Mulvane Emergency Services
110 Years of Volunteer Fire Service
ISO Class 3 / 5
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June 12, 1881 – An F2 Tornado moved NW of Mulvane to 3 miles NE of Douglas destroying two homes 1 mile north of Mulvane and injuring 2 people.
March 31, 1892 – Several tornadoes up to F4 moved NNE near South Haven and dissipating in extreme SE Sedgwick County resulted in 7 deaths and 40 injuries.
November 10, 1915 – An F4 tornado cut a 16 mile path from five miles SW of Zyba, passing within four miles south of Peck and dissipating near the edge of Derby. Eight homes were destroyed and three people were killed at Zyba. At least two homes were destroyed and one person was killed at Derby. In addition to four deaths, there were 28 injuries caused by the tornado.
November 27, 1960 – An F2 tornado touched down three miles NE of Mulvane and proceeded to within one mile south of Augusta causing destruction to barns and shifting one home. Two injuries were reported from an overturned car.
June 12th, 2004 - An F-3 tornado touched down one mile east and one mile south of Mulvane and proceeded to the Mulvane Sewer Plant before lifting and touching down within a 1/2 mile of the south city limits. Several homes and barns were destroyed, one horse was killed and some very minor injuries to motorists as it crossed K-15 highway. Damage was estimated at $575,000.
September 15th, 2010 - A brief F-0 tornado touched down over farm ground about 1250 N. Greenwich Road. Weather Service Report.
City Fire Department
1905 - Today
Chief's past & present.
Mulvane Volunteer Fire Department was officially established by the City Fathers in November 1905 after a city petition was circulated. This of course, was the result of a fire which burned 10 buildings down on Main Street.
As early as 1897 Mulvane had a 2 wheel Hose Cart with hand pump & a hook and ladder wagon. Little history is known about this time era however. March 4, 1899 the purchase of a Fire Engine was discussed but nothing was bought.
1986 Hand Drawn Hook & Ladder Wagon.
Mulvane had 3 major fires prior to 1905. The first on record was on June 13, 1891 which burned down three buildings, Livery Stable, Barn & Feed Store. Arson was thought to be the cause of this fire which started at midnight on a Saturday.
The second and probably the worst fire ever in Mulvane history was on April 12, 1893. This conflagration burned down 16 buildings on Main Street and started shortly before 11a.m. on a Wednesday. Strong Northwest winds soon blew this fire across the street. this fire was thought to be started by a passing locomotive. Read an article on GenDisasters.com.
Then of course, the 1905 fire which started the wheels in motion. This fire was reported at 3 a.m. on a Monday morning. 6 buildings were destroyed & 4 damaged in this fire.
First City Council minutes discussing fire equipment for the City of Mulvane occurred Feb. 19th, 1894. The Council decided to furnish 2 ladders, 2 pike poles, 2 axes and 6 water pail buckets
Six 5 gallon fire extinguishers and six men to take care of and handle same was approved November 4th, 1890.
Feb. 17th, 1905 the council again purchased four 5 gallon fire extinguishers, six 3 gallon fire extinguishers and 4 ladders.
An American LaFrance Fire Engine was purchased in December 1905 for $700. In January 1906 the Dickenson Building was purchased for $1,500 to be the fire station.
1905 LaFrance Chemical Fire Engine
In March of 1918 Mulvane Fire Department was chartered with the Kansas State Fireman's Relief Association and Mulvane Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association was formed.
In 1921 firemen stated receiving $1.00 per run, but were fined $1.00 per run if absent without cause! Sept. 16th, 1921 the city purchased 400 feet of fire hose. In 1924 the City passed a law giving the fireman Right of Way.
July 14th, 1926 the Mulvane Fire Company received a $110.00 donation from the Pet Milk Company for services rendered for a fire at their plant. A motion was made to approach the City Council about making better arrangements for alerting fireman of alarms. The suggestion was made to blow a siren or a whistle.
City Fire Ordinances from 1924!
Our Past Trucks
Rear truck is Mulvane Engine #1. The front truck is believed to belong to Hays Fire Department, probably a photo taken at delivery.
In 1927, under Chief James N. Reed, the City purchased a Boyer Fire Apparatus Chemical Unit on an International Truck for the cost of $5,115.50. This truck is still in our possession as Mulvane Engine #1. Mulvane was also a member of The Kansas State Firemen's Association, yearly dues were $5.00.
