Humboldt firefighting becomes more comprehensive

Humboldt firefighters will be summoned automatically to fires in the Humboldt vicinity. City Council members also discussed a machine to fill in potholes around the city.


Local News

March 10, 2020 - 10:32 AM

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HUMBOLDT — Humboldt council members made two decisions of import Monday night

First, they changed the city volunteer fire department protocols for giving assistance in fighting structure fires in rural areas.

Such aid has been available, but wasn’t triggered until a request from the rural fire components in Logan and Humboldt townships and Fire District No. 4.

Now, any time a structure fire is reported within approximately three miles of Humboldt city limits, the city firetruck, which can hold 1,000 gallons of water, will respond. Additional assets may be dispatched.

“We said approximately,” reported Fire Chief Sean McReynolds, because if a house is burning a bit farther away, “we’re not going to turn around and go back.”

ISO, or fire insurance ratings, will not be affected for Humboldt residents by its department being dispatched to rural fires, McReynolds said. And, having automatic aid may improve the ISO ratings for rural homeowners.

Humboldt has 18 volunteers who answer calls on a first-come, first-out schedule in town and out.

City Administrator Cole Herder noted the quick response of local firefighters. “Often when I hear the fire whistle, I hear a truck siren before the whistle quits,” in three minutes’ time.

COUNCIL members also agreed with Public Works Director Jeremy Bulk that a machine to fill potholes would be a good idea.

Generically called a spray injection patcher, the machine uses compressed air to clean potholes of dirt and moisture after which it sprays a hot oily emulsion followed by filling the hole with a mix of oil and rock.

Bulk’s contention is that the process will have much greater holding power than a cold mix. Contemporaries in Chanute and Wichita brag about repairs lasting upward to five years.

Herder pointed out the process would precede chip-and-seal street improvements planned for later, with the extent of that process depending on the county’s participation.

The patcher costs about $72,000. Funding will come from special highway tax distributions or special equipment funding.

IN OTHER news, council members:

— Were told of the importance of residents responding to the upcoming federal census. Herder noted state and federal funding for the next decade, and perhaps beyond, will depend on the accuracy of the 2020 census. He advised residents to seize on the seriousness of the count.