for you and your children. What does he supply?

Since you appear to be okay with food trucks in town other than special events, I will contact some vendors I know and see about them setting up in Baldwin, paying the City License Fee, pay the owners of the property rent and see how many complaints our OUTSTANDING City Council receives! At least one on the City Council will most likely reply, "it appears to be healthy, free-market competition?"

Now seriously, I have nothing against your BBQ vendor. But hasn't he had enough time to rent someplace in town and be a contributor to our town? Supply Jobs! I just do not want my food purchased from SAMS CLUB and put in a personal vehicle and transported from KC to Baldwin in an uncontrolled environment and then stored at his personal residence. And before you say don't eat there; I do not eat there paying $3.00 for a pork sandwich is not worth getting sick for. I'd rather pay Moni's price or Baldwin Cafe, Wooden Spoke they are local and supplying jobs for Baldwin.


straightforward 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure what jobs you think it will create if he operates in a brick-and-mortar location. He's proven all it takes is himself to run his business. Whether it's in a building or out of his truck, he's not necessarily going to need to hire employees.

That being said, I would agree that he has an unfair advantage. He pays no property taxes and I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's not accurately reporting his sales for tax purposes. IF in fact we find out his grill started the fire, he should certainly be held responsible. I won't lose any sleep if he doesn't come back.


hyperinflate 5 years, 10 months ago

So let me make sure I understand you -- you think the local government should pick winners and losers in the food market? Yes, I am sure that is what I hear you saying.

Let me see if I am also tracking you. Because the guy has figured out how to operate his business (his livelihood) at a lower expense than a "brick and mortar" facility that the government should run him out of business because he poses some sort of existential threat to them. Yes, once again I am sure that is what you are saying.

Finally, I am fairly certain that you are saying that because the guy does not live within town he should not be able to transact business within town. If that is the case then there are several banks, a dollar store, a self-storage business, and no doubt a few restaurants that should be shuttered by the local government because the owners do not pay residential sales tax within City limits.

Methinks it's rather forward of you to assume that the guy isn't reporting his sales appropriately. Having been in business many years I can tell you that running a cash-based business does not a priori make someone a tax cheat. There are many, many business in our fine State, probably in our local area that have NO problem underreporting their sales. If the guy is underreporting then he will eventually be made to pay. The Kansas Department of Revenue tends to be pretty good at sweating out these types of things.

I think that you are doing a fine public service by pointing out if there are indeed complaints against said vendor, as adjudicated by a licensing agency such as the State health department. Apparently the complaints against him have not yet yielded an order for him to stop serving food. So I guess unless and until said time that happens, then then caveat emptor. But how 'bouts we let the old invisible hand take care of this matter, m-kay, thanks!


puck 5 years, 10 months ago

I looked up his inspections, and saw five inspections, with zero violations... I am not finding "critical violations."



straub 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm impressed sir you actually posted without name calling. Your points were well stated regarding the issues at hand, thank you.

Oh, by the way he was responsible for the fire as he left Baldwin and I hear he even lost smoker as well. Again, I concede you to be correct those invisible hands did take care of this matter.


hyperinflate 5 years, 10 months ago

Never knew that Adam Smith was a firebug, but it seems you are right.


Stacy Napier 5 years, 10 months ago

I thought Baldwin had an ordnance against a non-permanent business establishment.


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