Fast, economical, capable trucks for modern fire fighting. Truck on Left belongs to Hays Kansas Fire Department, Right truck is Mulvane Engine #1.
April 20th, 1934 the City Council bought 300 feet of fire hose from the General Fire Hose Mfg. Co. for $.79 per foot. October 18th, 1940 another 200 feet of fire hose was purchased from Eureka Fire Hose Division at $1.05 per foot. Two rubber coats were also purchased.
1950 era Fire Helmet.
In 1951 the Fire Department had 18 members and 4 officers. The City Council moved to purchase a building to house City Hall and the Fire Department at a price not to exceed $11,000.
City Fire Station in 1960's at 104 West Main Street
In 1953 the City purchased a Minnesota Fire Co. Truck, Ford F-550 for $12,500. Fire call pay was raised to $2.00 per call & $2.00 per meeting. This was Mulvane Engine #2.
June 1954 the City Council gave permission for McConnell Air Base Fire Department to take the 4 wheel ladder wagon & hose cart to paint and use for Fire Prevention Week. It was to remain property of Mulvane Fire Department.
December 4th, 1957 the Mulvane City Council was approached by Derby Fire Chief Chet Smith about a "Mutual Aid Agreement". A written agreement was needed.
March 10th, 1958 the city discussed a new 1.5% tax rate for Southwestern Bell. This included 5 fire phones at a cost of $450.00 per year. It was discussed that maybe as many as 7 fire phones would be needed and that would cause transmission difficulties.
August 3rd, 1959 separate phones with separate numbers were installed for Fire & Police.
In 1960 a Mutual Aid Agreement was enter into with Sedgwick County Fire Department.
In 1966 a new City Building & Fire Station was built at 2nd & Sedgwick.
1969 Cairns Bros. Model 900 Leather Fire Helmet.
Firefighters pay was raised to $4.00 per run in January 1971.
In 1974 the City purchased a Ford C-900 Barton-American midship 750 GPM Engine for $36,327.00. This was City Engine #3.
Members of the Mulvane Volunteer Fire Department October 1974 were: Ronnie Wisdom, Ken Kraus, Neil Carney, Mike McKee, Cliff Butts, Faye Oxley, Ray Westfall, Claire Ferguson, John Kimble, Vic Harreld, Merle Cannon, Karl Hartman, Larry Sims, Bill Sorensen, Ronnie Brown, Gene Snook, Larry Iverson, Marzo Kraus, Gordon Kauffman, W.R. Robberson and Dick McKee.
Monitor & 2 Playpipes on a trailer (1979 era).
In 1979 the City purchased a Ford F-750 Collins 750 GPM front mount Pumper for $28,995. This became City Pumper #2.
Fire Chief Merle McKee during Fire Prevention Week at Munson Primary, 1984 era.
In 1988 the City purchased a 1962 Seagrave 1000 GPM Pumper. This became Engine #408.
In 1991 the City purchased a Ford F-800 Smeal 1000 GPM Pumper for $93,560. This became Engine #403.
In 1998 the City purchased a Ford F-550 Precision Rescue Truck for $112,384. This unit became Rescue #407.
In 2002 M.E.S. moved into a new building at 910 E. Main Street. This building was built by the Mulvane Public Building Commission at a cost of 1.6 million.
In 2005 M.E.S. was combined under the leadership of Police Chief Dave Williams thus creating a Department of Public Safety.
In 2006 the City purchased a Freightliner "Elite" 1750 GPM Rescue Pumper for $270,000. This unit became Engine #401.
Mulvane (Volunteer) Ambulance Service
1969 - Today
The first hospital was build in Mulvane by Santa Fe Railroad in 1913. It was equipped with sixty beds, emergency and surgical rooms. It was staffed by 3 surgeons and an M.D. along with 15 support persons. Santa Fe had the first ambulance in Mulvane which was horse drawn. They would go 4 blocks down to the depot to pick up the sick & injured from trains and transport them to the hospital.
Most all of Mulvane Ambulance service was provided by private business until 1970. Namely Santa Fe Hospital and then by Mortuary services. Mulvane Civil Defense started making ambulance calls in 1961. A total of 336 calls were made by the Mulvane C.D. from 1961 till December 25th, 1969. These calls were in addition to the calls made by the Mulvane Mortuary Service. It was decided that the Mulvane Civil Defense would be the organization to take over this responsibility.
