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Mayday: Kan. fire chief hurt in explosion

Russell Fire Chief Dylan Riedel was flown to a burn unit after being caught in a garage fire explosion


By Michael Stavola
The Wichita Eagle

RUSSELL, Kan. — A Kansas fire chief was airlifted to a Wichita hospital after a structure fire and explosion on Friday night, the City of Russell said Saturday on Facebook.

Fire Chief Dylan Riedel was listed in fair condition just after 4 p.m. Saturday at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

At 9:06 p.m. Friday, the Russell Fire Department was called to a structure fire at a corner-lot home at 1706 N. Main.

“Shortly after the first units arrived on the scene, a police officer reported an explosion and a firefighter injured,” the Facebook post says.

Riedel was taken to Russell Regional Hospital and then airlifted to St. Francis burn unit by EagleMed. Russell is about 160 miles from Wichita. Russell has less than 4,500 people.

Fire crews contained the fire to the garage, the Facebook post says. Google Maps shows the home has a detached garage.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. The Kansas Office of the State Fire Marshal is helping with the investigation.

Russell officials could not be reached Saturday for more information about what happened.

First-responder organizations around the state shared the Facebook post and noted that they were praying for Riedel.

In sharing the post, Russell County 911 Communications said two dispatchers received the panic activation for “mayday, firefighter down.”

“Please, if you are able and willing, pray for Dylan Riedel, his family, and these emergency responders,” the post says. “Dylan, Dispatch is constantly thinking of you and stand ready to help in any way we can moving forward.”

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