Residential fire demonstrates Air Guard, civilian partnership
By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith , 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published August 30, 2011
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Air National Guard firefighters at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base here responded to reports of a fire in Elwood, Kan., on the afternoon of August 25.
The citizen-Airmen assisted the Elwood Volunteer Fire Department.
Those in the area reported smoke coming from the one story, brick residential structure. Information received from area residents alerted the firefighters that the home was unoccupied.
Firefighters from Elwood arrived first on scene shortly after the fire was dispatched. They found an active fire.
Air Guard and Elwood firefighters pulled multiple hose lines and vented the attic. The fire was brought under control and extinguished.
"It's very valuable to us," said Alvin Wood, Elwood fire chief, about the Air Guard's support.
Wood responded to the scene and works with the Air Guard members regularly. He also supports missions at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.
"It's like having another station available to us," he said about the Missouri Air Guard firehouse with the 139th Airlift Wing.
Airmen also assisted area civilian firefighters during the Missouri River flood this year as well as in another mutual aid fire response at a nearby recycling plant.
"We have had a mutual aid agreement with Elwood, Wathena and the City of St Joseph for quite some time," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brian Jansen, the Wing's fire chief.
Both Air Guard and civilian responders gain from sharing their manpower, specialized equipment, experience and training, he said.
"All surrounding fire departments work together to assist each other for support for emergencies and various events," he said. "We have a full spectrum of response capabilities here that we bring to the community."
Jansen and Wood both said that citizens should report any suspected fire immediately by calling 9-1-1.