New Year's Day morning 1970, the City of Mulvane ran it's first ambulance call at 11:58 am. The call was for a C.V.A. patient, Eugene Shoup. He was transported to his doctor in Augusta, and then to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. (Information thanks to Martha Shoup Fleming, 2008) The first ambulance was a Civil Defense 1951 Cadillac. The City of Mulvane purchased it's first new Ambulance in August, 1970. It was a Ford van, purchased from the Dietz Co. in Wichita.
The 1951 Cadillac was traded in 1969 for a 1953 Cadillac Ambulance. The 1953 Cadillac was traded in 1975 for a 1968 Buick. A new 1974 Horton Modular Ambulance was purchased from American Fire Equipment and was delivered in early 1975. The 1968 Buick was traded in 1979 for another 1974 Chevy Horton. In 1984 a 1969 Military 4x4 Ambulance was acquired from Military Surplus Property and was rebuilt. This unit was dubbed "Hawkeye 1". Hawkeye was unfortunately sold at Auction in December of 1987
From Jan. 1970 through Dec. 1976, Mulvane EMS ran 1,311 calls. By Dec. 1984 this number had risen to 4,140. In 1977 there were 12 state certified Emergency Medical Technicians - Ambulance (EMT-A). George E. Larsen is credited with founding the current Ambulance Service as we know it today.
Mulvane #8, George Larsen, First Ambulance Director.
In 2001, Mulvane E.M.S. has 9 paid Paramedics, 7 paid EMTs, 7 volunteer attendants and made 528 calls.
An old training picture. How would you extricate this tornado victim?
In January 2013, Mulvane E.M.S. went to a full time paid department with 8 Paramedics, 1 EMS Training Lieutenant and 1 EMS Captain. They also utilized part-time EMTs & Paramedics, 3 volunteers and made 800 calls.
In March 2014, Mulvane E.M.S. added 8 more full time Paramedics positions with the opening of Station #2 at 911 Kansas Star Drive.
January 2016 Mulvane E.M.S. took over all responses for Belle Plaine E.M.S. including their rural response area in Sumner County. Belle Plaine now contracts with Mulvane E.M.S. for Ambulance service. The intial contract was for $60,000 plus the Sumner County rural subsidies which was about $120,000. Belle Plaine also gave us their 2012 Osage Ambulance. These calls are answered from Station #2 if in quarters.
Mulvane Civil Defense
1952 - 1990
The Mulvane Civil Defense was established in 1952. Its first function was that of the Fire Department. It started making ambulance calls in 1961. The first Director was Ral Davis. He was replaced by George Larsen in June 1955. Donovan Denny was appointed as assistant director. In 1959 the Mulvane Civil Defense purchased the old alfalfa mill for their headquarters. This led to the development of one of the finest C.D. units in the State of Kansas.
First set of Hurst "Jaws of Life" in 1984. Pictured with Director George Larsen.
Assistant Director Don Denny in 1986.
Don Denny instructs a Radiological Monitoring Class in the early 60's.
On May 25th, 1955 at about 10:30 p.m. a tornado struck the Town of Udall, about 10 miles south of Mulvane. This incident boosted the awareness of Emergency Preparedness as many of the first volunteers rescue workers were from Mulvane. The deadliest tornado to ever touch Kansas roared into Udall, completely leveling the town killing 83 residents and injuring 270. Almost every home in Udall was reduced to splinters. 192 buildings destroyed, 170 houses destroyed, and 18 homes standing but unlivable. Around fifty per cent of the families in Udall lost one or more members of their families.
Mulvane C.D. Volunteer Rural Fire Department
The first rural fire protection was formed by a group of men and farmers. Insurance companies were requiring that townships have fire protection agreements with rural fire departments, thus the need for a rural department. They built a fire truck from scratch on a used Chevy truck. A new 1953 Ford truck cab & chassis was purchased and built into a fire truck.
Bradfield Farm Fire, 53 Ford
Converted Military Truck
This truck was replaced with a 1959 Ford F-600 fire truck E-404 purchased from the City of Arlington, KS. In 1976 there were 24 volunteer firemen who responded to 92 fire calls that year. By 1977 Mulvane C.D. Rural Fire Department had agreements with three surrounding townships, Salem and Rockford Townships in Sedgwick, Co. and Gore Township in Sumner, Co. to provide fire response. Annual budget from these three townships to the Rural Fire Department was about $4,000 in 1979.
George Larsen, Lowell Ester, Brent Carey & David Boyd fight this grass fire in 1980 on K-15 highway in Jeep #2.
Old Rescue Truck pulling a generator
After the Udall tornado, rescue equipment and emergency power generation became a concern. State Surplus was a good source for excess military equipment. In 1961 the Civil Defense purchased a new GMC Rescue Panel Van from Sauder-Lagriss GMC in Wichita. This unit was 4 wheel drive and had a front mount winch. This unit assisted in both Fire and Ambulance calls and was usually staffed by firefighters.
Sumner County Fire District #12
Pushed by the efforts of the Fire Chief David Boyd and Assistant Chief Lowell Ester, Sumner County Fire District #12 was formed in 1985. S.U.F.D. #12 encompasses 22 square miles of Gore Township. S.U.F.D. #12 then contracted with Mulvane Civil Defense to provide them fire protection.
Fire Prevention Officer Mike Abasolo & unknown FF @ Bloomenshine Grade School, 1986.
In 2000, S.U.F.D. #12 contract provided $18,000 a year to Mulvane Emergency Services operating budget. They have purchased two brush trucks for M.E.S. M.E.S. also operates one state forestry engine, two state forestry department built tankers for S.U.F.D. #12.
In January of 2002, S.U.F.D. #12 purchased a new Luverne Engine to replace the state Forestry Engine.
In 2005, S.U.F.D. #12 contract provided $21,000 a year to Mulvane Emergency Services operating budget. In January of 2005, S.U.F.D. #12 purchased a new brush truck for Mulvane Fire Department.
In 2007, S.U.F.D. #12 purchased a 2000 Freightliner and contracted with Emergency Fire Equipment to build a new 3,000 gallon tender for M.E.S. at a cost of $73,000.
The Merger & M.E.S.!
For many years the City of Mulvane ran with two Fire Departments. The City Fire Department and the Civil Defense Rural Fire Department. During the 1980's the City Government had many growing pains and power struggles. A Public Safety Department was briefly tested with the hope of combining Police, Fire, & E.M.S. under one department.
This lead to many grumblings between the various departments. At the advise of the University of Kansas Fire School Instructor Ron Claing in 1982, the wheels were put into motion to combine the two departments. Councilman W.R. Roberson who was a retired Air Force Fire Chief and then the Assistant Fire Chief at Boeing Airplane Company starting working to merge the two departments.
Training exercise in Feb. 1986.
Finally in April of 1986, the City of Mulvane Fire Department was merged into the Mulvane Civil Defense Rural Fire Department, under the leadership of Mike Byers, C.D. Director. David Boyd was appointed Fire Chief, and Bobby Kimble was appointed Assistant Fire Chief. This brought about the name change of Mulvane Civil Defense to Mulvane Emergency Services. Most of the former City Fireman resigned as a result of this action.
Chief David Boyd (kneeling) doing hydrant testing (1986 era).
A year later, March of 1987, under a new City Council, Director Mike Byers was not reappointed C.D. Director. Lowell Ester was appointed EMS Captain and Acting EMS Director. The appointment of Bob Welch as the Emergency Services Director was made in August of 1987. This resulted in seventeen Civil Defense Firemen resigning over the ensuing conflicts, along with Chief Boyd, Chief Kimble, and EMS Captain Ester. A mix of the remaining two departments then started rebuilding the department as we know it today. Lowell Ester and Bobby Kimble rejoined the department in 1999 after the termination of Bob Welch.
Department of Public Safety!
In March of 2005 the Mulvane City Council passed a new ordinance which place the Police Chief, Dave Williams, as Director of Public Safety. Under the new Director are three Captains, Police Captain Sue Richardson, Fire Captain Lowell Ester & EMS Captain Karen Zorn. The Directors position became administrative with the Captains each in charge of that departments Operations. In April 2007 Judi Patterson was hired as EMS Captain replacing Karen Zorn.
Director Mike Byers works with R.A.C.E.S in the Command Bus in July 1987.
Mike Byers, ?, & Chuck Glazer work the radios on a R.A.C.E.S. field day.
Much of this history from notes left by George E. Larsen and meeting minutes.
Thanks to Ralph Wright for taking many of the old photo's.
Special Thanks to Mulvane Historical Society & to Madeline Farber "MULVANE, City of the Valley".
Information researched and compiled by Captain Lowell Ester.
This Web Site created December, 2001. Thanks for visiting!
Mulvane Emergency Services Website, 2014, All rights reserved.
Send mail to Capt. Lowell Ester with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: Saturday February 11, 2017